"A counterpoint to downtown Florence." Florence by halikowski

Florence Travel Guide: 5,300 reviews and 11,821 photos

To live and to learn about nature.

Actually, besides the art, Florence is a dirty, overexpensive, tourist-crawling nightmare. What's really inspiring is the surrounding countryside. You can see what inspired the naturalism of those medieval painters. It's amazing to anyone coming from grey, urban northern Europe.
This is the house where I lived a good many years with very little money, but lots of wonderful experiences and strong characters.
Just follow the valley of the Mugnone north out of town, and you will see the hills rearing up.

Artists and Tuscany

It is not just the painters of the Quattrocento who were so inspired by the Tuscan landscape. 19th century north Europeans like the Polish artist Witkiewiecz were also clearly overwhelmed. This is a picture I particularly like, a view looking up at those Etruscan-loved `crete' from the fertile river valleys, here probably of the Val d'Elsa, just outside Florence in the Chianti region.

self-made paradise

My friend Georg wanted something even more special than the Mugnone valley (see photo at top). So he moved out to the Mugello, rented a gardener's lodge on a rambling old 17th century estate, where he lives with his girlfriend. This is the view that greets him as he walks out every day, and which he turned into a postcard.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:good if you like art. Best at Christmas time.
  • Cons:dirty, provincial, crawling with tourists
  • In a nutshell:get out into the countryside. It's amazing!
  • Intro Updated Jan 8, 2006
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“`somos ciganos' (as the Portuguese cleaning-lady adrift in the New World tells me)”

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