Strolling through the small but quaint historic centre, visitors will come across the Archeological Museum, the Church of San Giovanni Evangelista, the 14th-century Frescobaldi tower and the Medici Villa of Ambrogiana, elegantly reflected in the River Arno.
The Archaeological Museum, housed in the former complex of San Quirico and Santa Lucia, is home to around three thousand prehistoric, Etruscan and medieval relics, recovered over more than thirty years of research and excavations in Montelupo, the Empolese Valdelsa and Montalbano.
If you’re interested in learning more about the tradition of ceramics, its processing and the influence it’s had - and still has - on an entire community’s history, then it’s definitely worth a visit to the Museum of Ceramics. Seven centuries of the area’s history in craftmanship is traced back, and the collection consists of ceramics from the late 13th to the 18th century, with over a thousand pieces on display and another 5 thousand held in the museum's warehouses. The relics come almost entirely from findings made during archaeological excavations in the old furnace dumps within the historic center. The waste came from the work that constitutes the main centre of the museum's Renaissance collections (1450-1530).
The Villa Medicea dell’Ambrogiana is located near Montelupo’s main street, inside a park where the river Pesa meets the Arno. The villa was built by Ferdinando I in 1587, probably based on a design by Bernardo Buontalenti, and was used as a hunting lodge. It was then used for very different purposes over the centuries (nursing home for mental illness, women's prison, psychiatric hospital). Today, it’s closed to the public but the valuable works of art and external decorations are still on display.