Starting from the San Miniato exit on the superstrada, head in the direction of Fucecchio, which lies on the Via Francigena, an ancient pilgrimage route. It is also near the Padule di Fucecchio, the largest non-coastal marshland area in Italy. In the old town centre it is worth visiting the Corsini complex, which was once the Castello di Salamarzana and then the Fortezza dei Fiorentini. Palazzo Corsini now houses the Fucecchio Museum. One of the town’s famous citizens was the Italian writer and journalist Indro Montanelli, whose memory is preserved at the Fondazione Montanelli Bassi.
From Fucecchio take the SR 436 (follow signs for Montecatini Terme) in the direction of Cerreto Guidi. After passing through the tiny village of Le Botteghe, go right along the road that passes through Poggio Tempesti and has beautiful views of vine-clad hills. Cerreto Guidi, with its imposing Medici villa complex (which also houses the Museum of Hunting and Local History), stands out from a distance. A possible diversion before arriving in Cerreto Guidi is to make for the Fucecchio Marshes, a nature reserve offering a rare refuge for numerous plant and animal species: continue along SP 436 to Castelmartini, where there is one of the entrances to the marshes. The Fucecchio Marshes Research, Documentation and Promotion Centre is also based there.
From Cerreto Guidi, head in the direction of Vinci along SP 105, which runs through the village of Toiano and takes in another characteristic portion of Tuscan countryside. In Vinci, the town where Leonardo was born, the great artist is recalled everywhere: in his birthplace as well as the museums and the monuments dedicated to him. Be sure to visit the Museo Leonardiano and the Casa Natale di Leonardo, which is 3 km away in Anchiano but can be reached along a footpath named the ‘Strada Verde’.