The regional capital of Tuscany lies on the plain of the River Arno, hemmed in between the hills that have made it justly famous. While the city centre has a wealth of art works and buildings of great historical and architectural value, covering a time span that ranges from the Middle Ages to the 20th century, the surrounding area is equally interesting. The beautiful countryside is studded with villas, country parish churches, convents and small, atmospheric villages.
Known throughout the world for its excellent wines, the Chianti area is a hill region situated in the centre of Tuscany, between Florence and Siena. Country farmhouses, towered castles and fortresses, and ancient villages dotted around amidst vineyards and olive groves - this is the typical landscape of the Chianti, perhaps the most well-known area in Tuscany.
Two rivers flow through the Empolese Valdelsa area: to the north there is the Arno, which flows westwards in a series of wide loops, while to the south there is one of the Arno's main tributaries, the Elsa. Situated to the south-west of Florence, the area now forms a distinct administrative district. It has gentle hills and one of Italy's most important wetland zones, the Fucecchio Marshes. There are also many sites of great historic and artistic interest.
The Mugello is a wide valley to the north of Florence, bounded by the Apennine mountain range to the north. The wild yet harmonious scenery, a dense network of footpaths, the lake of Bilancino and the excellent local cuisine make this area an ideal holiday destination. The Medici family originally came from the Mugello, and many fascinating traces of their glorious age can still be found here today.
The stretch of the Arno valley that lies within the province of Florence is known as the Valdarno Superiore. The terrain near the river is flat, while gentle hills rise towards the east. The natural beauty of the landscape makes the whole area of great interest: the valley bottom and hills are carpeted with vineyards and olive groves, while climbing towards the watershed one comes to woods populated mainly by oak, chestnut and beech trees. There is also no lack of sights of historical interest.