Vallombrosa: an Escape from the Florence heat

April 18th 2011 by Katie

Getting away from Florence is always a plus, especially escaping from the summer heat. Take a day trip to Vallombrosa to have a picnic in the summer sun.



Vallombrosa, high on a hill where winter is still slowing melting away, I visit it with eyes wide open. I had a great tour guide who knew the area very well. As we drove up to the top of the world, I became a little carsick. Turning here and there, around every corner there was a new view of the hills among the clouds. We reached a part of the mountain where it seemed to be the end of the world. The clouds passed by as if we were in heaven. They passed with a cool breeze as winter is still slowing melting away here. Snow still visible on the ground, I couldn’t believe that things just a few minutes away were in a completely different season.



There is a famous monastery in Vallombrosa which sits peaking out on a hill where the green forest covers the surrounding parts. Vallombrosa sits in the hilly and rather mountainous area of Tuscany, this is why you should head here to get away from the heat of the Florence oven that engulfs around you. Being amongst the forests, the air is much cooler and much more breathable rather than in Florence. This area is also famous for its antiques. There are many dealers and shops that restore and sell old furniture.



The first home of the Vallombrosan Order was founded in 1040 by St. John Gaulbert, a Florentine nobleman. He changed his lifestyle after seeing the Crucifix in San Minato al Monte Church bow to him when he forgave his brother’s assassin. The Order was said to have been shut down in 1808 but then they were reinstated in 1963 and now there are 20 monks living there who also show visitors around the premises.



In the 18th and 19th centuries, many English visitors came to Vallombrosa and it became quite a famous place to visit. Wordsworth visited here in 1837 and he wrote ‘At Vallombrosa’, that drew the attention of many English people to come and see what the fuss was all about.


In the high season this region has a vast amount of visitors that come by to see its beauty. Enjoy a day trip spreading your blanket on the warm summer grass while you prepare a picnic for friends in the open field in Vallombrosa. If you feel like spending the night or a couple, there are plenty of hotels that can assist each visitor with a cozy place to lie your head.


Photo Credits: Katie Greenaway


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