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I found The Poggio (which means “hilltop”, I’ve been told) about 20 km. west of Florence along the upper arno River valley. It had a spectacular view that stretched probably 20 km. in one direction, maybe 12 km the other way. A broad lawn area under shady trees was ideal for wine-sipping and relaxation. Adults with children were able to keep an eye on them as they played in a safe environment. There were also some ducks, chickens, dogs, cats, and a couple of burros, and the kids naturally enjoyed interacting with them.
The Poggio has a wonderful swimming pool set out on the ridge, so the view is great, and the water cool and refreshing. One of my favorite activities was to take a noonday walk in the hills then come back to spend a refreshing afternoon at poolside. Mt. Vallambrosa sits across the Arno valley from the Poggio, also contributing to the beautiful vista. Driving on its slopes I found the famous Vallombrosa abbey that dates back to about the year 1000 a.D. A small apothecary shop at the abbey sold various herbal medicines, oils, and remedies. I found a couple of excellent osterias, ristorantes, and a great pizzeria in the countryside near the Poggio. Florence is easy to reach by train from nearby Rignano sull’Arno. It’s also an easy drive, but parking in Florence can be challenging and/or expensive.
I recommend this place for folks who want to visit the city from the comfort and security of the country.