Tuscany, Italy

Tuscany - We were there during sunflower season!

People always ask me of all the places I have traveled, what is my favorite?  Tuscany, Italy is without a doubt at the top of the list. The wine region of Tuscany and those walled towns are magical. I would go back anytime.

Why? First of all, those walled magical towns are unlike anything we have here in the U.S.A. Lucca and Siena are probably my two favorite towns (so far, until the next visit, right?) Plus the wine, the food! Oh my!

Riding bikes along the top of the wall surrounding Lucca

The charming town of Lucca, in the Northern region, is very easy to reach from Pisa or Florence. The walls that surrounded and protected the town of Lucca were actually maintained through the years, and now serve as a park with grass and trees. Now you can bike ride, walk, or run the entire perimeter. It is a big WOW.  Shady benches line the walkway so you can enjoy a gelato on your outing. Riding bikes along the promenade was one of my favorite things we did here.

 

Siena is rated as the loveliest medieval town of Italy. It too has walls, and at the heart of the town is the Piazza Del Campo, the main square. It is really a sight to see. Find a nice outdoor cafe, have a lovely Chianti, and watch the world go by.

 

Hotel Garden Sienna

Sienna is also the location of my absolute favorite hotel of my trip, Hotel Garden. Just outside of Sienna, on the bus route, The Hotel Garden is a real gem. Parking is plenty, the hotel offers a pool, includes breakfast and best of all has a wonderful outdoor patio for enjoying the local wines, the view, and relaxing. They offer a wide assortment of nightly snacks in the bar, and of course, the staff is wonderful. After a full day of sightseeing, the Hotel Garden was a lovely treat. Check them out at: http://www.gardenhotel.it/  The hotel was very helpful in booking  our wine tours, so we didn’t have to drive. 

Travel Tip: Wine tasting in Tuscany is a real experience with food/snacks included. Only plan on 2 (at most 3 a day), allowing for drive time to the vineyards and plenty of time to enjoy the experience.

Be sure to try the delicious pastries of Sienna. Picture here is Ricciarelli – an almond flavored biscuit/cookie that is perfect with a cup of coffee.  Each bakery and pastry shop in Siena has their own secret recipe, so you may need to try all the pastry shops and find your favorite!  

Of course, the best part of visiting Tuscany, was the wine tastings. The beautiful wineries provide an “experience” not just a tasting. Allow about 2 hours for each stop, as your tasting will sometimes include a tour, and most always includes some food! Having “Chianti in Chianti” was my favorite motto for the trip. You can check out the Chianti wine trail and more at https://www.discovertuscany.com/chianti.

The Brunello wine region is also a delight. See more at:

https://www.discovertuscany.com/what-to-do-in-tuscany/wine-tasting/montalcino-wine-itinerary.html

Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa

We also stayed at the Renaissance Tuscany II Cocca Resort and Spa, located in northern Tuscany in the town of Barga, Italy. It is a good hour and a half drive from Pisa airport. You will drive through Lucca (one of my favorite towns), so a car is a must. The hotel sits atop a hill overlooking the Serchio Valley. The views are just spectacular. The pool, the spa, the wine and the views make this property an absolute retreat , and a great location to relax and chill for a few days after the hustle and bustle of sightseeing in Tuscany. 

Travel tip: Drive to this hotel during the daytime hours. At night, the roads are dark, curvy, and the drive up the mountain can be a little intimidating if you have not driven it before. Enjoy the views during daytime.

We used the AC Hotel Pisa as our airport hotel for late arrivals and early morning departures. It offers basic amenities, no frills but easy access, good parking and the staff was very helpful. Be sure to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa while in Pisa.

I used https://www.discovertuscany.com in planning our trip. It’s a wonderful website with great ideas for the length of time you have in the region.

Tuscany is a wonderful treat with so many places to explore.  Book yourself a trip and let the magic begin!

Kathy 

 

Marriott has other wonderful properties to visit in planning your perfect stay in Tuscany. I created a link so you can see them all at one time. Just type TUSCANY as your destination.