Guide to visiting Vicchio
Vicchio is one of the main centers of Mugello. From an administrative point of view, the municipality of Vicchio is part of the province of Florence. Immersed in the beautiful Mugello countryside, Vicchio is located about 30 kilometers away from Florence. This is a land that is loved for the flavors of the table, the products of the land and the beauty of the landscape. This is a land that has also had illustrious children. Two artists were born here who need no introduction: Giotto and Beato Angelico.
The area around Vicchio has been popular since the Etruscan era. Important testimonies of that period come from the excavations of Poggio Colla, conducted over the years to some American universities.
The development of Vicchio dates back to the end of the 13th century, when the Republic of Florence began to expand in the Mugello which until then had been in the hands of the feudal lords. In 1292 Florence bought the fortress of Ampinana and then razed it to the ground. A few years later, in 1295, the Montesassi bridge (now known as Ponte a Vicchio) was built. It was at that moment that the first urban nucleus of Vico was formed, from which the name Vicchio was then derived. In the following two centuries Vicchio experienced constant development, also becoming the seat of a Podesteria. From then on, Vicchio always remained loyal to the city of Florence even when in the 1500s it was besieged by Spanish troops after the expulsion of the Medici.
In the following centuries, Vicchio came out of the history books to tragically reappear in 1919 when the area was hit by a 6.2 magnitude earthquake that caused numerous victims and enormous damage.
During the Second World War, Vicchio distinguished himself in the fight against Fascism and in the resistance to the German invasion. For this reason, in 2003 the President of the Republic Carlo Azeglio Ciampi awarded the Municipality of Vicchio the Silver Medal for Civil Merit.
- What to see in Vicchio
- Things to do and what see in the surroundings
- How to get to Vicchio
- Where to sleep
What to see in Vicchio
Pieve di San Giovanni Battista
The parish church of San Giovanni Battista in Vicchio dates back to the mid-fifteenth century. Before this church, there was that of Santo Stefano a Botena which was located in the locality of Ginestra. Transformed and enlarged during the 16th century, the church was destroyed by the earthquake of 1919 and rebuilt soon after. On the facade you can appreciate a beautiful Renaissance portico while inside there are some valuable works such as the Madonna with Child and Saints John the Baptist and Sebastian attributed to Fra Bartolomeo, the Madonna del Rosario by Alessandro Fei and the Virgin enthroned between San Giusto and San Lorenzo (school of Filippo Lippi).
Museo di Arte Sacra e Religiosità Popolare Beato Angelico
Inaugurated in 2000, the new Beato Angelico Museum of Sacred Art and Popular Religion was created with the aim of collecting and protecting works of art and liturgical objects from the Vicchio area. This museum is part of the Museo Diffuso del Mugello, Alto Mugello and Val di Sieve project. Inside the museum, works from the Mugello parishes and other churches in the area are exhibited. Among the most important works are a Madonna and Child from the mid-1400s, a St. John the Baptist attributed to Andrea della Robbia and the Virgin with Saints and Prophets by the Maestro di Montefroscoli.
Lago di Montelleri
Immediately outside the historic center of Vicchio we find Lake Montelleri, a real oasis of relaxation. Perfect for staying cool under the shade of the trees, but also for a picnic, the lake offers numerous opportunities for outdoor sports. From walking to running, from cycling to canoeing, you are spoiled for choice.
Things to do and what see in the surroundings of Vicchio
Casa natale di Giotto
The Casa natale di Giotto (Giotto’s Birthplace) Museum is located in Vespignano. Leaving Vicchio, heading west, after a few kilometers you will find the detour which is located on the hill where the great Giotto was born in 1267. Here we find his house which in the past was part of a larger residence and the church of Santa Maria a Vespignano. Renovated in 2008, Giotto’s house is not only a traditional museum but also a place for meeting and artistic production.
Ponte di Cimabue
Going down to the valley from Vespignano, there is the Ponte di Ragnaia (more famous as the Ponte di Cimabue) which was built to allow the crossing of the Ensa stream. The original bridge dates back to the Middle Ages while the current one is from the sixteenth century. According to tradition, this is where the meeting between Cimabue and the young Giotto took place. Cimabue, returning from Bologna, noticed a young shepherd (Giotto) intent on drawing a sheep on a stone. Struck by the extraordinary natural talent of that child, Cimabue decided to take him to his workshop in Florence to make him his apprentice.
The Ponte di Cimabue is included in the Sentieri dei Pittori, a hiking path that crosses the beautiful Mugello countryside, also reaches Ponte a Vicchio, the Museum of Sacred Art, Giotto’s House and that of Beato Angelico.
The last place I want to mention is Barbiana. Here there are no particularly important monuments but this place is linked to the figure of Don Lorenzo Milani. Don Lorenzo was a priest who lived between 1923 and 1957 who, due to his positions, was substantially exiled to Barbiana from the bishop of Florence. Here, however, he gave life to an important pedagogical experience with his School of Barbiana. Revolutionizing many concepts in vogue in schools up to that time, Don Milani took care of the education of the children in the area, developing a whole new teaching method.
Today it is possible to visit the places of the Barbiana School thanks to the guided tours organized by the Don Lorenzo Milani Foundation. For more information I leave you the link to their website.
Other places to visit in Mugello
Although less known to the general public than other areas of Tuscany, Mugello is actually full of interesting places to visit. There are Medici villas, historic villages, parish churches, castles, sanctuaries and naturalistic beauties… in short, nothing is missing!
How to get to Vicchio
Vicchio is easily reachable both by car and by public transport. The town has its own railway station which is located just outside the historic center. Regional trains regularly arrive here and reach Florence in just under an hour. Alternatively, you can also get to Vicchio using buses, changing at Borgo San Lorenzo.
By car, if you come from Florence, you have to take the Via Faentina up to Borgo San Lorenzo and then turn off onto the Traversa del Mugello. The journey takes approximately 45 minutes. Those coming from outside the region must take the A1 motorway to the Barberino exit and then follow the signs for Borgo San Lorenzo and Vicchio.
Where to sleep in Vicchio
In Vicchio and its vicinity there are many hotels, bed and breakfast, holiday homes and campsites where you can sleep.