Cascine di Tavola Park
Cascine di Tavola, Prato, PO, Italia
Just outside the city, towards Poggio a Caiano, you'll find the Cascine di Tavola park. It acts as a pair of vast green lungs for the city and was once part of the farming estate of the Medici Villa of Poggio a Caiano.
It was originally created as part of a project by Lorenzo the Magnificent, who planned not only to purchase and rebuild Villa Ambra but to also lay out a vast farming complex. Due to the fact that the surrounding area is subject to frequent flooding, a system of canals was built to drain and control the waters in the area between Tavola and Bonistallo and a sturdy embankment was constructed along the Ombrone River. As well as, this an enormous building, called Fattoria or Cascina (farmhouse), was constructed and so big that it was able to supply the whole city of Florence with its stores. The structure is still there today, surrounded by a moat and a wall fortified with towers and turrets with these features giving it the look of a Lombard farmhouse. Over the years, the estate has changed hands many times and undergone various transformations.
The agricultural aspect of this estate has gone hand in hand with leisure and entertainment. In the largest recent renovations, part of the estate was left as farmland but the Le Pavoniere Golf Club was also been built and some parts of the complex were opened to visitors. The park can also be reached on a bicycle path, and bicycles are the ideal means of transport for seeing the whole park.