The Montalbano Region and the province of Prato: the Bisenzio Valley and the Calvana mountains
Sunny Tuscany & Italy offers you different types of holidays and trips to discover the most beautiful places in the Montalbano region and the lands near Prato.
The rolling hills of the Montalbano region, characterized by olive groves and vineyards, extend throughout the provinces of Pistoia, Prato and Florence. This beautiful landscape is dotted with majestic villas, ancient Etruscan ruins, churches, nature reserves and renowned spa resorts. It’s a land of fine wines (the Chianti Montalbano Wine and the Carmignano Wine) and olive oils, valued and protected by the well-known Wine and Olive Oil Trails of Montalbano. The hills of Leonardo, the perfect escape for pleasant wine and food experiences. The Montalbano region is a land of magnificent castles, ancient churches and medieval villages, such as Vinci (the birthplace of the great Leonardo, near Florence). Artimino and Comeana in the province of Prato and Serravalle Pistoiese and Larciano in the territory of Pistoia are just a few examples of the magnificent pearls tucked away in the countryside. The whole area is scattered with beautiful villas, ancient country residences of the Medici family: the Medici Villa "Ambra" in Poggio a Caiano, Villa "La Ferdinanda" in Artimino, the Medici Villa of Cerreto Guidi and Villa “La Magia” in Quarrata, near Pistoia. The area of Montalbano is particularly suitable for walks and excursions, thanks to an extensive network of pedestrian and cycle paths reaching the pleasant hill towns surrounded by nature, archaeological sites and ancient woods such as the oak forest of Pietramarina or the Barco Reale Mediceo in Carmignano (an ancient hunting reserve). The foodies will find bread for their belly, as well as fine wines and excellent extra virgin olive oil from Montalbano. You can also find an excellent production of cold cuts and a large confectionery tradition including typical delicacies such as chocolate, the famous "brigidini" from Lamporecchio and the mouth-watering dried figs from Carmignano.
Next, we discover Prato, a city with a strong industrial vocation, known since the Middle Ages for its wool textile industry (which is still of primary importance in the region). It has been called "the little Florence" for the beauty of some of its monuments. Situated in the heart of the Bisenzio river valley, at the center of a plain stretching from Florence to Pistoia, the city has a charming old town, with beautiful Romanesque and Renaissance monuments concentrated in the two adjacent squares of the Cathedral and the Town Hall (the artistic and social "heart" of the town).
Straddling the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, the Bisenzio Valley occupies the north-central part of the province of Prato and extends along the Bisenzio River, one of the largest tributaries of the Arno River. The area includes the industrial towns of Prato, Campi Bisenzio and Signa in the plains and those of Vernio, Cantagallo and Vaiano in the Apennines, gathered in the Mountain Community of Val di Bisenzio. The Apennine Mountains are often known to have a lot of snow. They are characterized by their pristine nature, with several species of plants and animals and many forests and woods filled with chestnut and beech trees, and by the presence of ancient strongholds and parish churches.
The Apennine Calvana Mountains, located on the border between the provinces of Florence and Prato, is a protected natural area characterized by limestone cliffs, numerous streams that flow into gorges and 35 caves (some still to be explored for lovers of spelunking). Hiking lovers will discover the fascinating landscapes of this protected area through various paths and trails, all characterized by the specific numbers given by the Italian Alpine Club.