What to do and where to eat in Mugello
Restaurants, hotels, shops and everything you should not miss in this unique setting just a few kilometres from Florence
In a unique setting among hills and meadows stretching as far as the eye can see just a few kilometers from Florence (approximately a 30-minute drive), the Mugello plateau is a green paradise. Although still relatively unknown, it shares the beauty of Chianti and stands out in authenticity, representing the uniqueness of the Tuscan region in every aspect. It's a land of artists, meticulously designed, and lovingly cultivated. Illustrious Tuscans were born here, including Giotto, Beato Angelico, Andrea del Castagno, and the Medici family, whose traces are still visible in the area. This land enchants with its natural beauty: gentle hills, lakes like Lake Bilancino, and historic villages like Scarperia. It's also famous for the Mugello Circuit, hosting MotoGP and Formula1 races, and for being a land of great food lovers, with its traditional Tuscan cuisine.
WHAT TO DO AND SEE
DISCOVER THE HISTORY OF THE REGION
A fairy-tale castle from the 14th century transformed into a residential building in 1443 at the request of Cosimo Il Vecchio. A UNESCO heritage site and an architectural masterpiece by Michelozzo, the villa was where the Medici family stayed when they wanted to immerse themselves in the countryside. Towards the end of the 18th century, the residence passed to the Habsburg-Lorraine family and later to Prince Borghese. Today, the villa is undergoing renovation to become a luxurious resort where you can stay and breathe the history of this place, steeped in its walls.
CASTELLO DI TREBBIO
In the green heart of Chianti Ruffina stands the Trebbio Castle, the ancient residence of the Pazzi, an important family of Florentine bankers during the Renaissance. Between the 12th and 14th centuries, the family acquired a significant portion of the surrounding land, creating their own stronghold. Today, thanks to the Baj Macario family, the Trebbio Castle is a thriving winery and agritourism business that operates in full respect of nature, using Bio-Integral practices.
BOSCO AI FRATI CONVENT
This convent, formerly donated to the Franciscan friars, is considered one of the oldest in Tuscany, a place of great spiritual and artistic value, home to wonderful historical relics. It was Cosimo de' Medici who brought the convent to its golden age in the mid-15th century when it was completely rebuilt, expanded, and enriched with works by great past artists like Donatello's Crucifix. Surrounded by nature, nestled in green forests and ponds, the convent is reachable through a pleasant walk sheltered by the shade of the clearing.
VISIT THE CIRCUIT
It's one of the most beautiful circuits in the world, almost naturally built amidst the ups and downs of the gentle hills of Scarperia and maintained at spectacular levels. The 5 kilometers of adrenaline at Mugello Circuit still preserve the original layout and length. Directed by Paolo Poli, owned by the Ferrari group (a guarantee of Italian authenticity in a time of foreign acquisitions), it has been the most famous and appreciated MotoGP circuit in the world for years and, in 2020, it was for the first time the magical setting for a Formula 1 Grand Prix. For Valentino Rossi, "it has always been the home GP and one of the most beautiful tracks in the world." Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc described it as "a super technical track," and for Lewis Hamilton, it's "a serious track, to be handled with care like a beautiful woman." "A key point is represented by the first corner after the main straight - explains director Paolo Paoli - San Donato, but the essence of the circuit is represented by the stretch between Casanova-Savelli and the two Arrabbiate, defined by the same drivers as one of the masterpieces among all circuits in the world." It's open all year round for competitions, test drives, and access to the park and barbecue-equipped areas is free every weekend from March to October.
ACTIVITIES IMMERSING IN NATURE
In this territory, centered around a large artificial basin, Lake Bilancino, sports and outdoor activities are practiced by many locals and visitors from nearby Florence. Horseback riding, trekking, mountain biking, golf, and water sports are made possible by the nearby lake. Thanks to the panoramic beauty of its roads immersed in the peace of pristine woods and meadows, cyclists have always considered Mugello a must-visit destination on their way to Florence.
WANDER THROUGH ARTISAN SHOPS
The village of Scarperia is famous worldwide for its workshops that produce exquisite handcrafted knives, whether for kitchen use, pocket knives, or collectors' items. The number of knife makers to visit can be counted on one hand, but it's worth it: Berti, Saladini, Consigli, and last but not least, the Coltelleria dell'Artigiano.
A bit of a countryside village, a bit of a shopping citadel, the Barberino Designer Outlet, a village of the McArthur Glen group in Barberino del Mugello, is becoming increasingly popular among visitors and shopping enthusiasts. Its extraordinary location amid the hills, 30 km from Florence, is remarkable. Italian and international fashion brands mix with sportswear icons, as well as design and beauty items. The dining experience is well-organized too, with places to enjoy traditional Tuscan cuisine and a café.
WHERE TO EAT
Over the past 30 years, agricultural producers, winemakers, farmers, and beekeepers have rediscovered Mugello as a preferred territory, setting in motion a local taste chain that connects to a unique and long-standing enogastronomic tradition. These niche productions offer wonderful flours made from ancient grains or chestnuts, organic wines, olive oil, cured meats, cheeses, mushrooms, and truffles. Among them, the Firenzuola Agricultural Cooperative stands out. Legendary dishes typical of the area include potato tortelli and bistecca (steak), and in the local restaurants and trattorias, you can experience an unforgettable taste journey.
TRATTORIA BAR BIBO
The menu is an ode to contemporary Tuscan cuisine. It offers a wide selection of appetizers like crostini with liver pate and delicious first courses like wild boar pappardelle. Bibo's steak is an absolute must, and desserts like chocolate panna cotta sweetly conclude the meal. A carefully selected wine list completes the gastronomic experience.
ANTICA OSTERIA DI NANDONE
Defined as one of the "temples of steak," in this restaurant, managed by the same family for over a century, tradition and experience are never lacking. However, it's certainly not the case that Nandone hasn't kept up with the times, as Paolo Mugnai of the fourth generation is credited with making it known internationally.
CASA DEL PROSCIUTTO
Making a pit stop and ordering a sandwich at Casa del Prosciutto is a must when in the area. This historic gathering point is run with love and dedication by a large family, with respect for traditions, local products, and, above all, their quality.
RISTORANTE DEGLI ARTISTI
A venue that delights customers' palates thanks to its authenticity, quality of ingredients, cooking techniques that blend tradition and contemporaneity, but above all, the unforgettable potato tortelli. The warm and welcoming atmosphere and staff will make you feel right at home.
ANTICA OSTERIA DI NOVOLI
This restaurant retains the atmosphere of the past, thanks to timeless charm and simplicity. You go there to try traditional Mugello cuisine, and you come back for another serving of classic tortelli. It's hard to resist the crostini and the famous tiramisu.
Ercole and his wife, the friendly owners of the inn, leave a lasting impression in customers' hearts thanks to their passion and experience, which is evident in the delightful and well-crafted menu. Make a stop at this restaurant to savor all the flavors of Mugello cuisine and have a pleasant chat.
WHERE TO STAY
VILLA LA COMMENDA CONCORDIA
A magical place where an impeccably restored Art Deco villa is surrounded by centuries-old woods and, starting in May, also hosts a restaurant offering gourmet dishes made from super local ingredients.
Villa Campestri is a historic residence dating back to the 14th century, located amidst the green hills of Tuscany. This architectural gem is surrounded by a lush centuries-old olive grove that produces precious olive oil. The villa is renowned for its rustic elegance and warm hospitality. Tastefully furnished rooms, well-kept gardens, and a panoramic swimming pool offer a luxurious experience in a peaceful environment. The "L'Olivaia" restaurant serves delightful dishes prepared with local ingredients and, of course, their own olive oil. Villa Campestri is the ideal place to immerse yourself in Tuscan beauty and savor its authentic cuisine.
This charming property, with roots that trace back to the medieval past, captivates visitors with its pristine beauty. Surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, the estate produces exquisite wines and high-quality olive oil. Schifanoia is a perfect destination for those seeking a relaxing and authentic escape in nature, surrounded by culture, gastronomy, and breathtaking landscapes.
HOW TO GET THERE
To reach Mugello from Florence, take the A1 motorway northbound and exit at the Barberino del Mugello toll booth. From there, follow the signs to Borgo San Lorenzo or Scarperia, the two main towns in Mugello. You can also use public transportation, such as the train from Florence to Borgo San Lorenzo.