The Fattoria di Maiano is the largest and most important agricultural company in the Florentine hills. Its three hundred hectares stretch from Fiesole to Settignano, an area that includes Monte Ceceri, the mountain from which Leonardo da Vinci first launched his flying machine in 1506.
Ph. via FattoriadiMaiano.com
The farm focuses on two main sectors: agriculture, with 95 percent dedicated to the production of high-quality olive oil, and tourism. The medieval village of Maiano offers rooms, vacation rentals and a beautiful restaurant open to the public with breathtaking sunset views, not to mention the surrounding fifty hectares of botanic gardens that include the Queen’s Romantic Park. This park was established by Sir John Temple Leader between 1870 and 1890 and inaugurated in 1893 by Queen Victoria. At its heart is a pietra serena stone quarry, the quarry from which the Uffizi’s columns were sculpted, those of the Medici Chapels and the Laurentian Library.
It is here that Lorenzo the Magnificent commissioned his works, and whose history recalls the presence of Michelangelo.
The park was later adorned with a sort of natural labyrinth featuring tree species of every kind, igniting our desire to restore the park with the addition of a botanic garden – a way of preserving its English spirit. Guests can explore the park on their own or opt for a safari, a daytime or nightly journey through the Fattoria’s hills ending with a meal or olive tasting. My family personally drives our guests around the farm (either myself or my son Tommaso, the director of the farm), taking our guests to unimaginable places.
The Fattoria di Maiano is a world apart from Florence’s usual tourism, somewhat of a ‘private’ Italy. It lives like a village of the past, with local shops, my family’s homes, the guest houses, the restaurant, with the sound of farming machines that start up in the morning ... it's a microcosm of Italy located only five kilometers from the city, an escape from the bustle of Florence’s center.