Half way between Florence and Bologna, not far from the exit of the “autostrada del sole”, we find Barberino del Mugello. It was a Medieval town founded at the foot of the ancient Cattani Castle. The Palazzo Pretorio, the ancient Pieve di San Silvestro as well as the 15th century loggia attributed to Michelozzo and the beautiful homes that line the square make up the historical centre of the town.
The fact that Michelozzo worked in Barberino is not at all strange. Michelozzo was commissioned numerous works by the Medici family whose origins lie in the territory. Their presence in the area is well documented from the 13th century on. As stated in the Libro di memorie di Filigno de’ Medici (book of memoires by Filigno de’ Medici) written in 1374, between 1260 and 1318 Aveverardo de’ Medici and his son of the same name bought the land and farmhouses in Mugello, in the area of Cafaggiolo. Filigno describes a “palace with homes all around, courtyards and loggias and walls with a moat”, which would later become the 15th century Medici villa called Cafaggiolo.
Villa di Cafaggiolo, the most prestigious structure in Barberino, was chosen as a UNESCO world heritage site in 2013. It belonged to Cosimo the Elder who asked Michelozzo to change the palace into a villa where noblemen from the city could nurture both the mind and the spirit. This is exactly what Lawrence the Magnificent did. It is said that he composed his poem “La Nencia da Barberino” exactly in this spot. Today the villa cannot be visited because it is being restored. It can, however, be seen from the nearby road, via Bolognese, which leads from Barberino to San Piero a Sieve.
A visit to this part of Mugello cannot but mean a relaxing visit to Lake Bilancino where it is possible to canoe, sail and windsurf, or just swim or fish for carp, chub, perch and pike.
You can walk along the trails that coast the lake, cycle, jog or run. An equipped site, Andolaccio, for caravans welcomes visitors (tel. 324 0872050).
A walk along Via degli Dei to uncover the secrets of the Flaminia and the “Vie Romee”: this route leaves Monte di Fò (Sergente camp site) along an easy trail that climbs through the woods and reaches a Roman pavement.
By MTB departing from Cavallina, the route climbs along a paved road to the Chiesa di San Giovanni in Petroio: the view of Lake Bilancino is marvellous. Continuing along a dirt road, S.O.F.T. trail 8, the route leads to Trebbio Castle, another magnificent Medici villa that was declared world heritage site by UNESCO (tel. 055 848088 - 339 3029697).
In Palazzo Pretorio, an exhibition dedicated to Giuliano Vangi , world famous artist born in 1931 in Barberino di Mugello.
By bike, pass the digital signage in Barberino supplied by the "Distretto Cicloturismo Mugello in Bike" (Cycle tour area), and with the use of your Cycle-touring CARD, you will be able to "keep track" of your climb to the Futa Pass and your trial times can be viewed on the web site www.mugelloinbike.it
In 2016 Barberino offers a digital system a project for the promotion of sustainable tourism.
A shopping experience at the Barberino Designer Outlet is another exciting possibility: 100 shops just for you with merchandise at 70% discount: Prada, Polo, Ralph Lauren and Dolce & Gabbana, Guess and Desigual, as well as designer sportswear like Puma and Adidas, and so much more (www.mcarthurglen.com).