Leaving San Frediano and Santo Spirito’s Oltrarno through the majestic Porta Romana’s landscape means to leave the noise and discomfort of the city in favor of the regenerating silence of the countryside. Yes, because just outside the city walls, in Florence you can be and feel as if you were already in the countryside. Instead of taking the nineteenth-century viale dei colli, often noisy and chaotic, if we take via Senese – the ancient via Cassia – which leads to Galluzzo and the Charterhouse, we find, just to the right, the steep but lovely via delle Campora, perhaps an ancient route of Via Francigena. “A country lane that goes up and down along the ridge of the hills: a crooked and stony alley, enclosed between two walls …” as Ridolfi describes it; and even Papini – with unusual exuberance of adjectives – wrote that to him it is “dear … lonely, deserted, quiet, calm, silent, clean, familiar, cordial, almost intimate, prefumed of new vegetables, with something honest and ancient, of a life rested and without change”.
Via delle Campora it’s a road that winds through noble villas and gardens hidden behind small walls and railings, and it’s marked by shrines and sacred tabernacles. A nice up-and-down to the intersection with via di Marignolle and until the gorgeous Medici’s villa, where the Florentine nobles used to play Pallacorda. The road goes even further, up to Galluzzo, where you can discover that, in places like this, Florence has many white cherry-trees, though it is not Japan. We are already in the country. A countryside which is now considerably anthropic but it is still full of antique charm, strong and seductive, as you may feel in these early remnants of the Chianti area, which you can glimpse over the hills.
The Villa Strozzi Machiavelli is located in such a very strategic position: it is adjacent to the most celebrated Bellosguardo square, which offers the unusual, magical diorama of all Florentine’s monuments, it is just one km away from the historic city center and on the main route towards the Chianti and Val d’Orcia areas, as well as the towns of San Gimignano, Siena and Pienza.