In Fiesole, just above Florence, an organic farm built around a thousand-year-old rural village houses a former monastery with a panoramic suite and swimming pool, an award-winning oil mill and the largest botanical garden in Europe.
There are many villages in Tuscany, but few can count on a garden inaugurated by Queen Victoria of England in 1893, one of the most beautiful views of Florence at sunset and an immense botanical park famous throughout the world for its original safari.
But let’s take a step back in its long history. Like a journey back to Medici Tuscany, the small village of Maiano, on the slopes of Monte Ceceri, has been a destination since the Middle Ages, thanks also to the presence within it of important sandstore quarries, of multiple artists.
For decades our mission has been to preserve the history of Maiano’s landscape heritage, bringing it to life every day through the fruits of the farm.(Family Corsini Miari Fulcis)
Starting from Michelangelo who, with these very stones, sculpted the Chapel of the Princes in the Basilica of San Lorenzo and the famous staircase of the Laurentian Library, but also Leonardo Da Vinci who experimented with his first flying machine from the top del Monte, or Boccaccio who, inspired by the river Mensola which crosses the estate, took inspiration for his short stories here.
Until the present day when the uncontaminated beauty of these places has also enchanted cinema, such as the directors of the films Room with a View, Tea with Mussolini and Fuochi d’Artificio, set right here.
Much of the original appearance of the estate, however, is due to its more recent history when in 1844 the wealthy English nobleman Sir John Temple Leader decided to move his residence here. It was he who created the immense Botanic Garden, with the romantic park in the center with an English garden and a panoramic tower, inaugurated by Queen Victoria to whom it owes its name, and who recovered the ancient stone quarries under which he built a original Tea House.
Until after his death, the estate was purchased by the noble Corsini family as a wedding gift for Elisabetta Corsini and Teodoro Stori who, having no children, left the entire property to their niece Lucrezia Corsini who married Count Giacomo Miari Fulcis, originally from Belluno.
Together with their children, the family continued the work of agricultural and cultural valorisation of the estate, giving life to one of the most cutting-edge biological realities in Italy, where the famous Laudemio oil is also produced in the ancient oil mill of the village, one of the finest in Tuscany, created by only 21 highly selected producers.
Today Francesco Miari Fulcis manages the farm together with his children Tommaso, production manager, and Anna, hospitality manager. Over 270 hectares, of which 500,000 m2 of park and 12 km of walks with 20,000 olive trees, various orchards, organic crops as well as the farm with wild animals, such as horses, geese, chickens, ducks, ostriches, bulls and Amiata donkeys.
They are precisely the protagonists of one of the most unique and original experiences in Tuscany: the safari at the Fattoria di Maiano which, with a vintage Land Rover Defender and 400 m of adventurous difference in altitude, will take you through various types of fauna and flora up to the peak of Monte Ceceri where a splendid view of Florence from above will be revealed before you.
Upon your return, the farmhouse restaurant awaits you for a snack, aperitif or dinner where, overlooking the park, you can taste typical Tuscan recipes, from cold meat platters to grilled steaks, based on the products grown on the estate – primarily oil, honey, eggs, vegetables and sausages – or from neighboring farms. Delicious organic products that can also be purchased in the adjacent farm shop.
The Fattoria di Maiano, in addition to the rooms and apartments spread throughout the estate, has recently inaugurated two truly unique suites: the Torre Suite, in the heart of the park immersed in the romantic lake to feel like a real princess, and the Colonne Suite located inside the ancient Benedictine convent with its imposing pietra serena columns, panoramic jacuzzi and wellness lounge with private sauna.
There are many experiences offered by the Farm based on the seasons: in addition to the safari, you can book a tour of the oil mill, various types of trekking, workshops with bees and animals, courses in botany, vegetable cultivation and much more.
The noble Miari Fulcis family, from the 11th century. settled in Belluno, boasts a long history of avant-garde and innovation in agriculture: in 1617, in fact, Benedetto Miari was responsible for the introduction of corn in the Veneto, while in the 1940s Giacomo Miari was responsible for the introduction of vacuum milking and in ’58 for the installation of the first plant in Italy for the dehydration of alfalfa.
Fattoria di Maiano
Via Benedetto da Maiano 11
50014 Fiesole, Firenze
Tel. +39 055 59049
Rooms: from 150 euro with breakfast
Daily park entrance: from 11 euro
Experiences (safari, tastings,…), bookable here