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June 8, 2014

Roads to Vinci

Pieve di Compito

It is quite possible to travel around the edge of the triangular valley that sits between three sets of hills and mountains.  These are the Appennines, where Casa Verde sits on the lower slopes; the Colle Pisani to the south west and the hills of Montalbano to the south east.  Between the lower slopes of these hills lies the flat-lands of the Valdinievole; the misty valley.  The valley contains the Padule di Fuccheccio but also larger towns, industrial areas and also the town of Montecatini Terme. In the lower slopes of the hills, around the valley there are many smalerl and larger hillside villages that many visitors may miss but are very worthy of further exploration.  The hills near Lucca specialise in March in exhibitions of exquisite and colourful Camellias.  Many of these villages take pride in the gardens and flower displays that make any visit between March and July a visual and fragrant journey.

Borgo Cecina

Borgo Cecina

We have travelled to pretty villages in the area close to Monsummano such as  Montevettolini.  It is here in this village atop it’s own small peak that the Medici’s could see all the Valdinievole before them,  any enemies that approached over the hills be it Pistoia, or from the south west  in the direction of Lucca and Pisa, from the south in the direction of Siena, all the approaches were covered from this lofty place.  For the Medici we imagine that they came here because the palace they occupied was also a quiet and beautiful escape from the intrigues and violence of the Florentine court.  Smaller villages such as Borgo di Cecina have such a charm to the peaceful passer-by, set as it is, among the most immaculate olive groves full of blood-red poppies and white daisies that thrive in the terraces that  borders these ancient villages.  In the hot weather you can hear a cat breath on the stone walls.  It is these rolling landscapes that make the hills of the Montalbano so picturesque and attractive to artists, at Anchiano near Vinci it produced one of the world’s most famous of these.  The small town of Vinci has its own attractions of course, but his two-building birthplace up the hill side has a magical and humble feel to it.  You can see why one’s sensory imagination is so heightened in such havens as these.

da Vinci's birthplace Anchiano

da Vinci’s birthplace Anchiano

 

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