Toscana is for sure one of the most beautiful regions in Italy. Just think of those romantic panoramas with endless fields and hilltop hamlets, charming little towns with cobbled streets and the most exquisite flavors of the local food&wines. How not to fall in love? – Till recently, Tuscany was one of a few areas in Italy I haven´t managed to visit yet and one of the places I was eager to experience the most. So, despite the hot summer weather and only 3 days-off to explore, we took a flight to Italy without second thoughts… And who wouldn´t?
Toscana & Italian Food
But before we go any further with my Toscana route, I should warn you – 3 days is absolutely not enough to explore all across the region: most of the travel guides would recommend you at least 5-7 days (and I´m not sure I could have seen everything even in one week). Nevertheless, those 3 days have already given me lots of Wanderlust, some sort of the Taste of Toscana.
One of the best parts was that we stayed in a very local family-owned villa, called La Canonica Di Fungaia (near Monteriggioni). And after years of my trips to Italy, I´ve recently realized that all of my favorite stays were in very local family-owned places, whilehotels always ended up being a disappointment in terms of price, quality, and expectations.
I guess the secret lies in Italian cordiality, especially outside the big cities. Staying with Italian family gives you a unique cultural experience: not to mention those delicious home-made breakfasts full of local specialties or some useful travel tips you could get from your hosts. Despite my contradictory travel experience in Liguria last year, I should say that this breakfast at B&B Rose Garden in Millesimo was one of the most delicious ones I´ve had in my life. And I know it´s a huge statement to make – but Italians know how to win you over when it comes to food.
Every time I travel to Italy I feel like Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love – having a romance of my life with a simple piece of pizza. Sometimes we really need to take a moment and enjoy these small details to the fullest: no one does it better than Italians.
La Canonica Di Fungaia
Ok, now when I paid tributes to Italian Food, we could finally head to all the wonderful places I visited during these 3 days under the Tuscan sun. For sure, we wouldn´t be able to see that much if not traveling by car (even though navigating around all the mountain curves in Tuscany can´t be named one of the most relaxing driving experiences ever)… We were lucky this time (even though it was July): keeping in mind our last trip to Liguria over the Easter holidays (hours of lines and traffic jams) I suggest you – choose your dates carefully while traveling to Toscana. It is something that can make or break your travel experience.
Our flight was to Pisa, but we immediately headed to Siena and left the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa for the last day…
Day 1 Siena -San Gimignano
Three main things to see in Siena are Piazza del Campo, Torre del Mangia, and The Cathedral. We didn´ want to spend more time in the city and headed to San Gimignano. It is is the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990. Tall towers, cobbled streets, and romantic cafes, tasty dishes (we had a delicious pasta with truffles)… There are several points of interest (Torre e Casa Campatelli, The Bell Tower, Duomo di San Gimignano etc.) but we mostly enjoyed a simple stroll through the historic center.
Day 2 Pienza, Montalcino, Montepulciano
Val d’ Orcia is everything you expect to see when traveling to Tuscany. The most romantic landscapes and interesting medieval cities. Here, we made 3 stops – Pienza, Montalcino, Montepulciano. Pienza was probably the one I liked the most. Nevertheless, even the views on the road were worth it all: flight, summer heat, mountain curves, tourists, elevated prices. This is the area I´ll choose for my stay if visiting Toscana next time.
Montepulciano On the road / Val d’ OrciaPienzaPienza
Day 3 Volterra – Pisa
First thing in the morning we left Monteriggioni and headed towards Pisa while making a brief stop in Volterra.
Volterra is often called the Etruscan city and if you´re into the history and archaeological sites, then it´s a perfect place for you: lots of unique remains dating back to Etruscan and Roman times, also some Medieval and Renaissance sites.
Many say that Pisa and Florence are two unique cities in this region of Italy that have to be seen at least once in your lifetime. Well… Florence for sure is, while Pisa honestly didn´t impress me that much. It´s international landmark – The Leaning Tower of Pisa is an interesting site to visit once, but I felt like Pisa´s tower was one of those way too touristic places that end up not living up to your expectations…
Have you ever been to Tuscany? What did you like there the most?