Summer is a wonderful season to enjoy a few days of holiday among the fascinating towns and the quiet countryside in Empolese Valdelsa. Far from crowded beaches and mass tourism destinations, this area in the heart of Tuscany is perfect to discover typical products of excellence, great small museums that preserve masterpieces and timeless stories, and at the same time to indulge in some moments of well-deserved relax al fresco or at the pool.
Here are our suggestions for a real family holiday!
A Countryside with Comforts and a Warm Welcoming
Here’s why to choose an agritourism
Maybe more informal than hotels and less adventurous than camping, agritourisms represent the perfect accommodation for families wanting to spend holidays in the heart of Tuscany. In these farms and renovated farmhouses you can breath an air from another time, you can hear the noises from the countryside, you can taste the freshest products, and often you can see (and touch) the animals, big and small. The friendly welcoming, along with the presence of a garden, a pool (check first!) and the possibility of dining in the establishment, make agritourisms, present all through our territory, the ideal starting point to go and explore the towns of Empolese Valdelsa and to relax, even with small children.
A Night from Another Time, around the barnyards in Montespertoli
A habit that is disappearing and a saying that has fallen into disuse even in Tuscany: going “a veglia” around gardens and yards in your friends’ houses isn’t in style anymore! But to enjoy together the fresh air of the evening, maybe while sipping a glass of good local wine, and to listen to traditional songs and stories, is an experience that should not be missing from our memories. Why not living it in one of the farms in Montespertoli which for the whole summer offer to go “a veglia sulle aie”?
Restoring Yourself in Nature
The Empolese Valdelsa is the perfect destination for lovers of tourism in the open air! The spectacular hills of Valdelsa are passed through by the famous via Francigena, and several other paths for expert and amateur hikers run through the whole territory. During summer, though (especially if you have children with you!), it’s essential to choose shady paths near water streams. Among these, the famous Sentiero dei Mulini (n. 16), close to the native home of Leonardo da Vinci, runs along the rio della Balenaia and enters the cool undergrowth of Montalbano. The Alta Valle del Torrente Carfalo, with its thick forest of oaks, beeches and yews, grows along the jagged banks of the stream, giving life to an incredibly beautiful environment. Here, you can reach the Acqua Gassata spring and explore with your little ones the fresh waters of the Carfalo looking for the spectacled salamander, a rare amphibious that has always lived in this area.
After a hike, there is nothing better than a pic nic in one of the equipped areas, present in multiple spots around the territory! Near Certaldo, follow the signs to the Parco di Canonica, where you’ll find tables and a barbecue area, and you’ll enjoy the breathtaking view on Boccaccio’s medieval hamlet!
Temperature spike? … Find shelter in a museum!
In the hottest hours of the day, why not seek shelter in the cool of one of the museums of the MuDEV- Museo diffuso dell’Empolese Valdelsa?! There are 21 museums and they’re all accessible with a single ticket, 15€ for individuals or 35€ for families for a maximum of 2 adults and 3 kids below the age of 18. Obviously, it’s almost impossible to visit them all in the course of one holiday, and it’s difficult to figure out which ones can be more interesting for the children to visit. Among the options, we recommend the Museo Leonardiano in Vinci, where many of Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions have been reproduced. Children will find the interactive book GiocaMuseo, with games and puzzles for a fun visit to the museum, while grown-ups can follow the itinerary with the brand new app Museo Leonardiano di Vinci. Moreover, every second Sunday of the month the Domenica Leonardiana event offers labs and activities for families. At the Museo della Ceramica of Montelupo Fiorentino, on the other hand, where hundreds of ceramic artifacts are testimony to the historical production of Montelupo’s small shops, sinking its roots into the Middle Age, kids can follow the museum itinerary with the words of Lupo Zaffero and, at the end, they can draw and colour in the Animals’ Room.
Finally, the BeGo, the museum on Benozzo Gozzoli’s frescoes in Castelfiorentino, where on the first Sunday of the month (upon reservation) you can take part into an original fresco treasure hunt, for children of 3 yo and older.
In conclusion: opportunities to dedicate a few hours to the cultural heritage of this territory are surely not lacking!