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The Abbey of Vallombrosa, a man-made corner of paradise a stone’s throw from Florence
✓ Abbey of Vallombrosa visit
Not only the Abbazia di Vallombrosa is a marvellous piece of architecture but it’s also an oase of peace surrounded by beautiful nature, definitely worth a visit!
Locatet in the Apennines, 30 km south-east of Florence, Vallombrosa is among the oldest abbeys in Tuscany, the monks settled among these mountains as early as 1038.
Reconstructed around the mid 15th century by the abbot Francesco Altoviti, the monastery grew very rich through the centuries, becoming between the 17th and 18th century an important point of reference for scientific culture in Tuscany. It appears that around 1578, by order of his father, Galileo Galilei sojourned here, perhaps as a novice.
Its Arboretum, which ranks as Italy's most important collection of plants cultivated for scientific and experimental purposes, currently holds approximately 5,000 specimens, subdivided into over 700 species of trees and shrubs.
The tour will start with a guided tour of the abbey, where the Benedictine monks still reside today. Artists such as Perugino and Andrea della Robbia worked inside. It also includes the Antica Farmacia e Liquoreria, where the flagship product is gin, still prepared with wild juniper berries.