The Empolese region of Italy is situated in Tuscany, bordering the Val d’Elsa. The town at the centre of the commune, Empoli, has risen to fame due to its distinctive architecture, charming atmosphere and prime location; halfway between Florence and Pisa. The town lies on the plain of the River Arno, although the landscape quickly becomes hilly fairly quickly as you leave the river banks. Wine connoisseurs will be especially happy in staying in Empolese accommodation as the region has a hugely celebrated range of both red and white wines.
Walking in the Empolese countryside is a wonderful experience. The wooded hillsides are crossed with a maze f walking trails, many of which take you to serene Romanesque churches hidden quietly in dark corners overlooking the river valley.
The Empolese region has a long history of craftwork and skilled manufacture. As a result, the local markets are filled with extraordinary examples of ornate crystal and glasswork. However, if you wish to go shopping whilst staying in an Empolese holiday rental villa, take a trip into Empoli town centre during the evenings during July and August. The town comes to life in the evening as a whole range of late exhibitions, street theatre performances and open-air cinemas spring up throughout the streets. During this time, the shops in Empoli usually stay open until around midnight.
Staying in a holiday rental in the Empolese region is a fantastic option for exploring Pisa, Lucca, Florence and Volterra. The region is a perfect place to base yourself, surrounded by peaceful, rural surroundings where you can retreat from the large tourist centres of Tuscany after a day of sightseeing, and relax in peace with a glass of wine on the balcony or beside the pool of your Empolese villa.
The town of Empoli has long traditions as an agricultural centre, although much of the surrounding land has not been used directly with crops since the Roman era! There are some magnificent sights to be seen in Empoli, from the Piazza dei Leoni (Lion’s Square) which is surrounded by Empoli’s main monument, the Collegiata di Sant’Andrea, which dates back to 1093, and the 11th century Romanesque church. Throughout the town, works of art adorn old buildings, and exploring the town from an Empoli apartment can take many days as you discover hidden masterpieces in glorious buildings like the Church of Santo Stefano which is decorated with some of Masolimo da Panicale’s finest frescos.
The long, hot summers of the Empolese region bless the area with very little rain and a huge amount of sunshine, as temperatures reach over 30°C on most days between June and October. Winters are mild but damn.
Florence Airport (FLR) is only 30km from an Empolese villa rental, and there are frequent flights from the UK which fly there direct. When in Florence, you can either hire a car from the airport, which will also allow you to explore the region without any hassle, or take a train from Florence to Empoli.
The small town of Empoli is set in the beautiful rolling hills and vineyards of Tuscany in north west Italy. Surrounded by ancient towns, beautiful Italian architecture and olive trees it is a popular holiday destination, particularly for renting a self catering villa. The area is ideal for walking and cycling in the beautiful countryside. Empoli is famous for its ceramics and glassware. The restaurants here are known for their excellent local cuisine and wines.
Explore the Ancient City - Undoubtedly settled long before Roman times, the original city walls were destroyed when the River Arno, which once flowed through the area, flooded. They were rebuilt and added to in the 15th century. Look for the preserved Tower of Santa Brigida which is still in tact. Other important medieval buildings include the Collegiata di Sant’Andrea, the Pallazo Pretoria, which was the Town Hall, and the Palazza Ghibellino built by the Guidi Counts in the 11th century. Checkout the interesting fountain too, called Fontana del Leoni with four lions and a trio of naked girls supporting the fountain basin.
Vinci - Birthplace of Leonardo, this hilltop town is a pleasure to explore on foot. Visit the castle and museum amidst the winding alleyways.
Pisa - The famous city with its leaning tower is just 47km from your villa at Empoli. The leaning tower of Pisa has defied gravity and several earth tremors over the last 840 years and now leans 3.9m or 12 feet from its perpendicular position. This campanile or bell tower is a beautiful building but there are plenty more attractions in Pisa too. Visit the magnificent Duomo, or Cathedral, the Campo dei Miracoli, considered one of the most beautiful squares in the world, and the Palazzo Reale National Museum which houses many priceless works of art.
Florence - The ancient city of Florence, known for its architecture and art, is just 35km north west of Empoli. The Duomo is 600 years old, and the dome is still the largest brick-built dome in the world. Climb to the top for excellent views of the city. The nearby Campanile (bell tower) and baptistery building are both wonderful works of architecture.
The River Arno runs through Florence and has many ancient bridges including the Ponte Vecchio, lined with shops. Art lovers will enjoy the art museums and the rich heritage of artwork in the churches of Florence, just 30 minutes drive from your Empoli self catering villa.
Winters are mild and summers are long, dry and sunny, making holiday villas in Empoli and Tuscany so popular. From April to the end of October temperatures range from 19-32C (66-89F) with slightly more rain through the winter months.
The nearest airport to your Empoli villa in Tuscany is at Pisa. This international airport has cheap flights daily from all over Europe and is 47km drive away.