Wednesday, January 16, 2013

ITALY-TUSCANY

(does not include Florence, Perugia, Pitigliano, or Siena)

AREZZO (includes Poppi)

Hotels
Hotel Patio – 23 Via Cavour; 011-39-057-540-1962; hotelpatio.it; moderately expensive but perfectly located; pleasantly quirky.

Restaurants
Antica Osteria L’Agania – 10 Via Giuseppe Mazzini; 011-39-057-529-5381; agania.it; very popular with locals and good for lunch.
Ristorante Logge Vasari – 18 Piazza Grande; 011-39-057-529-5894; loggevasari.net; on Piazza Grande; dinner on terrace if warm enough.

Sights & Sites
Castello dei Conti Guidi – 1 Piazza della Repubblica (Poppi); 011-39-057-552-0516; castellodipoppi.it; main building in Casentino, known from 1191, once owned by Counts Guidi; additions by Arnoldo do Cambio; courtyard, external staircase, chapel with frescos & library containing rare manuscripts and incunabula.
Fiera Antiquaria – Piazza Grande (and small streets nearby); 011-39-057-537-7993; arezzofieraantiquaria.com; vast antique market 1st Sunday every month.



ASSISI
Hotels
Hotel Ideale – 1 Piazza Giacomo Matteotti; 011-39-075-813-570; hotelideale.it; inexpensive and quite with fine view.
Nun Assisi Relais – 1A Via Eremo delle Carceri; 011-39-075-815-5150; nunassisi.com; 18-room boutique hotel above city’s historic center; walking distance to atmospheric streets below, far enough away from public parking and tourists; housed in former St. Catherine convent, dating from 1275; secluded courtyard garden; modern features; ask for room No. 1 (“privilege suite” close to reception and spa; some units come with terrace; tremendous spa: built into 1st Century Roman amphitheater ruins (with barrel-vaulted cisterns and pool system based on ancient system (tepadario, sudatorio, caldario, and frigadario; great restaurant.

Restaurants
Trattoria Da Ermino – 19 Via Montecavallo; 011-39-075-812-506; trattoriadaerminio.it; tucked on tiny back street and utterly unpretentious; good dinner locale.
San Francesco – 52 Via San Francesco; 011-39-075-812-329; ristorantesanfrancesco.com; faces Basilica and has marvelous views; good for lunch.



LA BADIOLA
Restaurants
Macchiascandona – Via Castiglionese; 011-39-056-494-4127; don’t be put off by unprepossessing exterior; regional classics are 1st-rate, inexpensive, and simple.



BAGNO A RIPOLI
Hotels
Villa Olmi Resort – 4/8 Via degli Olmi; 011-39-056-37-710; villaolmiresort.com/en; place to stay near Florence.



BAGNO VIGNONI
Services
Le Terme Wellness & Spa – 13 Piazza delle Sorgenti; 011-39-057-788-7150; termedibagnovignoni.it; hot springs spa.

Sights & Sites
Medieval Town Center – large pool of hot springs in town square.



BETTOLLE
Hotels
Relais La Leopoldina – 10 Via XXI Aprile; 011-39-057-762-3447; relaislaleopoldina.it; beautiful; pool; must stay here.



BOLGHERI
Hotels
Strada Giulia – 16 Via Giulia; 011-39-331-266-1699; stradagiuliabolgheri.en; boutique.



CAMAIORE
Hotels
Locanda al Colle – 102 Via della Stretta; 011-39-058-491-5195; locandaalcolle.it; affordable; 7.5 miles from Forte dei Marmi; mid-century Danish and Italian furniture; 9 rooms; tremendous views over countryside.



CAPALBIO
Sights & Sites
Tarot Garden – Garavicchio-Capalbio; 011-39-056-489-5122; nikidesaintphalle.com; garden and statues created from world of tarot cards; includes mirror-mosaicked tower; worth seeing for kitsch value.



CARRARA (includes Marina di Carrara)
Hotels
Hotel Exclusive – 59 Viale Cristoforo Colombo (Marina di Carrara); 011-39-058-578-9263; exclusivecarrara.com; minimalist spot 150 meters from sea.
Hotel Michelangelo – 3 Corso Carlo Roselli; 011-39-058-577-7161; michelangelocarrara.com; newly renovated hotel filled with modern artworks.

Sights & Sites
Museo Civico del Marmo – 85 Viale XX Settembre; 011-39-058-584-5746; giove.cnuce.cnr.it/museo.html; preserves local marble culture; collection divided into Roman Archaeology, Territory History, Marble Library, Industrial Archaeology, Plaster Casts, Modern Sculpture; rich Library.
Piazzale Fantiscritti – 84 Miseglia; 011-39-339-765-7470; marmotour.com; marble quarry tour.



CASTELNUOVO BERARDENGA
Hotels
Castel Monastero – Monastero d’Ombrone; 011-39-57-757-0001; castelmonastero.com.



CASTIGLIONE DELLA PESCAIA
Hotels
L’Andana – Tenuta La Badiola; 011-39-056-494-4800; andana.it; owned by Alain Ducasse; former royal hunting lodge with 25 rooms and 22 suites; indoor and outdoor pools.

Restaurants
Trattoria Toscana – Tenuta La Badiola; 011-39-056-494-4800; andana.it; Michelin starred; country Tuscan cuisine.



CASOLE D’ELSA (includes Pievescola)
Hotels
Castello di Casole – Localita Querceto; 011-39-057-796-1508; castellodicasole.com; Tuscan resort is laid out like estate with bar, infinity pool, restaurants & spa; on 4.2K acres, built around 10th Century castle and garden; on 4.2K acres olive trees & vineyards; infinity pool overlooks valley.
Relais La Suvera – Via Della Suvera (Pievescola); 011-39-057-796-0300; lasuvera.it/en; former Papal villa near Siena; pool and spa; elegant.

Restaurants
Pazzia Bistro – Localita Querceto; 011-39-057-796-1508; castellodicasole.com.



CHIANCIANO TERME
Hotels
La Foce – 63 Via della Vittoria; 011-39-057-869-101; lafoce.com; apartment, cottage, and villa assortment that makes you feel like Italian aristocrat’s guest.



CHIANTI (includes Gaiole & Greve)
Hotels
Castello del Nero Boutique Hotel & Spa – 7 Strada Spicciano (Tavarnelle Val di Pesa); 011-39-055-806-470; castello-del-nero.com; on 700 acres centuries-old cypress trees and impressive gardens, 50 huge rooms; original structure dates to 12th Century; frescoes and vaulted ceilings, terracotta floors, claw-foot tubs, and 4-poster beds; Florence is 25 minute drive away and property offers twice-daily shuttle service; watch out for charges (breakfast at $40, glass prosecco $20, internet $26); mid-October best time; Room #114 offers best view.
Palazzo Leopoldo – 33 Via Roma (Radda); 011-39-055-735-605; palazzoleopoldo.it; old manor home with indoor pool and old Tuscan style.
Villa Bordoni – 31-32 Via San Cresci (Greve); 011-39-055-854-7453; villabordoni.com; country house hotel, nestled in hills above Greve, in Tuscany’s Chianti Classico region; 16th Century noble villa with extraordinary vantage over Chianti hills, vineyards, terraced olive groves, and forest; luxurious but unpretentious; more than 20 tortoises of different generations roam walled garden; painstaking restoration by Florentine architect Andre Benaim and veteran interior designer Riccardo Barthel; owners also run Beccofino in Florence.

Restaurants
Podere Le Vigne – on wine route 222 (3 mins outside Radda); 011-39-057-773-8640; chiantinet.it/scheda.php?id=1334&lng=ita.
Trattoria Baldovino – 31-32 Via San Cresci; 011-39-055-854-7453; villabordoni.com/en/food-wine; reasonably good food; appeals to Americans; excellent chocolate cake.
Badia a Coltibuono – in Gaiole; 011-39-067-725-0543; coltibuono.com; restaurant and cooking school.
Capezzana Estate Winery & Culinary School – 100 Via Capezzana (Carmignano); 011-39-055-870-6005; capezzana.it.



CINIGIANO
Hotels
Castello di Vicarello – Poggi del Sasso; 011-39-056-499-0718; castellodivicarello.it; restored 12th Century castle.



CIVITELLA PAGANICO
Hotels
Petriolo Spa Resort – Localita Petriolo; 011-39-056-49-091; petriolo-spa-resort.com.



CORTONA
Hotels
Azienda Fontelunga – Localita Montalla; 011-39-057-562-464 or 011-39-348-929-4084; fontelunga.it; Catani family owns this farm 2 miles outside Cortona and recently began renting houses on it; serve dinner in their home.
Hotel San Michele – 15 Via Guelfa; 011-39-057-5560-4348; hotelsanmichele.net; attractive, convenient, and friendly; parking is difficult.
La Locanda del Molino – Localita Montanare; 011-39-057-561-4192; locandadelmolino.com; inn and restaurant.
Relais Il Falconiere – 370 Localita San Martino; 011-39-057-561-2679; ilfalconiere.it.

Restaurants
Hostaria La Bucaccia – 17 Via Ghibellina; 011-39-057-560-6039; labucaccia.it; pleasant atmosphere (14th Century palace) and good regional food for dinner.
La Locanda del Molino – Localita Montanare; 011-39-057-561-4192; locandadelmolino.com; inn and restaurant.
Taverna Pane e Vino – 27 Piazza Signorelli; 011-39-057-563-1010-pane-vino.it; cantina in 14th Century palazzo that draws young crowd at night; 600 label cellar.
Trattoria Tacconi – 46 Via Dardano; 011-39-057-560-3588; only open for lunch and only has 5 tables; no menu; excellent.
Trattoria Toscana – 12 Via Dardano; 011-39-057-560-4192; trattoriatoscana.eu; homemade basics and rare pici with leek sauce.

Shopping
Bottega della Pasta Fresca – 29 Via Dardano; 011-39-057-560-4211; pastas and sauces.
Enoteca Molesini – 3 Piazza della Repubblica; 011-39-057-562-544; molesini-market.com; Italian olive oils and wines.



FIESOLE
Bakeries, Coffee, Ice Cream, Juice & Tea
Pasticceria Alcedo – 39 Via Gramsci; 011-39-055-59-349; paginegialle.it/fiesole-fi/pasticceria-alcedo.

Hotels
Il Salviatino – 21 Via del Salviatino; 011-39-055-015-0201; salviatino.com.
Pensione Bencista – 4 Via Benedetto da Maiano; 011-39-055-59-163; bencista.com; shambling, bucolic, and charming with view rooms.

Restaurants
Villa San Michele – 4 Via Doccia; 011-39-055-567-8200; villasanmichele.com; 15th Century monastery on hill near Florence; façade designed by Michelangelo; floral arrangements throughout; stunningly romantic loggia with outdoor dining.
Trattoria I’Polpa – 21-22 Piazza Mino; 011-39-055-59-485; cozy, friendly, and inexpensive.

Sights & Sites
Area & Museo Civico Archeologico di Fiesole – 1 Via Portigiani; 011-39-055-596-1293; fiesole.it/museo-civico-archeologico.html; Etruscan-Roman archeological area, dating back to 9-8th Century BCE to at least 2nd Century CE; also Roman baths & theater; in Civic Museum, artifacts from both periods; Antiquariam Costantini is special collection of over 150 ceramic pieces from ancient Greece & Etruria; after visiting outdoor area & museum, head down street that runs behind area to see remnants of massive, ancient Etruscan walls that have managed to survive through all these centuries.
Badia Fiesolana (Il Duomo) – 9 Via Roccettini; 011-39-055-59-155; fiesole.it/badia-fiesolana.html; contains St. Romulus’ shrine; also known as Catedral San Romolo.
Monastery di San Francesco – 13 Via San Francesco; 011-39-055-59-175; fratifiesole.it; tremendous views.
Museo Bandini – 1 Via Dupre; 011-39-055-59-118; palinsesto.it/bandini/index.html; modest museum to left of Roman Theater entrance; small collection 13-15th Century Florentine paintings by likes of Bernardo Daddi, Taddeo & Agnolo Gaddi, Nardo di Cione, Bicci di Lorenzo, Sandro Botticelli, and Neri di Bicci & Luca Signorelli.
Parco della Rimembranza – Via di San Francesco; resistenzatoscana.it/monumenti/fiesole/parco_della_rimembranza; best views of Florence in distance.
Piazza Mino – restaurants.
San Francisco Church & Convent – Via di San Francesco (off Piazza Mino); 011-39-055-59-175; sacred-destinations.com/italy/assisi-san-francesco; 14th Century church with Neri di Bicci altarpiece; quirky archaeology-ethnology museum attached.
Villa Medici – 35 Via Beato Angelico; 011-39-055-239-8994 (must make prior arrangements); villamedicifiesole.it/introduction.html; must see gardens; designed by Leon Battista Alberti.



FORTE DEI MARMI
Hotels

Grand Hotel Imperiale – 20 Via Mazzini; 011-39-058-478-271; grandhotelimperiale.it; every room has private terrace; beautiful pool; very expensive.



GAVORRANO
Hotels
Conti di San Bonifacio – 1 Localita Casteani; 011-39-056-680-006; contidisanbonifacio.it; in coastal Tuscany, in vineyard; restored farmhouse interiors are pristine with organic colors and textures; enjoy poolside or roaring fire depending on season; cooking and wine courses, yoga on hilltop, horse riding, and night treks.



LUCCA (includes Borgo a Mozzano, Matraia & Valgiano)
Bakeries, Coffee, Ice Cream, Juice & Tea
L’Angolo Dolce di Sandra – 391 Via Borgo Giannotti; 011-39-058-334-2462; pasticceriasandrabianchi.com; great coffee, ice cream & pastries.

Hotels
Hotel Noblesse – 23 Via Santo Anastasio (Angolo Via Santa Croce); 011-39-058-344-0275; hotelnoblesse.it; 1700 palace in Lucca’s heart.

Restaurants
La Bottega dell’Oste – 21 Via della Fratta; 011-39-058-349-3462; facebook.com/LaBottegaDellOsteLucca; best restaurant in town; chef gathers own herbs in wild; try wild boar.
Osteria Il Colle – 112 Via di Casale (Matraia); 011-39-058-340-2415; osteriacollematraia.it; unprepossessing outside conceals excellent restaurant (specializing in salumi) worth special trip.
Pasticceria Taddeucci – 34 Piazza San Michele; 011-39-058-349-4933; taddeucci.com; open since 1881 by Jacopo Taddeucci; most famous product is filoni (loaves) and ciambelle (rings) of bucellato Lucchese, sweet cross between bread and coffee cake; try also treccia (bread cake laced with chocolate).

Services
Abita Immobiliare – 40 Via Vittorio Veneto; 011-39-039-2968-7036, 011-39-033-8843-4952, or lauragaddi@yahoo.it; abitaimmobiliare.biz; rental property locator; ask for Laura Gaddi; one good candidate is apartment in clock tower; another is 563 Via Borgo Giannotti, Apt. Zago 2.

Shopping
Alimentari Giurlani – 239-241 Via Fillungo; 011-39-058-349-6233; bakery & provisions store.
Ceramisti d’Arte – 1 Via Santa Gemma Galgani; 011-39-058-346-7224; ceramistidarte.it; ceramics.

Sights & Sites
Basilica of San Frediano – Piazza San Frediano; 011-39-058-353-576; diocesilucca.it/parrocchie.php?p=diocesi&s=parrocchie&id=360; Romanesque church; Fridianus (Frediano) was Irish bishop of Lucca in 1st half 6th Century, buried in this church; acquired its present appearance 1112-1147; in 13th-14th Centuries façade decorated with huge golden 13th Century mosaic representing Ascension of Christ Savior with apostles below, designed by Berlinghiero Berlinghieri in Byzantine/medieval style; several chapels of nobility added in 14th-16th Centuries, lavishly decorated with paintings; inside, richly carved white marble with arches supported by columns with Roman & Romanesque capitals (some of which recycled from nearby Roman amphitheater); highlight at entrance is huge 12th Century Romanesque baptismal font (Fonte Lustrale), composed of bowl, covered with tempietto, resting on pillars, inside circular basin, decorated with Story of Moses; behind font, high on wall, are 2 15th Century glazed terracotta lunettes, Annunciation & St. Bartholomew, both attributed to Andrea della Robbia school.
City Wall – Passeggiata delle Mura (main office about 200 yards from train station near historic city center); 011-39-058-347-013; luccaportal.it/art-and-culture/the-walls-of-lucca.php; walls around old city have remained intact as city has expanded & modernized; as they have lost their military importance, they have become pedestrian promenade encircling old town; used in early 20th Century for car racing; each of 4 principal sides lined with different tree species.
Piazza dell’Anfiteatro – Via dell’Anfiteatro; amphitheatre, originally built as entertainment center outside town, today is town center; unique elliptical-shaped plaza; when built, was for gladiator games & other spectacles; imposing structure, with 54 arches & cavea able to hold as many as 10K spectators; construction began in 1st Century under Emperor Claudius & concluded in Flavian period, generously financed by rich citizen, as seen from honorary inscription discovered during excavations in 1800s; in Middle Ages, when this area became plaza, called parlascio (believed to come from parlare, meaning “to talk,” as it was popular assembly venue, in reality, however, corruption of paralisium, Latin for “amphitheatre”); during Gothic Wars, under siege by Narsete, fortified & made impenetrable by outside arches’ closure; when this function ended, terraced houses built on surviving ruined structures, also used for construction materials; these then became powder magazine, salt store, prison (dubbed grotte (”caves”) & finally eating places & shops; plaza center divided into portions & in 1 period used for vegetable patches; in 1800s Luca architect, Lorenzo Nottolini, restored ancient space, making amphitheater fundamental structure for town’s urban arrangement; buildings crowding arena demolished & new Via dell’Anfiteatro surrounded ancient building; portions of Roman coliseum included in surrounding structures.
Ponte della Maddalena (Ponte del Diavolo) – Via del Brennero (Borgo a Mozzano); 011-39-0580382-0406; luccaterre.it/it/dettaglio/2902/Ponte-del-Diavolo.html; medieval bridge on Via Francigena, early medieval road to Rome for those coming from France (important medieval pilgrimage route); probably commissioned by Countess Matilda of Tuscany (1080-1100).
San Quirico Church – Petrojo (Valgiano); valledigiano.it/valgiano.html; medieval church dating to 10th Century; dramatic setting.
Torre Delle Ore – Via Fillungo; 011-39-058-331-6846; comune.lucca.it; only medieval tower left in Lucca (out of around 130 that once existed) has contained public clock since 1390.
Torre Guinigi – Via San Andrea; 011-39-058-358-3086; lemuradilucca.it; some would argue most important tower of Lucca; has hanging garden on roof.



MARINA DI GROSSETO
Restaurants

Fuorirotta – Localita la Canova; 011-39-345-325-1813; fuorirottabeach.it; light lunches and dinner by prior arrangement; beach shack with pine trees behind it.



MASSIMA MARITTIMA
Restaurants
Bracali Ristorante – 2 Via de Perolla; 011-39-056-690-2318; bracaliristorante.it; creative, elegant Tuscan cooking.



MONSUMMANO TERME
Hotels
Grotta Giusti Natural Spa Resort – 1411 Via Grotta Giusti; 011-39-057-290-771; grottagiustispa.com; Small Luxury Hotel.



MONTAIONE
Hotels
UNA Palazzo Mannaioni – 2 Via Guglielmo Marconi; 011-39 0571-69277; unahotels.it; lovely; pool.

Shopping
Comune di Montaione – Piazza del Municipio; 011-39-0571-6991; comune.montaione.fi.it; for white truffle salt.



MONTALCINO (Molinello & Sant’Angelo in Colle)
Hotels
Castiglion del Bosco – off SP 103; 011-39-057-191-3001; castigliondelbosco.com; Ferragamo family’s private Tuscan estate; 9 hilltop villas, each with private pool; recommended villas include Sant’Anna, which has vineyard views; main house sleeps 9 and has traditional, woodburning fireplace.

Restaurants
Il Leccio – 3-5 Piazza Castellare (Sant’Angelo in Colle); 011-39-057-784-4174; tratoriailleccio.it; starched tablecloths, crystal wine glasses, amazing wine cellar; try spinach and ricotta ravioli in butter and sage sauce.
Poggio Antico – Montalcino; 011-39-057-784-8044; poggioantico.com; vineyard with restaurant.

Sights & Sites
Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona – Molinello; 011-39-057-783-5616; ciaccipiccolomini.com; vineyard open for tours; visit in fall or winter because too crowded in spring and summer.
Medieval Town Center – central piazza (Sant’Angelo in Colle).
Poggio Antico – Montalcino; 011-39-057-784-8044; poggioantico.com; vineyard tours.
Poggio di Sotto – Castel dell’Abate; 011-39-057-783-5502; poggiodisotto.com; vineyard.
Uccelliera – Castel dell’Abate; 011-39-057-783-5729; uccelliera-montalcino.it; vineyard.



MONTE AMIATA
Restaurants
Osteria Primo Rifugio – Primo Rifugio; 011-39-057-778-9705.

Sights & Sites
Monte Amiata – dormant volcano.



MONTEMERANO
Restaurants
Da Caino – 4 Via Chiesa; 011-39-656-460-2817; dacaino.it; 2 Michelin stars; game.



MONTEPULCIANO
Hotels

Follonico – Montefollonico; 011-39-057-766-9773; follonico.com; affordable; 6 rooms; centuries old farmhouse, lovingly restored; austerely chic; white-washed, stone-walled rooms with weathered beams; in vineyard valley.

Restaurants
Osteria dell’Acquacheta – 22 Via del Teatro; 011-39-057-875-8443; acquacheta.eu; known for steaks; reservations good idea.
Sights & Sites
Medieval Town Center – movie series, Twilight, filmed here and about town.



MONTERIGGIONI
Restaurants
Bar dell’Orso – 23 Via Cassia Nord; 011-39-057-730-5074; bardellorso.com; affordable, delicious panini.
Il Pozzo – 20 Piazza Roma;; 011-39-057-730-4127; ilpozzo.net/monteriggioni/en; on main square.



MONTEVERDI
Hotels
Monteverdi Tuscany – Via di Mezzo (Castiglioncello del Trinoro); 011-39-057-826-8146; monteverdituscany.com; 3 villas, joined together; 7-room hotel, restored 13th Century chapel, and farm-to-table cafe; stone walls, wood-beam ceilings, views galore, surprisingly good WiFi, modern furnishings; bathrooms are nicest part (Carrara marble floors, open-air waterfall showers), some rooms even having big tubs; pool, restaurant on lovely patio; great breakfasts.

Restaurants
Oreade – 8 Via di Mezzo (Castiglioncello del Trinoro, at Monteverdi Tuscany); 011-39-057-826-8146; monteverdituscany.com; classic Tuscan dishes, such as bistecca alla fiorentina.


MONTICCHIELLO
Restaurants
Osteria La Porta – 1 Via del Piano; 011-39-057-875-5163; osterialaporta.it; 1 of few area trattorias that serves homemade pasta; try pici all’aglione (light tomato sauce over pasta with lots of garlic.



PIENELLA
Hotels
Hotel Le Fontanelle – km 14.7, Strada Provinciale 408 (Castelnuovo Berardenga, 20 km from Siena & 80 km from Florence); 011-39-057-735-751; hotelfontanelle.com; overlooks Tuscan countryside; surrounded by olive groves & vineyards, in secluded Chianti valley corner; ancient country estate, central structure dating to 13th Century; renovated to preserve ancient architectural splendor while paying attention to modern amenities; main building is bar, reception, restaurant, small spa & swimming pool (indoor & outdoor (heated)); fireplace & private library; 25 rooms: Classic, Prestige, Deluxe, Junior Suites & Suites (all on 1st & 2nd floors, some overlooking forest, pool, and/or vineyard; wood beam ceilings & terracotta floors; modern comforts include safe, hairdryer, satellite TV with LCD screen, wireless internet & minibar; Vespa rental; free mountain bikes; guided tours to hotel botanical garden; free shuttle service to Siena center (booked in advance).

Restaurants
La Colonna – km 14.7, Strada Provinciale 408 (Castelnuovo Berardenga); 011-39-057-735-751; hotelfontanelle.com; typical Italian & Tuscan dishes; in summer, book on Belvedere Terrace from which can admire breathtaking view over Chianti valley.



PIENZA (includes Camprena)
Hotels

La Bandita – Podere La Bandita; 011-39-333-404-6704; la-bandita.com; 8 guest rooms; infinity pool; jaw-dropping views; excellent restaurant.
Piccolo Hotel La Valle – 7 Via Circonvallazione; 011-39-057-874-9402; piccolohotellavalle.it; modest but comfortable hotel within walking distance of some of area’s best restaurants.
Monastery of Santa Anna – Camprena; 011-39-057-874-8037; camprena.it; English patient filmed here; cheap rooms with private baths, lovely garden.
Relais Il Chiostro di Pienza – 26 Corso Il Rossellino; 011-39-057-874-8400; relaisilchiostrodipienza.com.

Shopping
Officine 904 – 16 Via Dogali; 011-39-057-8190-0817; officine904.it; for soft leather bags.

Sights & Sites
Il Casale – between Montepulciano & Pienza; 011-39-057-875-5109; podereilcasale.com60 hectares; organically run farm; sells cheese, meats, and produce.



PISA (includes San Giuliano Terme)
Hotels
Bagni di Pisa Resort – 18 Largo Percy Shelley; 011-39-050-88-501; bagnidipisa.com.

Sights & Sites
Campanile di Santa Maria (Leaning Tower) – Piazza del Duomo; 011-39-050-560-547; opapisa.it/en; originally construction begun in 1174 CE, intending it be freestanding bell tower for Pisa’s cathedral; located in Field of Miracles (Campo del Miracoli); can climb 186' to top.
Camposanto Monumentale (Cemetery) – Piazza del Duomo; 011-39-050-835-011 or 011-39-050-560-547; opapisa.it; Camposanto means “Holy Field” or “Monumental Cemetery”; constructed in 1278 around sacred dirt brought back from Golgotha during Crusades; later decorated with extensive frescoes; Pisan upper class burial place for centuries; walls decorated with frescoes by Taddeo Gaddi, Spinello Aretino, Benozzo Gozzoli, Andrea Bonaiuti, Antonio Veneziano & Piero di Puccio; tragically, almost completely destroyed by a bombing raid during WWII; since been fully restored; most surviving frescoes, along with preparatory sketches (sinopie) found underneath, moved to Museo delle Sinopie (those remaining are in large room off north gallery, dating from 14th Century & depict Triumph of Death, Last Judgment & Stories of Anchorites); elegant space; cloisters filled with funerary monuments, many of which reuse ancient Roman sarcophagi; despite loss of many tombs during WWII, remarkable 84 Roman sarcophagi, most from 3rd Century CE, still survive; grave effigies, in total, constitute among most important Classical art collections in Europe; huge Pisa port harbor chains, hanging on walls, were taken by Genoese in 1342 & returned in 1860; crenellated walls outside to west date from 12th Century.
Museo delle Sinopie – Piazza dei Miracoli; 011-39-050-835-011; opapisa.it/en/miracles-square/sinopie-museum.html‎; where most of Camposanto Monumentale’s original frescoes are.
Pisa Cathedral Complex – Piazza del Duomo; 011-39-050-560-547; opapisa.it/en; also known as Piazza dei Miracoli (Miracle Square); in addition to cathedral itself, includes baptistry, cemetery, and campanile (bell tower, better known as Leaning Tower); in 16th Century, Galileo inspired by cathedral’s chandelier re isochronism of small oscillations.



POPULONIA
Beaches
Baratti – don’t miss “Buca delle Fate” cove; access by path through wood, reached by taking road that leads Baratti to Populonia.

Sights & Sites
Baratti & Populonia Archaeological Park – Baratti & Populonia Alta; 011-39-056-522-6445; parchivaldicornia.it; San Cerbone Necropolis, Caves Necropolis & Acropolis.
Populonia Archaeological Museum – 8 Piazza della Cittadella; 011-39-056-522-1646; comune.piombino.li.it/index.php?id_sezione=150; only Etruscan city by sea; artifacts range from prehistory to late antiquity; active experimental archaeology department that focuses on ceramics and stone.
Rocca – altamaremma.org/populonia.htm; originally, Etruscan town called Fufluna or Pupluna; fortress.



PORTO ERCOLE (includes Castiglione della Pescaia)
Hotels
Il Pellicano – Localita Sbarcatello Cala dei Santil; 011-39-056-485-8111; pellicanohotel.com.

Sights & Sites
Castiglione della Pescaia – grosseto-info.com/castiglione_della_pescaia.htm; ancient town worth visiting just to see; don’t miss early evening passeggiata on Piazza della Reppublica.



PORTO SANTO STEFANO
Restaurants
Romano – 122 Via Mazzini; 011-39-058-431-382; romanoristorante.it; inland from Trattoria da Orlando but within walking distance; just more elegant version.
Trattoria da Orlando – 3 Via Breschi; 011-39-056-481-2788; at town’s end, in oldest section, dotted with fin de siecle villas perched on cliffs; original restaurant dates from immediately after WWII; seats only 30 indoors; after Easter, moves outdoors where seats 50 on what is perhaps most romantic terrace on promontory; framed by pines and jasmine arbor, diners can contemplate sea and starry sky, while sailboats ply waters headed for Corsica, Elba, Montecristo, and beyond; several steps beyond usual seaside fare; try sea bass souffle, anglerfish strudel, red tuna tartare, seafood carbonara and spaghetti d’Orlando (in which calamari, clams, mussels, and shrimp chopped so fine turn into fine seafood powder coating each pasta string); when it comes to main course, Gisella Bulli follows Italian seafood cuisine’s key rule – do as little as possible to fish, adding just herbs or few slivers garlic; desserts include homemade crostate (fruit pies) and cantucci (thin cookies made with almonds and pine nuts).



PRATO (includes Poggio a Caiano)
Sights & Sites
Catedrale – Piazza del Duomo; 011-39-057-426-234; diocesiprato.it; documented as existing since early 10th Century (as Pieve di Santo Stefano); current structure dates from Romanesque period (12th Century); during 14th Century, acquired important relic, Holy Virgin’s Sacra Cintola (Sacred Belt), which brought about edifice’s enlarging by transept addition (attributed to Giovanni Pisano, but probably by Nicola Pisano’s pupil); Cintola Chapel also built at this time to house relic; in early 15th Century, new International Gothic façade added in front of old one; between 2, narthex or corridor leading to external pulpit built by Michelozzo and decorated by Donatello (1428-1438); in lunette over door is glazed terracotta sculpture by Andrea della Robbia depicting Madonna with Saints Stephen and John; inner west wall decorated with Assumption fresco by David and Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio; in transept right is Renaissance tabernacle by Da Maiano brothers; Assumption Chapel frescoed in 1435-1436 by young Paolo Uccello; in main chapel, or chancel, Filippo Lippi and Fra Diamante painted Histories of Sts. Stephen and John and Obsequies of St. Stephen (on right is Lippi self-portrait); on opposite wall is Herod’s Banquet; 18th Century altar, which encloses Cintola, is crowned by marble Madonna with Child (1301), considered among Giovanni Pisano’s masterpieces.
Gallery of Palazzo degli Alberti – 2 Via degli Alberti; 011-39-057-461-7359; galleriapalazzoalberti.it; Cariprato Bank collection in restored ancient palace; note, see Caravaggio’s Crowning with Thorns (1603); also, Filippo Lippi’s early, small Madonna and Child & Giovanni Bellini’s Crucifixion (with Jewish cemetery).
Villa Medicea – 12 Piazza dei Medici; 011-39-055-877-012; uffizi.firenze.it/en/musei/?m=poggiocaiano; in 1473, ruined fortified house (called Ambra), including land & mill bought by Lorenzo de’ Medici; in 17th & 18th Centuries by Etruria Queen, Maria Luisa of Spain; following Risorgimento, refurbished & used by Vittorio Emanuele II; donated to Italian state in 1919 & became national museum in 1984; main attractions are Pontormo frescoes depicting Vertumnus and Pomona in main salon; formal gardens, now somewhat wild, slope down to Ombrone River at rear.



REGGELLO
Sights & Sites
Sammezzano Castle – Sammezzano; palmerstonhotels.com; 20 minutes south of Florence; set up high on hill with panoramic views; among ornamental trees on 450 acres; each room different; Peacock Room is beautiful, intricate Moorish in design; architectural masterpiece beyond comparison; also worth seeing is White Room, moroccan mosaic tiled floors and wrought iron chandeliers hanging from ceilings.



SATURNIA
Hotels
Terme di Saturnia Spa – Via Follonata; 011-39-056-460-0111; termedisaturnia.it.



SAN GUSME
Hotels
Relais Villa Arceno – Localita Arceno; 011-39-057-735-9292; hotelrelais.it/link.asp?ID_Struttura=82; estate in Siena hills, Chianti area. 1K hectares of lakes, olive groves, vineyards, and woods; acquired in 1504 by del Taja family.



SINALUNGA
Hotels

Locanda Dell’Amorosa – Strada Statale di Rapolano; 011-39-057-767-7211; amorosa.it; beautiful with great restaurant.



TALAMONE (includes Alberese & Orbetello)
Restaurants
Buca di Nonno Ghigo – 1 Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi (Orbetello); 011-39-056-488-7067; bellamaremma.com/talamone/ristorante/4/ristorante-la-buca-di-nonno-ghigo.htm; worth special trip for seafood and pasta; lovely setting.

Sights & Sites
Parco Regionale della Maremma – 7/9 Via Bersagliere (main office); 011-39-056-439-3211; parco-maremma.it; offers everything; right on coast, with incredible panorama (views stretch from park mountains along coastline to Monte Argentario peninsula and out over sea towards Elba, Giglio & Montecristo Islands; walking paths properly signed & in good shape; from Maremma cows and horses to wild boars, foxes & turtles; among most beautiful and unspoiled coastlines in Tuscany; history all around you: on hike A-2, visit Renaissance look-out towers built by Medici to ward off pirate invasions or on A-1, ruins of medieval San Rabano Abbey; 14 walking and trekking routes; park offices in Alberese and Talamone.



VIAREGGIO
Hotels
Hotel President – 5 Viale Carducci; 011-39-058-496-2712; hotelpresident.it/en/default.asp; situated on promenade; English-speaking staff are charming and very helpful; chef is 1st rate; great base for visiting Florence, Pisa, Lucca, and Carrera; in dumpy area, though; very reasonably priced.



VINCI
Sights & Sites
Museo Ideale Leonardo da Vinci – 2 Via Montalbano; 011-39-057-156-296; museoleonardo.com.



VITERBO
Hotels
Villa La Cerretana – 40 Strada Ortana; 011-39-034-9146-7267 or 011-39-033-1247-1171 (English); villalacerretana.it.

Sights & Sites
Bomarzo Gardens – Giardino; 011-39-076-192-4029; bomarzo.net/index_en.html; founded in 1552 as “Villa of Wonders”; fell into oblivion until 1954 when bought by Giovanni Bettini, who restored it.

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