It is not surprising that Tuscany and Umbria are the most popular destinations in a country full of popular destinations! There are SO many reasons to visit the regions; from the simply but stunning local cuisine and wine to the rolling landscapes, from the medieval cities such as Lucca, great architecture and monuments in Pisa and the beautiful hill towns like San Gimignano. There really is something for everyone.
Lucca is located at the foot of the Apuan Alps and is less than half an hour from the Tuscan coast. There are so many traces of it’s ancient history, from the footprint of the Roman amphitheatre to the archeological remains under the 12th Century church of Saints Giovanni and Reparata and the various towers and villas dating from the 12th to the 16th Centuries. Amazingly, as Lucca grew the city walls remained, which is not the case for many of the cities in Tuscany. As the walls lost their military importance, the tops became a pedestrian walkway, today one of Lucca’s main attractions – they have in essence become a park surrounding the city and blocking out modern life.
Another must is a the Cathedral of St. Martin with it’s ancient relics. There are numerous other places of interest including th Piazza of San Michele, the Basilica of San Frediano, the Clock Tower and the Guinigi Tower to name but a few. Lying at the foot of Mount Centona, Cetona is a beautifully preserved medieval village which has become fashionable in the past few decades. It is surrounded by pretty hills planted with cypresses and pine trees.
The Piazza Garibaldi was built in the 16th Century as the main access to the town and is bordered by two churches. There are some wonderful 15th Century frescos and Cetona has long been home to artists and writers, drawn to this most enchanting of villages. Under the shadow of the mountain is the Belvedere Archaeological and Natural Park with a prehistoric site, first excavated in 1927 and containing remains dating back to the Bronze Age. It goes without saying that there are wonderful restaurants serving fabulous traditional food. The Umbrian hill town of Orvieto is unspoilt, uncrowded and home to some of the most beautiful buildings in Italy. Its lofty position and impregnable walls were chosen at a time in the Middle Ages when the areas between Florence and Rome were prey to warring clans.
Today the town has a relaxed and calm atmosphere with its numerous cafes and restaurants, bookshops, antique emporiums and artisans workshops, its lack of traffic and air of culture. There is an annual festival when the citizens parade through the streets in medieval costume. There is also the delightful little Teatro Mancinelli, full of mirros, chandeliers and neoclassical frescos.
We have villas in all of the locations below. Click on a resort for more details.