TRAVELING THROUGH TIME
Millions already preceded me and millions of people will visit Tuscany after me as well.
Although not all in the high season, which is strongly discouraged, but as far as I’m concerned
you can still do it if you have a good travel plan. And all the clichés are true: it is beautiful.
Tuscany, and in fact the whole of Italy in general, is one big open-air museum and so
admirers enjoy its beauty, like me. I travelled through time. From the art treasures in Florence,
through the wine paradises and the gothic palaces of Siena to the sandy beaches of the Etruscans.
Of course I visited well-known, but above all less well-known places and exclusively stayed
in boutique hotels, located in historic villas with family stories. Here’s a wrap up to inspire you!
Entering the cradle of the renaissance in Florence
I started my road trip through Tuscany at Villa Saulina, a characteristic early 19th century country house, that has been transformed into a four-star Boutique Hotel. Located on the outskirts of Florence, surrounded by ancient olive groves and vineyards and blessed with breathtaking views over medieval villages with authentic church towers.
Of course I captured the famous Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence on camera. Because it is stunning and because the construction of this huge church took over 140 years, the completion took place almost 600 years later and many famous artists and architects contributed to it.
Ponte Vecchio, Piazza Della Signoria with the Palazzo Vecchio and the Loggia dei Lanzi were also on my list. Hooray, now the images of Cellini and Michelangelo, among others, are also graved in my memory! But to dive even deeper into the rich history of the Florentine Republic and to deviate from the beaten track, I visited the towns of Vinci and Anchiano, where I looked at the designs and inventions of ‘his royal genious’ in Museo Leonardiano and Museo Ideale. The indescribably beautiful route to the birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci and the unexpected tranquility and authenticity, made Florence even more worthwhile.
Enjoying the mediterranean wine paradises nearby Siena
As I continued my road trip in the direction of Siena, the roads over the gently rolling hills of the Chianti first led me to Castello Di Gabbiano. Formerly the residence of one of the most (important) wealthy banking families, the Bardi’s, and now ‘Member of Best Boutique Hotels of the World’. Castello Di Gabbiano was built in 1124, intended for wine production only. And still the Del Turco’s, the current owners, grow the so-called Chianti Classico on 150 hectares and store large quantities of wines in expertly restored wine cellars, which can also be purchased by hotel guests and passers-by.
The not so well-known Brunello wine route took me for instance to the picturesque town of Montalcino, where I had a wine tasting including “vini prodotti tipici” in the authentic wine shop Enoteca Pierangioli. In Pienza, I then enjoyed the breathtaking sunset after a dinner at La Bandita Townhouse, a hidden gem in the historic center that in long gone times gave place to believing nuns for five centuries. And finally I settled for a few days on the historic estate of the noble Villa di Piazzano in Cortona. Built in 1464 as the hunting mansion of Cardinal Silvia Passerini, located in a protected nature reserve and since several years “travelers” choice.
Sunbathing on the wide beaches of Costa degli Etruschi
Through the medieval streets and the remains of the once so impressive Volterra amphitheater, I came closer to the coast and finally saw the imposing cliffs, the golden beaches and…. the sea! It is lovely wondering around through historic towns, but still, I am a beach girl. For these last few days I booked a stay at Hotel Antico Borgo, an elegant, renovated 19th century neo-Renaissance villa, set in the Tuscan countryside.
I noticed, that in every part of the Tuscan landscape the cypresses remain, but the greenery around them changes; vineyards turn into olive groves, which then turn into golden yellow fields with grain or forests with deciduous trees.
Of course I walked over the beautiful city walls and the Piazza dell ’Anfiteatro in Lucca. But perhaps even more enchanting I found San Gimignano, Montacatini Val di Cecina and the view of the sea from my lazy beach chair in the coastal town of Cecina, where I once again reviewed everything I had seen in three weeks pass.
What a great journey! And imagine, I haven’t even told you about Villa Porro Pirelli in Varese, where I spent the night on my way to Tuscany after a long car ride and had a delicious dinner at Ristorante Da Venanzio, whereafter I was able to continue. Or about Villa di Campo in Trentino, where I closed my trip in a stylish way. For this I would like to refer you to the Instagram posts with the accompanying images and texts. Bella Italia, until next year, until the next road trip!