Driving through Tuscany. A route of emotions
A route drive through Tuscany to meet its medieval secrets, crossing beautiful landscapes and enjoying wine and gastronomy
A Tuscany route is always a dream. Walk its green landscapes, enjoy your food and wine, learn about the history and architecture of cities like Florence or Siena or lost by many of its beautiful villages inside was something that everyone should do at some point.
Tuscany to prepare a route first thing is to choose good flight. From Spain, it is cheaper to fly to Pisa. Pisa has an international airport where many low-cost operators, so it is the best gateway to Tuscany operate. Having chosen the flight, will have to choose dates. In this issue if you have time, the best time to travel to the region is in the spring. The climate is very similar to southern Spain, therefore, in summer it will be very hot. In spring, on the other hand, the temperature is mild and the scenery is at its best.
Tuscany has three forced things to visit: Florence, Siena and the whole landscape at all. Once you have the flight and date, the second step is to choose the place of residence, since the area is traversed either by car and you do not go changing hotel every day. If done in this way it lose much time and is not practical at all. It is best to choose a country house or apartment between Florence and Siena, where you can walk right across the region.
The price depends on the season in which they travel, but an apartment for 4 people out about 75 € / day, although ranging from € 60/140 / day. So if you go with a couple more there shall cheaper. The backup car is always better to do it from Spain, will come cheaper. With the usual safe driver, you can book more or less practical cars for about 40 € / day and picked up from the airport.
With regard to gastronomy, you eat very good looking less touristy restaurants will be more authentic and much cheaper. However, this route can go for about € 500/800 / person, depending on your habits and your tastes.
The driving through Tuscany region can visit well in 5 days including the first day of flight. Would take advantage of the first day to Pissa and Lucca and it is important that our flight lands in Pissa morning. The planned itinerary is as follows:
1st day – Pissa and Lucca
2nd day – Chianti, Volterra and San Gimignano
3rd day – Montalcino, Montepulciano, Pienza and Vall d’Orcia
4th day – Florence
5th day – Siena and Crette Region Senessi
1ST DAY – Pisa and Lucca
As I explained earlier, the cheaper entry to Tuscany is produced by Pisa, the airport receives much of the low-cost flights operating in Italy, it is the Galileo Galilei Airport. So we take that first day to visit Pisa and if we have time one of its nearby cities such as Pistoia or Lucca, I will propose the latter.
Pisa is capital of the province and the most interesting area to visit is the famous Piazza Miracolli, which can be done in no time. The square is also called Piazza del Duomo or Cathedral Square, it consists of four large buildings; The Duomo, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, (bell tower of the Cathedral), the Baptistry and the Camposanto, declared World Heritage Site by Unesco.
If you have time you can also see in the city other buildings of interest such as Piazza dei Cavalieri (Square of the Knights), which shows the Palazzo della Carovana, with its impressive façade designed by Giorgio Vasari, the Church of Santa Maria della Spina, a small Gothic church is one of the most important Gothic buildings in Italy and the Botanical Garden of Pisa, the oldest in the world, it was one of the legacies of the prestigious University of Pisa, founded by Pope Clement VI .
In the afternoon you can visit Lucca, one of the medieval towns of Tuscany, where his oval plaza is its unique construction and so is this famous Italian city. You can also visit the Cathedral of St. Martin. Also are well worth posts pizza the old town where you can enjoy a good and rich piece of Italian cuisine at a great price.
2nd day – Chianti, Volterra and San Gimignano
To this day it is up the itinerary in the most central part of our route to Tuscany. Not surprisingly, this route will be a little longer, as the region of Greve in Chianti has many curves, but the landscape well worth it. On this route we will conduct a total of 200km round trip, visiting the wine region of Chianti, Volterra, the town famous for its alabaster, and finally return and the medieval town of San Gimignano, in the province of Siena.
If you’ve seen a movie where you can appreciate the beautiful landscapes of Tuscany, sure some of those scenes were shot in and around Greve in Chianti. Here and around you can enjoy the typical landscape of this Italian region, buy wine and visit some of its famous wineries and villas throughout Italy. During the trip you can stop in any town and visit its medieval squares, taste their wines, sweets and typical local dishes. Remember that the Food Tuscany is one of the most recognized in Italy and every village is a lovely surprise.
By noon you can stop to visit the walled city of Monteriggioni, one of the most beautiful medieval fortresses of Tuscany, and after eating, follow route to Volterra.
Volterra known for being rich in a more sculptured stones in the region along with marble, alabaster it is. It is so plentiful and of such good quality, used as small windows in historic buildings, cathedrals and stately homes across the region. You can buy any products reproduced in this mineral of great beauty. In the city stands the Porta all’Arco the third century BC, part of ruins Velathri in the walled city and the Town Hall Square with buildings and Renaissance palaces.
Volterra is located near San Gimignano, world heritage site for its unique medieval architecture, especially its famous towers. This population is especially prominent in all tourist guides in Tuscany. It is a good place to buy souvenirs, since we can find a variety of handicrafts, especially pottery vases typical region and San Gimignano.
3RD DAY – Montalcino, Montepulciano, Pienza and Vall d’Orcia
Third day route, this dedicated to the South of the region. Visit Montalcino, where wine more appreciated in the region, the Brunello is produced. We continue with one of the most beautiful areas of Tuscany, the Vall d’Orcia with its spectacular Renaissance town of Pienza, both World Heritage Site by Unesco. And finish the trip in one of the best-preserved fortress towns of Tuscany, in films such as Dawn, it is Montepulciano.
So we started in Montalcino which is only medieval fortress and its majestic Monastery of Sant’Antimo. However he is famous throughout Italy for the Brunello, the most expensive and best wine valued throughout Tuscany. A soup prized for its particular type of grape, appellation vineyards that grow around this town in southern Tuscany.
Then we continue to travel the road to Vall d’Orcia Pienza. The valley is filled with hundreds of cypress arranged on steep hills gently on a beautiful green field. Our path is dotted with small towns like San Quirico or Bagno Vignoni d`Orcia, famous for its hot springs. In this small town we will find a spa, area hotels and the square of the sources where there is a small tavern where you can enjoy tapas typical products of the region, especially sausages.
Later we arrive at Pienza, built in a classical and Renaissance urban pattern. The city is an outdoor museum, a place to get lost.
So not much time to visit Montepulciano, a medieval fortress on top of a mountain, flanked by cliffs. The main street of the town stretches several kilometers from the Porta al Prato to the Piazza Grande at the top of the hill, a long walk, so bring you comfortable shoes. A street goes down and another parallel along the whole population, until both streets are re-communicate with the main street. Inside the old town stands the Duomo, or cathedral and some other building renaissance.
4st DAY – FLORENCE
Well, the truth is that there is much to see in Florence and it is impossible to see everything in one day. So I’ll try to make you a little tour of what not to be missed:
- We start with the Basilica of San Lorenzo, designed by Brunelleschi. The tomb and the impressive staircase of black marble is the work of Michelangelo, the sacristy is the work of Donatello. Also well worth the upstairs library, the coffered ceiling, the floor, and above all the architectural details are stunning.
- Duomo Square and Santa Maria de Fiori, with the great dome of Brunelleschi and his beautiful bell tower or Campanile Ghiotto.
- Uffizi Gallery which houses the artworks of the Medici family, including such works as the «Spring» of Sandro Botticelli or the «Adoration of the Magi» by Leonardo Da Vinci.
- Piazza Signoria. Here you will find the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence Old Town Hall and some outdoor sculptures as once presented, including a copy of Michelangelo’s David in the place that once was the original.
- Ponte Vecchio. Beautiful medieval bridge which was formerly possessed butchers and other shops in town. Now they occupy jewelry stores, handicrafts and other products, which you can use to do some shopping.
- From here, you can choose several museums. Barguello National Museum have the best Renaissance sculpture and the Museum of Palazzo Pitti, paint. Also interesting is the della Accademia Gallery where you can enjoy the David by Michelangelo, along with other works of Renaissance authors and the endless tomb of Julius II.
- Bovoli Gardens and Fort Belvedere, from where you can enjoy the best views of Florence. Here on the stairs you can enjoy performances of musicians who enliven further views of the city.
5TH DAY – SIENA AND THE REGION OF CRETE Senesi
Our route comes to an end, and get our last day and, according to the agenda, it is the turn of Siena and Crette Senessi region. Keep in mind that the old town of the Tuscan capital is considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is forbidden to reach by car.
We started our tour as the Basilica of San Domenico of the XIII century, where the relics of the famous St. Catherine of Siena, the imposing church comes forward when the impressive walls that had the city and spend the Fortezza Medicea, a fortress built by the Medici in the sixteenth century to defend the city. Before reaching the historic center of the city, and will have passed these buildings down and starting down the hill to go up to the oldest part of the city. Best of Siena is to stroll around the historic center, every corner is spectacular. There are countless Renaissance palaces among which the Palazzo Piccolomini, designed by Pietro; Palazzo Pubblico or town hall of the fourteenth century, with its famous Campanile in the same Piazza del Campo and the Buonsignori Palace, s. XV, which houses the National Gallery. The medieval Piazza del Campo is where the famous horse races are held as was done in the Middle Ages from the fourteenth century, an event. In addition you can also visit some interesting churches like Santa Maria dei Servi the XVI century and the Basilica dell’Osservanza.
But the most glorious monument of the city, and the oldest is the famous Cathedral of Siena, which started in the twelfth century, is an example of Italian Gothic. Stresses inside the octagonal pulpit supported by lions Nicola Pisano. Under the cathedral, the baptistery, is the magnificent baptismal font with bas-reliefs of Donatello and Ghiberti among others. But most impressive of this cathedral, along with their bows with the typical colors of Siena in black and white (reminiscent of the arches of the Mosque of Cordoba), are the pavements in mosaic and interior peculiar architecture.
In the afternoon you can follow Crette Senessi route, one of the characteristic landscapes of Siena and Tuscany. Sweeping landscapes with rolling hills dressed with vast fields of grain accompany us in a relaxed drive.
Tuscany is one of the most recommended by all the guidebooks destinations but discover on your own and your air will teach new places that are impressive.