which houses an agricultural museum. Q Santa Maria Assunta Piazza Tanucci. Open daily. 0 £ Castello di Palagio Via Vittorio Veneto. Q (0575) 58 33 88. Open Jul-Sep: Sat-Sun, Tue. Adm charge £ Castello di Porciano Porciano Q (0575)582635. Open mid-May-mid-Oct: Sun 0 eremo (hermitage), 2.5 km (1.
5 miles) away. A narrow, winding road leads up from the monastic complex to the hermitage through thick forest. This ancient woodland, which is some of the most ecologically rich in Europe, was declared a National Park in 1991. The hermitage dates back to 1012 when San Romualdo (St Rumbold) came here with a small group of followers, to cut themselves off completely from the outside world. Today’s monks lead a more gregarious life, running a small cafe in the monastery below. As you descend to the monastery complex you will also pass numerous picnic spots and some of the many local footpaths. The monks still tend the magnificent beech and chestnut woodland that surrounds the ancient monastery, as their predecessors have for nearly 1,000 years. A pharmacy, dating to 1543, now sells soaps, toiletries and liqueurs made by the monks. There is a small, privately owned ornithological museum across the road from the monastery, opposite the car park, which illustrates the area’s rich bird life.
FLORENCE HOLIDAY CHRISTMAS Photo Gallery