Even French poet Louise Colet, Flaubert's mistress, who stayed for a while at Villa Valentini Bonaparte as a guest of Princess Marie, was amazed by the beautiful landscapes that surround the villa. The villa garden affords the view of the Castle of Montepulciano, the town of Cortona and the hills surrounding Lake Trasimene.
The villa is situated in Laviano, on the border between Tuscany and Umbria, in a particularly central location that is perfect to visit the main towns of historical and artistic value in these regions. Jewel towns like Montepulciano, Cortona and also Pienza, Montalcino, Orvieto, Siena and Perugia are at short driving distance.
120 Km|90 min
The regional capital of Tuscany, Florence is within easy reach from Villa Valentini Bonaparte and is one of the most important towns for arts, architecture and culture in the whole of Italy. Florence reached its highest splendor between the 11th and the 15th century as a free city and then thanks to the domination of the Medici family. During the period of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the city was at the height of its glory in politics and economic power.
Italian painters like Cimabue and Giotto, innovators of the Renaissance such as Brunelleschi and Donatello, and universal men like Leonardo and Michelangelo lived there. You cannot miss a visit to the Uffizi, the most prestigious art gallery in the world, Michelangelo’s sculptures, the Medici Chapel, the Baptistery with its mosaics, and the Cathedral.
50 Km|45 min
The city of Perugia is the regional capital of Umbria and is divided into five quarters, each named after the original city gates: Sant’Angelo, Sole, San Pietro, Eburnea and Santa Susanna.
Piazza IV Novembre is the city’s main square and includes the Cathedral of San Lorenzo and the Fontana Maggiore designed by Fra Bevignate. Just opposite is Palazzo dei Priori, which still houses the municipal offices, and the Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria, which is one of central Italy’s best art galleries. The Collegio della Mercanzia and the Collegio del Cambio, located on Corso Vannucci next to Palazzo dei Priori, are the town's medieval money exchange offices and their walls were superbly frescoed by Perugino. At the other end of Corso Vannucci you find the Carducci Gardens from where you can enjoy a stunning panoramic view.
70 Km|60 min
The medieval town of Siena is located North-West of Villa Valentini Bonaparte, edging through the Chianti region. Formed by the meeting point of three hills on which Siena is built, the famous and spectacular Piazza del Campo is divided into nine sections commemorating the Council of The Nine that governed the town in the 13th century.
Twice a year, in July and August, the inhabitants of Siena faithfully recreate their medieval heritage in the Palio, a sumptuous pageant-cum-horse race taking place on the square. Some other important monuments to visit are Palazzo Pubblico, the Museum and the Cathedral built at the end of the 12th century.
30 Km|40 min
The spectacular landscape of this valley is a Unesco World Heritage Site since 2004. A perfect union of arts and nature, it is a great example of how landscape was redesigned by people. Apart from its breath-taking views, there are many lovely villages to visit in this area like Pienza and Montalcino.
Pienza is to be regarded as a real monument as a whole and offers some incredible views of Val d’Orcia. The Cathedral, Palazzo Piccolomini and the Diocesan Museum are extremely interesting. Pienza is famous for the production of cheese made with sheep milk and skillfully seasoned in a variety of different flavors ranging from walnut leaves and pomace to pit seasoning.
As for Montalcino, it is set on the top of a hill and towers above the valley. The attractions to visit are the Town Hall, the Cathedral and the Churches of S. Agostino, S. Egidio and S. Francesco. However, Montalcino is, above all, the home to one of Italy’s most important red wines: the Brunello di Montalcino. It is made from pure Sangiovese vines grown in the nearby hills.
22 Km|30 min
The town of Cortona is near Villa Valentini Bonaparte, standing high on a hill with spectacular views of the Valdichiana, Lake Trasimene and Mount Amiata. The heart of Cortona is represented by the central square, Piazza della Repubblica, and the nearby Palazzo Pretorio that currently houses the MAEC Etruscan Museum. The Diocesan Museum, located opposite the Cathedral, contains the "Annunciation" by Fra Angelico and other works by major Tuscan artists, including Luca Signorelli, who was born in Cortona.
Beautiful churches to visit are the Gothic Church of San Francesco and the Sanctuary of Santa Margherita, which contains the body of the saint who died in 1362. The Medici fortress affords the best views of the surrounding landscape and in the North-East area of Cortona, right outside the city walls, visitors can tour Hermitage Le Celle, which was founded by Saint Francis in 1211.
15 Km|20 min
Montepulciano is a fine example of Renaissance architecture. It is known as the jewel of the 15th century, which is well represented by the Cathedral, the Loggia del Mercato, the Avignonese and Tarugi Palaces and also the Bucelli Palace, which preserves Etruscan and Latin remains.
Other places of interest to visit are the Church of Saint Agnese, the patron saint of the town, and the Civic Museum. Montepulciano is also famous for its excellent Vino Nobile and other typical products.
70 Km|55 min
Orvieto boasts a historical and artistic heritage that is one of a kind. This "museum" town played the role of protagonist in different historical periods: in particular, in the Etruscan times and in the Middle Ages, Orvieto was really important in the whole of Italy from the historical and cultural points of view.
The town was built on a tuff cliff and appears suspended in the sky when looking at it from far away, especially at night. During the day it rather seems leaning on the clouds. It is mostly world-renowned for its Cathedral, a beautiful example of European Gothic architecture, and for Saint Patrick's Well, which is a real masterpiece of hydraulic engineering. Tiny, tidy and cozy, Orvieto is within easy reach from Villa Valentini Bonaparte.
75 Km|65 min
The enchanting and spiritual town of Assisi lies at the foot of Mount Subasio. Founded by the Etruscans and later dominated by the Romans, the town was the birthplace of Saint Francis, Patron Saint of Italy.
The main attraction of Assisi is the Basilica dedicated to the saint, which was built in the 14th century and is an important pilgrimage destination. It consists of two churches: the upper one, built between 1228 and 1230, is embellished with frescoes made by Giotto and Cimabue on Saint Francis' life; the lower one was built between 1230 and 1253. The facade of the Basilica dates back to the 5th century. Another magnificent example of Gothic architecture is the Church of Santa Chiara where you can see the crucifix that spoke to Saint Francis according to what was handed down.