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As Farmhouse Vaianino lies in the centre of Tuscany it is easy to take a day trip to visit places of interest or to explore the country-side. Idyllically set amidst rolling hills and lush woodland, the Cecina, Era and Elsa Valleys captures the essence of Tuscany and is distinguished by its relaxed, gentle pace of life and warm welcome. Its cultural heritage and timeless atmosphere is majestically crowned by Volterra and by San Gimignano, a sanctuary of Etruscan, Roman, Medieval and Renaissance art and architecture. Scenic routes winding through an unspoiled, evocative landscape lead to castles, villas, Romanesque churches and medieval villages. The ideal destination for a holiday in Tuscany, between the peace and the calm of the country but also to contact with a rich cultural patrimony and not too far from the sea and from the most important cities of art of Tuscany: Florence, Siena, Pisa, Lucca, Arezzo.

We propose you some itineraries not too far from our farm:

VOLTERRA is situated in the province of Pisa and lies between the valley of Era and Cecina. Built on a hilly Pliocene ridge 545 metres a.s.l. surrounded by two defensive walls, one Etruscan and the other Medieval, it is one of the most important centres of Tuscany, for its monuments which testify 3,000 years of civilisation and for its traditional craftsmanship in alabaster whose products are one of Italy’s leading crafts. Volterra is not yet touched by the stress of contemporary life and visitors who come to Volterra have the immediate impression of stepping into the past, of being in a particular place with its narrow Medieval streets and the enigma of its Etruscan origins. Volterra is prevalently Medieval and yet cherishes abundant evidence of the Etruscan period: the Porta all’Arco with date from the 4th century B.C., the Acropolis, the defensive walls which are still visible in parts of the town. The Roman period is attested by the important remains of the Teatro di Vallebona which date back to the Augustan period, the baths and enormous rectangular water cistern. The Middle Ages are not only visible in its urban structure but too in its buildings, its house-towers and the churches: the Palazzo dei Priori, a 13th century building, the Palazzo Pretorio, with its crenellated Tower of the Little Pig, the pair of towers of Buonparenti and Bonaguidi family, the house-towers of toscano family, the Cathedral (12th century), the Baptistry (13th century), the conventual Church of San Francesco with its adjacent chapel of the Croce di Giorno, the Church of San Michele and of San Alessandro. The Renaissance period has influenced Volterra in a particular way, however without changing the medieval atmosphere. Some good examples are the Palazzo Minucci-Solaini, beautifully inserted among the Medieval house-towers, the palazzo Incontri Viti, the Palazzo Inghirami, the Palazzo Ruggieri, the Convent of San Girolamo and the Medicean Fortress which looms over the Medieval town. Apart from its monuments, its art and history, Volterra also offers a magnificent panorama of the gentle undulating hills of the surrounding landscape abruptly interrupted in the west by the Balze (crags). The slow progression of these repeated landslides finally precipitated the destruction of the most ancient Etruscan necropolis, the earliest Christian churches and the ruin of the 11th century Badia Camaldolese. In Volterra there are 3 museums of considerable artistic and historical value. The Guarnacci Etruscan Museum is one of de most important museums in Italy for its rich Etruscan-Roman patrimony. The Art gallery and Civic Museum are famous all over the world for “The descent from the Cross” by Rosso Fiorentino. The Museum of Sacred Art and the Historical Museum of alabaster.
Recurrent events:
Festival Volterra Teatro: during the third and the fourth week of July
Festival Volterra Jazz: during the second week of August
Medieval Evoking Volterra AD 1398: during the third week of August


SAN GIMIGNANO, in the district of Siena, stands on a hill overlooking Val d’Elsa and is one of the most fascinating walled medieval town of Tuscany. The town developed from the 9th to the 13th centuries becoming an important market pace. Its walls, which have encompassed a tract of Via Francigena since 998, were often extended and finally rebuilt in 1262. It was an Etruscan settlement, a free Commune since the 12th century and a Florentine possession since 1353. The town skyline is characterised by 15 of the 72 tall towers built in the 13th century by the richiest families of the town. Piazza della Cisterna, triangular in shape and slightly sloping, has gor a 13th cistern in its centre and it is closed by medieval houses and towers. The palaces overlooking Piazza del Duomo are: the Palazzo del Podestà, built in 1239, and the Romanesque Collegiata, dated from the 12th century, with inside the Cappella di Santa Fina, built in the second half of the 15th century by Giuliano and Benedetto da Maiano. The Palazzo del Popolo, built in 1288 and enlarged in 1323, houses the Town Picture-Gallery and the Museums. In the wide Sala di Dante you can admire the complicated Maestà by Lippo Memmi (1317). The choir walls of the Romanesque-Gothic Chiesa di Sant’Agostino, built from 1280 to 1298, are covered by the series of frescos by Benozzo Gozzoli and disciples; the panel of the Incoronazione di Maria by Piero del Pollaiolo (1483) adorns the high altar. San Gimignano is also the trading centre of the neighbouring agricultural area, mainly for wine and oil.
Recurrent events:
"San Gimignano Musica": Concerts of classical music. Theater of the Leggieri in September and in October
"Dentro e fuori le mura – Dalla Città per la città”: A series of shows and events of lyric operas, prose, ballets, concerts of symphonic music. In Plaza of the Cathedral, during the months of July and August.
"Ferie delle Messi": Medieval historical evocation in the streets and city plazas, with preparation of stands of arts and Medieval works. Shows of sing-histories, musicians, theatrical actors, during the third weekend of June.
10 August - Night of S. Lorenzo "Calici sotto le stelle”: tasting of wines of St. Gimignano.

GAMBASSI TERME It is certain that in the past this was a stopover point for Etruscans heading in the direction of Volterra, for Romans on the Via Clodia between Siena and Lucca and, in the late Middle Ages, for those travellers – in particular pilgrims- who were travelling along the Via Francigena. Still worthy of note, despite restructuring, are buildings such as the Palazzo del Podestà, the church of S. Jacopo with its paintings and the Parish Church of S. Maria a Chianni. The vocation most congenial to Gambassi is without a doubt that involving tourism, the spa and the wooded countryside with coppice and pines, which cover 60% of its territory. There is a stupendous park, set aside by civic and regional authorities in 1974, full of old-aged trees forming a setting for the thermal bath open and accessible to all.
Recurrent events
" Palio delle Contrade" and Exposition and market of the typical products, of the craftsmanship and of the wine. During the last week of August.

MONTAIONE (province in Florence) an old fortified, medieval burg. To visit: the Monastery of St. Vivaldo, which is a Franciscan hermitage buried deep in the heart of a thick forest, with a central body and a series of 16th century chapels scattered through the wood each one of which contains terracotta groups depicting episodes from the life of Christ.
Recurrent events:
Estate Montaionese: Music, theater, expositions, sport. Demonstrations from June in September.

CERTALDO is a town of various cultural and historical interest. Giovanni Boccaccio, famous writer, lived and died to Certaldo and for this it is known in the world.
Its origin is without doubtful Etrusca even if its development begins to the time of the first middle-age. The tall part of Certaldo is completely medieval. To visit: the Casa del Boccaccio, the church of the Saints Michael and Jacopo and the Palazzo Pretorio.
Recurrent events:
BOCCACCESCA: Exposure of typical Products; it takes place in the first one and second weekend of October
" Festival MERCANTIA” On over 30 stages, natural or built for the occasion, among plazas, alleys, gardens, towers and crypts, there will be every evening over 100 shows from the music to the theater, from the mime to the jugglers, passing for the new dramaturgy, the cabaret, the theater of figure. It takes place in the third week of July

VINCI, the town of Leonardo. Vinci is situated on the slopes of the Montalbano, delightful hilly massif between the province of Florence and Pistoia, and is swallowed up by its green countryside, among vineyards and olive groves producing good quality of wine and extra virgin olive oil. It is an old town with medieval origins and belonged to the Guidi feudatories until 1254, when Florence subdued and changed the village into a strategic stronghold in order to control the are of Valdinievole. Leonardo was born in Vinci on the 15th of April 1452 in a locality called Anchiano where he spent the years of this childhood: every striking place of the town is linked to his worldwide acknowledged genius. Housed inside the Castle of the Guidi Counts, the Leonardo Museum can be considered one of the largest and the most unusual collections of machines and models of Leonardo inventor, technologist and engineer.

MONTELUPO FIORENTINO Its location on the old Roman road that joined Florence and Pisa and the presence of waterways led to the development of numerous manufacturing activities, including ceramics. In the course of the 15th and 16th centuries the ceramics of Montelupo were particularly splendid. Numerous workshops continue to produce artistic ceramics and every year in June the story of the place and its traditions comes back to life in the performances, exhibitions and artistic events that are part of the International Ceramics Festival.

MONTERIGGIONI A typical medieval burg, completely surrounded by its turreted walls, built in the 13th century, enjoying a highly visible position atop its strategically placed hill. The walls, with their fourteen square turrets, were mentioned by Dante in his Inferno. The Sienese constructed the town, at the beginning of the 14th century, as a garrison to protect the approaches to Siena during the period in which the Florentines were waging war against them. As one might expect, the atmosphere within the walls is of perfect Medieval stillness. The evocation of medieval “Monteriggioni di torri si corona” takes place during the first two weekends of July.