A famous wine-making center among the hills of Tuscany, Cerreto Guidi was the estate of the Guidi counts who built their castle in this territory, near the Via Francigena. In the 12th century the village was sold to Florence by the Guidi family, but their name remains.
Cerreto Guidi, from a frontier zone not far from the Fucecchio Marsh, in this way became a place for hunting and relaxing for the Medici court.
A particular characteristic of the inhabitants of Cerreto is their hospitality, which makes a stay in this town particularly enjoyable. On hills of vineyards and olive groves, made even more beautiful by historic villas and country houses, they make DOCG wines—so much so that Cerreto Guidi is enrolled in the Cities of Wine association.
The presence of churches and oratories testifies, in addition, their ancient faith and devotion for protecting saints, above all Santa Liberata, the patron saint of the town.
In the 16th century Cosimo I de' Medici decided to build in this territory, valuable not only for its strategic position but also for its abundance of game, a new palace in the sober and disciplined Renaissance style that, still today, characterizes the historic center.
The Medici villa, in a beautiful position in the Tuscan landscape, is today the Museum Hunting and the Region.
Cosimo’s villa was built on the remains of an ancient castle of the Guidi between 1564 and 1567. The access to the entrance of the villa is a massive and theatrical central stairway attributed to Bernardo Buontalenti. From this elevated position we can enjoy an extensive panorama.
The villa complex also includes the church of S. Leonardo with its precious baptismal font from the della Robbia workshop, the farmhouse, the stalls donated by Pietro Leopoldo in 1780 to the community of Cerreto, and the little hunter’s palace that is located today between Via Roma and Via Saccenti.
The villa remained the property of the Medici until the extinction of the family, and then passed to the Lorraines and in 1781 it was bought by the Tonini family from Pescia. It was then owned by the Magi family from Livorno and, from 1885 to 1966, by the Geddes marquis from Florence. Finally, the engineer Galliano Boldrini donated it to the state in 1969 to be able to realize the present museum. The museum preserves a series of portraits of the Medici family and a collection of furniture and frescoes.
The Sanctuary of Santa Liberata is found at the end of Viale Vittorio Veneto. The façade and the bell-tower were rebuilt during the 1950s because they were damaged during the war: to see, above the main altar, are the great frescoes of the 1300s with the Madonna enthroned between saints John and Leonardo, the wooden altar cover, a gift of Cosimo III, and the 17th century chapel of Santa Liberata with the anonymous fresco of the end of the 1300s, by the so-called Datini master, which shows the patron saint.
In the nearby Fucecchio Marsh, there are also numerous extensive excursions possible among the herons and the other aquatic species that live here.
Intercommunity tourist information office, via della Torre, 11 - Tel. 0571.568012 - Fax 0571.567930 Pro Loco in Cerreto Guidi: tel. 0571.55671
HOW TO GET THERE:
- By car: from highway A1 exit at Firenze Signa, then take the FI-PI-LI, exit at Empoli Est and follow the signs for Cerreto Guidi.
- By train: from the train station of Florence SMN, line for Empoli. From Empoli, bus for Cerreto Guidi
- By plane: Galileo Galilei airport in Pisa
Last Sunday in August: Palio del Cerro
First Sunday in September: Festival of Santa Liberata
Second week of July: Wine Fair
25 April at Stabbia: Antique Fair
From the last Sunday in August to mid-September in Lazzaretto: Festival of the Pizza
From the last Sunday in August to mid-September in Cerreto Guidi: Settembre Cerretese
Last Sunday in June and first in July, in Bassa: Fish Festival