The Via delle Rocche
Walking between the Middle Ages and nature in the surroundings of Prato
44.5 km

The Via delle Rocche winds between Montemurlo and the Val di Bisenzio and joins in a single route castles and towers surrounded by nature, following the tracks halfway up the ancient medieval roads.

In a landscape of great charm, beautiful trails lead to glorious testimonies of a medieval past, symbols of famous families, such as the Counts Guidi and Alberti mentioned in the Divine Comedy, who disputed the possession of the territory with the fierce municipalities of Florence and Pistoia.

An itinerary to be experienced also with one’s own family, for curious young explorers.

Leg 1
From the Rocca of Montemurlo to the Torre di Melagrana
Rocca di Montemurlo
Rocca di Montemurlo 

The Via delle Rocche starts from the hill of Montemurlo and its fortified village, the oldest part of the area, popular with Etruscans and Romans. Since the times of the domination of the Guidi family, the villa keeps the image of the fortress with the bulk of the ancient crenellated tower. Along the via Baronese, we plunge into gentle terracing that lead to the slopes of Monteferrato, where the amphitheaters of the former quarries of Serpentino or green marble of Prato are located.

The route reaches the pass of Collina di Prato and continues in the direction of the villages of Popigliano and Grisciavola until the ford of Vaiano, where the imposing complex of the Abbey of San Salvatore still stands.

We cross the Bisenzio river near the remains of the medieval bridge and we move to the side of the Calvana. The whole area is dotted with farmhouses and tower houses, among which the Torre di Melagrana stands. The building, located on the southern border of the Alberti's area of influence, had a purely military function, controlling the road network leading from one side to Montepiano and from the other to Mugello.

Leg 2
From the Torre di Melagrana to the Rocca di Vernio
Torre della Melagrana
Torre di Melagrana - Credit: Prato Turismo

From the Torre di Melagrana we reach the ancient parish church of Sofignano, which was the gateway to the spectacular landscapes visible from the Calvana massif. The route passes through timeless villages such as Montauto, Mezzana and Montecuccoli. From Montecuccoli a path descends to the Rocca Cerbaia, a place of treasures, feuds and violence. According to an ancient legend, Dante Alighieri, fleeing from Florence, arrived at the fortress on a night in 1285 in search of a shelter, but was rejected.

The Via delle Rocche continues parallel to the course of the Bisenzio river, entering the boundaries of what was once the feud of Vernio. The route ends with the ascent to the Rocca, today a private residence, the heart of the feudal possessions of the Alberti family and the Florentine bankers Bardi.

Info, brochures and tracks: