Welcome to Tuscany, a area bursting with attraction and brimming with hidden treasures. Tuscany is a spot the place rolling hills, picturesque villages, and historic 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 affords a various vary of landscapes which can be 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 should not solely simple to achieve from the most well-liked cities however are additionally good 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 luggage and let’s begin exploring!

The medieval city of Pitigliano

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1. Pitigliano

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

Pitigliano is also referred to as “Little Jerusalem” because of its place near Rome, the place escaping Jews might discover refuge. As early because the 14th century, the city turned an necessary haven for Jews, with their numbers rising a lot that they constructed a temple right here in 1598. In actual fact, throughout the Holocaust, the Jews of Pitigliano, a 400-year-old group, 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 via Pitigliano’s slender 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 also be recognized for its community of secret tunnels carved into the rock, resulting in age-old wine cellars and engaging chambers. If you happen to’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 take pleasure in some conventional Jewish sfratti, a typical walnut, nutmeg, honey, and orange-peel pastry of Pitigliano, nonetheless baked and offered within the bakeries and pastry outlets of the village. And you probably have 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 straightforward 2-hour drive from Rome and simply over 2 hours from Florence.

Sorano village

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2. Sorano

Sorano, a hidden gem in southern Tuscany, is a must-visit vacation spot for these trying to expertise the sweetness and attraction of off-the-beaten-path Italy. This centuries-old village perched on a cliff and dug into the rock (like close by Pitigliano), affords guests a glimpse into the Etruscan period and medieval instances. It’s sometimes called the Matera of Tuscany, because of its rocky villages and pathways that take you on a journey via 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 also be an amazing place for foodies and wine lovers. The village is legendary 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 affords the same attraction on a smaller scale.

Professional Tip: If you’re in search of someplace to remain, attempt Agriturismo Locanda Pantanello, a fantastically restored conventional Seventeenth-century stone farmhouse solely a 10-minute drive exterior of Sorano. 

Monteriggioni predominant sq. after the rain

Photograph credit score: Gabriele Maltinti / Shutterstock.com

3. Monteriggioni

Positioned 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 robust Florentines to the north, it’s now a sleepy city, a peaceable and charming vacation spot well-liked with these vacationing in Italy and looking for non-touristy locations to go to. The city’s medieval fortifications and watchtowers are nonetheless in place.

The city is house 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 authentic army objects, clothes, and weapons. Guests may 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 slender streets, charming gardens, and the must-see central sq. with its historic properly. If you happen to’re fortunate sufficient to be in Monteriggioni in July, don’t miss the annual Medieval Competition, referred to as 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 a couple of locations to remain, together with Resort Monteriggioni and Camere Dentro Il Castello. For a really unforgettable expertise, go to Fattoria Castello di Monteriggioni vineyard and pattern among 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

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4. Bagni San Filippo

The small, lovely Tuscan city of Bagni San Filippo is known as 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, supply lovely pure thermal swimming pools the place the water flowing via is wealthy in carbonate-calcic. Over time, these deposits of calcium have created enormous formations. Essentially the most spectacular of which is the White Whale, which appears like a solidified waterfall. A brief downward hike via the park will get you to the attractive swimming pools for a therapeutic and enjoyable 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 recent springs are free to go to and Bagni San Filippo is a good day-trip choice from Rome or Florence, however a fair higher resolution is to remain within the space for a couple of days. For these trying to keep within the area, Montepulciano affords 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, preserve strolling till you discover the extra secluded, deep turquoise swimming pools. I’d suggest bringing a picnic lunch and loads of water!

Elba Island harbor and shoreline

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5. Elba Island

I’m dishonest slightly 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 probably the greatest hidden gems in Tuscany. Well-known for its pristine shoreline, Elba isn’t actually on holidaymakers’ radars but however is unquestionably 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 reap the benefits of the island’s beautiful shoreline with its crystal-clear waters, hidden coves, and pristine seashores, akin to Cala delle Alghe or the Spiaggia Luisi d’Angelo. The lushly wooded inside is ideal for strolling and biking. Climbing up Capanne Mount supplies spectacular views of the island, whereas exploring the historic Fortress of Volterraio, perched on the prime of the island, affords 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 Resort Antares. Youngsters will notably love the wire-cage chairlift to the island’s peak, which affords views all the best way to Corsica.

The island’s attraction 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 definitely accessible and positively price a go to.

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

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