Villa Salviati near Ponte alla Badia
If we wonder off north, into the hills of Florence, and follow the Via Bolognese, the world around us slowly changes. The red and yellow colours of the Florentine palazzi, and the busy noisy streets, are slowly being replaced by small roads with walls surrounding lush gardens, tall trees peeking over enclosures, and soft rolling hills. After a little while, the high roof of a large building shows up on our left-hand side. Walking through the gate, a villa comes into full view. Built in the fourteenth century as a small castle, and made into a countryside villa by the patrician Alamanno Salviati in 1445, the building now houses the Historical Archives of the European Union. It was recently renovated, and beautifully restored to its former sixteenth-century glory.