A Brief History of Mugello, A Secret Paradise in Tuscany

Updated: Sep 29, 2020

street in hidden village in Tuscay with a clock tower and arch underneath

There’s a common misconception that Tuscany, Italy has been overrun by tourists and there are no hidden gems left to be found! For certain areas of Tuscany there may be some truth to this. But the majority of the region still holds many secrets waiting to charm its more adventurous visitors.

Mugello, for example, is an area north of Florence that goes virtually untouched by tourists. Today we’ll dive into some of the fascinating history that makes this secret place a special area to visit, but check out this article on the Geography and landscape of Mugello, too!

Going way way back, Mugello was originally settled by a Ligurian tribe called the Magelli, which is where the area gets its name. (For those who aren’t history buffs, Ligurians were an ancient, pre-Roman population from north-western Italy with a strong Celctic influence.) After the Ligurians there were the Etruscans, who built the first roads in Mugello.

secret scenic corner of a hidden town in Mugello, Tuscany. Courtyard with an olive tree and art nouveau font spelling "Albergo" (hotel) on the building

Following the Etruscans, the Romans came into power. Many artifacts of this period have been found in this secret area of Tuscany, such as tombs and coins. There's a gorgeous hidden winery, which we visit on our Living Slow in Tuscany small group tour, where they've uncovered the remains of a Roman house while planting new vines!

During the Middle Ages (400s – 1400s) many castles were built in Mugello and later, the Republic of Florence ruled over the area. As a result, several noble families built villas, including the famous Medici family. These prestigious supporters of the arts came to stay in Mugello during the summers when Florence becomes suffocating with heat, distracting themselves with dances and hosting celebrity figures and artists. (Going back in time a bit, the great artist Giotto lived in Mugello as well, known for breaking away from the old Byzantine style and advancing the arts in a way that was later taken as a model by Renaissance artists).

the knifemaking workshop preserved with tools they used

A Preserved Knife-Making Workshop in Scarperia

Unique History in Tuscany's Secret Paradise