If you want to bring unique gift from Florence to your friends and family, Parmesan cheese is a great option! Parmesan is one of the Italian cheeses with the longest tradition. It is a hard grating cheese and it has a strong taste, so it is usually used grated on spaghetti. Of course, it can be bought even in the other countries, but it will never be as tasty as true Italian Parmesan. Here are the best places to buy it in Florence:
Parmesan can be found in almost every bigger supermarket in Florence. But we suggest you visit either supermarket Coop or Esselunga, because they are part of big chains that guarantee quality and freshness of the products, and they have more convenient prices than small shops. Also, the supermarket staff will be glad to cut and pack the piece of Parmesan in the size you want. Or you can choose from already cut and vacuumed packed pieces of cheese.
There is a Coop supermarket in Via Cimabue. Coop is one of the oldest supermarket chains in Italy, and it is known for the freshness of all its products. Good thing is that it is open until 9 PM every day, except Sunday. It often has special offers and discounts.
Esselunga is very modern chain of supermarkets with a great variety of products. There is one Esselunga supermarket in Via Masaccio, a 10 minute walk from Piazza della Liberta. And there is one Esselunga supermarket located on the other side of the bridge Ponte alla Vittoria in Via Pisana, near Giardino di Villa Strozzi. Esselunga supermarkets are open from 7:30 AM to 9 PM every day, except Sunday. But, it is good to know that Esselunga in Via Massaccio is open even on Sunday from 9 AM to 8 PM, which makes it one of the only supermarkets in Florence that are open on Suday afternoon.
Eataly is famous shop that sells only Italian products of the highest quality. It is located in city center, near the Florence Cathedral, in Via De Martelli. The atmosphere is rustic and elegant, and you will feel as a true Italian. The shop is divided in different sections that sell traditional products such as cheese, wine, desserts and many more things. It is a perfect place for if you want to try something delicious, but also if you want to buy present for someone. They have great choice of cheese, as well as delicious Parmesan cheese. The staff is awesome and they will be happy to give you some recommendations. They offer free tasting of cheese and wine so you can be sure you like it, before you take it home with you. There is also restaurant space where you can relax and enjoy in Italian food. Eataly is open from 10 AM to 10:30 PM, every day except Sunday.
Mercato Sant Ambrogio
If you truly want to experience Italian way of living you should visit a traditional market! Mercato Sant Ambrogio is located near Piazza Ghiberti, in city center. The market is open from 7 AM to 2 PM every day, except Sunday. It is one of the most popular spots in Florence, where both locals and tourists meet to shop, taste new products or simply chat. Most people are actually selling their own home-made products, so this market may be the best place to find something really authentic and healthy. They have great offer of fruit and vegetables, cheese and fish, and of course Parmesan cheese. Vendors are friendly and they will suggest you the best products you have to try. They will also be happy to recommend you some hidden gems of Florence, that only locals know. Mercato Sant Ambrogio is very busy so be prepared that you will need more time if you want to shop here rather than in supermarket, but it is definitely worth it! Mecato Sant Ambrogio is one of the historical sites of Florence, it was opened in 1873, and as such it deserves to be visited.
There is variety of options and all those places offer Parmesan cheese of the highest quality! Just choose the place that suits you the best, according to the available time and location.
Lunigiana is located on the northernmost part of Tuscany. It’s one of the regions that’s less explored by tourists visiting Italy. However, Lunigiana is a place that’s rich in history. Besides that, it’s a beauty to behold thanks to the small hill-top towns and natural landscapes. If you are going to visit Lunigiana, then you will leave with three memories. The rich history, scenic mountains, and food. It is known to offer great cuisines which perfectly engage different taste buds. Situated on Tuscany’s tip, Lunigiana sits between Liguria, the Apuan Alps, and the Apennines. Below is an overview of Lunigiana: Off the beaten track in Tuscany and what you can see.
This is a small city that’s found in Tuscany. Pontremoli was previously a commune of Latin Catholic bishopric. So, it was the sole door for monks, pilgrims, and saints in Central Italy. Found in Lunigiana, Pontremoli has a mixed personality. Its charm is warm and unique. Since its origin, it’s one of the contested villages. And although it has been burned down, it still rises. But what can you see and engage in this town? This place is rich in history. Ponte Della Cresa, for instance, is a bountiful place that was one of the multiple entrances which people used to access the city. It has four distinct stone arches and it spans over the river Verde. There is also Ponte & Tower del Cassotto which are the symbols of Pontremoli. It’s an entrance and bridge which facilitate easier communication with the neighboring coast. Don’t forget to visit the stele museum. It’s one of the most mysterious and ancient heritages found in this land. It’s home to numerous stele statues and you will find different dimensional sculptures. A visit to Pontremoli is not complete if you cannot eat testaroli. This is a renowned pasta which is pancake-like. Testaroli is often served with pesto. If you always love to dip your bread in a sauce, you will love it.
2. Equi Terme
Equi Terme is a stunning region with great natural phenomenon. The mountain town is found within beautiful caves, marble mountains, lush nature, and natural springs among others. It’s renowned for its unique location, beside one of Apuan Alps’ peaks. It’s solidly perched on a rocky and steep slope. Note that Apuan Alps’ marble core contains healing waters that are used in the Terme di Equi baths. These waters are classified as mineral springs and they have an average temperature of 24�C. The popularity of these waters is solely based on their healing properties. People can use them to heal otolaryngology and respiratory problems, joint and bone problems, skin issues in addition to angiology. Grotti di Equi is another area that’s found close to this bath. The UNESCO-Recognized site is consists of numerous karst caves. It features beautiful wells, lakes, and fascinating underground tunnels. This is a perfect place to relax, enjoy beautiful scenic views, and heal your body. The Equi Terme Caves are great for an excursion. Just like the natural water spas, they were also formed through erosion. The caves which cover around 1000 meters have three main parts i.e. La Buca: It’s considered as the entrance to the caves. Note that water no longer flows in this region. The proper caves: this is where the water still exerts erosive power. As a result, it leads to the creation of stalagmites and stalactites. The proper caves region is made up of several partitions which feature enchanting and surreal characteristics. The “expert” area: it covers an area of around 500 meters. This area suits only for an experienced caver. As a result, only experts can access it. The cave complex has a paleontological and archaeologic site which is important internationally. Apart from the caves and the natural hot springs, it’s also vital to go through the village streets. You will come across a picturesque neighborhood, spire-bell tower, and a medieval-like chapel.
This is indeed one of the most interesting and renown towns in Lunigiana. Fivizzano has a rich history. Besides that, its culture and folklore are interesting. It’s sometimes referred to as the beautiful corner of Florence because everything about it is stunning. As a historic center, some of the places which visitors can explore include the defense walls. They were built in 1540. There is also the Baroque fountain, the Palace & Tomb of Arcadian Labindo among others. There were many foundries, iron factories, tanneries, paper mills, printing, and dye works. Based on its humanistic culture Fivizzano has played a major role. Note that this is where the Jacopo da Fivizzano initially opened Italy’s first print houses. From its diverse culture and rich history, this region was home to famous notaries, doctors, jurists, as well as men of letters. Fivizzano gives tourists the chance to explore the Verrucola Castle which is found near the town center. The castle is currently the residence of Pietro Cascella, a popular sculptor. Other areas which a visitor can explore include the Ceserano region which has beautiful vineyards and farm. Besides that, Parish Church of San Paolo di Vendas is also a place that is a must to visit. You cannot miss out some of Italy’s favorite delicacies in this area. From farm restaurants which cozy restaurants to Michelin restaurants, there is a wide range of delicacies to enjoy. Generally, this region is suitable for nature lovers and those who love history. Fivizzano is an area that’s found deep within the Apuan Alps Park as well as the Appennino Tosco—Emiliano National Park. Besides that, the Sassalbo mountain village and the Frignoli Botanical Gardens all make this place interesting.
To conclude, Lunigiana is renowned for its unique history. It has amazing small towns which are unexplored thanks to its off the beaten track location. This makes it one of the perfect areas to explore in the Northern side of Tuscany. The beautiful caves, isolated castles, delicious meals, and great itineraries all make this place worth visiting. You will definitely have the time of your life because there is no tourist traffic.
For most travelers, nothing quite beats the thrill of an outdoor adventure. That feeling you get when you step out of the busy urban life is unprecedented. A serene wilderness out there where nature is at its best can be breathtaking.
Factor in a destination with water where you can swim and or bath, and you have more to look forward to. Well, Italy has a fair share of some of the best picks you can consider. You will have many options at your disposal. We have put together four of the best wilderness destination picks for your next trip. If you are planning to enjoy your next getaway, then keep reading to find your perfect next stop.
Waterfalls have their own way of making any hike worthy. And this particular one offers an impressive climax to a wilderness adventure. The scenery spot is in a quite remote place in Val d’Asta in Appenninno.
How to get there
This waterfall is about 500 meters off the road; you will need to hike along an isolated path from Civago. The path leading to this waterfall is not marked, but it is rather apparent that you can hardly miss it.
Then wade through Secchiello stream to access the 15-meter high waterfall. Look for the right route so as not to become over exhausted. Below it you will find several hops with shallow but very clear water pools.
What to do once your’e there
Once there, you can have a great time cooling from the heat of the day in the wilderness. The only problem is that since 2017, people cannot swim in these pools. This resulted from numerous injuries as people were jumping off the waterfall and injuring themselves in the shallow pools below. Nevertheless, this small yet fascinating destination offers an ideal stop with its crystal clear water pools.
Only make sure not to go down there with sandals. Trekking down the slope to the waterfall is not as easy as a family walk. Consider bringing with you some ideal hiking boots. If you like being out in the wilderness, then this waterfall is worth a try. It offers all the serenity you would ever ask for in a spot away from the crowds.
These springs offer yet another impressive destination to check out in Italy. They are located in the Villa Minozzo region. The source and the flow itself are quite amazing, with around 600 liters per second flow. The water is highly saline with minerals, both physically and chemically. It has a high level of sodium chloride, which makes it unique and intriguing scenery to visit. The interest in this spot isn’t new; it has been a cause for curiosity since the 1600s. The spot has an even longer history since about 2 million years ago; this area was under the sea. Then the sea evaporated, leaving the salinity in the hills.
It all started with the quest to exploit the area’s salinity. These waters have several therapeutic indications like constipation in the digestive organs, moderate liver dysfunction, and gallbladder disease. Others include diabetes and obesity among others. If you are looking for a relaxing on a picnic day out in the wilderness, then this is it.
How to get there
You can access them off the bridge Gatta in Castelnovo ne’ Monti town, Le Salse locality. Once you leave the town (which is not hard to find once you are in Italy) and proceed down, head for the banks of river Secchia. It only takes about two hours to reach the springs. The sources stand out thanks to their copious and whitish flow. You can take different routes through the woods, or reach it with a car if you so wish. Then enjoy a nice lawn where you can play.
What to do there
Among the things, you can enjoy include the beautiful fish in the flow. The short walk to the scenic destination takes you through paths that let you see the springs from different points. You will find perfect spots to enjoy the sun and relaxing shades under trees. Then there are tables where you can enjoy your lunch.
There’s also a bar and restaurant with impressive services. And yeah, you can take a bath in the end part of the stream as it enters the Secchia River. Among the reasons why these springs are worth a hard look is that they flow all year around. And every time of the year, the scene and the experience is always breathtaking.
Italy has many exciting destinations to check out, and this lake is one of the top options on the list. The lake is about 1,501 meters above sea level, and formed from partly glacier and partly landslides. At 1250m perimeter, about 20 meters at its deepest point, and around 550 meters it’s the largest natural lake in the Apennines. The lake has three tributaries flowing into it, one flowing from Boccaia, the other from the Serra coast. And the last stream flows from a grassy 150m long, 600m long Borra dei Porci terrace that hangs about 150m above the lake surface.
Accessing this lake is easy from the nearest and largest village – Pievepelago along Brenner road. From here, you can turn to state road that connects to Passo delle Radicci as you head out to the wilderness Then you will find signs for the Tagliole village and Lake Santo. If you are coming from Abetone, you can make use of a recently opened road along the Dogana Nuova region.
Turn to the left, with the Monte Modino massif on your right side, then cross Valle delle Tagliole and several other villages as Ronchi, Rotari, and others. Along the lake’s shores, you can park your car in a large parking lot available. You can reach it easily from a car park in only a few minutes.
What to do there
This makes a scenic destination for anyone seeking to enjoy the Italian wilderness away from the heat of the city. Have an adventurous time and enjoy the cool, clear and fresh waters and fantastic scenery out here. From swimming to bathing, diving and just kicking back and relaxing, the fun is almost endless. There is always a reason to visit this lake; it has a rich history that you can want to relive. But it’s the lovely scene and the fun out there that will blow you away.
For a place with fresh and cold bathing water, this is where you need to enjoy a hot summer day out in the wilderness. Here, you will find natural pools for an unparalleled experience. It only takes a few minute hike from Versilia. But finding these pools can prove challenging, make sure to have sensible shoes on. Also, be careful with the stepping-stones. You don’t want to bear an excruciating trek back to your villa.
So, how do I get there?
There are many routes to get to these pools. One of these is crossing Pietrasanta, and proceeding right along the riverbank. Head straight to and past Vallecchia, then cross a bridge and take to the right. Another option is approaching from Pietrasanta, head to Querceta, once you reach the second traffic light, proceed to the underpass and take the route to Monti, past Pozzi and Ripa.
Once you get here, the path is mostly the same. When you get past Corvaia, you will find a fork in the river, with an iron bridge to the right, go for the left-side road. This one will take you past Seravezza, Riomago as well as Molbacco. Keep going right ahead, around 1.2 km past Molbacco, you will come to the first pool on your left. There’s also an ample parking space. Proceed for another 2 km, you will find a sign on the left. You can park here and proceed on a footpath that descends about 10 minutes through the woods to Molbacco.
What to do
You can have fun in these pools, bathing and swimming to cool off the hot sun in the wilderness. It’s best to bring with you a packed lunch. And come in the late morning hours for the best experience. Molbacco pools are among the best destinations you can go for, there’s a lot to see and do. The experience is outright unique.
Apparently, Italy has a whole lot to offer for virtually every adventurer. And these four destinations offer some of the best treats by far. You can always step out there and have all the fun in the cool water. Have a scenic view of the virgin wilderness and enjoy the ample environment away from the cities. The fun is ever flowing out there; go and have a share of this bliss.
Montepulciano is a medieval and Renaissance hill town in Tuscany. The renowned destination that is surrounded by vineyards is known worldwide for its Vino Nobile red wine. Just like many places in Tuscany, Montepulciano is a pretty town that is loved by tourists especially wine lovers thanks to its numerous wineries which produce exquisite and authentic wines. The beautiful Montepulciano landscape in addition to a small population makes it one of the best places for wine exploration. Some of best wineries to explore around Montepulciano include:
Talosa, a winery found in Via Pietrose, is owned by the family of a famous entrepreneur, Angelo Jacorossi. Talosa makes wine with love, passion, and dedication, an awesome trilogy which most Italian families live by. Because of Angelo’s strong bond with nature especially land, he decided to venture into wine production as a way to express his passion.
Talosa has 33 hectares of vineyards and to produce world-class wine, the estate uses strict cultivation and harvesting techniques to obtain high-quality grapes. Wine lovers can have free access to Talosa’s Piazza Grande, a charming square that hosts the winery’s historic cellar. Talosa Winery is synonymous with the production of DOCG and DOC wines such as Nobile di Montepulciano, Rosso di Montepulciano, Chianti dei Colli Senesi, Extra-virgin olive oil and others.
2. Gattavecchi Winery
Also known as the Cantina Gattavecchi, Gattavecchi Winery is one of the popular and best wineries in Montepulciano, Tuscany. It is owned by the Gattavecchi family who have dedicated themselves to wine production for more than a hundred years. The Gattavecchi winery has a unique wine production style that is based on innovation, respect for traditions and also the land. As a matter of fact, they describe the land which contains their vineyards as – the land of unique wines of noble origin.
Each generation of the Gattavecchi family has significantly contributed to the production of some of the world’s fine wines as well as spirits. This winery is popular with tourists and wine tasters thanks to its high-quality DOC and DOCG wines which include Rosso di Montepulciano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and others.
With three wine tasting options, visitors can taste two wines for ten euros, two Vino Nobile wines which are accompanied by cheese, cold cuts and bread for 15 euros or three riserva wines that are accompanied by cold cuts, cheese, and bread for 18 euros.
Apart from the guided wine tasting tours, visitors can also get the chance to taste the local cuisine that is made with local products like cheese and other specialties. Lilian’s kitchen has tasting menus where visitors get the unique opportunity to taste wines and extra-virgin olive oil paired with local specialties. Gattavecchi Winery is an amazing place to taste Montepulciano’s fine wine. It is located in Via di Collazzi.
Contucci’s wine production style is based on tradition and innovation which the winery has carried and implemented for more than 1000 years. Located in Via del Teatro, Montepulciano, this winery has been owned for centuries by the Contucci family. Since the 1700s, this family has established itself among the top wine producers in Italy. A 1773 document shows that the Contucci family were among the “putative-fathers” of the Vino di Montepulciano. They have significantly contributed in making this wine famous and as a result, they have won numerous certificates and medals.
Contucci produces wines such as the Sansovino, Rosso di Montepulciano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and extra-virgin olive oil. The winery has arched enclaves which are stacked with barrels of wine and wine tasting is free here.
4. Tenuta Valdipiatta
Located in Via Della Ciarliana in Montepulciano, Tenuta Valdipiatta’s hilltop location makes it a picturesque destination for wine tours. The winery which is located on a 75-hectare of land boasts of over 30 hectares of vineyards. The stellar wine farm has one of the most prestigious wineries in Montepulciano.
This farm property which was founded by Giulio Caporali in the 1980s uses a strong and innovative style to produce its wines. They use this style because of their profound respect for land and also the need to produce world-class wines. Tenuta Valdipiatta is renowned for the production of the famous Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wine. Their other DOC and DOCG wine produce include Vin Santo di Montepulciano, Rosso di Montepulciano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano-“Vigna Alfiero” and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano -“Riserva”.
– Avignonesi is one of best wineries in Montepulciano’s to explore. Located in Via Colonica, this winery which was first established by the Avignonesi family is currently owned by the Virgine Saverys. Avignonesi uses a technologically advanced style to ensure that they preserve the land and they produce high-quality wine. Virgine Saverys are constantly doing research and development to ensure that the wine they produce expresses the true character of Montepulciano. They use biodynamic and organic farming methods to brew fine, distinct and authentic wines with strong character. Their state-of-the-art wine cellars and unique wines have earned this winery a much-deserved place among the top wine producers in Tuscany.
Avignonesi conducts tours and wine tasting from May through October. The tours including walking through its vast vineyards, visiting the cellars to get the full view of the wine-making process etc. Visitors are allowed to taste more than five different types of wines
Not only does Avignonesi offers wine tasting tours, the winery has a bar and it offers wine and gourmet Ferrari tours, cooking classes with wine-paired lunch, hot-air balloon tours with wine-paired brunch among others. The sophisticated winery has numerous fun activities which are paired with wine-tasting. Apart from Vin Santo di Pernice, their award-winning premium wine, Avignonesi also produces DOC and DOCG wines such as Rosso di Montepulciano, Vin Santo di Montepulciano, extra-virgin oil and others. It is one of the most explored wineries in Montepulciano.
Montepulciano, just like a bottle of fine wine, has aged well. The longer you take to explore its wineries, the more you will fall in love with it. What makes the wineries which are found here to stand out is that each has a unique style of production but they all produce fine and top-rated wines.
The world famous tower of Pisa is a massive attraction for tourists with well over a million visitors per year. How many of these tourists fail to look beyond the tower to see what else the city of Pisa has to offer?
A recent €30 million redevelopment of Pisa’s main attractions now means there is no better time to explore what else this beautiful city has been hiding. Below are just some of the best things to see and do in and around the historic city of Pisa.
Campo dei Miracoli
Italy’s grandest medieval construction project has more for you to view than just the leaning tower. Right next door is the grand Pisa Cathedral with its elegant facade of arches. If you look carefully, you will be able to notice that each one of the columns has their own individual design.
Once you get inside the cathedral the first thing to draw your attention is the marvelous and incredibly ornate golden ceiling. You can’t fail to be impressed by the sights within as you are treated to some of the finest Italian art available anywhere.
The circular Baptistry is well worth a visit too, and if you venture up the narrow stairs you will be rewarded with an excellent view of the cathedral.
Close by is the Museo Delle Sinopie housing a small collection of frescoes in the process of restoration and an ideal place to escape the crowds for a little while. A collection of treasures from the cathedral and baptistry can be found in the Cathedral Museum which is also nearby.
Thanks to the investment in redeveloping Pisa’s attractions, you are now able to take a walk along 2km of the city walls. From there you are afforded views of the impressive Camposanto cemetery and even the giant weights which were required to reduce the lean of the tower when fears of its collapse were heightened in 2007. Entrance to the city walls is free.
Further beyond the Campo dei Miracoli, you will discover narrow lanes and alleys opening up to grand piazzas. You can find more museums, palaces, theaters, bars, and concert halls, that you would expect to find in a historic and evolving city.
Standing out among the buildings at Pisa’s riverside is the Palazzo Blu. This 14th-century art gallery is noticeable for its azure blue coloring and is considered to be Pisa’s most exciting gallery.
In the past, it has featured exhibitions from Toulouse-Lautrec and Salvador Dali. You can check their website for details of the current exhibition, and entrance is free if you choose to pay a visit.
Places to Eat
Although no longer a coastal city, its history was very much tied up with the sea. La Scaletta restaurant is a fantastic example of a fish eatery. Just a short walk from the popular tourist area, La Scaletta has a 150-year tradition of creating seafood dishes. The current chef has a skill for creating innovative and surprising meals, but if you are looking for a more traditional menu that is still available to choose from.
In the city center you will find La Pergoletta restaurant. It features, tables arranged around a courtyard with an illuminated tree at its center, providing a very pleasant evening dining experience. The menu offers you a more traditional variety of dishes from the Tuscany region and comes highly recommended.
The banks of the Arno river are a good place to find other restaurants and bars, to suit your tastes during an evening exploring the city.
Excursions Outside Pisa
If you are spending a few days or more in Pisa, you will find trips out of the city to be a rewarding experience.
A trip to the San Rossore National Park offers you the chance to get some fresh air when choosing one of the five trails available through the greenery and sand dunes. It is possible to travel to the beach from here by horse-drawn carriage, through the unspoiled, varied forests and marshland.
South of San Rossore can be found the ancient site of San Piero a Grado. The Basilica of San Piero a Grado began construction in the 10th century but was built over much earlier Roman structures. The basilica is in stark contrast to Pisa Cathedral, with a wooden truss ceiling and modest columns. The columns do, however, support a recently restored intricate but large fresco from the 14th century. It features portraits of the Popes, from Saint Peter, the first Pope, up until Pope John XVIII in 1303.
On the opposite side of Pisa, in the village of Calci, you can find the Pisa Charterhouse. Formally a monastery, it is now the home of the Natural History Museum of the University of Pisa. Housed in an enormous compound of buildings and set in an area previously referred to as the “Pretty Valley”, it seems a world away from the busy city center.
Reputed to be one of the oldest museums in the world, it specializes in dinosaurs and aquatic mammals. Aside from the museum, the huge monastery and church offer you plenty of Baroque architecture and history to explore.
If you are in need of a more relaxing time, take a trip north of Pisa to San Giuliano Terme for a spa. The Bagni di Pisa resort offers basic treatments as well as a wide variety of beauty or medical spa treatments to maximize your relaxation. Luxuriate in the thermal waters within a grotto carved out of rock or in freshly renovated pools.
Slightly further afield still, you can visit the hilltop medieval village of Vicopisano. Boasting a castle which was constructed over 1000 years ago to dominate the surrounding valley and a military stronghold known as the Rocca. There is also an archaeological exhibition housed in the Palazzo Pretorio, a medieval public building featuring a prison and priest accommodation.
Pisa is also not too far from the cities of Florence and Lucca, allowing you to use it as a base to visit the historic sights in those beautiful cities. Also allowing for exploration of the scenic countryside villages off the traditional tourist route.
As you can tell there is much to do and see besides just the tower, in Pisa. It clearly warrants more time than most tourists normally allow, to enable you to fully experience what Pisa and the surrounding areas have to offer.
If you’re planning a trip to Italy soon don’t forget to include Volterra on your itinerary. If you’re working with a travel agent, ask them about adding it to your travel plans. You don’t want to miss this historic town with Tuscan roots that date back to before the 7th Century! There are over 3,000 years of history and do they have a story to tell you!
The city of Volterra is a town that sits on top of a hill not far from San Gimignano. It’s recommended that you take at least two days to explore but if you’re pressed for time, there are certain things you need to see before moving on to your next destination.
You’ll see sights such as the Roman Theatre that dates back to the 1st Century, BC. It was excavated in the 1950’s. There’s also the Volterra Cathedral that got an expansion in the 13the Century after an earthquake. These are just a few of the sites you’ll see when you travel through the Pisa region of Italy. If you only have one day to explore Volterra, here is what we recommend you do!
Volterra was once a powerful member of the Etruscan League of Twelve Cities which means you don’t want to miss what remains from this ancient time in history. To give you a little bit of a background, the Etruscan League was founded by two noblemen of Lydian Descent who were brothers named Tarchum and Tyrrhenus. The league was both economic and religious and it was similar to other Greek States. As you visit Volterra, be sure to enter from the Porta all’Arco because it’s the only gate that managed to survive from the original Etruscan Wall. The gate dates back to the 4th Century, BC. Be sure to look up as you pass through the gate–God’s weathered head is watching you on your journey.
Once you enter through the gates, find Priori Palace. Priori Palace is the current and oldest town hall in the region, dating back to 1208. It was completed in the middle of the 13the Century but it suffered from a blow in 1472 when Volterra was stripped of its administration. It has breathtaking views from the top but you’ll need to make quite a climb in order to see them. The windows on both the second and third floors are intact and to this day they maintain their Romanesque structure. If you choose to remain on the ground you can always go shopping. There are plenty of artisans who have set up shop and if you get hungry you can always grab a bite to eat at one of several restaurants on site as well. Dining choices include Osteria dei Poeti Volterra, La Vecchia Lira, and Del Duca. Take note, however, that these restaurants are only open in the evening for supper.
Then there’s the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, a Roman Cathedral that dates back to the 12th Century. It’s dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and it’s ceiling is covered in gilt. It was built in 1117 after an earthquake destroyed most of the town. Go inside and you’ll notice the unique architecture as the nave and the interior space come together to form a cross. The nave is covered in with stucco that looks like it might be rose colored granite. The stucco was completed in the 16th Century and completely restored in 1842 and 1843.
Be sure to see the pulpit that has three reliefs. These reliefs represent the The Last Supper, the Annunciation and the Sacrifice of Issac. Once you finish at the Cathedral, visit another nearby church, San Francesco’s Capella della Croce di Giorno. San Francesco’s is covered in beautiful frescos you won’t soon forget.
After you’ve had your fill of churches take a walk to the nearby Roman Theatre. You can’t miss it because it’s visible from outside the walls of the city and it’s located near Porta Fiorentina. There is an admission fee to get instead because you’ll need a ticket but don’t hesitate to go inside. It’s half-circle seating that was built into a hill. You can reach it by climbing stairs to the roofed corridor which to this day still stands for all to see. It’s architecture had an influence on the Romans but the architecture itself was a product of Greece. At the height of its’ existence it seated between 1800 and 2000 spectators. The theatre fell in the 13th Century but it was excavated in the 1950’s.
Once you exit the theatre be sure to learn about the people who built Volterra. Learn all about the Etruscan World by visiting the Museum Guarnacci. At the museum you’ll see a vast collection of funeral urns as well as Italy’s best collection of Etruscan artifacts. It is also one of the oldest public museums in Europe. You’ll also get to view the statue “Ombra della Sera” which in Italian means Evening Shadow.
“Ombra della Sera” made its debut in 1737 as a work of art displayed with other pieces of Etruscan antiques. It was commissioned by an artist by the name of Alberto Giacometti. The statue itself is a representation of a nude man, about 22 inches long. In its’ own unique way the statue is rather odd. The body of the man depicted is rather elongate but the head is in proportion to that of a man who might be alive when the statue was carved. Archaeologists claim that “Ombra della Sera” dates back to the 3rd Century BC.
If you’ve never tried truffles, you’re missing out! Truffles are a type of fungus found near tree roots. Yes, they are a fungus but don’t let them scare you off. They are rather delicious and Italy is famous for them. Some species of truffles are actually rather rare which can make them somewhat expensive but try not to pass them up. They are quite the delicacy and depending on the region of Italy, they come in several different varieties. In the northern regions of Italy, they are white. Be sure to find a restaurant that serves them before you leave!
From Tuscany to Rome and everywhere in between Italy has plenty of opportunities to both see and do things. Take advantage of all that Volterra has to offer while you’re there!
Do you love fashion, hiking or beaches? If you answered yes to this question, then Fort dei Marmi is a must visit destination for you. The town is among the most up-to-date and chicest in Versilia. Thanks to its beautiful villas immersed in pine groups, an impressive view of Apuan Alps, as well as the beautiful beaches, which makes the town a haven for tourists from all walks of life.
Forte dei Marmi, located in the Tuscany region is one of the top summer destinations in Italy because of the standard services, vibrant nightlife, and its beaches. The site is ideal for those who love to walk and ride since it’s located in a natural plain beside the fascinating scenery.
Life in Forte dei Marmi originates from the Piazza Garibaldi, the central square, marked by famous spots including restaurants, bars, and various shops. From there, you can easily find the historic symbol in the region, the fortification – popularly known as the Fortino – constructed for security purposes by Leopold I. The iconic pier (built in 1876) is a symbol of cosmopolitan Forte dei Marmi. Together with Fortino, the two sites gave the town the name “home of the Museum of Satire and Caricature. Pier was historically a place where marble extracted from quarries were loaded onto boats.
Forte dei Marmi was founded in Roman’s era and expanded significantly in the 16th century after the quarries were opened near the town. For the rest of century, the Fortress grew and developed through sheer renovation efforts. Towards 1788, the Fortress was completed, and around the 1800s, the Versilia town became a tourist destination and held similar status up-to-date. It is the perfect destination for a luxury tour on a global scale with a wide beach area and an assortment of elegant villas based at the heart of the town. More so, Forte dei Marmi is also famous for its markets (in Vittoria Apuana, Piazza Marconi, and the antique) as well as festivals in honor of Saint Francis and Saint Hermes). Additionally, the ancient traditions and hidden parts of the Apuan Alps are worth a visit as well. The sites will invite you to explore surprising and evocative paths in the upcountry. A usual gathering is represented by an open market every Wednesdays in Pizza Marconi with various accessories, and frivolousness on display. The lively surrounding stretches along the seaside, which consist of a 10 km beach. The beach is made up of sections (called “bagni”) that provide visitors with unique environment and offers. This is composed of areas suitable for kids and families, for lovers and so on. The seaside is also ideal for shopping: there you will access an array of ateliers and boutiques.
Lastly, your tour will not end before taking some pictures, and the experience you get will always be fresh in your mind several years later.
Carrara marble tour
Carrara is based in a strategic location with proximity to popular destinations including Pisa, Lucca, Florence, and Cinque Terre. It is also located along major communication routes, such that if you are visiting Tuscany from the East (Riviera, Spain, France) or from the North, you will never miss the sight of the fantastic white mountains that stand stretches towards the horizon.
The marble mines located in the Apuan Alps in northern Tuscany offers an incredible tour experience. Although you can tour the marble mines above the Carrara through a self-guided car tour, you’ll need to take a guided tour to reach the highest level of the Apuan Alps.
The marble quarries are the world’s most massive bedding that stretches along three major valleys (Colonnata, Torano, Fantiscritti) which branch out near Carrara town. The marbles caves are so unique that words can not describe the feeling you get once you get surrounded by the white, incredible marble mountains.
The unique art and archaeological feature is dated back to 2000 years ago. During this period, the Romans used the marble to built Rome and marked emperors celebration with it. Iconic museums in Italy such as the Rome Archaeological Museum, Vatican Museums, and Uffizi among others featured Carrara marble works.
Lardo di Colonnata
Many thanks to its unique compatibility of taste and seasonality – the Lardo di Colonnata, strips of cured fat is an exceptional food of Tuscany and probably the perfect natural accompaniment to the bruschetta.
The curing and storage of the Lardo di Colonnata is exceptional in every aspect. First, the marble mold consists of a particular type of marble from marble-cutter referred to as Calanoni. It is considered as the ideal cure of the Lardo. The marble is washed with hot and called water respectively.
Lardo di Colonnata is the product of two great Tuscan products: pork and the white marble from the Apuan Alps. Pork is the main livestock product in the region while the marble used to make beautiful columns are of excellent quality.
On the one hand, the Romans focused on increasing the amount of marbles they could extract, while on the other, the Barbarians that controlled the region after the Romans focused on the rearing of pigs for pork and lard. The best lardo is produced in Colonnata.
The consistent mountain wind in Colonnata brings about a suitable environment for aging lard. The fat is stored in basins or marble tubs with ideal porousness. Lardo di Colonnata standards include aging the meat in marble and are regulated by IGP. As soon as you move away from the regulated region, you will notice a decline in the quality of lards.
Now you have a basic understanding of Forte dei Marmi, Carrara marble tour, and Lardo di Collonata. As a tourist visiting Italy for the first time, and more so Tuscany, Forte dei Marmi is a must-visit location due to its the top-notch services, vibrant nightlife, and beautiful beaches, not to mention the impressive view of Apuan Alps. The Carrara marble tour will guarantee you a one-on-one view of the famous marble quarries. And finally, the delicious taste of Lardo di Collonata will ensure your tour experience is one of its kind.
Tuscany is a region filled with art, history and tradition, but outside the boundaries of the main cities, you’ll find picturesque Tuscan landscapes, with rolling hills and green woods. Surrounded by nature are some of Tuscan’s cuisine most used ingredients, like boars and mushrooms. But perhaps the most important thing that can be found around here – and one of the most expensive and rare – is truffles. Used in many recipes and dishes, it counts different varieties and you can find out more just by embarking on an immersive truffle hunt and tour around Tuscany. You’ll have a chance to pick truffles for yourself and enjoy food tastings with truffle-based dishes and local wines and meats; here are some options if you want to discover this side of Tuscany.
Fattoria Lavacchio’s Truffle Hunt and More
You can enjoy a truffle hunting experience at the Fattoria Lavacchio every day starting at 9am. Truffle hunting is a seasonal activity so make sure the period’s right to enjoy this experience, but the immersive activities offered by this establishment don’t stop there. The Fattoria Lavacchio is also a farmstay, with cozy rooms, guesthouses and villas for your stay in the Tuscan countryside. The grounds of the Fattoria also feature a restaurant, a windmill and a shop, where all the products the farm produces are showcased and sold: wines, olive oil, cured meats and cold cuts, and other natural products and foods made with local ingredients. The farm offers cooking classes and tasting experiences of the local products, and they’re the perfect activity to pair with your truffle hunt! After scouring the area for the precious truffles, all the while learning the features and uses of this delicacy, you can follow the hunt up with a cooking lesson, a lunch at the Fattoria Lavacchio restaurant, or a tour of the farm’s winery. Fattoria Lavacchio really has it all, and it’s the perfect place to enjoy Tuscan tradition and agricultural history, as you get in touch with the hands-on activities that farmers across Tuscany have been involved in for centuries. Established at the beginning of the 18th century, the Fattoria Lavacchio features vineyards and olive groves and you’ll enjoy a fantastic vista over the surrounding Tuscan hills and it’s located in Montefiesole, 30 minutes away from Florence.
Truffle Experiences Near San Gimignano
TuscanyEX is a team of native Tuscan women who organize all sorts of extraordinary experiences around Tuscany to make your holiday really special and unique. The website showcases many different tours and options for various day trips and visits to wineries, olive mills, dairies and farms around the Tuscan countryside. During the truffle hunting season, you too can take part to this immersive activity by enjoying a truffle hunt and meal near San Gimignano, a picturesque town with a rich historical and cultural background. With this tour you’ll reach San Miniato and the experience lasts from 4, up to 5 hours, depending on the type of activities you wish to take part to. The truffle hunt will be followed by a brunch, a lunch or even by a cooking class and lunch; this way you’ll find truffles and enjoy them as well in a variety of different local dishes! You’ll learn all about the region, the hunting grounds, the soil and the truffles themselves, communing with nature in the beautiful Tuscan countryside. The tour will take place halfway between Pisa and Florence, and with its duration that will take up half a day, there’s plenty of time to visit the surrounding towns and cities.
Experiences at the Casolare Il Condottiero
The Casolare Il Condottiero offers many immersive activities for tourists and visitors, and those visiting the establishments will have a chance to learn more about the history and culture surrounding the building, the area and this part of Tuscany, along with a tour of the wines and products that can be found here. One of the experiences you can take part to is the truffle hunt. The activity is seasonal, and can be done from January to March and from June to August – time periods may vary based on weather and growth conditions, so make sure the hunting tour is available. You’ll discover the world of truffle hunting and be aided in your search by Lagotto Romagnolo purebred dogs, the only breed recognized internationally as a truffle hunt dog. After the activity, you can enjoy a lunch or dinner with local Tuscan dishes that feature truffles and that are a perfect representation of Tuscan cuisine. You can spend the night by staying at the nearby Residence Le Santucce, a picturesque residential hotel established in a 19th century monastery. Both the Residence and the Casolare are in the beautiful town of Castiglion Fiorentino, near Arezzo, and the area has a long, interesting history and stunning vistas over the Tuscan countryside.
You’re travelling to beautiful Tuscany and there’s plenty to see and do for an immersive experience, and since you’ve docked in Livorno – or Leghorn – why not take part to some of the fun tours that can be done during the day in and around the city? Livorno has a rich history and has a lot of interesting and beautiful sights to offer. Let’s take a look at some of the options for those looking to do a one-day tour around Livorno.
Boat Tours Around Livorno
Discover Livorno by gliding over its canals with these fantastic, exciting boat tours that will teach you and show you all there is to know about the history and sights of the city. During a 50 minute tour you’ll see the network of canals of the Quartiere Venezia, with its picturesque, unique 18th century architecture, moving underneath the walls of the Old Fortress and of the New Fortress. The tour will take you under Piazza delle Repubbliche, the largest suspended square in Europe with its 220-meter width. A 1 h 45 minutes tour will take you from the 16th century Old Fortress to the harbor, but there’s also a 35 minutes tour on a venetian punt boat through the Venezia Nuova district. Themed boat tours are available if you want to have a different experience: “The traditions of the Palio Marinaro”, a tour that showcases the history of the city’s rowing competition; “Pirates, Corsairs and Smugglers” a tour that will teach you about pirates of the Mediterranean; “The City of Nations” a tour that showcases the cultures and foreign communities that contributed to the creation of the cosmopolitan city of Livorno. Boat tours with cocktails and appetizers can also be booked, or you can ask about a boat tour with a wine tasting experience package. The boats can seat 50 people and in case of bad weather conditions the tour can be replaced by a visit of the city by foot.
Secrets of Livorno
This tour will take you through the history of the many fortresses in and around Livorno. You’ll have a taste of the rich tradition of Tuscan noble families, conflicts and wars as you visit towers, citadels, and strongholds that made history. Livorno, known for being a cosmopolitan city, a free port and a stronghold citadel is one of few cities in Italy that still has remains in good conditions of the architectural elements of its medieval features: with moats filled with seawater, towers (one dates back to the year 1000), two Renaissance fortresses and six bastions from the 1600-1700s, they can all be visited with a tour by foot through the evolution of the city’s fortifications. The tour will take about 3 hours, but can be shortened or extended based on your needs and interests. What you’ll see during this tour has been a cornerstone for medieval defenses and the architecture was an inspiration for all of Europe. Measurements for the architectural elements of towers and strongholds were made with the advent of firearms and gunpowder in mind and it reflects in how these structures are organized. The art of war is tangible in the locations you’ll visit during this tour and it will evoke memories of spies, soldiers and ancient wars…
Nestled between Tuscany’s picturesque rolling hills, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, you’ll find the town of Bolgheri and that of Castagneto Carducci. Surrounded by rich history you’ll be immersed in the atmosphere of these borghi, medieval villages of Lombard origins. An excellent culinary tradition will accompany you as you visit the sights and landscapes of the area, and you’ll have the chance to try local, traditional dishes and produce of the region. A visit to Bolgheri won’t be just about seeing beautiful places, but it represents a part of Italian history, and will make for a unique, memorable visit. In Bolgheri you’ll find the Viale dei Cipressi and the Castle of the della Gherardesca family. The town overlooks an expanse of vineyards and olive groves, which produce some of Tuscany’s unique and prized wines and olive oils. You can stop by some of the local wineries and oil mills to try out these local productions, such as the world-famous Bolgheri Sassicaia, Ornellaia and Bolgheri Superiore DOC wines. Nearby, you’ll find Castagneto Carducci, with another della Gherardesca Castle, dating back to the year 1000. You can learn more about the noble family while you stroll through the streets of the town and enjoy the breeze over the valleys. A tour of the area normally lasts about 2 h 30 minutes (but can be shortened or extended to fit your needs and preference) and you can look into local wineries to book a tasting/dining experience as well, to get the most out of your visit to the area.
Cold cuts and salami are a big part of Italian cuisine. Consumed with a variety of accompanying dishes and in a wide range of ways, there’s always something new to try. Traditional and local salumi are one of many productions you can look into when travelling through Italy, and each region likely has its own unique products. And depending on the time of year you find yourself vacationing to the Country, there are many things you can try: melone with prosciutto, carpaccio with bresaola, grana cheese shards and arugula leaves, or even just a simple panino with salame, or a platter of cold cuts with mostarda. If you are staying in Florence, here are some places you can visit for a taste tour of the different kinds and varieties of Prosciutto and salumi that can be found in Tuscany.
The Salumificio Anzuini is a deli that has been providing clients with excellent salumi ever since the 1920s, sourcing their meats from the best local farms. It started as a pork meat processing establishment, but it now provides many types of artisanal, homemade salami and cold-cuts such as Salame Toscano, Fiocco di Spalla, Prosciutto, Capocollo, Salamella and salame with fennel seeds. They can be enjoyed at two Anzuini locations in Florence: the main store is the Norcineria Anzuini in via Faentina, where you can find all of their products as well as local wines and more; at the historic location in via De’ Neri 84/r you’ll find the Antica Macelleria Salumificio Anzuini, a restaurant and store where you can enjoy all types of salumi available, as well as purchase them. Here you can also try an excellent Bistecca Fiorentina, a must-have of Florence, Tuscany and Italy! Wash it down with some Chianti red wine and don’t forget to buy edible souvenirs: the choice is varied and there will be some type of salume to fit the tastes of everyone.
Antica Macelleria Falorni
Halfway between Florence and Siena, in the town of Greve in Chianti, you’ll find this deli-restaurant with a long family tradition, dating back to the 1800s. For 9 generations, they’ve been producing, selling and showcasing the excellence in cold cuts; the family has a private farm and their products merge high-quality pork meat and expertise to achieve a wide range of salumi with PGI status, which follow the Tuscan tradition of handmade, artisanal cold cuts. The Falorni family chooses the best breeds of pigs for their products, which can be purchased and sampled at their location in Piazza G. Matteotti 71, in Greve in Chianti. Here you’ll find a deli counter, to buy sliced samples of their products, a shop where you can buy salami and prosciutti, and a bistro, a small restaurant where you can have a unique dining experience, surrounded by tradition. The menu can be find on the Antica Macelleria Falorni’s website, and features cold cuts platters, bruschetta bread, soups, sandwiches and desserts, all paired with local wines.
This quaint, unique deli is located in Florence, in via De’ Neri 54rosso. It doubles as a shop and as a self-service restaurant, for a completely interesting experience. The brand has locations in other major Italian cities, but the first shop to open was this one, in Florence, and it sources its meats and cold cuts from local farms and butcheries. Close to the Museo degli Uffizi, it’s the perfect place to stop for a quick meal and to buy some salami for the road. Platters with a cold cuts selection, bruschetta bread with sauces and a trickle of local olive oil, sandwiches of all kinds and a selection of traditional cheeses await you, followed by a nice glass of Tuscan red wine. Completely affordable and totally perfect even as a snack or appetizer – although perhaps not the lightest choice if you’re on a diet!
Casa del Prosciutto
The Casa del Prosciutto is a traditional Italian restaurant, also called a “trattoria” and offers a wide menu filled with excellent dishes of the Italian and Tuscan tradition. Located in Fiesole, in the town of Torre di Buiano, it’s a favourite of tourists and locals, with excellent reviews that are completely justified by the quality and choice offered in this establishments. Here you’ll be able to sample many types of cold cuts, salami, prosciutto – all served in an enticing platter with bread and other local productions. Don’t miss out on the exquisite Fiorentina while you’re here, and try other dishes with meat, like the pasta options. They also have a sizeable wine selection, so you can pair the best red or white wine with your meal, for an enhanced dining experience. It’s your best bet if you want to eat in a traditional environment while also enjoying local salumi.