Shopping and dining: A tiny village, just 400 yards away may be reached by an uphill walk. It offers a wine shop that stocks basic groceries (closed on Monday), three restaurants, a leather workshop and a gelateria (open spring/summer). Montelupo Fiorentino, a larger town 12 minutes away by car, has a variety of shops, ceramic stores, cafes, ten restaurants and a COOP supermarket, open Saturday until 8 pm. There are 4 supermarkets in the surrounding area open Sunday on a rotating basis.
Not to be missed: Montelupo's Museo della Ceramica houses a collection of over 3000 pieces of majolica from the 15th and 16th centuries. Considered one of the major ceramic centers during the Renaissance, local potters in Montelupo were commissioned by the great aristocratic Florentine families to create dinnerware customized with their coat of arms. Lorenzo the Magnificent, the patron of Renaissance art collected pieces from Montelupo. The museum is closed on Monday.
Public Transportation: Drive 15 minutes to the Lastra a Signa station with continuous service to Florence taking 15 minutes. The last train leaves Florence at 9 pm. Another train station with 30 minute service into Florence is Montelupo-Capraia, and the last train leaves Florence at 11 pm. To visit Pisa, the Empoli station is on the Pisa line.
For Families: Within a one hour drive is Pinocchio Park in Collodi - an outdoor theme park telling the fairytale through sculptures.
Thermal spas: Within 45 minutes are the towns of Montecatini Terme and Monsummano Terme, both known for their thermal waters and spas offering curative treatments. The "Grotta Giusti" resort spa in Monsummano is housed in a 16th century villa and is consistently voted one of the best spas in Italy. They offer an open air swimming pool filled with thermal water, a natural cave with an underground lake used for steam treatments and a variety of massage and beauty treatments.
Beaches: The Tuscan coast with sandy beaches in Forte dei Marmi or Viareggio is 80 minutes away.
Tennis: Guests are welcome to use a hotel's tennis court, a third of a mile away.
Golf: Three courses are within an hour's drive. Golf Club Ugolino Firenze in Grassina, 45 minutes away, is closed on Mondays. Le Pavoniere Golf Club in Prato is 30 minutes away. The Montecatini Golf Club in Montecatini Terme is within an hour's drive. There is a 9-hole practice green at the Montelupo Golf Club, 15 minutes away.
Open Air Markets: Morning markets are held in Montespertoli, Carmignano or San Miniato on Tuesday, Pistoia on Wednesday, Empoli, Poggio A Caiano or San Gimignano on Thursday, Castelfiorentino, Montelupo Fiorentino or Lastra a Signa on Saturday.
Annual Festivals: The town of San Miniato, 35 minutes away, hosts a white truffle festival, La Sagra del Tartufo Bianco during the 2nd, 3rd and 4th weekends in November with food stands lining the streets and restaurants serving truffle themed menus.
Pistoia, 40 minutes away has two major festivals in July. The Pistoia Blues Festival takes place during the first two weeks of July with blues artists from around the world performing in the city's main piazza. On July 25th, there is a celebratory procession to honor St. James, the city's patron saint. Twelve knights take part in the Giostra dell'Orso, a medieval jousting tournament to lance a figurine of an orso or a bear, the symbol of Pistoia.
There are several festivies throughout the year in Florence, 35 minutes away. To highlight a few:
- January 6 is the Feast of the Epiphany. A grand parade evokes the Wise Men's journey into Bethlehem.
- March 25 is the Florentine New Year celebrated on the Feast of the Annunciation with a morning parade starting in Palazzo Vecchio. Piazza S. Annunziata has an outdoor market from 9 am to 5 pm and an evening concert at 9 pm.
- Easter Sunday's event takes place in Piazza del Duomo with the Scoppio del Carro or explosion of the cart. A three story high cart led by white oxen is led through the streets and then becomes a fireworks display.
- June 24 celebrates St. John the Baptist, the city's patron saint with fabulous fireworks.
- August 10 is the feast of San Lorenzo with outdoor stalls, live music and treats served in Piazza San Lorenzo.
- September 7, on the eve of the feast of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, Florentines walk through the city streets carrying paper lanterns. The main procession starts in Piazza Santa Croce around 8 pm and passes through Piazza Signoria.