Boasting a blend of delicious food, beautiful wine and the birth of Renaissance. Tuscany is classic Italy, a region of Timeless beauty and rich culture. Its landscapes of rolling hills coated with vineyards and cypress trees and crowned by medieval hilltop towns and villages is famed throughout the world immortalised in the works of great artists. The regions most prized art and historical relics reside in the larger cities; while the hilltop medieval towns offer breathtaking views of rustic vineyards and olive groves.
The town of Montecatini Terme is world famous for its spas, springs and thermal baths. The baths date back to century and nowadays there are nine fully functional ‘terme’ spread around the town.
Elegant, peaceful and relaxing, they make for a perfect resting places The town has many art galleries and antique shops and is famous as the Tuscan capital of Liberty Style.
Beautiful Tuscan town protected by massively thick 16th Century walls, featuring some of Italy’s finest medieval and renaissance architecture, superb dinning , antique markets and summer music festivals, and easy access to stunning nearby villas and surrounding hills. Add to that endless beaches less than half an hour away and no wonder Lucca is one of Tuscany best kept secrets.
The city is located on a plain at the foot of the Apuan Alps and is less than half an hour from the coast of Versilia. Since it isn’t a hilltop village, it is ideal for anyone with mobility issues as well as for anyone wishing to take a break from climbing ;).
Lucca is very easy to reach both by car as well as train from both Pisa and Florence, making it perfect for anyone getting around solely on public transportation.
Most of the attractions in Lucca today show its ancient history: from the trace of the Roman amphiteater that can be seen in the shape of the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro to the archeological remains under the 12th century church of Saints Giovanni and Reparata (the first city cathedral, located just around the corner from the present-day cathedral of San Martino), to the various towers and villas from the 12th to 16th centuries.
Extraordinarily, as the city grew and modernized, the walls that surrounded the old town were maintained which was not the case for many other cities in Tuscany, including Florence. As the walls lost their military importance, the top of the walls became a pedestrian promenade, today one of Lucca’s main attractions. The area around the walls is well taken care of, with green grass and trees everywhere along the walls. They have in essence become a park that surrounds the city and blocks out more modern life. Here you can enjoy a bike ride around the entire perimeter, a stroll as you enjoy a gelato or simply a period of rest from sightseeing on one of the many shaded benches that line the main walkway.
Other top attractions include the Piazza of San Michele with its beautiful Church of San Michele in Foro, the Basilica of San Frediano as well as the Clock Tower and Guinigi Tower, to name just a few.
The chianti area is Tuscany is one of the most beautiful in the whole region, as well as the best known, and is appreciated by visitors from across the world.
Chianti offers a unique landscape, with green gentle hills covered with wide fields of vineyards and olive groves, small stone villages, characteristics parishes and countryside homes in stone. It is also the location of the L’eroica vintage cycling event which takes place every October.
San Gimignano is a fascinating small, walled medieval hill town in the provence of Siena, It is mainly famous for its medieval architecture , especially its towers , offering an impressive view of the city from the surrounding valley.
At the height of its glory, San Gimignano’s patrician families who controlled the town built around 72 tower-houses (some as high as 50m) as symbols of their wealth and power. Although only 14 have survived, San Gimignano has retained its feudal atmosphere and appearance. The town also has several masterpieces of 14th and 15th Century Italian Art.
Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990, San Gimignano offers visitors the chance to step back in time while enjoying its local products including saffron and its white wine, the Vernaccia di San Gimignano grown in the area. It served as an important relay point for Pilgrims travelling to and from Rome on the via Francigena.
Siena is likely Italy’s loveliest medieval city, and a trip worth making even if you are in Tuscany for just a few days. Siena’s heart is its central piazza known as Il Campo, known worldwide for the famous Palio run here, a horse race run around the piazza two times every summer. Movie audiences worldwide can see Siena and the Palio in the James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace.
Is one of the best preserved medieval town in Italy, its the perfect counterpart to Florence. Largely enclosed by ancient walls and with a Gothic cathedral which dates from the 12th Century, the city invites you to explore each square and narrow street.
Start at the Piazza del Campo, where the spectacular Palio horse race is held on July 2nd an August 16th
Age – old rivalries are rekindled s bareback jockeys from Siena’s 17 districts contest the race.
Try ribollita, a vegetable soup or a wild boar stew. Best – known of Siena’s dessert is panforte , a calorific bomb usually made from nougat .
Radda in Chianti
A tiny town with a typical Tuscan medieval town plan perched on a hilltop 533m, the town is so picturesque with stunning views across the vineyards and enjoy the local food and Chianti wine.
The town belonged for a long time to the artistic Guidi family, who had to concede it to the province of Florence in 1203. It was thoroughly fortified around 1400, and you can still see parts of the fortress.
Near the town of Lucca, always in the province, do not miss the Versilia and its beaches, the Apuan Alps and the splendid Garfagnana with its small characteristic villages as Barga. There’s a lot to do and see also in the surroundings of Lucca!
The Versilia is the area right along the Tuscan coast in the northwestern edge of the province of Lucca. It is widely known and popular for the fashionable resorts along its Riviera, with numerous night clubs attracting visitors for its active night life during the summer.
The coastal shelf along this part of the Tuscan coast is really sandy and gradually slops into the sea, making it perfect for families with small kids during the day. The many shops and restaurants (as well as hotels) along the seafront also make the Versilia a great place to spend the summer, with everything you need within easy reach.
The main cities in the Versilia are Viareggio, Forte dei Marmi, Pietrasanta, Camaiore, Massarosa, Seravezza and Stazzema although the area spreads north along the coast and runs into Massa and Carrara. Seravezza and Stazzema are not along the coast but on the hills that slope up to the Apuan Alps, which sit right behind the coast and separate Versilia from Garfagnana and are called the “Upper Versilia”.
It is easy to get to the Versilia and its beaches, as both the rail line and A12 highway run parallel to the coast. With public transportation you would take the train from Florence passing through Lucca to get to any of the coastal towns of the Versilia or take buses from Lucca; the beaches are then a short walk away.
The climate here is quite mild, although humidity can get high in the summer. Why it is called Versilia? It is called after the name of the river that runs down from Seravezza down to Forte dei Marmi!
The Leaning Tower has made Pisa famous all over the world, and in addition to the tower, the city offers many other interesting things to see worth at least an entire day – check out our 1 day in Pisa itinerary to plan your visit.
When you first arrive at the beautiful Square of Miracles (Piazza dei Miracoli), your sight will be captivated by the magnificent Tower. Don’t just admire it from below: the climb up the tower is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that we highly encourage you to experience. You will enjoy both the incredible climb as well as the amazing views from the top (you can buy tickets in advance as number of entries are limited every half hour)!
Once you have admired the Tower of Pisa from all angles (including the classic picture in which you pretend to support it to keep as a memento), continue your visit to the other monuments in the Piazza: the Cathedral and the Baptistery. Along the perimeter of the square, there is also the Cemetery, the Cathedral Museum and the Museum of the Synopses. Enjoy a leisurely walk along the Arno river and on your way, pass by Clock Palace to enter into Piazza dei Cavalieri, which was once the heart of power in the city and later the headquarters of the Knights of St. Stephen. In the Palazzo della Carovana overlooking the square, the prestigious Scuola Normale of Pisa has its base.
What else to do in Pisa? Eat cecina! It’s a kind of very thin gluten-free bread made with chickpea flour, water, oil, salt and black pepper. You can eat the cecina alone or in a schiacciatina, a flat bread. A real treat you must try!
Visiting the Val d’Orcia
Medieval castles, sunny rolling hills, isolated hilltop towns, charming farmhouses and isolated rural homes, avenues of cypresses, rows of vineyards, olive groves, and golden wheat fields are just some of the elements of the fantastic and harmonious landscapes of Valdorcia!
Crossed by the Orcia river,from which the valley derives its name, this wonderful region in southern Tuscany stretches along the provinces of Siena and Grosseto. The area is now protected as a natural and cultural park, and it has been recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 2004. Beautiful nature is the actual absolute protagonist in Valdorcia, with many different colors according to the season.
There are few other places that are able to impress the traveler so deeply. It is almost a surreal and suspended land, which is home to the most precious and appreciated Italian wines: the Brunello di Montalcino, the Nobile di Montepulciano, the Rosso Orcia, and other superb and fine wines with the protective DOCG denomination.
The impressive views of Val d’Orcia, which inspired so many Renaissance painters, is dotted with many little villages, castles, abbeys and hamlets, each telling a fascinating ancient history. Time here can still pass slowly and you can enjoy every second of it. You’ll discover villages like Pienza, a real jewel known as the “Ideal City”: a unique Renaissance monument designed by the great humanist Pope Pius II, with its narrow winding streets and the beautiful Palazzo Piccolomini.
And then you’ll find Castiglion d’Orcia with its fortress, Abbadia S. Salvatore and its ancient Benedictine Abbey, Radicofani standing high on a cliff top with its imposing castle tower and the walled medieval city of Montalcino, dominated by the 14th century fortress offering breathtaking views over all the valley. East of Pienza you will then be enchanted by the harmonious renaissance hilltop town of Montepulciano (even if isn’t in the valley of the Orcia river)!
Famous for the immense political and economic power it wielded during the rule of the Medici Dynasty, Florence offered the world a stage for great artistic masters such as Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, Leonardo da Vinci and Galileo. However, Florence has its roots long before, when it rose and fell several times in the hands of the Romans, the lombardic tribe and others. Each successive age brought new architecture, art and creativity which are still evident in the streets, the many museums, churches, monuments and even the everyday life of this marvellous city.
Florence, capital of Italy’s Tuscany region and birthplace of the Renaissance, is home to masterpieces of art and architecture. One of its most iconic sites is the Florence Cathedral, with its terra-cotta-tiled dome engineered by Brunelleschi and bell tower designed by Giotto. The Galleria dell’Accademia displays Michelangelo’s “David,” while the Uffizi Gallery exhibits preeminent works such as Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” and da Vinci’s “Annunciation.”
The Florence “Vespucci” airport is located 5 Km. from the city centre. The main motorway, A1, connects Florence with Bologna and Milano in the North and Rome and Naples in the South. The motorway A11 to the sea joins it to Prato, Pistoia, Montecatini, Lucca, Pisa and all the resorts on the Tyrrhenian sea. There is also motorway which connects Florence to Siena.
The Chianti area, between Florence and Siena, is one of the most beautiful countrysides in Italy and a famous wine production area.