It’s odd that very few foreigners have ever heard of Casentino. In the upper Arno valley of eastern Tuscany, it is home to 36,000 hectares of some of the most beautiful natural parklands in Italy. These ancient woods are packed with wild boar, deer, porcini mushrooms and well-marked hiking trails. Casentino is where Dante wrote parts of his Divine Comedy and it’s where Saint Francis of Assisi received his stigmata. It is only 50 minutes from Florence, 50 minutes from Arezzo, and if you head to Pontassieve from Florence, you can drive up 1,050 metres to Consuma, the historic mountain pass between Emilia Romagna and Tuscany and do what droves of Italians do to escape the Florentine summer heat: eat some of Italy’s best schiacciata and loll about in the mountain shade.