fb track
Ambrogiana Park, Montelupo Fiorentino
Photo ©Dia

Along the Arno and Pesa rivers by bike

Between nature and history in the territory of Montelupo Fiorentino

This area is known for its rich culture, artisanal craftsmanship and age-old traditions; explore the beauty of Montelupo Fiorentino on foot or by bike on a 10 km path suitable for families with children.

You can explore the entire Montelupo Fiorentino territory via the 10 km bike path that connects the municipality of Empoli to the Roman Villa of Vergigno (found on the border with Ginestra Fiorentina). The bike path mainly follows two rivers that weave through the territory: the first stretch runs parallel to the Arno River before continuing along the winding bends of the Pesa torrent.

Follow this itinerary to discover the city’s main cultural, artistic and nature-filled areas.

First stop
Frescobaldi Tower
Torre Frescobaldi, Montelupo Fiorentino
Torre Frescobaldi, Montelupo Fiorentino - Credit: Giuseppe Moscato

The 14th-century Frescobaldi Tower is located in its namesake village along the Arno River. After functioning as a hunting lodge in the Ambrogiana complex, the tower served as the monitoring center for river traffic.

Map for 43.732952,11.00591
Second stop
The Archeological Museum
Montereggi Archeological site, Montelupo FIorentino
Montereggi Archeological site, Montelupo FIorentino - Credit: Museo Montelupo

Boasting over 3000 artifacts, the Archaeological Museum is one of the region's most unique spaces. Its rich wealth of treasures stems from over 30 years of excavations in 168 sites; artifacts were uncovered in an area that stretches from the mid-Valdarno Fiorentino to the lower Val di Pesa, including part of Montalbano. The archaeological collections date from Prehistoric times (from even 200,000 years ago) to the Metal Ages, Etruscan and Roman civilizations and the late medieval period. The museum building is part of an ecclesiastical complex included in the exhibition itinerary.

Map for 43.731426,11.01162
Third stop
The Medici Villa dell’Ambrogiana and its park
Medici Villa dell’Ambrogiana
Medici Villa dell’Ambrogiana - Credit: Dia

This Medici villa is located at the meeting point of the Pesa and Arno rivers; the area was one of the best places for hunting and fishing and a top rest stop for the court traveling between Florence and Pisa. The villa was also a favorite of Cosimo III, who moved a number of his painting collections here, including a few botanical and naturalistic specimens. Today, this structure is home to a health facility, making only its spacious park accessible to visitors.

Map for 43.73095,11.014486
Fourth stop
The historic center and Ceramic Museum
Montelupo Fiorentino ceramics
Montelupo Fiorentino ceramics - Credit: Marta Mancini

You can’t visit Montelupo Fiorentino’s territory without visiting its historic city center, a pedestrian area home to many ceramic shops, a local product once sold all over the world. Taking a detour from piazza della Libertà along corso Garibaldi, you’ll reach piazza Vittorio Veneto, where you’ll find the new Museum of Ceramics.

The Church of San Giovanni Evangelista also merits a visit to see the beautiful Madonna with Child and Saints altarpiece attributed to Botticelli and his school; the predella still displays saints Rocco, Augustine, Lawrence and Sebastian.

A panoramic spot not to miss is Montelupo’s higher ground, an area that once housed a medieval castle built for defensive purposes by the Florentine Republic in 1203.

Map for 43.734997,11.023075
Fifth stop
The naturalistic area along the Pesa River
Montelupo Fiorentino by bike
Montelupo Fiorentino by bike

The path continues for about 7 km of winding bends along the Turbone overflow basin. Along this riverbank you’ll find a particular species of swallow called 'topino' (little mouse) named after its habit of digging its nest into walls. The route also runs along the "Capitani" and "delle Topole" crosspieces, useful for slowing down the current and for the oxygenation of the water; they also serve as constant water reserves, shelter for fish species in the summer when the stream is dry.

Map for 43.733192,11.020516
Sixth stop
Roman Villa of Vergigno
Montelupo Fiorentino Roman Villa
Montelupo Fiorentino Roman Villa

The Roman Villa of Vergigno dates to the 1st century A.D. The structure was built on a terraced landscape between the Pesa torrent and the flowing Vergigno River, retracing the typical Roman domus. This Roman gem is the only villa in the Florentine area whose layout has been entirely rebuilt.

Map for 43.710117,11.053588