What do you picture when you think of Tuscany? Me, I think of the green rolling hills, towering cypress trees, curvy roadways, vineyards and hilltop towns. It’s rustic, laid-back, scenic and peaceful. A place where you can slow down and appreciate great food and wine. You can plan your trip around your passions and let that be your guide. Whether you’re a foodie and want to enjoy simple yet delicious cuisine and wine. Or maybe you love architecture and want to see where the Italian Renaissance started. Enjoy art history or cycling or maybe you’re are a sun worshipper and want to experience the Tuscan coastline. Whatever the reason, you’ll find it and a whole lot more. We, loved to tour the Tuscan towns, and here were some of our favourites.
Every holiday starts with finding the perfect accommodations. I love finding those special properties that often become the highlight of our trip. The Siena House did just that. It’s a large villa beautifully restored to accentuate the authentic Tuscan features both inside and out. The modern interior is light, bright and airy. Every window is strategically placed to highlight the mesmerizing panoramic views. The hosts, Malvin and Amanda, are welcoming and make sure your stay is an experience to remember. There are four large guest suites named after the view. Ours was Siena. You have access to a large lounge, a mezzanine, a pool and an outdoor summer kitchen. You stay also includes a delicious homemade breakfast.
Siena House is well-situated in making many of the sought-after towns a short drive away. Some of our best memories were driving those super-scenic small roads that linked together the views, villages and vineyards. Here were some of the towns we were fortunate enough to visit.
Closest to Siena House is Montepulciano, only a short 10 minutes away. It’s a lovely village that offers a few traditional shops, restaurants and wine tasting cellars. This area is known for its full-bodied red grapes, and there are many varieties to sample. The the small Piazza Grande shines bright with marble and travertine.
About 20 minutes from Siena House, is Pienza. This UNESCO World Heritage hilltop town is famous for its Pecorino di Pienza, a hard sheep’s milk cheese. I immediately fell in love with this small, quiet, romantic town. Wander the delightful narrow stone streets, its inviting piazzas and breathtaking views, this is definitely a town you need to visit.
Just over 30 minutes away from Siena House is Cortona. It looks and feels a bit different than the other towns we visited. It’s a stone-clad town with a magnificent medieval tower, as well as, a larger and busier piazza – perfect for people watching. Under the Tuscan Sun, first the book and then the movie, put this town on the map.
A bit farther from Siena House, at about 45 minutes away, is a larger city full of museums, art galleries, antique markets and boutique shops. This city was the backdrop to the movie Life is Beautiful where in the historic city center you will instantly recognize some of the locations like the piazza, the Palazzo delle Logge and a couple of the churches or basilica.
The farthest away from Siena House, by almost an hour, is the city of Siena. This large medieval and gothic city can’t be missed. At its center, is the incredible Piazza Il Campo, the red palazzo pubblico and its tower. Next venture off and get lost in the winding alleyways, as there is a lot to discover. Of all the cities, this was the most touristy, but for good reason.
As a holidaymaker…
Tuscany is definitely one of those destinations that you are sad to leave and you long to return to. There are just so many small towns and villages dotted along the Tuscan hills. And, these were definitely some of our favourites.