Florence is one of the most popular cities to live in for Expats but the property prices can be quite high and it gets swamped with tourists during the summer months. That’s why a lot of the more suave Expats are choosing to live in one of the gorgeous nearby towns.
If you live in one of the small towns near Florence you can easily visit the city to attend events, visit the galleries and go shopping in markets and boutiques while still enjoying the benefits of rural life. The smaller towns have a much more laid back style of life and plenty of their own unique heritage and cultural treasures; so you won’t be missing out on the Dolce Vita!
Living In A Small Tuscan Town Near Florence.
There’s a lot of advantages to living in a small town outside of Florence. The towns surrounding Florence are flourishing as Expats begin to realize their benefits. Traditionally, many of the towns in the vicinity of Florence were home to noble families but in modern times the property prices are very reasonable and there’s a great mix of people living there.
Of course, you can still find the stately mansions and vineyard estates but you can also live in a converted farmhouse, an old cottage or even in a modern apartment building. Rural properties are ideal for renovation projects and if you search you can find some amazing bargains outside of the main Tuscan cities.
These small towns offer you some of the finest scenery in Italy as well as incredible local cuisine and areas of outstanding natural beauty. For a truly jaw dropping Expatriate experience without living in Florence then these towns are certainly worth considering!
Key Benefits Of Living In A Small Town Near Florence.
The following are some of the benefits of living in a town outside of Florence:
- Cheaper property prices.
- Lower cost of daily living.
- Lower levels of crime.
- More independent businesses.
- Easy access to Florence and other parts of Tuscany.
- Lower levels of pollution and traffic.
- Friendly, close-knit communities.
The Best Towns To Live In Near Tuscany.
The following are the best small towns near Tuscany for Expats:
Just 10 km from the center of Florence, this beautiful hilltop town has some of the best views of the city and a quiet laid back atmosphere. Fiesole is the ideal choice for nature lovers and people who want to take advantage of the extensive hiking trails in the surrounding countryside.
In the town center you can visit the interesting archeological museum as well as the impressive Roman amphitheater which hosts the famous Estate Fiesolana series of concerts during the summer months. You can also see the Romanesque Cathedral of San Romolo, the Convent of San Francesco and visit the Monte Ceceri Park where you can marvel at the remains of the ancient Etruscan walls.
Fiesole has a nice range of shops, boutiques and several restaurants that have spectacular views across the valley and the city of Florence below. Ideal for people who want to have the best of the rural life at home while being within easy striking distance of the action in Florence, Fiesole is a favorite among relocation Expats.
Located around 20 km from Florence, Pontassieve is situated at the meeting point of the rivers Sieve and Arno. Pontassieve gets its name from the river, Sieve, and was founded as a medieval fortress town and trading hub just outside of Florence.
The town has a thriving agricultural sector which is great because you’ll be spoilt for choice at the local farmers market! Pontasseive is also well known for its pottery, glass, artisan leatherware and the beloved ‘Vino Chianti Putto’ vintage of wine. The town’s bustling historic center is home to the beautiful Piazza Vittorio Emmanuelle II as well as the Palao Sansoni Trombetta where you can see the stunning frescoes in the ‘Hall of Heroines’.
There’s a great range of properties available in this town to suit most budgets and with shops, restaurants and bars you can really make a home from home in Pontassieve. The town celebrates the ‘Toscanello d’Oro’ each year which includes a market where you can buy some of the top local wines and sample some of the region’s best organic cuisine.
Famous for its oils and wine, Pelago is 24 km from Florence and sits amongst the iconic valleys of rural Tuscany. The town is surrounded by vineyards and traditional farms and offers a perfect escape from the hectic life of Florence.
The town is dominated by the Castello di Nipozzano which was built in the 10th Century and has superb views across the landscape below. Pelago has long been a popular holiday spot for local Florentines but it’s also a great town for Expats to relocate to.
Considering the size of Pelago, it has an amazing range of amenities including restaurants, shops, hotels and even a nearby health and wellness spa. While you’re in the town you can also drop by the Museum of Sacred Art in the historic center as well as the Parish Church of San Clemente. During the evening you can savor some of Tuscany’s best cuisine at any number of family run restaurants in the Pelago and for hikers there’s plenty of trails through the surrounding woods.
Londa is an hour’s drive from Florence and originally got its name because it was cut off by the two rivers; which is why it was originally called ‘Isola’, meaning ‘island’. Remarkably, the town has been inhabited since Etruscan times, although today it’s easy to get in and out of the town to visit Florence and other nearby towns.
The area is a nature lover’s paradise and Lake Londa is a massively popular fishing spot! The town is surrounded by ancient forests, streams, olive groves and vineyards through which tiny hiking trails crisscross the landscape. Londa itself is peaceful with a close knit community that welcomes Expats and newcomers with open arms.
Londa hosts numerous festivals throughout the year including the Pesca d’Argento which celebrates a local breed of late variety peaches. The festival incorporates fireworks, theater shows, food competitions and traditional musical performances. So even though Londa is a sleepy countryside retreat the locals still know how to have a good time!
Signa has been a major trade center since the medieval era and was famous for its straw production – a vital part of the regional agriculture industry. In the town you’ll find the Museum of Straw and Weaving where you can see the machinery that was used to process the straw as well as a charming series of straw hats that were made on site.
Located 20 km to the West of Florence, Signa has several churches including the impressive Church of San Giovanni. It’s also near the World Wildlife Fund protected Parco Dei Renai where you can enjoy picnics in the sun and natural swimming in the ponds. The picture perfect town and surrounding countryside is a the perfect place for retired Expats and people looking to live in one of Tuscany’s most idyllic rural settings.
Located 30 km to the South East of Florence, Reggello sits amongst the mountainous Vallombrosa Forest which was originally planted by monks and is home to some of the tallest trees in Italy! The forest is primarily made up of beech and fir trees which makes a fantastic habitat for birds, insects and other flora and fauna. The forest was named a Biogenetic Natural Reserve in 1977 which is testament to its magnificence and the important role it’s played in the life of Reggello over the centuries.
One of Regello’s most unusual features is a Moorish style castle, the Sammezzano Castle, which was built by an eccentric Spanish nobleman in the early 17th Century. The town is also home to a Museum that is dedicated to the painter Mosaccio where you can see the original Triptych of San Giovenale among other priceless works of art.
Reggello is completely surrounded by natural wonders and lush green forests which makes it a great place to live for bird watchers and Expats who are keen on hiking and mountain biking.
The small town has its own supermarket, a local bar and a friendly cafe. Just down the road from the Reggello is a Gucci Outlet store where you can buy cut price clothes and leatherware.
All in all, Reggello is one of the hidden gems amongst the towns near to Florence. Despite its ideal location, beautiful surroundings and good local amenities, property prices in Reggello are still surprisingly affordable.
Located 30 km from Florence, Malmantile is best known for its legend of St Ambrose. The Saint, who went on to be the Bishop of Milan, is said to have been passing by the village inn when he asked the owner about his fortunes. The innkeeper said he couldn’t complain and felt lucky in life, at which point Saint Ambrose flew into a rage because he thought the innkeeper was in league with the devil. The Saint cursed the man, saying ‘Mal Mantilia!’, which means ‘Cursed tablecloth’. Immediately after this, the inn, the innkeeper and his whole family were swallowed into the earth!
Fortunately though, in modern times the town of Malmantile is much more peaceful and life is very pleasant for its inhabitants. There are a few shops in the town but for your main grocery shopping you’ll have to travel to other nearby towns.
The town hosts a medieval festival each year in May and June which includes music, historical re-enactments and traditional processions. This event attracts visitors from far and wide but for most of the year the Malmantile is extremely quiet making it ideal for Expats looking for an authentic Italian experience while still having convenient access to Florence and the surrounding area.
The Best Of All Worlds.
For those Expats who want to enjoy the wonderful rural scenery of Tuscany while still having easy access to the cities then living in a small town is the best option. Not only will you have all the benefits of country living but you’ll never be far from Florence and other major Tuscan cities.
Life in rural Tuscany is extremely safe because there are incredibly low levels of crime. There’s a great sense of community and you’ll quickly be able to make new friends and feel at home in your new location.
Property prices in the smaller towns are far lower than in the cities and you’ll always have the natural wonders of the region at your fingertips. Once you settle into life in a small Tuscan town you’ll never want to live anywhere else!