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whose initial tract faithfully follows that of the ancient road to Sesto and Prato, or by following a hilly and at times twisting route that unwinds along the small roads on the slopes of the hills. Abandoning the busy and noisy streets, we can go – perhaps on foot – along the ancient country roads, lined by low stone walls or the high ones of elegant dwellings (sometimes decorated with the characteristic graffito), with tabernacles at the crossroads or small churches built to welcome wayfarers. The itinerary begins from Piazza di Careggi. Today, this name indicates the quarter in which the largest city hospital stands. However, it is believed that the name originally derived from campus regi, royal holding, a definition given to the area even before the Medici built their famous villa. One sign of these archaic roots is the socalled Tower of Careggi, a 1th-century building with a crenellated tower that was remodelled in the 16th century and in 16 was incorporated into the Convent of the Oblate Sisters of Santa Maria Nuova, who moved here from their Florentine convent. In the 20th century, in fact, Santa Maria Nuova Hospital had by then become too small and it was decided to acquire a large piece of land on the Careggi hill – the buildings there, including the Medici villa, were converted into medical structures – and to erect new, modern pavilions (begun in 11 but constructed mainly during the 10s) that make up the current hospital’s core. At that time, the Oblate sisters transferred their mother house to Careggi, bringing valuable works of art, largely from their former seat, which included 1th- and 1th-century panel paintings (among which, one attributed to Giottino stands out), paintings and sculptures

from the Renaissance to the 18th century, and devotional and liturgical objects. A recent museum project is planning to bring the patrimony of Santa Maria Nuova together again in a single location. From the Piazza di Careggi and proceeding along Viale Pieraccini, we can glimpse, almost hidden among the greenery, the Medicean villa of Careggi°, the favorite residence of the Medici in the 1th century and the seat of the Platonic Academy founded by Marsilio Ficino, now surrounded by and almost “squeezed” in between the hospital pavilions. Instead, going downhill towards the Terzolle Torrent, we find ourselves in the middle of an area that still maintains traces of its rich past. On Via delle Gore – whose name recalls the torrent’s ancient millraces (gore) for the exploitation of its water, that is the conduits of water created to power the mills – the outline of the Loggia dei Bianchi appears, a large manor house complex built around a medieval tower with an oratory from the beginning of the 1th century, but today unfortunately in a state of semi-abandon. The origin of its name goes back to a company of penitents – called the “bianchi” (the white ones) as they typically wore white, hooded robes – who stopped near a tabernacle with a fresco dedicated to Mary, erected on the road that leads to the Parish Church of Sant’Andrea a Cercina. At the end of the 16th century, the complex was bought by Bernardo di Giovanni Corona da Ponte, a merchant from Bergamo residing in Florence at that time, who founded the oratory incorporating the ancient tabernacle. Preceded by a small portico on columns (with stone benches on which travelers could rest), the oratory stands out for its english version

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Ville e Giardini nei dintorni di Firenze  

Da Fiesole ad Artimino

Ville e Giardini nei dintorni di Firenze  

Da Fiesole ad Artimino

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