Perched high on a hilltop overlooking the lush Mugello valley, the magnificent Sanctuary of Monte Senario is among Tuscany’s most important religious complexes and offers a tranquil retreat from nearby Florence, surrounded by the Monte Senario Nature Reserve. Founded in 1233 by a group of noble Florentines known as the Seven Holy Founders, the monastery became an important place of pilgrimage during the 15th century and is still inhabited by a number of monks today.
The Baroque-style Church of our Lady of Sorrows is among the main attractions, with its 15th-century nave richly decorated and including a striking fresco by Antonio Domenico Gabbiani, an 18th-century wooden crucifix and the tomb of Sigismondo Della Stufa. Additional highlights of the monastery include the monumental cross, the great hospice, a distillery and a number of caves.
The Sanctuary of Monte Senario is located in Vaglia, about 12 miles (20 km) from Florence, and is open daily from 7:30am to 12:30pm and from 3:30 to 6pm.