Vallombrosa: a natural haven of peace in Tuscany
Considering the peaceful and relaxing atmosphere at Vallombrosa, the motto Ora et labora, pray and work, was certainly used by its monks, since the earliest times.
Vallombrosa is actually known for its perfect combination of nature and calm: the territory hosts one of the most famous and richest arboretum of the country, with more than 5,000 species of trees. A path immersed in pure, uncontaminated nature, will lead you to the top of the historic site where the Abbazia, the abbey, is situated.
Here, impressive and overshadowing all, nature seems to be the only protagonist and creates a magic, fairy-like atmosphere, somehow evocative of fantasy movies. Once you reach the Abbazia, you will get into a real haven of peace, where you will have the opportunity to enjoy the natural reserve and visit this beautiful, ancient abbey.
L’abbazia di Vallombrosa
The abbey was built in romanic style. However, there were several stages of construction. Usually, the date used to indicate the origin of the abbey is 1038, when a simple wooden altar was created in its location. For 20 years it was modified through the use of stones and between 1224 and 1230 it was widened due to the increase in the inhabitants of the community. The current aspect of the church has been kept unchanged since 1230.
The abbey is characterized by the presence of a single, long nave surrounded on both sides by frescoes representing scenes of religious nature. Two stone altars were later added, both of them flanked by two frescoes. Tourists are allowed visits to the church and to the Aula Capitolare, where people gathered to read religious books, the Chiostro principale, the main cloister, the antico Refettorio, the ancient dining hall, the antirefettorio, which is linked to the kitchen through an ancient vestibule, the ancient kitchen and the old pharmacy, where it is still possible to buy local products.
The abbey is surrounded by a beautiful, untamed natural park where to enjoy walks and excursions.
Some useful information
If you want to spend a relaxing weekend, you should try the quiet of Vallombrosa. Due to the fact that Vallombrosa is situated at about 900 meters above sea levels, it is never really hot. Actually, a lot of people move from Florence to Vallombrosa to find a bit of coolness and fresh air during muggy summer afternoons. However, in Autumn, Winter and Spring it is beautiful to visit it for the amazing different types of landscapes it offers.
Vallombrosa is also a frequent destination for couples who decide to get married in the abbey. It is a perfect place for all those who would like to celebrate the wedding in a reserved place set in a natural context.
How to get there
Vallombrosa is situated in the municipality of Reggello, about 40 minutes far from Florence. If you come from the motorway, both from the South or North of Italy, take the exit Incisa Valdarno-Reggello-Saltino or the exit Firenze sud, Rosano-Pontassieve-Pelago-Tosi and then follow the directions for Vallombrosa. Some buses are also available with departures from Florence (station of Santa Maria Novella) or Pontassieve.
Vallombrosa is certainly worth a visit thanks to its particular scenery and the special atmosphere giving the impression of being in a timeless dimension, where people can simply enjoy their journey. If you want to move away from reality for a short time, it is the right place for you!