In the Surroundings of Villa Mondello
Arezzo was an Etruscan city, but some archaeological findings suggest that maybe the first tourists visited those areas in prehistoric times!
A city of considerable prestige, it was conquered and became an important Roman garrison. We suggest that you go and see the beautiful Roman amphitheatre located just a short walk from the station.Walking around the historic centre you will see that even the Middle Ages and the Renaissance are very apparent in the palaces, churches and art in general.
The city is small and you can easily explore it on foot. You can see the works of Piero Della Francesca, Giorgio Vasari, Giotto and the Della Robbia family of pottery artists.An important literary personality is Petrarch, whose house you can visit in the vicinity of the cathedral. In music, Guido Monaco, the inventor of musical notes lived there and his statue dominates one of the main city squares.
Arezzo is also – the homeland of Nobel Prize winner Roberto Benigni. You can reach the town by car, driving for about 45 km, or by train; the nearest train station is in Porrena (2 km).
Florence is a world famous city and it is quite difficult to tell of all that there is to see and do in a few lines. It is so well documented and it is surely worthy of at least one day visit and preferably more. It is a compact place, with the historic heart easily explored on foot.
You should at least aim to make a visit to the Cathedral (Duomo) and climb to the roof, passing through a gap between the frescoed ceiling and the outer skin, enjoying a truly magnificent view of the city. The Uffizi Gallery, where we suggest you book in advance (we can do it for you), and you should allow least two hours.
You will see works by Michelangelo, Giotto, Da Vinci, Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, Canaletto and many others. Piazza della Signoria is nearby – there you will find a replica statue of David with the real David being found in the Accademia Art Gallery. Here too we advise that you book in advance. After a photo on the Ponte Vecchio, another beautiful picture of the city to take home is that of the view you see from Piazzale Michelangelo, the best place to get an overview of the city.
Florence can be reached by car, driving for about 50 km, or by using the bus service SITA. For more information about the city, restaurants etc please do not hesitate to ask us, we will be happy to help you.
The ancient city of Poppi is only 4 km away and is listed as being among Italy’s most beautiful villages. The impressive castle dates back to the 13th Century and is preserved in excellent condition.
It houses a huge collection of ancient manuscripts and from the gardens and particularly from the tower, the views are fabulous. There is also a wonderful Tuscan Baroque church which houses a beautiful Madonna and Child.
The town itself is a ‘strolling place’, fascinating streets and private little alleyways. A good time to come is late August when the famous wine festival takes place, ‘Il Gusto del Guido’ . A wonderful night, all the cellars are decked out for wine tasting
Stia is 10km away, and another beautiful and atmospheric village. One of the main places to visit is the Florentine Palace which is home to many fascinating exhibitions. In the gardens surrounding, the natural springs flow – taste the water with its curative properties.
Stia is famous for hard wearing, warm and durable woollen cloth. This is still manufactured in the village and can be bought in a wide range of beautiful colours.
The main square of Stia is very picturesque and every two years houses a very important blacksmith competition where artisans from all over Europe come to compete.
Strada / Castel San Niccolò
Strada in Casentino is our local village – just 2.5km away. It has a beautiful ancient heart and a wonderful old castle perched high above.
Stroll down the old main street and pop into the bakery ‘Nerone’ and taste one of his famous cream cakes.
Strada is noted Europe wide for its stone carving exhibition which is held every two years. Stone masons come from all over the world and the exhibited standards are very high.
Bibbiena is our biggest local village and is about 10km away from the villa. It is the meeting point of the valley – the place to shop, restaurants and bars. It houses a fascinating small theatre – the Dovizi and this offers interesting performance seasons.
Bibbiena is famous for photography – people come from all over Italy to visit the exhibitions which are held by the photographic society.
It is one of the most characteristic castles of the Casentino also due to the beautiful and long avenue with the double row of cypresses, also known for its quotation in the Divine Comedy by Dante.
Just below the castle there is a small church surrounded by nature really nice to take pictures, and nearby you can lie down for a little leisure in the surrounding meadows.Just below the castle there is a small church surrounded by nature really nice to take pictures, and nearby you can lie down for a little leisure in the surrounding meadows.
The monastery of Camaldoli belongs to the Benedictine order and was founded by St. Romuald. It is located in the Casentino National Park.
Inside, you will find the ancient pharmacy where monks still process medicinal plants and spices. The monastery is open for visits by appointment – of course the seclusion of the monks needs to be respected.
This monastery too is located within the National Park of the Casentino Forests and is one of the most important places of worship in the valley because it is here where St. Francis received the stigmata: It now belongs to the Franciscan friars.
Inside the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli (open for visits outside the hours of religious services) you can see works of considerable value by the Della Robbia family of pottery artists.
For believers and non-believers it is a place we suggest you should visit, not only for the beauty of surrounding nature and of the sanctuary, but also for the striking halo of spirituality remains imprinted in the mind of whoever visits it.