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The vast territory included in the protected area of Montalbano stretches out over 16,000 hectares north of the Commune of Vinci, The dominating landscape consists of hills where vineyards continue to be grown near the plain or on terraces, with olives in the higher zones and stands of chestnut trees, a typical example of naturalized vegetation, on the summits. Between the 16th and 17th century about 4000 hectares of Montalbano were set aside by the Medici for the Barco Reale Mediceo, a vast area bounded by a wall, of which little remains, to serve as a hunting reserve. Inside, numerous varieties of trees and bushes were rigorously protected, although it was not until 1700 with the Lorraines that the forestry heritage began to he rationally managed with the rotation of the deforesting and exploitation of the woodlands.
A network of foot and cycle paths cross this territory touching on hill towns almost swallowed up by their green surroundings, archaeological sites, age-old woods such as the holm-oak grove of Pietramarina. Many of these paths are in the commune of Vinci, and some leave directly from the principal town (12A-1h 15 min round trip, 12B - 45 min round trip, 14 - 3 h 15 min round trip).
Number 14, in the first stretch up to Leonardo's birthplace and called Strada Verde or Green Road (1 h round trip), continues towards Santa Lucia and Faltognano with its age-old holm-oak and the Church of S. Maria. N. 10 (2 h round trip) and n. 10A (2 h 45 min round trip) begin in the hamlet of Vitolini.
Path no. 00 passes northeast of Vinci, about 3 km north of Sant'Amato (with the Romanesque parish church of S. Pietro) and arrives at the gates of the municipality of Montelupo after touching on the Tower of Sant'Alluccio, the Cupolino, and after crossing the municipality of Limite.
At this point, after Pietramarina (visit the abbey of San Giusto) the path forks off into no. 4A (afterwards 4) passing on the way the Romanesque parish church of S. Jacopo in Pulignano (only the exterior can be seen), the Villa of Bibbiani with the English gardens laid out in 'the 1800s by Cosimo Ridolfi, and the archaeological excavations of Montereggi.
Between Montelupo and Empoli - From Montelupo, after a visit to the Parco Archeologico Tecnologico e Naturalistico in locality Podere Virginio, continuing along the Arno one can arrive as far as the Park of Serravalle of Empoli. The route crosses Torre and Fibbiana, two ancient settlements in the territory of Montelupo, leaving behind the Villa Medicea dell'Ambrogiana.
At Vinci, tradition, culture and hospitality blend perfectly to offer you an unforgettable holiday.
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