TooMuchFlorence Tuscany Off-the-beaten Path

Discover Montaione and surroundings

Montaione from the Roman cistern

It’s been while since I was in Montaione last Easter. I spent there few days on holidays thanks to my friend Simone of TripInTuscany. I was quite surprise from the beautiful landscapes and lovely atmosphere of Montaione and surroundings. So here you’ll find some of the places I loved.

The view from Montaione

Montaione landscape

Montaione

MuseumThe town of Montaione is located on top of a hill, about 35 kilometers from Florence. Legend has it that it was founded by the young nobleman Ajone from Volterra, who rescued the beautiful Figline, daughter of Ine, that was kidnapped by Gambasso. The story dates back to 13th century, even though the surroundings were populated by Etruscans and Romans.

As a matter of fact inside the small Civic Museum of Montaione, located in the city center, you can see a unique stele depicting an Etruscan noble warrior with his name and age carved along the sides. It dates back to 4th century b.C. and was used to decorate the facade of a local house until few years ago. In the museum you can also see a large part of a whale’s fossil.

In the main square there is the Church of San Regolo, that displays some valuable artworks, such as the reproduction of the Madonna del Buonconsiglio by Guido Graziano dating back to 14th century and the body of the Blessed San Vivaldo. But the church, located in the main square of Montaione, is the perfect place to enjoy Tuscany dolce vita. There you can see children play football or other street games as they used to do 50 years ago.

Postcard from Montaione

Postcard from Montaione

I suggest you walk around, enjoy the place and take some nice pictures of windows, doors and stunning panoramas you have from this top hill town. When the weather is clear you can recognize Florence Dome! Then take your car drive to see the late Roman water tank that was used by a Roman villa in Poggio all’Aglione. In addition from there you can take a great picture of the town surrounded by  vineyards.

Dolce vita in Montaione

Dolce vita in Montaione

Iano

The tiny village of Iano was originally one of the castles surrounding Montaione. Today is lovely village with nice doors and windows, as well as landscapes. There are a couple of restaurants and a supermarket, but still it deserves a visit.

Life in Iano

Life in Iano

It was an Etruscan hamlet and this where the beautiful Etruscan stele was found. In the Middle Ages the area was divided into several smaller hamlets. In the past it was an important commercial area because of its green landscapes. As a matter of fact it was the largest woody area between Valdelsa and Valdera and wood was used for the furnaces of glass in Montaione and Gambassi. After WWII it then became famous for the extraction of travertine, onyx, mercury and cinnabar.

Postcard from Iano

Postcard from Iano

Castelfalfi

Well this medieval hamlet has now a new life. It has been acquired by a foreign society that restored it and turned Castelfalfi into a luxury holidays destination. So when I visited it it was a large construction site, but still the views from the hamlet are awesome! As well as doors and flowered gardens.

View from Castelfalfi

View from Castelfalfi

Even though there are few regular inhabitants, because most of the houses are rental accommodations, every first Sunday of the month there is the antiques market and several events are organized all year round.

Castelfalfi

Castelfalfi

Where to stay – Casa Grimaldi

I stayed in a lovely apartment at Casa Grimaldi owned by my friend Simone. I have to say that the location is great because you’re centrally located in the area and you can easily reach the main destinations in few minutes driving. Montaione for example is about 5 minutes driving.

The property is set within the small medieval hamlet of Alberi. It offers 4 large apartments that can accommodate up to 4 people and each one has private entrance and a private courtyard, perfect for having a family dinner out. I liked the family and cozy atmosphere, as well as the location. I wished I’ve tried the pool in the backyard, because it looks as a buen retiro for a sleepy day of my dolcevita.

Casa Grimaldi

Casa Grimaldi

Casa Grimaldi

Casa Grimaldi

In addition Simone and his family are really nice people, providing you with lots of information to visit the area, as well as a pleasant stay. Prices are affordable, especially if you compare them to the average of more fancy areas like Chianti, that I have to say it’s not so much better than Valdelsa. Who knows, maybe Valdelsa is going to be the new Chianti!

Surroundings

Surroundings

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