June 20, 2024

Welcome to Tuscany, a area bursting with allure and brimming with hidden treasures. Tuscany is a spot the place rolling hills, picturesque villages, and historical structure mix seamlessly with a vibrant tradition, scrumptious delicacies, and world-renowned wines. From the beautiful seashores of the Tuscan shoreline to the majestic Apennine Mountains, Tuscany gives a various vary of landscapes which are certain to captivate any traveler.

Past the favored cities of Florence, Pisa, and Siena lies a world of particular, off-the-beaten-path locations. I by no means stop to be stunned by the hidden gems this fabulous a part of Italy has to supply. I’m going to share with you 5 of my favourite Tuscan (lesser-known) treasures. These spots are usually not solely straightforward to succeed in from the most well-liked cities however are additionally excellent for these trying to escape the crowds and have an genuine Tuscan expertise.

Whether or not you’re a first-time customer or a seasoned Italian traveler, Tuscany’s hidden gems are certain to discover a place in your coronary heart. So, pack your baggage and let’s begin exploring!

The medieval town of Pitigliano

The medieval city of Pitigliano

Photograph credit score: Luboslav Tiles / Shutterstock.com

1. Pitigliano

Situated within the southern a part of Tuscany, on the border with Lazio, Pitigliano is commonly missed by vacationers. This medieval city was constructed on a rocky outcrop and is a must-visit vacation spot for anybody trying to discover a few of the extra distinctive sights of Tuscany.

Pitigliano is also referred to as “Little Jerusalem” attributable to its place near Rome, the place escaping Jews might discover refuge. As early because the 14th century, the city turned an vital haven for Jews, with their numbers rising a lot that they constructed a temple right here in 1598. In actual fact, through the Holocaust, the Jews of Pitigliano, a 400-year-old neighborhood, have been hidden for nearly a yr by sympathetic native farmers in barns and caves. None of these in hiding have been arrested and all survived.

As you stroll by means of Pitigliano’s slim cobbled streets, you’ll be enchanted by the city’s distinctive structure, Etruscan tombs, and wells, all of which appear to be a part of the rock itself. Don’t miss the spectacular Palazzo Orsini, which serves as the doorway to the previous city and homes the Archaeological and Artwork Museums.

Pitigliano can be recognized for its community of secret tunnels carved into the rock, resulting in age-old wine cellars and engaging chambers. In the event you’re a historical past buff, go to the Jewish Ghetto, in addition to the Duomo di Pitigliano. Earlier than you allow, take a second to benefit from the picturesque landscapes surrounding the city. Go to Forno Del Ghetto to bask in some conventional Jewish sfratti, a typical walnut, nutmeg, honey, and orange-peel pastry of Pitigliano, nonetheless baked and bought within the bakeries and pastry retailers of the village. And when you’ve got time, keep for dinner at Osteria di Fuori Porta di Pitigliano and savor a glass of wine whereas admiring the beautiful views.

Pitigliano is a simple 2-hour drive from Rome and simply over 2 hours from Florence.

Sorano village

Sorano village

Photograph credit score: Fesus Robert / Shutterstock.com

2. Sorano

Sorano, a hidden gem in southern Tuscany, is a must-visit vacation spot for these trying to expertise the sweetness and allure of off-the-beaten-path Italy. This centuries-old village perched on a cliff and dug into the rock (like close by Pitigliano), gives guests a glimpse into the Etruscan period and medieval instances. It’s also known as the Matera of Tuscany, attributable to its rocky villages and pathways that take you on a journey by means of time. Guests can discover the Etruscan necropolis, take within the beautiful views from the Rocca Orsini fortress and the Masso Leopoldino (also referred to as Rocca Vecchia), and admire artwork from the Center Ages on the Collegiata di San Niccolo.

Sorano can be an important place for foodies and wine fans. The village is known for its grape harvests, wine tastings, excursions, and seminars that may be loved at Sassotondo on the previous highway from Pitigliano to Sovana.

Attending to Sorano is simple, with it solely being a 2-hour drive from each Rome and Florence. Those that are visiting close by Pitigliano must also make time to discover Sorano, because it gives the same allure on a smaller scale.

Professional Tip: In case you are in search of someplace to remain, attempt Agriturismo Locanda Pantanello, a superbly restored conventional Seventeenth-century stone farmhouse solely a 10-minute drive outdoors of Sorano. 

Monteriggioni main square after the rain

Monteriggioni predominant sq. after the rain

Photograph credit score: Gabriele Maltinti / Shutterstock.com

3. Monteriggioni

Situated simply north of Siena, Monteriggioni is a medieval hilltop city that’s a must-visit for these exploring Tuscany. Constructed between 1214 and 1219 as a protection towards the sturdy Florentines to the north, it’s now a sleepy city, a peaceable and charming vacation spot fashionable with these vacationing in Italy and in search of non-touristy locations to go to. The city’s medieval fortifications and watchtowers are nonetheless in place.

The city is residence to a number of notable sights, together with the Thirteenth-century Church of Santa Maria Assunta and the Museo Monteriggioni in Arme (Military Museum), which homes a set of unique navy objects, clothes, and weapons. Guests may also get pleasure from panoramic views of the encompassing Tuscan countryside from the city’s towers and walkways.

Whereas on the town, remember to discover the slim streets, charming gardens, and the must-see central sq. with its historical nicely. In the event you’re fortunate sufficient to be in Monteriggioni in July, don’t miss the annual Medieval Pageant, often called Monteriggioni Festa, which kicks off with a Grand Banquet within the piazza. Then, the next days are devoted to medieval video games, conventional craftsmen at work, and colourful parades, together with fireworks, dancing and music, and loads of meals and wine.

Though Monteriggioni is small and lodging are restricted, there are just a few locations to remain, together with Lodge Monteriggioni and Camere Dentro Il Castello. For a very unforgettable expertise, go to Fattoria Castello di Monteriggioni vineyard and pattern a few of the area’s fabulous meals and scrumptious wines.

Professional Tip: Combining a go to to Monteriggioni with close by locations like San Gimignano or Greve in Chianti is extremely really helpful.

Bagni San Filippo thermal baths

Bagni San Filippo thermal baths

Photograph credit score: Vlas Telino studio / Shutterstock.com

4. Bagni San Filippo

The small, stunning Tuscan city of Bagni San Filippo is called after the secluded sizzling springs situated there. The city is only a few minutes away from the Instagram-famous Val d’Orcia (Valley of the Orcia River), a UNESCO heritage website and a valley within the coronary heart of Tuscany that’s retained its unspoiled magnificence for hundreds of years.

The Baths of San Filippo, located in a park within the coronary heart of the city, provide stunning pure thermal swimming pools the place the water flowing by means of is wealthy in carbonate-calcic. Over time, these deposits of calcium have created large formations. Essentially the most spectacular of which is the White Whale, which appears like a solidified waterfall. A brief downward hike by means of the park will get you to the attractive swimming pools for a therapeutic and stress-free swim within the 77-degree Fahrenheit, mineral-enriched water. The most effective time to go to the springs is between September and November, particularly on weekdays or early mornings when there are fewer crowds.

The new springs are free to go to and Bagni San Filippo is a superb day-trip choice from Rome or Florence, however a good higher choice is to remain within the space for just a few days. For these trying to keep within the area, Montepulciano gives good lodging choices, like Il Tosco, an vintage mansion within the coronary heart of Montepulciano.

Professional Tip: There are many hidden spots at Bagni San Filippo to find. Don’t accept the principle areas, maintain strolling till you discover the extra secluded, deep turquoise swimming pools. I’d advocate bringing a picnic lunch and loads of water!

Elba Island harbor and coastline

Elba Island harbor and shoreline

Photograph credit score: essevu / Shutterstock.com

5. Elba Island

I’m dishonest somewhat right here by supplying you with a complete island and never only a city! Elba Island, located simply 6 miles off the coast of Tuscany, is the third largest Italian Island after Sicily and Sardinia, and it’s top-of-the-line hidden gems in Tuscany. Well-known for its pristine shoreline, Elba isn’t actually on holidaymakers’ radars but however is certainly price exploring.

Elba is a part of Tuscan Archipelago Nationwide Park, Europe’s largest marine park, together with eight different islands, together with Giglio, Giannutri, and Montecristo. Guests ought to make the most of the island’s beautiful shoreline with its crystal-clear waters, hidden coves, and pristine seashores, equivalent to Cala delle Alghe or the Spiaggia Luisi d’Angelo. The lushly wooded inside is ideal for strolling and biking. Mountain climbing up Capanne Mount gives spectacular views of the island, whereas exploring the historic Fortress of Volterraio, perched on the high of the island, gives perception into Elba’s wealthy previous. A go to to Portoferraio is a should for historical past buffs, because it was as soon as Napoleon’s place of exile.

As in the remainder of Italy, a normal love of kids in Elba is accompanied by fabulous, child-friendly meals, loads of family-friendly actions, and a great vary of family-friendly lodging, just like the Baia Bianca Suites or the Lodge Antares. Youngsters will notably love the wire-cage chairlift to the island’s peak, which gives views all the best way to Corsica.

The island’s allure lies in its untouched pure magnificence and unspoiled panorama, offering a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of on a regular basis life. With eight ferries a day connecting it to the mainland, Elba Island is well accessible and undoubtedly price a go to.

There you’ve gotten it — 5 of my very favourite hidden gems in Tuscany. Head out and uncover the distinctive surroundings, the wonderful historical past, the tantalizing meals, and naturally, the world-class wine that this unimaginable area of Italy has to supply!

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