Towns & Villages - Northern Tuscany
The scenery throughout Tuscany varies quite considerably depending on where you go. The landscape and terrain in the North is very different from the South. Its unspoiled landscape is mountainous, more rugged and broken up with thick woodland.
Just like the South, it has traditional hilltop villages and medieval castles, but here the pace is much slower, despite the area being densely populated. As well as being by the breathtaking Apuan Alps, from most locations in Northern Tuscany you can easily reach the coast within a 30 minute drive.
Northern Tuscany offers the best of both worlds, soak up the sun on the beach, go hiking in the mountains, or visit amazing cities and towns such as Florence, Lucca, Pisa and Pistoia. Northern Tuscany may be less stereotypically Tuscan but it has classic architecture, artistic treasures, striking hilly landscapes and plenty of cultural events to enjoy.
Borgo San Lorenzo
Borgo San Lorenzo is located close to the Apennines approximately 30km from the City of Florence. The town itself comes under the Mugello comune of the District of Florence, an area steeped in the history of the Medici Family.
The Roman community of Anneianum stood in the location of todays Borgo San Lorenzo. Following the departure of the Romans, the villagers renamed their town after the local church of San Lorenzo and the name has remained the same since.
In the 13th Century, Borgo San Lorenzo played an important part in the negotiations between the supporters of the Empire – the Ghibellines – and the supporters of the Pope – the Guelphs. It was at the end of this Century that the town came under the control of Republic of Florence.
As part of the town defences, the Florentine Republic fortified the town and established 4 entrances. Today, parts of two of the arched entrances are still visible – the Porta Fiorentina (Florentine Gate) and the Porta dell'Orologio (Gate of the Watch).
The fortifications helped protect the town through the centuries, including repelling an attack by the French in 1527. The town did suffer some damage during World War II though.
Today in Borgo San Lorenzo
In contrast to many other towns in the region, Borgo San Lorenzo does not solely rely on tourism. Because of its strategic importance close to main roads leading from Florence north, Borgo San Lorenzo has many office based industries to drive its economy.
The Village of Camaiore is located in a valley surrounded by hills and the northern Appennins mountains. Camaiore has Roman origins as one of the largest encampments near to the city of Lucca and an important station along the Via Cassia. The origins of its name "Campus Maior" come from this.
In the Middle Ages, the town grew considerably thanks to the old Via Francigena. The city represented the Twenty–seventh stage during the journey of Sigerico Canterbury, and was called Campmaior by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Now Camaiore is filled with many artistic treasures which include the Collegiate Church, Saint Peter's which is a Benedectine Abbey and in the village of Pieve of Camaiore there is a church which is an excellent example of a Romanic church and dates back to about 817 d.C.
The territory of Camaiore is beautiful and known for its landscape and its small medieval villages like Monteggiori, Casoli, Gombitelli e Montebello. From their hillside positions there is a fantastic view over the sea and surrounding hills, while time seems to have stopped centuries ago.
Castelnuovo di Garfagnana
Castelnuovo di Garfagnana is a bustling town with road and rail links to Lucca, Pisa, Florence and the Versilia coast by Viareggio. National parks of the Apuan Alps and Appenines are an easy drive away and open up a whole host of walks, nature and sports for your enjoyment.
The history small village of Castelnuovo can be traced back to as early as 740AD but within a century, the village had become an important town with defensive walls and castles. Its location enabled it to establish itself as a transit point for traders and visitors travelling to the northern areas of Italy. Over the centuries, the defensive walls and castles were enlarged and improved. In 1924, Castelnuovo became part of the Province of Lucca.
Even today, the defensive walls of Castelnuovo di Garfagnana play an important role in everyday life in Castelnuovo di Garfagnana. The town walls contain the oldest parts of the town along with winding roads and small artisan shops. The more modern offices, residences, bars, restaurants and train station are outside of the walls.
Many local residents commute to work in Lucca, Pisa or Florence whilst a growing number are able to make a comfortable living from tourism or from the sale of artisan gifts and paintings.
Florence - Italy's Capital of Art
Florence is the capital of Tuscany. It has almost half a million inhabitants and lies on the Arno River at the foot of the Appenines. The cultural and physical impact of Florence is overwhelming, its museums, palaces and churches contain more art than perhaps any city in Europe.
This is in a large part a result of the great explosion of artistic and architectural activity that occurred during the Renaissance (between the 13th and 15th centuries) that Florence still embodies.
Florence annually attracts over a million tourists from everywhere in the world!
Lucca, the walled cityRead more
Pieve FoscianaRead more
Experience an official tuscany tour with
Small-Group Cinque Terre Day Trip from Florence with Vineyards Escapes and Seafood Lunch
Fall in love with the Cinque Terre, Italy’s breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage-listed coastal region on this full-day trip from Florence. With a small and intimate group of no more than 16 people, you’ll tour Cinque Terre’s cliff-side fishing villages, savour a 3-course Italian Seafood lunch, relax on an amazing boat ride to get a memorable perspective on the Riviera, enjoy exclusive escapes from the crowds that will reveal hidden, no touristy, gems and take part in additional sightseeing activities with your expert local guide, like a very light hike on an almost leveled trail through seaside vineyards, having the chance to admire the astonishing coastal panorama from a high vantage point.
This small-group tour is limited to no more than 16 people, ensuring a more personalized experience.
Self-Drive Vintage Fiat 500 Tour from Florence: Tuscan Hills and Italian Cuisine
Step back to 1960s Italy as you drive an eye-catching vintage Fiat 500 car through Tuscany! Following a guide out of Florence, drive into the lush Tuscan hills, passing through picturesque villages and attracting nostalgic glances from admiring passersby. Your 4-hour tour ends in the best possible way – with a relaxing meal on a private terrace.
This unique Florence tour is limited to five cars (with 15 people total), ensuring you'll enjoy a small-group experience.
Livorno Shore Excursion: Private Day Trip to Siena and San Gimignano
When your cruise ship docks in Livorno and you have only a single day to visit the surrounding Italian towns of Siena and San Gimignano, you’ll need a privately guided shore excursion to see the best of these picturesque cities. On this nine-hour day tour, immerse yourself in Italian life, explore the beautiful city of Siena and walk the medieval streets of San Gimignano before returning to your cruise ship in Livorno.
Your private driver will pick you up at your ship at Livorno port and take you on a scenic two-hour drive through the Tuscan countryside. You’ll reach Siena, where the beauty and character of this sleepy city will stun you and make you feel like you have stepped back in time.
Walking Tour of Florence with Uffizi
Discover the town’s best known treasures such as the Duomo, Palazzo Vecchio, the squares, the monuments, the Old Bridge. The tour will continue with the visit of The Uffizi Gallery. One of the most important art collections in the world.from 54,15 US Dollar