10 Best Things to do in Mugello • Lesser-Known Tuscany Destinations

There is more to this beautiful valley than the Mugello Circuit (MotoGP) so we collected some of the best things to do in one of Tuscany’s Lesser-Known area.

Tuscany is a paradise for history, architecture, and nature lovers yet it’s fairly hard to find areas where you can enjoy all that without selfie sticks, clicking cameras, and never ending queues on every step of your journey. This quiet Valley can show its visitors a refreshing side of Tuscany with everything we love about it without the overwhelming crowds.

Imagine small authentic Tuscan villages and towns, tasty restaurants owned by locals, historical castles and churches, charming hotels and B&Bs, and of course some of the best green gold (olive oil) makers can be found here as well.

I had only two days to do some exploring in this part of Tuscany but Elissa Spidalieri (editor of Il Galletto – a journal of Mugello & Valdisieve) and Carlo Ducci the owner of the charming La Felicina showed me around and gave me their best tips.

Are you ready? Let’s explore!

Where is Mugello & How to get there?

You can find this beautiful area only a half an hour train ride from Florence and only about an hour ride from Pisa. Tickets are from $6. You can arrive at any town or village in the area but I would advise to book a room in Borgo San Lorenzo or San Piero A Sieve.

 Trains leave every hour. You can, of course, rent a car or even a bike if you feel like you’re up to the challenge.

1| Explore the charming borgo San Lorenzo

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Borgo San Lorenzo is probably the most famous, yet rarely visited town of this area. You will find here quiet, cobble stoned streets and alleys, charming restaurants, churches such as the beatuiful Pieve di San Lorenzo and its beautiful clock tower.

In this little town you can also find one of the best gelato you will ever try. However, you can also walk around the ancient walls around the city that were built in the 14th century.

2| Enjoy the quiet authenticity of San Piero a Sieve

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In case you want to explore an even smaller, just as charming little town you should definitely head to San Piero a Sieve.

You will find here nothing but beautiful, traditional architecture, traditional restaurants, and breathtaking views. Here you can spend some time and feel like as if you traveled back in time where Italy hasn’t yet been overrun by tourists and backpackers.

Enjoy quiet walks filled with history and explore the little-known jewels of the San Piero a Sieve, like the 11th-century PIEVE OF SAN PIETRO.

3| Feed your need for speed at the Mugello circuit

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While the Mugello Circuit or MotoGP if you like is not the only thing you can do around Mugello, it is certainly one you should visit especially if you like Ferrari.

Since they’re the owners of the ring, they use it for testing all year around so you have a pretty good chance not only to experience an exciting race but to get some glimps behind the scenes.

4| Taste some of the best olive oil in italy

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This area is a ‘Green gold‘ or olive oil haven! You can find here award wining olive oil producers such as the acclaimed Oleoteca where you can not only take part in an exclusive olive oil seminar and tasting but visit the olive mills, see the century-old olive trees, and of course learn more about how everyone’s favorite oil is made.

A bottle of a quality and traditional ‘green gold’ can serve as a fantastic present for friends and family members as well.

5| Enjoy La Dolce Vita at Bilancino Lake

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The Bilancino lake is one of the most beloved parts of the area. It’s visited by mainly locas and mostly during spring and summer time.

You will find here fun recreational activities, picnic areas, endless walking, biking, horseback trails while you can also swim, or engage in some watersports (kayaking, sailing, surfing) in the crystal clear waters of Bilancino lake. It’s a man made lake and it was opened to the public in 1999.

You can also grab your binoculars and hide out in one of the 5 viewing huts to find rear birds maybe even passing flamingos. You will find this protected area on the North-East side of the lake and it’s called ‘Oasi di Gabbianello‘  a WWF (World Wildlife Fund) Oasis.

The Oasis is not always open so you better check dates and times on Gabbianello’s official site before you visit.

6| Coffee lovers don’t miss the La Marzocco coffee machine factory

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La Marzocco opened in 1927 and they don’t only make some of the best coffee machines in the world but the company has a fascinating history you canexplore during their a fun and engaging factory tour; Coffee tasting included of course.

La Marzocco factory originally opened its doors in Florence but moved to Mugello a couple years back and they created a coffee lovers’ haven right there. During the 1,5-2-hour tour you will get a full insight into all areas of the factory and not only learn about its history but also see how their machines are made from scratch.

The highlights are the beautiful artisan vintage & modern coffee machines that are displayed all around the factory. While you also get a good insight into how the factory operates, pampers, and motivates its employees. From the fun creative corners, employees bar and  grill to the kids room you will find all kinds of great amenities that will make you wish you worked for La Marzocco.

Good to know that there are no walk-ins. You will need to make an appointment in advance. Tours usually run from Monday-Friday from 10:30 am.

7 | Enjoy some history & art at the Vicari Palace & Museum

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The historic town of Scarperia is the home of the Vicari palace & museum. This fascinating building’s origins go back to the 14th century and was home to many Vicars over the centuries who served as governors of the area.

You can take a tower tour or you can find traces of the dominance of the Medici family while exploring the coats of arms exhibited in the palace. Inside the palace you will find the spectacular fresco from the workshop of Ghirlandaio in 1501 and can admire the ancient clock of the bell tower, made by the same genius who created the famous dome in Florence’s Cathedral; Filippo Brunelleschi.

You can also take a tour in the Ferri Taglienti Museum that has a valuable historic archive and is dedicated to the Scarperian craftsmanship which is well-recognised in Italy since the middle ages.

8| eat, pray, & love at Monte Senario Sanctuary

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While Liz (writer & main character of the book ‘Eat Pray Love’) had to visit three different countires to do all three things you will find that the beautiful Monte Senario Sanctuary is able the fulfill all these needs.

The Legend says that the sanctuary was founded by seven Florentine friars (who are now also canonized as saints)  on the 8th of September 1233. Sitting proud on the top of the mountain which bears the same name. This spiritual place has more than hundreds of years of history and art between its walls.

You can also take long walks while enjoying the greenery and the views of Mugello and even Florence. These activities are especially nice during the hot summer months because you can breath some cool and fresh air. Inside the walls you will find frescos and paintings by artists like Annigoni Pietro. You can also visit temple shaped caves or enjoy the main church’s luxurious baroque design. Don’t forget to visit the Chapel of the Apparition because as the story goes, this is where Virgin Mary appeared to the seven founders.

While it’s a sacred place you don’t have to worry because you will not stay hungry… or thirsty for that matter.  You will also find a small bar on the premises where you can buy food and even liqueurs. Other than ham and wine you can also buy special products that still follow ancient recipes.

9| Fill your tummy – Where to eat in Mugello?

Other than olive oil, Mugello is very famous for its beloved white truffle areas and its rich in flavor, hearty dishes. Locals are also very proud of their traditions and culture, so it won’t be a hard task to find a good restaurant. However, these three eateries were especially fun to visit not only because of the yummy dishes but also because of the unique and warm athmosphere.

Osteria del Galletto
You can find this charming family restaurant in Borgo San Lorenzo. 

The restaurant is welcoming, the service is superb, and the dishes look beautiful and tasty as well. You will find here a wide selection of traditional Tuscan dishes as well as special bites that are particular to the Mugello area.

This restaurant is perefect for couples just as well for families or bigger groups.

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Osteria Di San Piero  
This stylish, beautifully designed restaurant is perfect for romantic dinners or even solo travelers craving for some quiet me time in style.

They have a huge selection of modern Italian and French cuisine and while you can have a filling lunch or dinner it’s also the perfect place if you’re just feeling peckish and want to grab a bite or two or have a nice cup of tea while reading.

You can find Osteria Di San Piero in San Piero a Sieve.

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Icchè c’è c’è 

If you want to try local dishes in an intimate yet relaxed athmosphere you should head to this lovely restaurant in San Piero a Sieve.

The dishes alter every day or so but you can always find something Mugellan-homey creation.

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10| Live like a local – Where to stay in Mugello?

One of the best parts of traveling is getting to know a new and exciting culture and what is the better way to do so than to live like a local while visiting a place. The charming La Felicina in San piero a Sieve will be your quirky, charming Tuscan home away from home home.

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This beautiful hotel is designed and owned by the Ducci family. Before it was turned into a hotel it was the family’s home and now it’s managed by Carlo Ducci who once was the editor of the Italian Vogue.

You will find beautifully designed en-suite vintage rooms, a beautiful garden with small airplanes that were put together by Carlo’s father and he actually was flying them.

However, probably the best thing is that you get to walk around in this huge, traditional house and get to explore and learn about how people lived in this area. La Felicina is truly a unique hotel because of its design. It is both classical and quirky. You will find it comfortable but will feed your curiosity since there is something fun on display in every corner of the house.

As walking past the rooms it feels like walking through a museum of curiosities. You can find all kinds of miniature models built by Carlo’s dad, Vogue covers from the time when Carlo worked with them, and all kinds of curious little things like the moving model of the solar system on the dining table.

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Make sure you have at least a couple of days during your visit to have a better experience and not to over plan and put too many things on your list. This area is perfect for peace, quiet, and to get to know the Italian way of life that is not part of a big touristy area like Florence, Rome or Venice.

So next time when you’re in Tuscany hop on a train and explore the unbeaten path in Mugello.

Thank you for reading! 

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