Mugello is my homeland now. I moved here almost 5 years ago from Florence. At the beginning it was quite a shock, but now I love being here, because Mugello is quite and marvelous land, full of history, things to do and good food.
This area is generally renowned just for tortelli, Barberino Designer Outlet and Mugello International Circuit. Here my top 5 of unusual things to do in Mugello!
Wine tasting in Frascole
Mugello is renowned for milk, not for wine. In the area wine has been produced for centuries, as reported in old documents, like the one attesting that Lawrence the Magnificent was producing wine near Cafaggiolo Castle. But also Etruscan first, and Romans then used to produce wine in the area of Frascole, near the city of Dicomano.
Frascole is also the name of the local winery and farm, run by Enrico and his family for the last twenty years. The wine estate is located inside the Chianti Rufina geographical area. The heart of the estate is the old Podere Vico, documented since Etruscan times and surrounded by the vineyards; the rows of vine goes from an altitude of 350 mt a.s.l to 470 a.s.l. and turns red in Autumn.
Frascole produces some great organic red and white wines, an excellent vinsanto, as well as organic extra virgin olive oil. It’s open for wine tastings upon reservation by calling or mailing to Enrico.
Coffee time at La Marzocco
La Marzocco is one the best factories of coffee machines in the world since it’s foundation in 1927. It moved to Mugello few years ago from Pian di San Bartolo in Florence surroundings, and since then it became an international point of attraction for coffee-lovers from all around the world.
This Florentine factory is renowned for its high quality, superbly crafted, by hand, and quite unique espresso machines. In 1939 Giuseppe and Bruno Bambi, the founders, developed and patented the first coffee machine with a horizontal boiler, that is now a standard. Nowadays La Marzocco is synonymous of 100% made in Italy by contemporary artisans, super specialized in making the best Italian espresso machine.
The factory is open to visitors by appointment. The staff offer one and half hour tour to every area of the factory, talking about the interesting history of the founders, as well as stories and facts about Italian espresso. You can book your free tour by filling this form at least one day in advance of your visit. Visits generally run from Monday to Friday at 10.30.
50 shades of Fritzi’s art
I stumbled upon the colorful artworks of Fritzi few years ago, during my first summer in Mugello. I was driving back from the archaeological area of Montacciano when I noticed some large statues in the fields next to a group of houses. I stopped my car to take some pictures and Fritzi came to me smiling. We fall in love with each other.
Fritzi Metzger is a German artist and musician, who moved to Italy before finishing her studies in Sculpture. She actually finished her studies working with the famous French artist Niki de Saint-Phalle, while she was creating the marvelous Tarot Garden in Maremma, southern Tuscany. She then lived and worked in France, Beirut and Kuwait to move definitively in Mugello in 2010.
Fritzi bought this large rustic house in Le Isole a tiny town near Sant’Agata. She transformed this Tuscan-style house into a colorful artist studio: large iron birds in the garden and on the shelves, soft pinkish cushions in the sitting room, optical images on the walls of her studio. I should say that her house is a colorful mess, full of art and happiness, but Fritzi is a genius and a real artist. Her studio-house is open to visitors almost every day. You can email her or just drive by and ring the bell.
Time travel with Leprino Museum
The Museum of Leprino is a unique museum in Tuscany. It’s a small exhibition dedicated to Sant’Agata and its people; Sant’Agata is a lovely hamlet near Scarperia, actually one of my favorite spots for taking pictures of doors and windows.
The peculiarity of this museums is that Leprino, born Faliero Lepri in 1921 in Sant’Agata, made by hand every single piece of this exhibit: he handcrafted Sant’Agata and its life as it was in 1930s when he was a little child. You can actually see him playing in the main square, he’s the little boy with the black jacket running, while his mother is preparing some fresh pasta for lunch in the kitchen. Every mechanical puppet is unique and represents a real person and his job in that days.
The museum of Leprino is like a live painting of Sant’Agata in the 1930s. It’s open on holidays and Sundays in the afternoon from 3.30pm to 6.30pm. Entrance is free, but please leave some money for the maintenance of this hidden gem. Here you can see an interview to Leprino with English subtitles and here few more information about the museum.
Life and style at Palazzo Torriani
In the center of the colorful town of Marradi there is the historical Palazzo Torriani, dating back to 17th century. This building, owned by the noble family of the Torriani since 16oo, is a large Florentine-style building that preserves several masterpieces and good stories.
In particular Palazzo Torriani hosts frescoes and artworks by artists Galileo Chini, prominent member of the Italian Art Nouveau movement, such as the stunning dance hall decorated with golden flowers on a blue background and a large fresco by a young Silvestro Lega. The building also preserves many important and historical works, such as a piece of furniture that was bought to finance the Eiffel Tower.
In addition to this long history Anna Maria Torriani and her daughter are the perfect hosts: they welcome every single guest with a piece of traditional cake and a cup of tea, together with some interesting stories about their family. A very interesting one is the story of chef Martino, who served as personal cook of the family in 1800; legend has it that he never served the same recipe more than once per year, i.e. every day he used to make a different recipe for the lucky family.
I hope you’ll like this selection of five unusual things to do in Mugello, more we’ll come soon!