Set amid green mountains rich in water and cool holiday resorts, the municipality of Vernio is the right place to take a break from pollution and noise and enjoy the silence of nature.

VernioSet amid green mountains rich in water and cool holiday resorts, the municipality of Vernio is the right place to take a break from pollution and noise and enjoy the silence of nature.

Cavarzano (650 mt)
From Mercatale di Vernio, after the bridge over the Bisenzio river, a road on the left leads up to Cavarzano (650 mt), an ancient county castle in a dominating position, ideal place for excursions to the nearby mountains of the Bisenzio Valley. Continuing through the chestnut woods it is possible to reach the "Alpe di Cavarzano" (1008 mt), where the meadows have been equipped by the Mountain Rangers with picnic tables.

San Quirico - VernioSan Quirico di Vernio (278 mt)
After Mercatale di Vernio you reach San Quirico, chief town of the municipality of Vernio at the foot of the ancient Rocca degli Alberti (Alberti Fortress), now restored and open to the public on request. During the 13th century San Quirico was the most important fiefdom of the Alberti family, and then from 1332 of the Bardi family. The despotic power of the feudal lords generated many legends and traditions among the people that had to submit to it, the most important of which is the Festa della Pulendina that takes place the first Sunday in Lent and is attended by large crowds of people.
The festival of chestnut meal celebrates what was for centuries a staple in the diet of the population of the upper Bisenzio Valley, with other foods all based on the chestnut. The festival was founded by an ancient, very special association called the "Società della Miseria" (Society of Mercy).
La Rocca di Vernio Legend has it that the festival draws its origin from the terrible famine that followed the Sack of Prato in the 16th century, after which Count Bardi distributed his stores of chestnut meal to appease the hunger and desperation of the people. From the main square of the town visitors can admire the "Casone", the country home of the Bardi family, now the City Hall, the gallery and oratory of S. Niccolò, a charitable institution founded by Ridolfo de' Bardi.

MercataleMontepiano (700 mt).
From San Quirico di Vernio, follow the state road to the medieval villages of Sasseta (439 mt) and Luciana (529 mt), and reach the northernmost town of the Province of Prato, on the border between Toscana and Emilia: Montepiano, which has been a popular summer holiday resort since the end of the 19th century. Among the most interesting historical and artistic sights of this area is the Badia di Santa Maria (the parish church of St. Mary, 11th-12th century), with its unusual architectural structure in local stone. On the road to the "Badia" we pass the "Chalet dei Villeggianti", with its large rooms for exhibitions and events. Outside there are a children's park as well as a path around an artificial lake.

The fortress of Vernio
The fortress of Vernio, which gaves the name to this area, dominated an height on the inhabitants of San Quirico and Sasseta; now there are only little traces. However in this name Palazzo Comitale and the houses are included inside the castle.
What we can see today is only a part of the originary complex. It is the building that Bardi counts had adapted as residence and has forms of the fifteenth century.

Badia di santa MariaBADIA DI SANTA MARIA
Near a little village of 18-19th C. houses rises an architectonic complex representing one of the most evocative historical and artistic evidences of the Tosco-emiliano Appennines. The Abbey was built in the 11th C. in the same place of the hermitage founded by Beato Pietro, who was venerated by the population for some miracles. His followers founded a small Vallombrosian monastery. The church preserves the 12th C. plan (apart from the transept, transformed in the 16th-17th C.) with the facade in local sandstone. The fine doorway is the most interesting part of the facade and is framed with moulding and portrays dragons with a cross in the middle and above them a decoration of vine shoots with grapes. In the lunette above, a praying figure between two trees, raising his arms to the sky is represented. The interior -featuring a high aisle with wooden trusses and transept chapels- preserves various works of art. On the right wall is an important group of frescoes of 1260-80 circa representing the "Natività", the "Annunciazione" and the "Arcangelo Michele". Worth seeing is also the impressive "San Cristoforo" by a florentine Bizantine painter. The inside portal's lunette shows a late 14th C. fresco, portraying a "Madonna col Bambino". From September to June, visit by appointment.

Vernio: discover the surroundings

  • Cantagallo Cantagallo (5 km)
    Situated at the sources of the Bisenzio river, amid the Tusco-Emilian Apennines, the medieval village of Cantagallo is an excellent base from which to explore the nearby mountains, climbing panoramic footpaths.
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  • Mugello Mugello (9 km)
    Mugello is only few kilometres from Florence and we can find traces of history worthy of a great European capital.
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  • Old steam engine trains in Tuscany Old steam engine trains in Tuscany (9 km)
    In Tuscany old steam engine trains are still in function and aim combining the discover of history with the discovery of the region and its beautiful landscapes.
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  • Vaiano Vaiano (10 km)
    Vaiano it is the most important town in the valley. The most important building is the Badia di S.Salvatore located in the center of the town
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  • Montemurlo Montemurlo (17 km)
    The Fortress dominates the center of a beautiful park. It is a strong building made of "alberese"stone in quadrangular form.
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  • Scarperia Scarperia (17 km)
    Scarperia became the seat of the Vicariate, the representative of the administrative and judicial power of Florence.
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  • Prato Prato (20 km)
    Prato, a comune square, made at the end of the thirtieth century at the crossroad of two main roads, is the ideal and geometrical centre of the town.
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  • Travel Prato Travel Prato (20 km)
    Prato and its surroundings are ideal destinations for tourists, especially young people looking for a vacation of study and intelligent entertainment.
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  • Borgo San Lorenzo Borgo San Lorenzo (22 km)
    Borgo San Lorenzo which is the most important centre of the Mugello, rises at the widest part of the Sieve Valley.
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  • Pistoia Pistoia (24 km)
    Pistoia, a city of Roman foundation, which maintains its original urban aspects even in the Dark Ages.
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  • Travel Pistoia Travel Pistoia (24 km)
    Pistoia and all its surrounding area are just waiting to be discovered through slow walks, sporting activities, art, gastronomy, and music.
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  • A Tour of the villas and gardens of Pistoia A Tour of the villas and gardens of Pistoia (24 km)
    Set in the Tuscan countryside among farmhouses and hamlets, woods, cultivated lands and gardens, the villas of Pistoia bring together many things.
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  • Poggio a Caiano Poggio a Caiano (28 km)
    Set in a pleasant spot on the Ombrone river, Poggio a Caiano is a modern town dominated by its magnificent Medici Villa "Ambra".
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  • Carmignano Carmignano (29 km)
    Surrounded by the fascinating hilly landscape of Montalbano where vineyards and olive groves supply excellent wines and extra virgin olive oil, Carmignano has much to offer.
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  • The Ancient Boundaries of Mountain of Pistoia The Ancient Boundaries of Mountain of Pistoia (29 km)
    The Pistoia mountains, as natural obstacles, are often considered borders destined to separate opposing sides.
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  • Fiesole Fiesole (30 km)
    Fiesole, 300 m. in altitude in the main Piazza Mino, is not far from the centre of Florence only 5 Km. The landscape is dotted with olive trees, cypresses, from spots of forest and from houses and villas.
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