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Londa, Florence Area
Photo © Comune di Firenze
Photo © Comune di Firenze

Four walks in the cool air around Florence

From Vallombrosa to the Casentino Forest National Park, among the woods and forests of the Florentine Area

How did you imagine the landscape around Florence? Vineyards and olive trees as far as the eye can see, interspersed with a few cypress trees? All true but also not, the view is surely more complex and varied than that.

There are not only hills around Florence but also mountains crowned with beautiful forests. And this variety, ranging from plains to hills to mountain environments, makes the beauty and richness of the area.

Here are four destinations in the woods and forests of the Florence Area where you can take refuge in the cool during hot summer days.

  • 1.
    Monte Morello
  • 2.
    Monte Senario
  • 3.
    The Forest of Sant’Antonio
  • 4.
    National Park of Casentino Forests, Monte Falterona and Campigna

Monte Morello

Mountain biking in Monte Morello
Mountain biking in Monte Morello - Credit: Comune di Firenze

The nearest mountain, the one that literally towers over the town is Monte Morello, with its "three peaks" or three summits, the highest of which is 934 meters called Poggio all'Aia.

There are many walking routes that can be taken, and they always proceed among the area's own flora, oaks, chestnut trees, black pines, cypresses and white firs. This was not always the case; in the past, cutting for wood had been very heavy; it was the Lorraines who, by creating a vast hunting banditry from the Cascine to Monte Morello and Pratolino, safeguarded the flora.

The current appearance of Monte Morello with its forests originated from reforestations carried out between 1909 and the 1970s.

Monte Morello, with slopes in the municipalities of Calenzano and Sesto Fiorentino, is a stop on the Renaissance Ring.

Monte Senario

Monte Senario
Monte Senario - Credit: comune di Firenze

Many stories can be told about Monte Senario, ranging from the thirteenth-century experience of the founding monks of the Monastery, still in operation today thanks to the original Order of the Servants of Mary, to the modern forest therapy experiences that are certified in this forest.

The forest surrounding the high ground on which the monastery stands is entirely covered with firs, chestnuts and oaks, to which black pines, douglasias and Scotch pines were added in more recent times. The place is imbued with a strong spirituality, and it is a very beautiful, restful, cool natural setting. There are walking trails and spaces to rest, which is why citizens prefer it as a destination to escape the heat. It falls within the municipality of Vaglia and is an overlook to Mugello.

It is located on the route of the Way of the Gods.

The Forest of Sant’Antonio

The Forest of Sant'Antonio
The Forest of Sant'Antonio - Credit: Comune di Firenze

Included in the Pratomagno chain, the Forest of Sant'Antonio is located in the municipality of Reggello and can boast heights between 700 and 1490 meters. We are therefore in the mountains, in a portion of the better-known Vallombrosa Forest, in an environment that is still substantially intact.

The trees present are beech, broadleaf trees alternating with grasslands.

Historically, the events of this forest have followed those of the larger complex to which it belonged, the vast forest surrounding the Abbey of Vallombrosa, including the statue of St. Anthony that gives the place its name and is preserved in the Abbey itself. It was said to have been carved from the trunk of a large pear tree that had dried up in a field and then considered miraculous because when put to burn in the fireplace it did not burn.

The forest is protected area and can be explored on foot.

National Park of Casentino Forests, Monte Falterona and Campigna

Londa - Credit: Comune di Firenze

Londa is one of the entrances to the most tree-lined park in Italy, distinguished on the Tuscan side by beech and silver fir trees. The National Park is very extensive, over several municipalities and two regions, however it gives the characteristic to the territory of Londa, where right by the lake near the town there is also one of the visitor centers where you can find information and material to go and discover these forests.

The mountains here have a respectable elevation of (maximum) 1,500 meters but offer many outdoor possibilities, from hiking to mountain biking to horseback riding.

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