Ahh Tuscany, take me back there. After much deliberation we chose Tuscany for our honeymoon and were able to return since that visit almost three years ago. As we have hired a car on each of our trips we were in a great position to do a little touring and see some local (and not so local) sights. I thought I would put together three of my favourite destinations in Tuscany to go alongside my Italian Travel Diaries so here they are.
1. Bagno Vignoni. A beautiful area containing thermal baths, history and how the baths were used back in their day and restaurants and shops to go with it. The place is full of natural beauty and we’ve visited on three separate occasions now as the setting is so tranquil I know no place like it in the UK. To see more visit my post from our Tuscan trip.
2. Montalcino. This was one of the quieter towns we visited whilst staying in Tuscany and that might just add to why it has made the list. Offering the same in quality of food and attractions as some of the other towns but being less busy leads me to want to visit again. On our last trip with family we went here a few times for different meals and I would love to explore more of the area in the future. Visiting the stunning restaurant Franci and getting a view of the castle is something I hope to remember. I have added Montalcino to one of my favourite places in Italy for its serenity and the fact that it had a less ‘touristy’ vibe.
3. Florence. Ok so we’ve gone from two of the quieter destinations to probably the busiest. We spent two nights in Florence when we visited and it is one of my favourite cities, and I’m not a city girl at all. The architecture is something else and sitting on the open rooftop bars looking over to everything is an experience I want to do in every place I go to. Being a city it had everything you could have wanted in terms of gorgeous places to eat, retail therapy and spots to simply take in the atmosphere and to me it never felt over busy. We went in the peak of summertime (it was boiling) and there was still space to walk a round freely.
It feels like such a long time ago we were relaxing on the sunny hills of Tuscany but it was only a few months ago. Thinking about it reminds me of our second visit to Italy which was our honeymoon. It took us so long to decide where we wanted to go but we finally booked our trip away and decided to discover different parts of Tuscany.
We arranged three destinations for our honeymoon and had been given recommendations of where to stay and what to visit. After arriving our first stay in Tuscany was La Foce. La Foce is a beautiful estate spread out over yellow fields with a history of being dilapidated until a couple bought it to renovate. This is to us exactly how we imagined Tuscany to be when we booked our stay. In front of the house ran fields and trees for miles giving it a relaxed feel, perfect as we wanted this holiday to be exactly that. The house came with a pool and although I didn’t get in once Mr L took a swim plenty of times whereas I chose to sunbathe and read instead. The rooms were lovely, well serviced and comfortable. Modern and clean but with a cosy barn twist. I looked forward to breakfast everyday as it was freshly prepared meats and cheeses, fruits, yoghurt and toast and best of all fresh coffee.
From La Foce we could easily get to the town of Montepulciano which we visited a few times. It was on the outskirts of Montepulciano that my husband found us the best place for a picnic. It was a farm shop where you could pick a basket to fill with meats, cheeses and wine and sit outside overlooking Tuscany. We visited the farm shop twice and even managed to bring some jams home.
Having visited Venice and Verona previously we knew what to expect in terms of food. Throughout the whole honeymoon we ate an incredible amount of pizza and decided to change it up one evening when we ate out at an Osteria at the top of Montepulciano. It was one of our favourite restaurants of the honeymoon and we would definitely go again. The dinner was a set menu to include 4 courses and wine and if they did such an option like that closer to home I would be there all the time.
Another place we managed to visit that came on recommendation was Bagno Vignoni. This was another of my favourite places as it was so incredibly tranquil. In the middle sat the previously used natural spa baths and surrounding it was restaurants, shops, a hotel and a modern spa. A short walk outside of the square showed the history of the mills, the waterways and how they were used to sustain the town years before. We stopped for a coffee on our first visit and a light lunch on our second as I wanted to return before we left. The shops around the bath sold handmade pieces, decorations and homewares from the local areas and it was good to see that they had kept it authentic and true to style.