When you hear “Italy”, perhaps most of the people imagine spaghetti, pizza, coffee or the famoustiramisu? Others will guess for the Colosseum or the Vatican in Rome? Or may be Canale Grande in Venice? And perhaps the pastoral landscapes of Tuscany?
Yes, Italy is indeed an exclusive mix of diverse nature, history and traditions, architecture and art, food and wine. But may be one of the most impressive and most memorable scene of Italy is the image of Tuscany with its beautiful views, farm houses and the small medieval towns on every hill. Most of the tourists who come here are attracted to the fact that Tuscany is the cradle of the Renaissance, and their purpose is primarily Florence and Siena, the two kingdoms that have for centuries fought for supremacy in the region. But if someone wants to go through the countryside remains really fascinated. And not only in the Chianti wine regions or the views of the Val D’orcia area sealed on each Tuscan postcard.
If you’ve already seen Florence, Pisa, Siena and San Gimignano, if you even know the amazing Pienza, Montepulciano and Montalcino, we’ll tell you about the hidden secrets of Tuscany …. but not all of them.
Cortona is one of the oldest medieval towns in the area. It looks like painted on the top of an elevation where a wonderful panorama is revealed, you can see even the Lake Trasimeno in the neighboring Umbria.
Cortona is a romantic and full of history town, and I think it’s worth someone getting out of his way for it. We offer you a stroll through the picturesque narrow streets, gazing at the ancient arches, doors, windows and facades to enjoy the gourmet atmosphere that Cortona offers. Here is the Signorelli Theater where connoisseurs from all over the world arrive to enjoy classic productions in an authentic atmosphere. In the museum, you will see the works of Sonorelli.
In fact, Cortona’s popularity is partly due to the fact that a part of the romantic moovie “Under the Tuscany Sun” was shot in their town about ten years ago. The author of the famous novel also leaves his heart here and lives nearby.
Most of the tourists know very well the small city of Pienza – a Renaissance town protected by UNESCO, with incredible architecture and famous for sheep cheese called “pecorino”/ traditional sheep cheese with different degrees of ripeness, handcrafted by local craftsmen/. Few of them, however, turn off the route and reach Monticchiello, which is about 10 minutes drive from Pienza.
The road up there abounds in “unreal” lviews, passing through the country in a strange way, and breathing in the air of the fields, you will feel the true Tuscany. Monticchiello is a small fortified medieval settlement, a castle that impresses with its Gothic charm. The small town is known as the balcony of the Val D’orca area because of its magnificent hillside location, offering exceptional views of Pienza and surrounding areas.
Its protective thick walls and towers are partially preserved, with only 3 of the original 17 towers surviving over the years. In the highest part of Monticello there is the Torre del Cassero, a tower that fortunately has remained unspoilt and is now privately owned, a permanent place to live a famous noble family. There you will find a permanent exhibition of paintings by local outdoor artists, located in a natural park area. When you enter Porta Sant’Agata, your attention will soon be directed to well-restored stone houses, beautifully decorated with flower pots and lovely small balconies.
At the entrance there is a restaurant with incredible views and even more incredible cuisine. The town still maintains its medieval traditions with its ancient arches and ancient stairs. The church of Sant Leonardo dates from the 13th century, and next to it there is a small shop selling fine handmade clothing and accessories. Monticchiello’s name is also associated with the Teatro Povero, where performances are performed, written and performed by local people. But remember that the most interesting performances are in the autumn and in the winter.
Montefollonico is one of the most sheltered place in the Val D’orca valley, but at the same time is very close to the popular Montepulciano and Pienza. There are only three streets in Montefollonico, three gates in the 13th Century Sienna Wall and about 700 people living here.
Embraced by the surrounding hills, the place remains hidden from the sight of the mass tourist, but at the same time, the real connoisseurs and the well-informed people of the area have been here for a long time. It is no accident that the place is the center of culinary tourism – in Montefollonico, cooking courses are organized with some of the best Italian chefs who reveal their secrets to foreigners for a solid payment. Here is also the restaurant “La Chiusa”with a Michelin star, which was visited by Henry Kissinger himself.
After entering the central gate of Montefollonico and passing the small square, on the street to the left you will find a small store for typical products of the area bearing the enigmatic name La Sorpresa Toscana.
Excellent wines from the region, high quality olive oil, black and white truffle sausages, aromatic saffron / Tuscan airskill, craftsman’s cheese and boiled sausages, all produced by local farms in the area/. Further down to the right you will reach the second gate of the city, where you can see a unique view of Montepulciano.
The Etruscan coast offers beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters, but also a place that you really should not miss. The name of the settlement means “the Bulgarians”, who are stationed there to support the langarnds. Until then, the place is known as the Sala del Duca Allone. For the first time the site was mentioned in writing as Bulgari Kastrum in 1075 in a paper by Pope Gregory VII. To get there, we offer you to drive along the famous Via Dei Capresi Street, which leads to Bolgheri.
It is a picturesque, straight road, about 5 km long, bordered by majestic and ancient cypress trees that rise up in front of Bolgherie Castle. It connects the old Via Aurelia with the town. This impressive road is celebrated by one of the greatest 19th-century Italian poets, Carduci, who has spent some of his youth here. Continuing along the boulevard and behind the cypresses, the red bricks of Bolgerie Castle will be discovered. The town is located above this elegant castle, so beautiful and completed that it really is difficult to describe ….
After a short walk you will arrive at the tower, which is Bolgherie’s main gate. Right above the entrance you will surely notice the great family coat of arms of the ancient noble family Gerardes, who owned the castle of Bolgherie for 1200 years!
Bolghery, with its old historic center, typical stone and brick houses, rich food and wine shops, small restaurants and taverns, is a really a charming place. At night the castle is beautifully lit and becomes even more curious as it offers a wonderful setting for an unforgettable night.
For most connoisseurs, Bolghery is a symbol of exquisite red wine. Sasciaia Bolgery is one of the most sophisticated and expensive wines in Italy. It is exclusively produced by the Tenuta San Guido winery, located around the town of Castaneto, near Livorno. It is characterized by a deep ruby-red color and gentle tannin content, and the aroma has generous notes of raisins, herbs, smoke.
On the palate leaves a very fresh, lively and fruity taste of blackberries. It combines great with red meat, pasta, stewed meat and hard cheeses. These wines are outside the local classifications DOC and DOCG, but they are not at all worthy, and on the contrary, some of them are in fact the most valued by the market. These are the wines of Sassicaia, Ornellaia, classified as IGT (identification for a typical geographical area). Generally speaking, these are coupled wines, in which, apart from the local sangjose, typical French varieties such as cabernet sauvignon, merlot and others are present.
Vétúlonia is one of the 12 most important Etruscan cities / Etruscans are ancient tribes inhabiting the first millennium BC/. The north-western part of the Apennine Peninsula, part of modern Tuscany, created a developed civilization that preceded the Roman Empire and made a great impact on it.
It is a small town near Castiglione della Pescaia, where it is possible to visit the necropolis “Villa dei Sepolcri” and the remains of the abbey “Sentiga”. For the most passionate admirers of archeology, visiting the necropolis of Bethulonia will be unforgettable. Right at the entrance to the historic center on the right there is an inconspicuous restaurant, even uncomfortable, which however has a garden and a unique delicious food. For more than a good price you can taste authentic local food as we recommend to stop at the specialty of cognac / cinghiale /.
Tourists in Tuscany usually try to see as many interesting places as possible for their short holiday. Everyone wants to taste the world-famous wine from Montepulchiano and Montalcino, taste cheeses, taste local olive oil and enjoy the incredible food in the area. Others choose local thermal springs, which are known for their healing water. Third, they follow the trail of history, take cycling tours, or go through tens of kilometers on Via Francigena/the French way, the way of clergymen and merchants who go to worship at the tomb of St. Peter in Rome, the road that linked Northern Europe to Rome, described in 10th by the English cleric, the Canterbury Abbey/.
Few of them know that there is a mountain in Val D’Orcia, called the Monte Amiata, which even offers skiing conditions. But this is not the secret of this place, but in a town that is unique in its position and atmosphere. It is called Santa Fiora and brings both the sensation of Tuscany and the beauty of mountain landscapes. The village is exceptionally picturesque and beautiful, has an ancient history, offers a beautiful park and amazing mineral springs.
Pitigliano seems to have been taken out of a fairytale. It appears to have grown from the stone of this wildly beautiful promontory, bounded by green valleys crossed by the Lente and Meleta rivers. The high walls of volcanic tufa, carved out by a thousand caverns, project a series of tower-houses, thus heightening the picturesque feel of this medieval town. The houses, constructed on a tuffaceous drum, repeat the vertical lines of the cliffs, making the enclosing walls almost superfluous, although the defensive structures, such as the 14th century Orsini Palace, are the most imposing. The town still holds the treasures of its ancient past, the centuries of succeeding civilizations and their cultures
If you like some of our “secret” places in Tuscany, do not hesitate to turn your dreams into reality. We will offer you a typical accommodation in the area, personally checked by “Travel in Italy”, at an excellent price. You can email us at email@example.com, find us on facebook.com/travelinitaly.info/ or call us on +393914952595. We will not only find your preferred accommodation, but we will reveal many more secrets to Tuscany and all other areas of Italy.