By Sierra Busch
For those who want their Italy vacations to consist of nothing more than lazy mornings waking up to dreamy views and days filled with slow-paced and authentic experiences a stone’s throw away, you’ll want to take note of Tuscany’s hidden green valley. The charming and rarely-visited territory of Mugello lies above Florence in the northernmost part of the Tuscany region in Italy. With its open plains, rolling hills, and gentle mountains in the distance, the nature of this area offers a Tuscan “dolcezza”, or sweetness, that calms your worries and rejuvinates your spirit!
The area of Mugello can be best defined geographically. It’s basically a wide bowl with the Appenine Mountains in the north, Mount Giovi and Mount Senario in the south, Mount Calvana in the west, and the Sieve River flowing through the bottom of the valley. The Sieve River later flows into the Arno River, which is Tuscany’s major river that runs through Florence as well.
For the geographically challenged (like myself- I’m such a visual learner!), the below maps show where Mugello lies within the “boot” of Italy and where it lies within the region of Tuscany. Even though Tuscany is a well-known region, there are still many pockets of it that lie totally undiscovered, offering a relaxing and quiet Italian vacation where you can soak up intimate and immersive experiences!
Even though Mugello is a small area, it holds four forest reserves, as well as Lake Bilancino which controls the flow of the Sieve and the water supply to the Florentines. So much natural beauty in this cool, green valley makes it the perfect place to escape the suffocating heat of mid-summer in Florence. (In fact, the Medici family repeatedly chose it as their summer escape which you can read more about here.)
There are 9 main towns in Mugello: Barberino di Mugello, Borgo San Lorenzo, Dicomano, Firenzuola, Marradi, Palazzuolo sul Senio, San Piero a Sieve, Scarperia, and Vicchio. What I love about these charming Tuscan villages is that they’re so small you might miss them at first glance. But if you leave time to wander, you’ll discover so many exciting secrets.
The serene landscape goes from distant mountain peaks to rolling hills, to vast meadows. The beech, chestnut, and oak forests are home to deer, roe deer, wild boar and mouflon (a sub-species of wild sheep) as well as wolves and eagles. At my agriturismo of choice, you can watch the deer wander into the fields at dusk while you wait for your tummy to rumble for dinner (while tiding it over with an aperitivo, of course)!
Mugello endures an interesting contrast of climates between the cold winds that blow from the Alps and the milder but humid Mediterranean winds. The clash of these two climates often creates fog in the winter and humid-hot weather in the summer.
Mugello is the perfect place to come for peace and quiet in nature with access to some charming towns that remain very authentic, untouched, and full of secrets to discover! I’d be happy to show you around and introduce you to my favorite locals. Join our small group tour or get in touch for custom adventures!
Want to experience the beauty of Italy and all its secrets? Check out our upcoming small group trips!