Exploring northern Tuscany ?

If while you rent a Villa in Tuscany you feel like a few adventures enjoy !  as Tuscany is FULL of beautiful places here are a few of our favourites, lets start travelling south from La Colina del Sole Beautiful Barga With Stunning views of the Apuane Hills, Barga with its Romanesque cathedral, that bears the scarsw of WWII, it is a wonder that the paper thin marble windows are intact, a real point of interest is the pulpit and you mind it sparse, but then most early Italian churches are.  The walk up is steep so if you are in need of a treat on the way down, then visit the Gelateria Baiocchi in Via Pascoli Giovanni 15 Telephone + 39 0583 71 1266 it is almost opposite a shop selling beautiful hand painted ceramics, you will be tempted....  we have been !

There are plenty of Holiday villas in Lucca or surrounding region, however none as beautiful as La Collina del Sole but then we are biased !

As you travel further south on the way to Lucca you could drop in at Bagni di Lucca  it was an old Fashionable SPA resort town of the 1800’s. Byron and Shelley loved staying here.

Luscious Lucca The beautiful walled city of Lucca ,  is reputed to be the birthplace of banking. “Must See” places are: the amphitheater, whcih is oval shaped with the added attraction of having many medieval houses build into it, and Piazza San Michelle which has a delicious homemade ice cream shop, the main street is Via Filungo which as mentioned last week plays host to a beautiful Easter procession. If you can tear yourself away from your beautiful Villa rentals in Tuscany   then a fun thing to do is to rent a bike and cycle on the Lucca walls, the Bike rental place is near Porta de Santa Maria, with the Statues of Panthers guarding the city. Another beautiful site is the Alabaster tomb sculpture of Ilaria del Carretto in the Cathedral of San Martino, another interesting architectural point is the Torre Guinigui, with a tree growing in the centre at the top.  If you feel like a little treat [ as I often do ] then a nice bar and patisserie is called the “Angolo Dolce” in Via Borgo Giannotti, they make their own tortas and pastries.  It is Located on the outskirts to the walls. Just next to this cafe there is a very well stocked Homeopathic Pharmacy called Farmacia Contucci, Via Borgo Giannotti 409, Lucca. Telephone +339 0583 34 3213 – you never know it might come in handy !

Now … for all you garden lovers who are staying in Villas for rent in Tuscany how about Formal Villa Gardens on the outskirts of Lucca ? On the outskirts of Lucca towards and in Marlia, a current flower growing region of Northern Italy, many Villas have well tended gardens which attract visitors from around the globe.  Now should you be in need of a little treat,  as you see I often am in need of a little treat, go to Marlia and you will find My Mei cafe where they have freshly squeezed orange Juice, cappuccino, freshly baked pastries and home-made ice-cream, it is tucked away in a side street. A great little “pit stop”- Enjoy!

If you have children may we suggest Pinocchio Park  in Collodi, Pistoia

Collodi is the town where the famous story of Pinocchio was written by Collodi himself, if you see a copy with the original illustrations for it, it is like a portrait of Italy over 100 years ago, Collodi boasts of a lovely villa and a good park with modern statues.

Keep going South and you arrive at Pisa, which sadly was ALMOST bombed into oblivion during WWII as it had a runway and the Port of Livorno very close. A must see in Pisa is the Cathedral square or Piazza dei Miracoli, encompassing the cathedral, baptistery with its incredible acoustics, and the famous Leaning Tower. There is another treasure in Pisa worth visiting the tiny church of the thorn or “Chiesa Santa Maria della Spina” on the river.