Parco Medicio di Pratolino

Florence 2015 Pratolino Parco Di Villa Demidoff-019The Parco Medicio di Pratolino is a lovely park in the town of Pratolino about 13 ks North of Florence (near Fiesole).
From Wikipedia, “The villa was built by Francesco I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany in part to please his Venetian mistress, the celebrated Bianca Capello.” It was mostly replaced by the Villa Demidoff, named for a Russian princess who lived and died there. Her grave lies just above the charming chapel in the park grounds near the Giant (more about him later). See Villa di Pratolino

It is a 20 minute bus ride from Piazza San Marco in Florence, on number 25 or 25/A, with good views.
The 25 is accessible via a manual ramp, or a functioning power ramp (with a bit of luck).
For wheelies, it’s best to get on/off in Via Giorgio la Pira, 50 metres from San Marco, as the bus ramp works better there. At Pratolino, get off at Via del Sole, then walk down the short but very steep sealed road Via della Rampa to Via Fiorentina. The park entrance is about 50 metres down the hill.

The park has many different paths, mostly packed earth, with some sealed, some gravel and some forest tracks.
Most were fine for my power chair. There is an upper forested section which was closed for renovations in the summer of 2015. The lower section, more like rainforest, was also closed. The volunteer park attendants at the entrance hoped it might be reopened by Summer 2016! Nevertheless there is plenty to see. Highlights for us were the Lotus strewn pond overlooked by the massive Il Gigante and the peaceful Chapel (Capella) nearby.

The Capella can be accessed by a path starting near the Giant’s pond. The skirt of the Chapel and the entrance both had one step, but my trusty ramp got me in no worries. The front entrance is up a majestic flight of steps. As the rear lies the grave of the Russian princess.

There is a loo in the park which I believe has wheelie access, although I didn’t try it. The entrance path is pretty steep.

There is a café in the park in a building called the Locanda which serves simple food such as bruschette, as well as drinks. Once used to house travellers carriages, it is quite a charming spot.

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