Fiesole and the Medici Villas of Villa Castello and Petraia

60 km from San Gimignano

Fiesole is an aristocratic and secluded town and it also boasts an unforgettable hilltop view of Florence. Fiesole is a well-kept secret, characterized by beautiful Renaissance villas, avenues bordered by cypresses, gardens and notable ruins proof of its ancient history. A few kilometers away, there are two of the 12 Medici Villas, jewels of Renaissance architecture, declared by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. Villa Castello is now the headquarters of the Accademia della Crusca, so the internal villa cannot be visited, but the garden, designed by Tribolo, certainly deserves a visit, this is a real example of a sixteenth-century Italian garden, characterized by officinal plants and many different species of oranges and lemons. From here you can walk until the Medici Villa Petraia. Words cannot describe the magnificence of the entrance courtyard that during the period in which Florence was the capital of Italy was transformed into a ballroom at the behest of the King. In this period this villa became one of the favorite residences of Vittorio Emanuele II, king of Italy and his beautiful Rosina.