WHAT TO DO IN MONTESPERTOLI
A TERRITORY TO LIVE
AND DISCOVER AT A WALKING PACE
Water and landscapes of the past in Montespertoli-1
Botinaccio and Montecastello
The trail starts from the Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Pace (Convent).
The cloister and the church can be visited upon request The church is open on public holidays for the celebration of the afternoon Mass.
Continue taking the dirt road Viottolone on the right of the wooden cross in front of the entrance of the Sanctuary. After passing two run down farmhouses on either side of the road (Casacce on the left and Torralta on the right), you will soon reach the gate of the villa Montecastello, built in the mid-17th century around the old tower of Bardo de ‘Frescobaldi whose top stands out on the roof of the building. The villa is closed to the public and can only be seen from outside the park.
The trail continues on the road that goes around the villa, entering the Ragnaia park among the holm oaks and cypresse trees. After about one hundred and fifty meters on the right you will find the old road of Lastrino that put Montecastello and Santa Maria a Pulica in contact.
Next to the farmhouse, down the road; there is an artificial pond built in the 1960s. On the left, in the middle of an abandoned vineyard, on the edge of the Bucignone ravine, there was the farm’s furnace demolished in the 1970s.
Continue along the Ragnaia road until the farm Poggiolo (20 ‘). Cross the paved municipal road that leads from Montelupo to Montespertoli and to reach the village of Bottinaccio.
From the square next to the municipal road you can see, on the left, the priory heavily restored in the nineteenth century, when the bell tower was also built. The large run down building on the left is ‘Palazzaccio’. The road, Via delle Rose, continues in the direction of Villanova passing between two buildings, Refettorio and Rose. Immediately after passing the two houses, you’ll find on the right the well of Rose, half hidden by the vegetation.
On the left there is the ‘pillone del Palazzaccio’, constituted, like the other ‘pilloni’ of Bottinaccio, by three communicating water containers: the “bottino” where drinking water was kept and drawn from, the drinking trough for the animals and the wash house to wash the clothes. Leaving the ‘pillone’ on the left, continue up a short ramp and you’ll reach a small clearing near the ‘Palazzaccio’ and a building that was once the villa-farm of the Castellani family of Florence. At the base of a cypress tree there is a stone line used as border dividing the former Frescobaldi property from the Church property.
Walk down the small road on the right and keep going for about two hundred meters through the vegetable gardens, until you reach the plant nursery and the water container (bottino) after which the hamlet is named (35′). The wash house and the bottino have been restored in the first half of the nineteenth century. Trace back your steps until the clearing near the Palazzaccio and continue to the right passing between the two buildings.
You now are in the square of the priory. The church is open on Sunday morning for Mass (45 ‘). From the church square, go up to the municipal road and continue to the right. Please, pay attention because the road is quite busy and is rather narrow.
Along the way, on the right, in the middle of the dense vegetation, you can see the remains of the old cemetery. The view extends beyond the Val di Botte, the lower Valdarno to Monte Serra, the Apuan Alps and the foothills of the Apennines. After passing the ravine of Bucacce, you arrive at the square of the Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Pace crossing a thick cypress grove (1 h).
sanctuary of S. Maria della Pace, villa of Montecastello and village of Botinaccio about 6 km north of Montespertoli
1h 00 ‘
3h 00 ‘
TOTAL DIFFERENCE IN HEIGHT
TYPE OF THE WALK
Landscaping and historical-architectural; circular trail
WATER POINTS ON THE TRAIL
Yes: by some houses along the trail
SOME PRACTICAL ADVICE
During the summer season it is not recommended to follow this itinerary in the central part of the day because it is mostly exposed to the sun. In autumn, winter and spring any time of day is fine.