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About Cerreto Guidi

Cerreto Guidi is a gemlike Renaissance village in the center of Tuscany's rolling hills. Located near Vinci, famed for being the birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci, Cerreto Guidi is set within the classic Tuscan landscapes: olive groves, grape vines and gentle hills. The village is small, but this neat cluster of stone buildings around the old palace raised by the Medici family represents its historical importance. The position of Cerreto Guidi makes up a significant part of its history,a s it is set in a place naturally defended due to its loftiness on the point where the Arno valley broadens in the direction of the plains of Pisa, and near to the Via Francigena. The first record of its existence dates back to the 8th century AD under the name Cerreto in Greti. This name has roots in a Latin word that refers to the profusion of oak trees in the region. The town was simply called “Greti", with the edges of the steep hill rising against the overflowing waters of the Arno River. The name of the town was changed when the Guidi family came to power and settled inside its walls and substituted the word Greti with Guidi. Although the Guidi family named the town, it was the Medici family that shaped the town into its present form. Besides its historical heritage, Cerreto Guidi has many festivals to enjoy, such as Palio del Cerro. It is an annual event featuring period costumes and enthusiasm for Renaissance as it offers the neighborhoods to challenge each other in races and games. There are sagras, food festivals, dedicated to duck and wild boar, as well as wine. The town is conveniently located in a central position between Pisa, Lucca, and Florence, which make the town an ideal base while on a holiday in Tuscany. Easily accessible by bike, car, and public transport, and even hiking for the adventurous, this little town is full of mystery and lovely architecture dominated by the destroyed castles and the Medici villa. Keeping pace with all of that history are traditional restaurants, festivals and shops.

Things to do, things to see

Villa Medicea Di Lilliano Wine Estate

The Villa Medicea was constructed in the 1550s, featuring a splendid park encircled by the streets and buildings of the town that still retain their charm and time-worn beauty that wanderers will enjoy. The villa houses a museum with period furnishings and artwork, which is supposed to have the ghost of Isabella de Medici as a regular visitor. Isabella passed away under a mysterious state of affairs here. If you are interested in a little ghosthunting,  look near her bedroom as that is where she is said to wander. Of note are the 11th Century lookout tower, which had become a magnificent family home belonging to Grand Duke Ferdinando II. The Medici family continually enlarged the estate that quite impressed King Frederick IV of Denmark when he stayed there in 1709. After the central Medici line died out, the Malenchini family bought the Villa Medicea Di Lilliano Wine Estate.

Trekking

If you feel the itch to be out and about, you can walk to Cerreto Guidi from Vinci, as it is only five kilometers away, enjoying the lovely scenery and olive groves. The road is lined with majestic cypress trees in spots, and there is also a nature preserve nearby where you can see rare species of flora and fauna.

Rocca of Cerreto Guidi

The “Rocca" or castle of the Counts Guidi was once in the center of town that was made up of concentric rings of winding streets that are still visible. However, the castle – which dated back to the fourteenth century – was destroyed along with several towers that probably provided the building material for a few of the other Tuscan Medici villas. Today the hillside is covered in olive and one of the old entry doors of the town still remains. Four entry doors each lead to the most important routes of the time. The southeast door was destroyed in 1648, the southwest door before 1500, while the northeastern door to the nearby marshlands in 1830, and leaving the Porta a Palagio the only one to still stand today towards the northwest, named for its proximity to the Palazzo del Podestà.

Pieve di San Leonardo

Like many old towns, Cerreto Guidi features a church known as the parish church of San Leonardo. The church and its bell tower apparently date as far back as the 10th century and even further perhaps. Attached to the Medici villa, this gem was wholly restored by Grand Duke Cosimo I and is home to some beautiful pieces from the 16th century, together with a remarkable baptismal font in glazed terracotta made by Giovanni della Robbia along with a beautiful wooden Crucifix by Giambologna on the high altar.

Infiorata of Corpus Domini

If you visit in the summer, be sure to hang around until June 18! This festival truly brightens the town and brings out its colorful side. The streets are festively decorated during Corpus Domini holidays leading to a great display of color and scents. The artwork is made up of beautiful images produced by experienced artistic experts, which are aided by their local helpers.  They began making their temporary masterworks on the evening of June 17th, and the work continues all night. By the following Sunday the streets of Cerreto Guidi serve as the canvas for a striking floral carpet that extends to about 450 meters long.

Vacation rentals at Cerreto Guidi, Italy

This gorgeous Tuscan town has an inviting landscape and historical architecture just begging to be explored. Even if you are a casual traveler, you will be entranced by the beauty of this small town. Vacation here and book your accommodation with CuddlyNest, and choose from a variety of rental properties and narrow them down to the ideal choice with the many search options. You will feel at home wherever you go with CuddlyNest!

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