Practical advice about traveling to Tuscany
Although it is difficult to say for certain which area of Tuscany is the most beautiful and interesting to the traveller, it is true that the south of the region encompasses some of the most beautiful cities and scenic roads of all the region.
For those who are organizing a short trip, coinciding with the Easter holidays, we would like to propose an itinerary around the southern Tuscan villages and towns to be able to take in most main wonders of the area in spite of the few days they have.
The itinerary to Southern Tuscany should not leave out by any means:
San Gimignano – Monteriggioni and Siena
A ravishing excursion that can be perfectly made in a day and permits to enjoy the three spectacular towns, hard to say for certain which one is the prettiest. San Gimignano with its imposing medieval towers and its wonderful views of the Tuscan scenery is a town in which it is great to get lost and enjoy the true Tuscan essence. Monteriggioni, a little walled gem, is a town which is visited in brief trip and has a little bar with a terrace in which to relish tasting of Tuscan products while you feel time has stuck in Monteriggioni. Lastly, Siena is a magnificent town whose splendid Piazza del Campo gives good reason for paying a visit. The beautiful narrow lanes to wander the town the imposing cathedral, the Tower of Mangia, its elegant bars and cafes, …all the town is a thread of history, beauty and refined atmosphere.
Arezzo – Cortona
Undoubtedly, it would be the most celluloid- like stage of the trip. Besides their own history both towns can narrate, (in Arezzo you will not be able to leave out Piero della Francesca’s works), it is also true that both towns have been location for two of the most acclaimed films of cinematographic history.
As soon as you get to the main square in Arezzo it brings back memories of Roberto Benigni pedalling his bicycle across the square looking for his “principessa”. In fact a sign located at the entrance to the piazza provides the traveller with information about the many places of town in which the most famed scenes of “Life is Beautiful” were filmed. Arezzo with its churches and museums and its elegant and abundant antique shops is not one of the most celebrated towns in Tuscany; however, it is a destination which you cannot leave out by any means.
Cortona, with its beautiful and well kept walls and balconies which perch over the Tuscan scenery, is one of the prettiest and most visited towns in Tuscany. When the traveller goes past the gate leading into town, he is immediately mesmerized by the unique atmosphere of this real jewel of the region. The novelist Frances Mayes, author of the best seller “Under the Tuscan Sun”, on which the film of the same name was based, was literally haunted by the spell of a truly magical town.
Montepulciano – Pienza – Bagno Vignoni – Val d’Orcia
This third day will be the most “panoramic” as the roads of Val d’Orcia are really outstanding.
Each town has its charm and beauty that makes them one-of-a-kind. Montepulciano with its precious square and its narrow lanes full of ancient cellars is a charming town giving marvellous Tuscan panoramas and has among its treasures one of the most beautiful churches of the region, the Church of San Biagio.
The beautiful Pienza, reachable after driving along the most beautiful roads of all Tuscany, is a little town visited in little time and features a beautiful balcony over the valley in which it is worth stopping for a while to enjoy unsurpassed views. Good cheese lovers cannot but try the delightful “pecorino” cheese sold in all the shops of Pienza.
To top a perfect stay off we recommend to visit Bagno Vignoni, a little “lido-town” featuring two thermal private centres as well as a free-of-charge thermal pool. It is the ideal place to unwind and lounge about after this sprint around Tuscany.
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