Booking a visit to Tuscany is a sure way to experience beauty, delicious flavors, amazing scenery, historic sites, and so much more. However, all of the options can actually become quite overwhelming, and you don’t want to waste one precious moment wondering what to do or where to go. Guests of Isle Blue, are often surrounded by many different options, though their private Tuscan villa may be a destination all its own.
However, if you do yearn to get a taste, glimpse, or experience that is authentically Tuscan outside the walls of your villa, we recommend these “beyond the basic” ideas:
Piero della Francesca’s works are here, and though only 25 visitors can enter the choir of San Francesco during tours, this is one spot that is well worth the journey. You see the works of the Renaissance throughout Tuscany, but the frescos here are something of wonder. While little can compare with the treasures of the Uffizi in Florence (another must-see), this is a perfect compromise if you are not headed to that city and still want your fill of period art.
If you are an animal lover, and know about St. Francis as the patron saint of all animals, you may want to head to La Verna where the Franciscan monastery that was his retreat is found – and still operating. It offers unprecedented views of the Apennines, and is a popular pilgrimage destination.
If you are an avid walker and wish to explore an authentic medieval city, little will compare with San Gimignano and its stunning medieval towers. It has fifteen of them still standing and impeccably preserved. Be sure you take a drive to the outside of town just to turn back and gaze at the amazing view that these towers create. It is very popular during the high season, so go early in the day or later in the afternoon to avoid crowds and catch the stunning sunlight as it strikes the buildings at sunset.
San Miniato and truffles
Whether you are a gourmand, novice foodie, or someone who just likes to explore new things, you may want to take advantage of the fact that you are in Tuscany and surrounded by some of the very finest culinary options and offerings imaginable. One of the best adventures you can choose is to head to the little town of San Miniato, an agricultural center that is also world-famous as the home of the best white truffles. Multiple destinations offer them for sale and sampling, and you should be warned that you may develop a distinct liking for the costly, yet utterly delightful, fungi.
Take a hike
There are two areas where unforgettable hiking adventures and wilderness exploration are found. The first is Alpi Apuane, a northern destination more famous for marble quarries than outdoor explorations. However, there are many well-marked paths and trails that will take you past some of the loveliest scenery, birding areas, and wildlife imaginable. In fact, more than three hundred kinds of birds are found here, including the stunning golden eagle. The other hiking area is found in Monti Dell ‘Uccellina. This is a far more wild and uninhabited place that includes a regional park where you can explore coastal marshes and forested hills.
Wine and Chianti
Most travelers know all about the name “chianti” and that it represents one of the nicest red wines available. However, a visit to Tuscany may not be complete without a visit to the Chianti region that stretches between Siena and Florence. Spend an entire day marveling at the vineyards, sampling the offerings and booking at least one meal.
Travelers hoping to enjoy these experiences will need a car or a hired driver. As an Isle Blue client, we can help you with such arrangements and facilitate your journey in any way possible. Enjoy your entire visit in your villa, or take a day or two to take in these alternative sites.