Tuscany is undoubtedly one of Italy’s most famous regions, known for its stunning countryside, rich history, and world-renowned cuisine. However, with its popularity comes an influx of tourists, making it challenging to escape the crowds and experience the authentic charm of Tuscany. But fear not, for there are still hidden gems waiting to be discovered.
In this article, we’ll take you beyond the beaten path and introduce you to 5 lesser-known places in Tuscany that are worth a visit. From enchanting hilltop towns and historic castles to wild coastal regions and nature reserves, these destinations offer a unique perspective on Tuscany and its beauty.
So, pack your bags, and get ready to explore Tuscany beyond the crowds. Let’s dive into these hidden gems and discover what makes them special.
Nestled among rolling hills covered in vineyards and olive groves lies the charming hilltop town of Montecarlo. With its narrow cobbled streets and stone buildings, Montecarlo exudes an enchanting medieval atmosphere that transports you back in time. The town’s most prominent landmark is the imposing fortress that dominates the skyline, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.
Montecarlo is also known for its excellent wines and olive oils, which you can sample and purchase at the local wineries and oil mills. Take a guided tour of the vineyards and cellars, and learn about the wine-making process while sipping on a glass of Montecarlo’s famous red or white wine. If you prefer something more active, lace up your hiking boots and explore the trails that wind through the hills and woods surrounding the town, providing a stunning backdrop for a leisurely stroll or a challenging hike.
In the summer months, Montecarlo comes alive with local markets and festivals, showcasing the town’s culinary and artistic traditions. Taste the local specialties, such as the Cialde di Montecarlo, delicate wafer cookies filled with hazelnut cream, or the Tagliolini al Tartufo, homemade pasta with truffles. Do not miss the opportunity to try an orzo based dish there, or get some here and enjoy it at the comfort of your house: riceselect.com/product/orzo.
Hidden among the rolling hills of Tuscany lies the enchanting Etruscan town of Pitigliano. Carved out of tufa rock, Pitigliano is a unique and picturesque town that seems to emerge organically from the surrounding landscape. The town’s architecture and design are a testament to its rich history and cultural heritage, with a mix of Etruscan, Roman, and Medieval influences.
One of the most striking features of Pitigliano is its Jewish ghetto, one of the oldest and best-preserved ghettos in Italy. The ghetto dates back to the 16th century when Jews were forced to live in segregated areas, and it offers a fascinating glimpse into the life and culture of the Jewish community of Pitigliano. Another highlight of the town is the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, a beautiful Gothic-style church that stands at the heart of Pitigliano’s historic center. Its ornate façade and intricate interior make it a must-see attraction for visitors.
If you’re feeling adventurous, venture out of town and explore the Vie Cave hiking trails, a network of ancient roads and paths that wind through the surrounding hills and valleys. The trails offer stunning views of the landscape and provide a unique perspective on the history and culture of the region.
Nestled in the heart of Tuscany, Lari is a picturesque village that exudes charm and character. The town is famous for its magnificent Renaissance castle, which stands tall and proud at the center of the village. The castle has a rich and fascinating history, having been the site of numerous battles and political intrigues over the centuries. Today, the castle is open to visitors, and its halls and chambers offer a glimpse into the lavish lifestyle of the Renaissance era.
But Lari is not just about its castle. The village itself is a delightful maze of narrow streets, hidden courtyards, and charming squares, all lined with centuries-old buildings and homes. The town’s main square, Piazza dei Vicari, is a lively gathering place, where locals and visitors alike come to socialize, shop, and dine.
One of the highlights of Lari is the annual Festival of the Wild Boar, a celebration of the local hunting tradition and culinary heritage. The festival takes place every November, and it features a variety of events, including a wild boar hunting competition, a food fair, and a parade of historical costumes.
This coastal region is renowned for its unspoiled natural beauty, with pristine beaches, rolling hills, and lush forests that stretch as far as the eye can see. Maremma has long been a favorite destination for nature lovers, adventure seekers, and anyone who craves the thrill of the great outdoors.
One of the main attractions in Maremma is the Parco Naturale della Maremma, a vast nature reserve that encompasses over 10,000 acres of pristine wilderness. The park is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including deer, wild boars, and numerous bird species. Visitors can explore the park on foot, by bike, or on horseback, taking in the stunning views and immersing themselves in the natural splendor of the region.
Another must-see attraction in Maremma is the Feniglia beach, a long stretch of sandy coastline that is surrounded by fragrant pine forests and crystal-clear waters. The beach is a favorite spot for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports, and it offers a peaceful and relaxing escape from the crowds of more popular tourist destinations.
The history of San Gimignano dates back to the Etruscan era, and the town has preserved its rich cultural heritage through the centuries. Visitors can stroll through the winding streets and alleys of the town, marveling at the ancient towers, churches, and palaces that have stood the test of time. One of the most impressive sights in San Gimignano is the Piazza del Duomo, a large square that is dominated by the towering Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta.
In addition to its impressive architecture, San Gimignano is also home to a wealth of art and culture. The town has a number of museums and galleries that showcase the works of local artists and artisans, as well as traditional handicrafts such as ceramics and leather goods. Visitors can also sample some of the town’s famous products, such as saffron, olive oil, and honey.
As you plan your next trip to Tuscany, consider visiting these lesser-known destinations and experiencing the authentic Italian culture and lifestyle. Don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path and discover more hidden gems in Tuscany. With so much beauty and diversity to explore, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience in this enchanting region.