Top 10 Things To Do
1| Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is only 30 minutes away by car and it is one of the most famous monuments in the world but seeing it on photos really doesn’t do it justice. To really experience the tower and its surroundings, you have to go there for yourself. Because the tower is just one part of the incredible Piazza dei Miracoli, where the most beautiful architecture can be seen and touched up close. The square is very aptly named “The Square of Miracles” and we would recommend getting a ticket to go in and explore the building’s artistry at a more intimate level.
2| Florence and the Gallery of Uffizi
It would be sacrilege to step foot in Tuscany without visiting Florence which is only 1 hour away. This stunning regional capital is home to the most prestigious works of Italian art and is considered to be the birthplace to the Renaissance. The Gallery of Uffizi is a must and you should also make time for the Florence Cathedral, Palazzo Vecchio, Basilica of Santa Croche and the famous square, Piazzale Michelangelo.
3| the walled city of lucca
Lucca is famous for its Renaissance-era city walls that have remained intact while so many other Tuscan towns saw theirs destroyed in past centuries. Lucca is located on a plain at the foot of the Apuan Alps and is less than half an hour from the Tuscan coast. 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. The train station is right outside the southern walls, with an entrance below the balcony of San Colombano that brings you right behind Lucca’s cathedral and into the heart of the small walled town.
There is plenty to do in Lucca – we recommend the following:
– Cycle the city walls
– Wine / oil tasting at a local fattoria
– Visit the gardens of historical villas
– Walking tour of Lucca
– Watch a Puccini opera recital / concert
– Visit Café del Simo is Lucca’s most famous coffee shop with art nouveau interiors
The countryside which surrounds Lucca is some of Tuscany’s finest. A wonderful natural landscape filled with ancient vineyard, centuries old olive groves, elegant villas, charming farmhouses & remote hilltop villages. The Colline lucchese wine trail is the land where the Doc wines ‘Colline Lucchese’ & Montecarlo are produced
4| The Medieval Town of PIETRASANTA
A wonderful town which you must visit (if you’re not lucky enough to be staying there!) the perfect place to spend the evenings as there are numerous fantastic restaurants, boutique shops, pavement cafes, art galleries. Children can play in sight in the square whilst parents sit in a café , also a good place for teenagers/young at heart looking for a bit of nightlife as bars stay open late at the weekends.
Just 3 Km from the coast, mountains and sea blend together beautifully in Pietrasanta, a small medieval town known as “city of art & artists” Pietrasanata is one of Tuscany’s best kept secrets.
This stylish town is not particularly well known in the UK however it is where the wealthy Florentines and Milanese choose to go on holiday. The area is internationally renowned for its wonderful restaurants, art exhibitions and boutiques. Italian Vogue dedicated an article to shopping in the bijoux boutiques in and around Pietrasanta. Read more here http://www.vogue.it/en/trends/the-trend-blog/2011/04/shopping-in-versilia
Once loved by Michelangelo, today the town is a mecca for international artists such as Bottero & Mitorai. The ambient old town square is filled with sculpture exhibits and houses a cathedral that looks like it belongs to a large city. The cobbled streets which radiate from the main piazza are lined with sought after restaurants, authentic trattorias, elegant pavement cafes and bijoux boutiques. Traffic is restricted in the narrow streets, allowing the artists to set up their easels in the street and show off their latest masterpieces.
The landscape surrounding Pietrasanta is smothered in olive groves and vineyards. Narrow roads wind through terraced hillsides up to the tiny villages of Valdicastello, Capezzano, Capriglia and Farnocchia, communities un-touched by tourism. Collectively these villages are known as ‘Versilia alta’ and the areaoffers visitors unforgettable walks.
Inland lies some of the most spectacular Tuscan countryside. Just a 20 minute drive takes you deep in to the Tuscan hillside surrounded by ancient cypress trees and silver leafed olive groves. Local homemade pasta, Chianti, fresh trout from the streams, homemade bread and sheep’s cheese will satisfy the most discerningof pallets.
5| VERSILIA’S luxury beach clubS
On Tuscany’s golden coastline & nestling neatly below the marble – topped Apuan mountains, Marina di Pietrasanta is an elegant beach resort in the heart of this wonderful area known as ‘Versilia’ – famous for it’s beautiful wide, golden, sandy beaches with a stunning mountain backdrop. There are many authentic pizzerias, stylish cocktail bars and pavement cafes, gelaterias for the best home made ice cream, fantastic sushi and fish restaurants and fashionable boutiques
You will find a plethora of elegant beach resorts of Forte dei Marmi & Marina di Pietrasanta on the Versilia coastline (many have their own restaurants and swimming pools) the rugged Cinque Terre and bay of Lerici are also worth a visit.
Versiliana Beach club offers tenda canopies, an excellent restaurant, swimming pool with gym area – a truly luxurious experience www.versilianabeach.it
For something more authentic also serving excellent local dishes and very family friendly we recommend Bagno Liu. www.bagnoliu.it
An authentic Tuscan town with Roman origins. Ideally situated only 8 Km from Pietrasanta and a 10 minute drive from Forte dei Marmi – this charming town offers an array of local trattorie, delis, boutiques, pavement cafes and is only a ten minute drive from the beach. You will sample some of Tuscany’s best dishes in Camaiore and the surrounding countryside.
7| THE CINQUTERRE
5 beautiful fishing villages not to be missed. Mountains down to the sea, colourful buildings, stunning views. Very different landscape from Pietrasanta. Driving is not recommended as the roads are mountainous and parking is almost impossible. If you want to take the car drive to La Spezia and take a train from there. Boats trips also available from Forte dei Marmi or Viareggio. Once you reach one of the 5 lands you can either buy a 5terre pass and walk between the 5 or use the local shuttle trains. Please check with the tourist office for boat times & prices.
8| shopping in forte dei marmi
Forte is like ‘Bond Street by the sea’ . Many Italian and international personalities can be seen sat in Forte’s bar Principe during the summer months. The town is home to designer boutiques such as Prada, Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, Versace, stylish bistro restaurants and 5* hotels. Bridgewater’s Idyllic Italy offers a selection of reasonably priced villa rentals in Forte dei Marmi which are available on a weekly basis. However, properties in the town are highly sought after internationally and many owners insist on a minimum stay of one month during July and August. The rental prices in Forte dei Marmi are higher than the surrounding areas. Central villas with pools within easy reach of the beach are limited and should be booked well in advance. Wednesday weekly market not to be missed!
10| the grotta all’onda
The ‘Grotta all’ Onda’ – huge cave was once the home of the ancient human species called Neanderthals and later by Homo sapiens.