We’ll meet at 9 pm and leave for San Miniato.
San Miniato is a delightful ancient “borgo” set high on a hill along the Arno river, just halfway between Pisa and Florence. It was an important stop on that medieval “highway” known as “Via Francigena”, taking pilgrims all the way to Santiago de Compostela. It is also one of the few places on earth where the celebrated white truffles grow. The origins of the “borgo” are Etruscan and Roman. The main stronghold is right on the top of the hill, completing with a high tower the defensive complex of the original castle. Here Frederick II Hohenstaufen, between 1217 and 1221, had the tower erected. Visible from afar, it is now a symbol of this small city, well worth a visit for its many buildings and churches: among them, the Church of the Sacred Crucifix, the Church of the Loretino, the Church of the Sacred Annunziata (the Holy Virgin), the Church of Saint Jacopo and Lucia, the San Domenico Monastery, and the Bishops Palace. After a walk through the historical centre, we’ll have lunch in one of the many high-class taverns in town, and enjoy dishes prepared with local truffles.
In the afternoon, we’ll discover the very small village near Florence that gave birth (and his name) to Leonardo. The Museo Leonardiano owns one of the largest collections of machines, projects and models by Leonardo, who was also a great engineer, technician and inventor. Every piece is perfectly rendered, and described with reference to the artist’s original works and sketches. They cover a vast array of technical knowledge and fields, so vast as the drawings and projects by which Leonardo either perfected the works of the engineers of his times, as they could be found in the literature or in workshops, or, more often, developed absolutely innovative intuitions of his own.
Return late in the afternoon to the city chosen for the start.