the driver and professional bilingual trip direct will pick you up at the train station in arezzo at 9:00 a.m. then start driving through 'la sette ponti', an area rich in art and culture between the three main cities of tuscany florence, arezzo and siena.
during this journey we will stop a few times to visit the buriano bridge which was built in 1277 and it was painted by leonardo da vinci inin the lower-right quadrant of his painting mona lisa. then a visit to borro village, where every alley, every stone speaks of a time that once was, of flavours and scents that recall the memory of a rare and more authentic tuscany. borro is surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, in the shadow of the cypress trees of the ancient 'via dei sette ponti'.
you will finish the morning with the visit of another medieval village called loro ciuffena and its church of gropina. this beautiful romanesque church, dedicated to saint peter, is one of the best examples of high romanesque architecture in tuscany. continue the trip to castelfranco di sopra, arriving at at 12:00 pm for a two hours break having meal with 3 courses (wine and coffee included), in one of the local authentic tuscan trattoria.
after the break, meet another professional natural direct who will take you to the balze area for a 2.5 hours walk.between the tracks and the vast prato magno mountain range is a heavily eroded terrain of pinnacles and ravines sculpted of bare earth and rock. here and there a small valley reveals a field for grazing sheep, a vineyard and an abandoned farmhouse. the landscape looks as if it has remained wild and unchanged for centuries. the stratified canyons have a strange, ‘otherworldly’ beauty that captured the powerful intellect of leonardo da vinci, more than 500 years ago.
today it is possible to retrace leonardo’s steps and observe the area still much as it was, experiencing the same sensations. as he had correctly observed, water was the defining force of le balze, a remarkable and untouched area full of hidden secrets. approximately two million years ago, it was a great lake gradually filling with sediments dislodged from the vast mountain range above it. as the lake floor was exposed, ravines were carved into the sediments, creating spires and pinnacles of sand, lime and pebbles. continual erosion by wind and water of the earth, baked dry in the hard sunlight, have created great peaks that soar above the precious cultivated valleys, stratified cathedrals now tower over streams, oak woods and pathways in a kaleidoscope of oranges, greys and ochre.
at 5:00 pm the driver will bring you to figline valdarno station. from here you may take a train back to arezzo, florence and even rome.