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In this post I will give tips for a route around Tuscany in 5 days.
Although Italy is one of my favorite countries, I have to admit that I still have to explore the country a lot more. That’s why when I got the invitation for a 5-day Blogger trip to Tuscany, I couldn’t say no. Who says no to Italy? It was my second Blogger trip and also in Tuscany, so I was pretty excited.
Who does not remember that film of Diane Lane in which she leaves her life in the United States and moves to Tuscany? In «Under the Tuscan Sun», Diana Lane buys a house in Tuscany. Who hasn’t ever dreamed of doing something like that in his/her life? Leaving everything and go someplace else? And if that place is about Italy, then the plan sounds perfect. But until then, we will have to satisfy ourselves to make a route of 5 days around Tuscany. Would you join me for this virtual trip?
Route around Tuscany in 5 days
Tuscany is one of the largest and most important Italian regions for its artistic, historical, economic, cultural and geographical patrimony. Obviously, Tuscany has many things to offer and countless places to visit, but if you only have 5 days, these places are the essentials I recommend you visiting:
- Day 1. Florence
- Day 2. Montecatini di Terme
- Day 3: Montecatini Alto
- Day 4: Pisa
- Day 5. Lucca
Day 1: Florence
Florence, or Firenze in Italian, is the capital of Tuscany. It is also the largest and prettiest city in the region, and in fact, they say it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. And I think they are right about that. It’s really beautiful. Florence can be a good base to explore Tuscany. From a historical point of view, it was here that the artistic phenomenon of the Renaissance was born and is considered one of the world cradles of art and architecture. This is why, among other reasons, it’s a World Heritage site since 1982.
Essential places to visit in Florence:
Florence is full of sites to see and discover, but in my opinion if you have only one day to visit I recommend going to the following places of interest:
- Santa Maria del Fiori
- Ponte Vecchio
- Basilica Santa Croce-where important historical persons such as Galileo and Miguel Angel are buried-
- Palacio Vecchio
- Uffici Gallery
- Gallery of the Academy, where the famous David of Michelangelo is located
- Piazza della Signoria, where you will find the copy of Michelangelo’s David where the original
- Basilica of Santa Maria Novella
- Piazza della República
To visit the Uffici Gallery it is advisable to buy the entrance in advance due to the great influx of tourists in the city. Following I leave the link to access directly to the purchasing process->
[wp-svg-icons icon=»ticket» wrap=»h3″] Guided tour of the Uffizi Gallery
The best places to see the sunset in Florence:
- Taking a gelato on the bridge of Santa Trinidad, from where you will have the best views of the Ponte Vecchio.
- In Piazzale Michelangelo. My advice is to go a couple of hours before sunset to visit the nearby garden of Roses or Giargdino delle rose, especially if you go in spring.
- Sipping a Spritz, from one of its rooftop bars like the hotel Continentale called «The Terrace Hotel Continentale», from where you will also have a totally unique view of the Ponte Vecchio from above.
- Eating pizza with the Ponte Vecchio at the background.
[wp-svg-icons icon=»tag» wrap=»i»] TIP: Do not miss a walk through its Golden Mile, Via de Tournabouni. The most outstanding street for shopping and luxury fashion. It is worth a walk around here, since you will find the most luxurious brands in the world such as Roberto Cavalli, Ferragamo, Gucci, Versace or Bulgari, to name a few. Let us not forget that we are in Italy, the paradise of good dress and of the best fashion.
[wp-svg-icons icon=»mug» wrap=»i»] If you want to enjoy a coffee with a view, I recommend the Osteria Ponte Vecchio, once you cross the bridge, the first on your right. Outside is a very small place and not seen but, if you enter, has an outdoor terrace in the background and you can taste a rich cappuccino with the best views of the bridge.
Day 2: Montecatini Terme
In my case, Montecatini Terme was our base all those days, due to the blogger’s event. We stayed at the nice Grand Hotel Nizza et Suisse.
This town really surprised me. Personally, I had never heard of it before, but being there I learned its history. Everything in Italy has a nice story behind it. Famous for its hot springs, it is one of the largest «spa towns» in Italy. It was frequented in the 17th century by the most select of the European nobility, who sought in the benefits of its waters to cure their sorrows while enjoying an aristocratic and select atmosphere.
From the 20th century it began to grow the number of hotels due to the increase of people who frequented these thermal baths, so they had to cope with the growing demand. They also started to open many restaurants, shops, nightclubs and even a casino. One of the regulars to these baths, back on the days, was Giuseppe Verdi and Giacomo Puccini among other famous Italians. Even here died Christian Dior in 1957.
What to do and see in Montecatini Terme:
As I have said before, the most famous site here are the hot springs, so you can not miss one of its most famous and beautiful as the Thermal Complex of Tettuccio, of neoclassical architecture and circular pools with Art Nouveau style tiles.
Another hot spring that I recommend you to visit, and even stay to spend the morning or afternoon, is the Grotta Giusti. Here, stands out its natural limestone cave. Full of stalactites and stalagmites, as well as natural steam, it was accidentally discovered by workers in the mid-19th century. The curative properties of the air and water of this cave were verified and it was decided to build a thermal establishment in the same cave.
Over the course of time, many extensions and renovations were carried out: Today the three steam caves form a true natural Turkish bath, with water ranging from 24 °c to 34 °c, as we move from Paradiso Cave to Purgatory Cave and finally to Inferno Cave. The names of the three areas are inspired by the suggestive sensation that gives the atmosphere inside the cave being a true «dantesque» atmosphere.
Day 3: Montecatini Alto
The truth is that this town surprised me very much. I found it beautiful, starting with the way we had to arrive: by funicular. The funicular, that dates from the late 19th century, is preserved the same as when it was built, being totally made in wood. The the two red small trains travel among all the vegetation, communicating Montecatini Terme and Montecatini Alto. The journey takes about 20 minutes.
Once arrived to the top (Montecatini Alto), make sure you enjoy the great view that this town has above Tuscany. It is a walled town that had up to 7 entrance doors and 25 towers that in the past served to protect the town during the battles, but continues to maintain its magic intact. You will be surprised to see its noble houses, the tower of Ugolino, some palaces and its central square, lively heart of this town that concentrates here several of its restaurants and where to enjoy the delicious Tuscan cuisine and to taste its Chianti wines, also of the region.
In short, it seems a perfect plan to dedicate a day to this medieval town with so much charm.
Day 4: Pisa
It couldn’t be any other way. You cannot go to Tuscany without visiting the most famous monument here: its leaning tower defying gravity. Yes, the Tower of Pisa is probably the most photographed building in all of Italy and object of so many memes. I was surprised that in addition to the tower, the cathedral built in marble and the baptistery, located in Piazza dei Miracoli, is of exceptional architectural value, so it is not surprising that it was declared a World Heritage site.
The tower of Pisa is inclined from shortly after the moment of its construction. The terrain on which the foundations were built gave way to the monumental weight of the structure. Although large investments have been made to stop the process, the truth is that the tower is still falling – few millimeters every year- and eventually seems doomed. A shame. But as long as it’s still standing, it’s worth a visit inside. Because only a restricted number of people can enter, I recommend you buying the tickets in advance.[wp-svg-icons icon=»pushpin» wrap=»i»] I recommend that you arrive a little before sunset, because the golden hour here is when you take the best pictures. [wp-svg-icons icon=»pushpin» wrap=»i»] You can not go either without having an ice cream contemplating such a work of art.
[wp-svg-icons icon=»ticket» wrap=»h3″] Entrance to the Leaning Tower of Pisa and to the Cathedral without having to wait.
Day 5: Lucca
Definitely one of the crown jewels and a great discovery. However, even today I wonder why I’ve never heard of this town before.
It is a walled town, whose walls have been preserved almost intact thanks to the fact that Lucca was saved from the swings that the war, unlike what happened to other Italian cities. In addition, these walls were designed nothing more or anything less than the great Leonardo da Vinci and thanks to this this town became famous at the time.
Today the walls have lost their defensive character and have become a beautiful promenade surrounded by vegetation. Once you pass through the walls, you realize that there is still a lot of city to discover inside.
Moreover, this town is also the place of origin of several Italian celebrities, among them, the composer Giacomo Puccini. It is a maze of narrow streets that make you want to explore…
What to visit in Lucca:
- Piazza Napoleone
- Piazza San Michelle
- Piazza Antelminelli
- Piazza Dell´Anfiteatro, one of the sites that caught my attention since it has elliptical shape because it was built on top of an ancient Roman amphitheatre, which still remains buried several meters under the square. The materials of the old amphitheater were used to build several houses around so when serving as a quarry of materials, this square is also known as «La Grotta».
- Duomo di San Martino and baptistery
- Palazzo Ducale
- Torre delle Ore where we can see a beautiful Lucca from the top and see the mechanism that gives name to the tower.
- Famous Guinigi Tower because it has a garden upstairs.
- St. Michelle’s Cathedral, Romanesque built with bichromed marble. It’s spectacular.
The feeling I had in this town was like going back in time, at the end of the 14th or early 15th century when Leonardo da Vinci was walking around designing the walls. The truth that the people remain almost intact since then, every street, each building makes you imagine what it was like to live there at that time. It’s a really beautiful town. I totally recommend it, you will not leave indifferent.