La Fornella is located in Eastern Tuscany, just 18 kilometers to the southeast of the city of Florence. Eastern Tuscany has been described as a land of saints, hermits and monasteries and La Fornella was originally built as a living quarters for the farming monks of the Vallombrosa monastery. The Vallombrosa order was founded by San Giovanni Gualberto Visdomini in 1038 who aimed to convince other aristocrats to also give up their riches and adopt a simpler life of greater virtue. Contrary to these origins the order grew both rich and powerful during the 16th and 17th centuries when the famous central abbey was built. La Fornella would have been built during the early middle ages, with the addition of its two central towers to mirror those of the fortress-like abbey during the Renaissance.
The region of Eastern Tuscany is appealing to those in search of art, architecture and culture, but also those who would like to relax in natural surroundings. The nearby abbey buildings at Vallombrosa are surrounded by such beautiful woodland that John Milton described them in his epic poem Paradise Lost (1667). The forest is the largest beechwood forest in Europe and there are numerous marked paths and picnic areas, in particular amongst the glorious, ages old forests within the vicinity of the monastery at Vallombrosa.
La Fornella is surrounded by 25 acres of land, cultivated by olive groves and a small, San Giovese vinyard, which were once tended by the monks of the region. The monks' living quarters have been restored into 3 apartments which may be rented on a weekly basis.