Cascine di Tavola Park
The park is located just outside the city, direction Poggio a Caiano. An authentic green lung for the city, this area was once part of the farming estate of the Medici Villa of Poggio a Caiano. It was created, in fact, as part of an original project of Lorenzo the Magnificent, who planned not only to purchase and rebuild Villa Ambra but also to lay out a vast complex with a big farm. Due to the particular features of the territory, subject to frequent flooding, a system of canals was built to drain and control the waters in the area between Tavola and Bonistallo, and a sturdy embankment was constructed along the Ombrone River. In parallel to this land reclamation project, an enormous building was constructed, called Fattoria or Cascina (farmhouse), able to supply the whole city of Florence with its products. The structure was, and still is today, surrounded by a moat and a wall fortified with towers at the corners, with elements recalling the typology of the Lombard farmhouse. Overtime the estate has changed ownership numerous times and has undergone substantial transformation, passing from mixed agriculture with fields left to pasturage to the cultivation of rice and grain, to vineyards bordered by poplars and elm trees, boxwood hedges and wild maple trees. Never considered merely an agricultural investment, it has always been a place of leisure and entertainment as well. In the large-scale renovation carried out, an area has been left as farmland, but the Le Pavoniere Golf Club has also been built and some parts of the complex are open to visitors.
The park can also be reached thanks to a bicycle path, and bicycles are, in fact, the ideal means of transport for visiting the whole park.
South itinerary: from Tavola to the Ombrone river
From the west access to the Park, near Tavola, the route develops along the tree-lined avenue with pines called "della Fattoria", which leads right up to the Medici farm, an interesting building built on the model of the Po Valley farmhouses, with corner towers and a perimeter ditch. Deflecting to the south, through farm roads, you reach the Ombrone river embankment on which still stand the pylons of the suspended bridge "Leopolodo II", destroyed during the Second World War and where you can also enjoy a beautiful and unusual view of the Villa di Poggio a Caiano and the Bargo di Bonistallo. When you reach the farm, turning left, towards Viale del Caciaio, you can continue the walk by rejoining the north ring.
JourneyTime: about 30 minutes (from Tavola to the Ombrone river)
Difficulty: very easy
North Ring: the planiziale forest
Starting from the north access to the Park, where there is a large and enjoyable lawn area, equipped as a path of life, and along Viale dei Lecci, the itinerary takes us to Viale del Caciaio, a particularly pleasant place. It can enjoy wide panoramic views over the surrounding area, while crossing cultivated areas and farms, on which stands out the particular profile of the Medici farm. Almost at the end of the avenue, turning right before the hydraulic artifacts, you meet the remains of the ancient planiziale forest, private hunting reserve of the Grand Duke, first along the Corsa canal, and then, over the white road, inside the "Pavoniere" wood, up to the starting point. Continuing along Viale del Caciaio you can reach the Viale della fattoria and rejoin the south itinerary.
Journey Time: about 1 hour (ring only)
Difficulty: very easy
Access to the park is not allowed for dogs.
Address: Via Traversa del Crocifisso, Tavola, Prato
Ticket: free entrance
Accessibility for disabled: yes
Web site: http://www.areeprotette.provincia.prato.it/Tavola/Tavola.php
GPX coordinates: 43.8446255,11.0647559