Famous throughout the world for its production of artistic ceramics, the town of Montelupo Fiorentino is also the perfect base for following an itinerary in the heart of Tuscany.
Montelupo Fiorentino, situated between the river Arno and the fertile Valdelsa hills has been inhabited since Prehistoric times and was colonised in the Etruscan and Roman period. The important Villa Romana del Vergigno and the numerous artefacts in the Museum of Archaeology bear witness to this.
Despite this, it was the Republic of Florence who were responsible for the building of the castle in 1204 (visible today by the bell tower of the San Lorenzo Priory) as a military outpost in the Arno valley and the successive expansion of the town, which in the mid XIV Century was enclosed within city walls which are partly still visible today.
The close proximity of the city of Florence with its merchants and noblemen was of note during the Renaissance when the production of ceramics began to flourish. In particular the majolica which enabled Montelupo Fiorentino to become one of the main manufacturing centres in Tuscany. Baccio da Montelupo, the famous sculptor and study companion of Michelangelo was born and raised in the town of Montelupo Fiorentino.
The activities widely documented in the Museum of Ceramics, carry on today in many ceramics workshops and are the absolute protagonists of the International Ceramics Festival, during which history and traditions live on in a series of performances, exhibitions and artistic demonstrations.
Towards the end of the XVI Century, the Medici family chose the left bank of the river Arno, near to Montelupo Fiorentino, to build the splendid Villa dell’Ambrogiana which today can only be admired from the outside.
The countryside of Montelupo Fiorentino cultivated with vineyards and olive trees provides typical products of high quality such as Chianti wines and extra vergin olive oil which form the basis of numerous local dishes.