Dear Reader,

First of all Welcome! Before starting, I would suggest you to take 5 minutes to read carefully the introduction of this Guide of Tuscany, where you will find the answers to many frequent questions and some interesting information about how to use this guide.
If you have enjoyed the reading please click the G+ button that you will find at the end of each article.
Giorgio Toscano

Friday, November 06, 2015

10 Things to do on a trip to Tuscany


Hello friends,

If you are planning a trip to Tuscany here area 10 things which you simply cannot miss!

1 – A walk through the vineyards and a wine tasting 

 
Any time of the year is valid for this activity; however, probably the best time is between the months of April and November, which is when the vines are at their best. There are thousands of places to do a wine tasting although, from my point of view, there are three particularly attractive areas. The first is the area of Brunello (near Montalcino), the second is the Vino Nobile (Montepulciano) and obviously the last is the Chianti region. All three are very different and equally beautiful but if you like the historic castles Chianti is surely the most beautiful in this sense, whereas if you like landscapes and hills that are lost to the horizon then the best area is probably Brunello and Vino Nobile.


2 – Bathe in the thermal baths 

 
Tuscany is a land rich in thermal spas, which are found throughout the region. If you prefer a more Spa type of thermal baths then you should visit the Querciolaia Rapolano Terme di San Giovanni or, instead, if you prefer baths in the middle of nature then you can visit BagnoVignoni and especially those of Saturnia, known worldwide for their beauty. This activity can be done throughout the year. A particularly magical moment is a snowy winter evenings spent in a thermal bath. For those lucky enough to enjoy their holidays at this time of year the most beautiful view is located in southern Tuscany.


3 – A hot-air balloon ride

 
Balloon tours are usually very expensive, about 250-300 euros per person. However, they are a very nice investment in your memories and an emotion that your loved one will remember for a lifetime.  The prettiest tours are those which are carried out in the area of Siena, specifically in Valdorcia. Seeing Tuscany from a hot-air balloon in perfect silence, watching beautiful vineyards, castles and small towns is something that you will remember forever as a truly magical experience. This type of activity can only be done with good weather conditions, therefore, the time of year that I recommend would be between the months of May and September.


4 – A trip to the Isla de Elba

 
All of the Tuscan coast is especially nice but the southern region from Talamone to Mount Argentario is beautiful, particularly reaching its peak on the island of Elba. This island is located a short distance from the coast and can be reached by ferry and would make a lovely one day excursion. Elba has magnificent beaches with beautiful fondales where you can enjoy the beautiful sea of Tuscany. This activity is ideal from June to September.


5 – Florence and a visit to the Uffizi and the Accademia 

 
Both museums are in Florence, the first was built by the Medici family and preserves many works of art that the lords of Florence collected over hundreds of years. The Accademia instead retains the world famous emblem of the city and Tusany; Michelangelo’s David. A visit to these places is complimented by a comprehensive visit to the city of Florence. This activity can be carried out throughout the year.


6 – Siena Cathedral and a coffee in the Piazza del Campo 

 
A visit to the Cathedral of Siena and the city in general is something that should be included in a visit to Tuscany. The Cathedral of Siena is positively amongst one of the most beautiful of all Christianity, and incredible works of art are preserved inside. The visit to the Cathedral can be complemented with a walk through the amazing old town accompanied with a coffee at one of the many bars that surround its beautiful Piazza del Campo. Enjoy a unique experience with a sunset on the square. This type of activity can be done at any time of year.

7 – A road trip through the scenic roads of Crete Senesi, Valdichiana and Valdorcia






All secondary roads of Tuscany have their charm, however, Crete Senesi is one of my favorites because of the sweet silhouettes of its hills which make this place a true Tuscan feast for the senses.

Another wonderful route is the Valdichiana, which could start from Bettolle. The first part of the route is going to Lucignano and then continue to Cortona and Lake Trasimeno.





The last route I would propose leaving from Bettolle, which passes through Valdorcia, where people have taken the most photos of Tuscany which you will find online. Stops along this road will include Montepulciano and Pienza whilst enjoying the people of Valdorcia.





These roads are very nice at all times of the year, in winter with snow and fog in the background it is very beautiful, especially during the misty mornings.


8 – A walk through the New York of the Middle Ages 

Known for its beautiful and well preserved towers San Gimignano can be considered as the New York of the Middle Ages as its rich merchants used to build ever taller towers as a symbol of their power and wealth. Today many of these are still preserved and a walk in San Gimignano will take you back in time. The city also retains a beautiful cathedral. From the top of the village you can enjoy beautiful views of the countryside and vineyards that surround it. This activity can be made throughout the year. 


9 – A rib-eye and a plate of sausages by Dario Cecchini

Although the World Heritage Organization has classified the red meat and sausages as products to avoid, this recommendation is unlikely to be followed by the Tuscans who are consumers and producers of great meats and red meat nonetheless remains one of the villages more lived on the planet with the Japanese. Throughout Tuscany you will find many restaurants to eat these delicacies, but there is one, Dario Cecchini, especially singular that I like very much and I want to recommend. I say no more and I leave you with this video:






Did you like it? To deepen your knowledge you can also visit their website: Dario Cecchini. This activity can be done throughout the year, if you want to visit Dario please visit his opening hours on the website.


 10 – Dizzy yourself up the Tower of Pisa 
I could not finish this article without mentioning one of the most famous sights of Tuscany and Italy in the world: the leaning Tower of Pisa.

You will enter a spiral staircase that takes you to the top. You may become a little dizzy and tired but your effort will be worth it for the view from which you enjoy, and it is so incredibly beautiful that this view gave the name to the square under the tower “Piazza dei Miracoli” (Square of Miracles). This activity can also be done throughout the year.



With this tenth activity and leaving many others in the pipeline I close this blog. As always I hope that this article will be useful in organizing your trip to Tuscany.

If you like what you read please help my blog by pressing the G+ button to recommend to Google so that I may keep writing and helping other travelers like you!

Ciao and see you soon!

Giorgio











Wednesday, September 23, 2015

35 Charming Villages in Tuscany!


Dear friends,

First of all, welcome back to the blog!

With today’s article I propose to share an interesting insight to some thirty-five Tuscan villages. Among this selection are the villages, divided by provinces, which I esteem to be of the greatest interest while traveling through Tuscany.

My desire is to help my readers in their search of places of interest, and above all,  the top places to visit during a short period in Tuscany.

I hope that I don’t forget any important villages along the way…and we start with:

PROVINCE OF FLORENCE

1 – Barberino Val d’Elsa (Florence) 
Barberino Val d’Elsa is a beautiful medieval town situated in the Chianti Fiorentino area. The village is surrounded by ancient walls and retains the original elliptical. Barberino Val d’Elsa has two medieval gates and a main road that connects the two entrances of the Porta Romana (which faces South to Rome) and the Porta Fiorentina (which faces North to Florence).

For those who want to deepen their knowledge of this village are welcome to read the following article: BarberinoVal d’Elsa




2 – Certaldo (Florence)  
The famous Tuscan writer “Boccaccio”, author of such works as ‘Decameron’ and ‘Dante’s Life’ was born here in Certaldo!

Certaldo is a great place to enjoy authentic Tuscany, especially during September/ October, during the Festival Boccaccesca, which is a major food and wine festival in the area.

During the month of July there is the interesting popular festival Mercantia.


3 – Vinci (Florence) 
In Vinci, everyone talks of Leonardo: his birth house, the church where he was baptized, the museum and library dedicated to him. As well as the beauty of the landscape, which Leonardo had seen, and which possibly was the true inspiration for the artist.

To learn more about this town you may read the following article: Vinci Where Leonardo was Born


4 – Fiesole (Florence) 
A few km from Florence you will find Fiesole, a little town from where you can appreciate Florence and the hills surrounding the city. Fiesole can easily be reached by car or bus from Florence’s centre. 


PROVINCE OF LUCCA

5 – Barga (Lucca) 
Barga is a must if you are going to explore northern Tuscany. This medieval town is a real hidden gem because of its location; just off the main tourist route between the hills of Tuscany and the Apennines. Barga with its 410 metres above sea level is a town worth visiting.

Fore further information on Barga, I suggest the following reading: Barga: One of the most Beautiful Villages of Tuscany.


6 – Montecarlo (Lucca) 
The city of Montecarlo is located in the province of Lucca and its territory covers an area of 1,559 hectares and a population of about 4,335 habitants.

The old town is very well preserved and surrounded by beautiful walls. Monte Carlo hill is covered with vineyards and olive groves and boasts a production of olive oil and wines of remarkable quality. 


PROVINCE OF PISA

7 – Volterra (Pisa) 
Surrounded by medieval walls, Volterra dominates from the top of this beautiful part of Tuscany. City of Roman origin, it has conserved its beautiful theater from the year 13 DC. The city has been used as the setting for numerous films, for example in one of the settings from the saga “Twilight”.

Volterra is without a doubt a must to visit. For those who wish to learn more about this place I recommend reading the following article: The city of Volterra

8 – Peccioli (Pisa)
The medieval city of Peccioli is situated in the region Valdera between Pisa and Volterra. The city of medieval design and narrow streets has a beautiful central square where there is the Romanesque church of San Verano. This church houses an important painting of St Nicholas and nineteenth-century bell tower which was built by the architect Bellincioni. Peccioli is found on the ‘Wine Route’ and there are many places visitors can sample locally produced wines. 


9 – Lari Casciana Terme (Pisa) 
The small town of Lari has been inhabited since Etruscan times.

Lari is situated in an area where three peaks join together in the hills of Pisa. The castle looms over the city centre and its construction dates back to medieval times. Most of the current structure is from the mid-seventeenth century. This castle was an important military settlement for the Republic of Pisa because of its dominant position, since its location can be seen from various hills from Pisa to Volterra. From the area that overlooks the coast you can see the village of Peccoli. In this town you can enjoy natural hot springs. 


10 – Casale Marittimo (Pisa) 
On the hill of Poggio al Bruno, with beautiful views of the coastal plains, surrounded by vineyards, olive groves and grain fields Casa Marittimo is a place which has been known since the eighth-century for its old Church of San Andres.

Torn between Casale Vecchio and Casale Nuovo, the city is a fortified medieval town of which still stands are the wall and the two gates. This ancient village is immersed in a wonderful landscape of tinted green near the sea. 


11 – Castelnuovo Val di Cecina (Pisa) 
Located among some of the most beautiful hills of Tuscany Castelnuovo Val di Cecina emerges as a well-preserved medieval village that extends along the line of valleys Possera and Pavone streams.

The village built on a steep hillside, with its stone houses, narrow alleyways, small arches and steps is undoubtedly one of the most romantic places in Tuscany. 


PROVINCE OF AREZZO

12 – Anghiari (Arezzo) 
With its colossal walls and winding and steep streets, tunnels and towers, Anghiari is the quintessence of the hills of the Tuscany countryside. It was here, in 1440, on the plain beneath the fortress that is preserved in the town where the Florentine army defeated the Milanese at the Battle of Anghiari. This victory was recreated and celebrated by Leonardo da Vinci in his “Lost Masterpiece”, which now seems to have been found in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.


13 – Lucignano (Arezzo) 
Lucignano is a small medieval village overlooking the Val di Chiana, halfway between Siena and Arezzo. It is known for the Tree of Love, a masterpiece of Gothic jewelry decorated with coral, enamel and rock crystal. Its streets and monuments make Lucignano a place that people should not miss on a tour of Tuscany.

If you want to elaborate on Lucignano I recommend reading the following article which includes some information about this magical place: Four Hidden Gems Around Siena.


14 – Castiglion Fiorentino (Arezzo) 
Situated between Arezzo and Cortona, Castiglion Fiorentino origin dates back to the Etruscan period. The present appearance is a walled medieval town of the thirteenth century. The town is known for the towers that mark the boundary of the old city. The central Town Hall Square is the heart of the city where, under the arches built by Vasari, one can enjoy a splendid view over the Val di Chiana.


PROVINCE OF SIENA

15 – Casole d’Elsa (Siena)

Famous for its rolling hills, vineyards and olive groves Casole d’Elsa is at an altitude of 417m and has a population of about 3,000 inhabitants.

Visitors can enjoy a visit to the church of Santo Spirito and Palazzo Pretorio (old town hall), which is decorated with coats of terracotta from noble families throughout the centuries that have ruled the town. Other places of interest are Palacio Casolani – Berlingheri – Scheggi, the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta and the church of San Pedro and San Nicolas.





16 – Castelnuovo Berardenga (Siena) 
Castelnuovo Berardenga, situated near Siena, is a medieval village famous for its villas and the beautiful gardens. In fact, the city and its surrounding area breath charm, character and history. Castelnuovo Berardenga in the Chianti wine area is also an excellent starting point to explore this wine region of Tuscany. 


17 – Cetona (Siena)
Between the Val di Chiana and Val d’Orcia close to the boarder with Lazio and Umbria is where travelers will find the town of Cetona. The town is a resort chosen for personalities from various fields to enjoy their vacation in complete tranquility and far from the main tourist routes. 



18 – Chiusi (Siena)
Chiusi is a very small town in the southern province of Siena and has numerous places of interest among which are: an extraordinary necropolis, the labyrinth of Porsenna, and the NationalArchaeological Museum, which houses a treasure trove of Etruscan findings and Greek and Roman pottery.

The Etruscans of Chiusi worked a special type of ceramic, a ceramic called Bucchero that is very dark and imitates metal.

Chiusi Lake (located northeast of the city) is a perfect place for nature lovers and sport. Among the products of the earth, we must mention without a doubt the olive oil DOP Terre di Siena and the wine Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG, IGT Toscana.

For those who want more information can read an article by Sylvia on Chiusi


19 – Montalcino (Siena) 
The town of Montalcino, surrounded by ancient walls, dominates from the top of a hill of Val d’Orcia. Located a few kilometers from Pienza and the Crete Senesi, and not far from Mount Amiata, which is world renowned for its wine, the famous Brunello di Monatalcino.

A fairytale place ideal for a day immersed in the history of the Tuscan tale, this village boasts stunning views over the surrounding valleys.

For those who want to amplify their knowledge I recommend reading the article: The Wines of Tuscany.  


20 – Montefollonico (Siena)

At the top of a lonely hill in front of Montepulciano, sits a picturesque medieval village in Tuscany: Montefollonico.

Its position away from the busy roads and the beaten track Montefollonico makes an especially charming and attractive village for a traveler. Located between the Val d’Orcia and the Val di Chiana, southeast of Siena, the city has ancient origins.

The name itself derives from the Latin word “fullones”, a name given by the Romans to the artisans working with fabric.

The town is well preserved and is surrounded by high walls and guarded by seven cylindrical towers that have remained unchanged over time, along with the beautiful Torre del Cassero, which dates back to the thirteenth-century. Also in perfect condition are the three main entrances of the city, the Palacio de Jusiticia and the thirtheenth-century church of San Leonardo. The old water cistern of the city, found on the main street, is really beautiful.


21 – Montepulciano (Siena) 
Montepulicano is located south of Tuscany, in the province of Siena and is in a limestone hill 605 meters above sea level. It is world famous for its Vino Nobile, a wine of great excellence. In addition to wine there are many things worth visiting in Montepulciano starting with its squares, monuments and cathedrals. The city is known as “the jewel of the sixteenth century” thanks to its splendid typical architectural style of the Renaissance. 


22 – Monteriggioni (Siena) 
The history of Monteriggioni, a municipality in the province of Siena, has ancient origins. The walled city was built on a hill by the Sienese in the eighteenth-century to protect their defensive line against their historic rivals, the Florentines, who sought to expland their borders.

Considered one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Italy, Monteriggioni boasts magnificent walls of the majestic fourteen protruding towers.

Monteriggioni is important both architecturally and culturally and has been mentioned in the Inferno of DanteAlighieri’s Divine Comedy.

The town of Monteriggioni seems suspended in time. As you enter through one of two doors and you are in the heart of the village. The main square is called Piazza Roma (Rome Square) and there is the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, which combines Romanesque and Gothic styles. The village is small and consists of wine shops, gun shops, medieval and small hotels and restaurants serving traditional Tuscan cuisine and wine of the area. 


23 – Murlo (Siena)

Murlo is an ancient small medieval village in the Metallifere hills and near the river Crevole. In Murlo there are many monuments and historic buildings to visit; from the municipality, the castle and the Church of San Fortunato and Palazzone. The archaeological site of Poggio Civitate where they have unearthed many Etruscan remains very close by. 


24 – Pienza (Siena)

Pienza is a small town located in the Vald’Orcia, in the southern part of Tuscany. It is only 15km from Montepulciano and 20km from Montalcino; two places worth visiting in this area. Known as one of the jewels of Italian Renaissance Pienza was built by architect Rossellino and financed by Pope Pius II of the Piccolomini family.

For further information about Pienza I suggest reading the following article: Visiting Pienza.


25 – Bagno Vignoni (Siena) 
Immersed in the beautiful Val d’Orcia at the foot of Mount Amiata lies this small spa town. The village, perfectly preserved in its main square retails a large thermal bath which is not open to the public.

In the Posta Hotel located in the same village there is access to the hot springs (for a price), however, in the summer you can enjoy outdoor hot springs just outside the village.

For further information regarding location I recommend the following reading: Bagno Vignoni.


26 – San Quirico D’Orcia (Siena) 
Halfway between Pienza and Bagno Vignoni in one of the most beautiful roads in the whole of Tuscany is located the town of San Quirico D’Orcia. The village and others of the area retain a medieval appearance.


27 – Radda in Chianti (Siena)

Radda is the so-called “Triangle of Chianti”, comprising the municipalities of Castellina in Chianti, Radda in Chianti and Gaiole in Chianti. Chianti medieval village located in the centre of a beautiful hillside, Radda is an excellent base for exploring the Chianti area and its castles such as Brolio and Meleto.

For further information on this area you can read the following article: Radda in Chianti and the "Gallo Nero".


28 – Radicofani (Siena)

In the south of the beautiful Natural Park of the Val d’Orcia boarder, one of the most impressive and spectacular medieval fortresses in all of Italy rises. For centuries, the imposing Fortress of Radiconfani has been the symbol of the defense and control of the Via Francigena, on the boarder between Tuscany and Lazio. Radicofani besides being of great military importance was also an obligatory stop for pilgrims and travelers.

This powerful fort was built in 978 AD, although its origins date back even further in time. Before climbing the tower I recommended a walk in the pine forest which surrounds the fortress, where you can see the remains of arches and wells partially hidden by vegetation at first sight.

The majestic tower of 37 meters high and rebuilt in the last century, boasts wonderful views across the park of Val d’Orcia and Mount Amiata.

The vast and overwhelming panorama can be classified as one of the most beautiful of Tuscany; the view tretches to the mountains of the Apennines, Lake Trasimeno and Lake Bolsena. 


29 – San Gimignano (Siena) 
San Gimignano needs no introduction. Known worldwide for its high towers is one of the most visited towns in Tuscany and all of Italy. In the Middle Ages, this city was defended by 72 towers, which only 15 of them are now preserved. These towers, a symbol of power of the wealthiest families of the city, are part of the UNESCO world heritage.

For further information on this town I recommend reading: San Gimignano: the City of the Medieval Skyscrapers

 

30 – Trequanda (Siena)

The medieval village of Trequanda is located in one the most pristine areas of the province of Siena and extends around a thirteenth-century castle. Trequanda is located on a hill, immersed in a natural setting of forests vineyards and olive groves.

The historic centre dominated by the splendid Romanesque church dedicated to St. Peter and St. Andrew was built in the thirteenth-century. The façade is of white stone slabs and inside there is a “Ascension” with frescoes by Giovanni di Paolo. 


31 – San Casciano Bagni (Siena) 
This town is of Etruscan origin and its name reflect the presence of hot springs (Italian for Bathrooms is Bagni. Legend has it that Porsenna, the Etruscan ruler of Chiusi, bathed in the hot springs. The thermal waters of San Casciano dei Bagni containing sulfur, calcium and fluoride, have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Through inhalation which works with the respiratory system with anti-inflammatory effects. They also have a ”peeling” effect on the skin.




PROVINCE OF MASSA

32 – Fosdinovo (Massa Carrara)

Fosdinovo is a town of Massa Carrara, located about 15 km northwest of Massa.  Fosdinovo owes its importance in history of its natural location between the sea and the mountains, the village is a hotspot between ports and inland areas of the region.

Founded by the Romans significantly increased the shelf life of the area. Since the Middle Ages, Fosdinovo is strengthened thanks to the most powerful family in the Lunigiana Malaspina and even Dante, the great poet, lived for some time in Fosdinovo.

The opening to the sea was at the same time the fortune and misfortune of Fosdinovo: first the opportunity to earn money from trading, on the other hand, it was the front line in time of wars and struggles, including the two World Wars.

Fosdinovo is today a village rich in art and history that undoubtedly deserves a visit.


PROVINCE OF GROSSETO

33 – Massa Marittima (Grosseto) 
Massa Marittima is a jewel of Tuscany. Beautiful city with panoramic views located just 50 km from Grosseto in southern Tuscany. The historic centre of the city is of Etruscan origin and many signs of the past are still recognizable in the perfectly preserved walls, the narrow streets and in urban and architectural complexes. The history of this place is strictly linked to mining because there are mines of iron, mercury, lignite and copper here.


34 – Pitigliano (Grosseto)

Pitigliano in the Maremma is hallway between Florence and Rome on top of a volcanic tuff. Its unmistakable profile makes it stand out kilometers away with its unique charm which is almost surreal. It is also known as Little Jerusalem (Piccola Gerusalemme) due to the presence throughout the history of an important Jewish community, Pitigliano has an interesting historical and cultural past.

About Pitigliano you can read the following article: Pitigliano - Off the Beaten Beauty.  

35 – Sorano (Grosseto)

Sorano is a picturesque village situated on a hill slope hanging from tufa stone. Of Etruscan origin Sorano preserves a beautiful old town. Wandering through its streets and enjoying the beautiful views over the valley is definitely an experience that travelers should not miss.


And so far that’s all!

I tried to mention the most important towns and I apologize for missing some because I am certain there are more that are wort emphasizing.

If you consider that this article has been helpful to you I’d be grateful if click the G+ button at the bottom of the article!

Cordially,

Giorgio.

Monday, September 07, 2015

September in Tuscany


Dear friends, 

We are in September so I'll try to summarize the advantages and disadvantages (very few) of travelling during this month around Tuscany.

Advantages:
 
1 – Climate 

September is probably the best month of the year, along with June, as regards to temperature. With a minimum of 15 and a maximum of 27 degrees Celsius this climate makes it extremely enjoyable to tour Tuscany during this month. 

Below I have attached an annual table where you may see the minimum and maximum monthly average temperatures during the course of the year in Tuscany. 

Average Temperature Per MonthMaxMin
January52 °F (11 °C)37 °F (3 °C)
February55 °F (13 °C)37 °F (3 °C)
March61 °F (16 °C)43 °F (6 °C)
April66 °F (19 °C)46 °F (8 °C)
May73 °F (23 °C)54 °F (12 °C)
June81 °F (27 °C)59 °F (15 °C)
July86 °F (30 °C)64 °F (18 °C)
August86 °F (30 °C)63 °F (17 °C)
September81 °F (27 °C)59 °F (15 °C)
October72 °F (22 °C)52 °F (11 °C)
November61 °F (16 °C)45 °F (7 °C)
December54 °F (12 °C)40 °F (4 °C)


2 – Rainy Days 

September is characterized by a period of very low rainfall, the average is only 6 days of rain during the entire month, which also tends to be concentrated towards the end of September. Pleasant temperatures and sunny days make September an ideal month to visit Tuscany.
Therefore, I will also provide a table with the forecast of rainfall per month/ year so that you can use this guide to plan for any other month. 


JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAgoSepOctNovDecTOTAL Per YEAR














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3 – Hours of Daylight 

The daylight hours are also an important factor to consider when planning a trip to Tuscany. September enjoys plenty of light; exactly 13 hours at the beginning of the month and 12 hours following the 17th of September.
At the beginning of September the sunrises at 06:37 and the sunsets at 19:54 whereas towards the end of the month the sunrise is at 07:13 and sunset is at 18:58.

4 – Colours of the fields and nature 
 
September is a month of changing hues during which the fields and the hills of Tuscany leave behind yellow fields of sunflowers and wheat of July and August to reach brown hues of ploughed fields and reddish discolouration of the vineyards (the latter is much more accentuated during the month of October).
With the imminence of autumn also brings the colour change to yellow in most other native plants. 


5 – Holiday Homes and Hotels 

The vast majority of tourists are concentrated in Tuscany during the month of August. Although September is not off-season it is definitely a month in which you can find better prices, greater availability and certainly some of the best deals. A holiday apartment in a small town can be a very economical solution to get to know the region at very affordable prices.

6 – Art Cities, Tourist Attractions and Restaurants

The great art cities such as Florence, Siena and Pisa are also much less crowded with tourists. You will be able to spend less time in queues and enjoy the artistic heritage of Tuscany with much more peace and quiet.
The restaurants also offer great availability and better service considering the lower influx of travellers.

Disadvantages 

We really cannot say that there are any clear disadvantages whilst travelling to Tuscany during the month of September, with the exception that for most people in September means that they are returning to work and are unable to travel. 

As always I hope that this article will be useful in planning your trip to Tuscany so if you consider this information has been helpful then please give the G+ button at the end of the article so that Google knows that you appreciate this content. 
 
Cordially,

Giorgio

Friday, July 10, 2015

My journey through Tuscany

Dear Friends,

Today I will publish a letter from a reader of my blog that I think may be helpful to everyone:

"Hello Giorgio, we have just returned from a 5 day trip to Tuscany and after using your blog to help us navigate the area I thought I would share my travel experience´s with you.

After looking at many rural houses that can be found on various websites, we decided to trust your suggestion and we stayed at Villa Vignacce Annalicia.

The truth is that it was a huge success; the place is great and everything is perfectly maintained. I stayed in the apartment Granaio with my wife where we celebrated 10 years of marriage. Upon arrival we found a bottle of Italian sparkling wine (prosecco), some strawberries from the garden of the house, and a home-made dessert which we enjoyed with our breakfast.

Day 1:
You explained that May is a wonderful time to go to Tuscany and the truth is that the flower garden in Vignacce gave us a spectacular view every morning as well as the fields and the countryside around the house which was full of beautiful flowers.


The first day we where a little tired from traveling and so only in the afternoon we began exploring Tuscany, we decided to go to Lake Trasimeno which is just 20 minutes from Vignacce. We took our Fiat 500 and in less than half an hour we were enjoying an ice cream at the gelateria tropical Passignano sul Trasimeno.

From Passignano we took a boat that took us to the Isola Maggiore on Lake Trasimeno where we enjoyed a beautiful walk through the castle and admired a wonderful sunset. On the way back it was almost dinner time and so we stopped at a restaurant in a village called the Fischio del Merlo. We ate excellent pasta with black truffle and fish from the lake that was the best I have ever eaten; truly exquisite.

Day 2:
We woke up enjoying a spectacular sunrise from our room in Cortona which is just in front of the house, we showered, had breakfast at home and a good Italian coffee with cake made by Annalicia, we thanked her and her friendly dog ​​Billy and we headed towards Florence.

We arrived in Florence in under an hour and parked in the Central Station. We had arranged time to dedicate the morning to visit the Uffizi museum while in the afternoon we walked through the main tourist attractions: the Ponte Vecchio, Il Palazzo Pitti, Piazza della Signoria, Piazza Santa Croce and obviously il Duomo. As for following your recommendations we stopped to eat at Restaurant Da Mario. Simply spectacular!


Late in the afternoon we were heading back to Bettolle but took the opportunity to stop at the Incisa-Valdarno Outlet" Mall" where obviously my wife could not resist the temptation to spend all our savings on a nice Gucci bag at 70% off!

As you can imagine we arrived at the Villa very tired after our amazing but long day and so we rested before a walk through the village of Bettolle, which is located just 5 minutes walk from the Betulia restaurant, here we had a excellent Bistecca alla Fiorentina!



Day 3:

The time is going so fast on our trip, yet we head out to enjoy a spectacular sunrise and with our umbrella in hand we visited San GimignanoWe wondered around the charming medieval town which was only an hour and a quarter away. Here we spent a couple of hours walking through it. Then it began to rain so we decided to take the car back towards Monteriggioni where we ate at Bar del Orso! excellent recommendation! Thanks Giorgio.

In the afternoon it was time to visit Siena where we visited the spectacular cathedral! I recommend everyone to pay the € 10 entry because it is really wonderful, we went to Piazza del Campo and then again back to the Bettolle direction.

At night we had dinner at Santorotto in Sinalunga, also an excellent restaurant where we ate some local cuisine (a pasta typical of the area) ragout!






Day 4:
In the morning it was a sunny day once again and so we headed to the nearby Valdorcia. From Bettolle Montepulciano the drive is wonderful! Just 20 minutes separating the two places yet there are an endless delight of landscapes amongst them.

This could be a postcard of Tuscany. Montepulciano desepcionó was a little change for us. The city has many ups and downs and to reach the Piazza Grande we got a little lost. After this we continued to drive towards Pienza and the scenery was even more beautiful. We could not help stop several times to take beautiful souvenir pictures of Tuscany.

Finally we got to Pienza, the city we loved right away and actually in our opinion deserves the nickname Renaissance jewel. Following your advice we ate at Il Chiostro di Pienza where a friendly waiter named Alfonso served us very beautifully. From the restaurant we enjoyed a magnificent view of the entire Valdoricia and Mount Amiata.

We later visited Montichiello, Bagno Vignoni and climbed back through San Quirico d'Orcia! It is really wonderful! I fully understand why the Tuscan people protect their heritage and environment so carefully because it is awe inspiring.

Day 5:
As with every morning we where warmly greeted by a friendly Annalisa and her playful dog Billy. We drove to Pisa with the feeling that we had missed several days to enjoy the pool and the garden of the house. We also missed out on a visit to Umbria which is really close and Annalicia had recommended to us to visit as well as other beautiful areas of Tuscany which we read about in your Blog.




We arrived at Pisa late in the morning and found traffic around Florence but still plenty of time to visit the beautiful Piazza dei Miracoli and its Leaning Tower. In the afternoon at 18:00 we left for the airport and our flight back home with a sense of sadness and returned home promising ourselves to return back soon and get to know and further enjoy this beautiful land that is Tuscany and Umbria.
Thanks Giorgio!

Miguel and Marga "

Dear Friends, I hope this article written by Miguel helps you to plan your route through Tuscany, if you wish to read other articles on routes through and around Tuscany then simply click on the menu to the right of the blog that has a collection of all of these articles as well as the a general guide to Tuscany.


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