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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.

Northern Tuscany

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.
Origins
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.

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Camaiore

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.

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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.

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Florence

Florence is dauntingly monumental and basks in its past glories, its weighty Renaissance history. More than any other city, Florence is defined by its artistic heritage. The churches, palaces and galleries are studded with the world’s greatest concentration of Renaissance art and sculpture. The city is both blessed and burdened by artistic overload. In 1743 Anna Maria Lodovica, the last of the Medici line, left her property to Florence, ensuring that the Medici collections remained intact forever. As a result, Florence is still awash with treasures. Despite devouring the checklist of must-see sights, beware of suffocating under the weight of treasures. Allow time for aimless wandering. Beyond the selfie sticks and statuary awaits a funky foodie haunt with sleek cafes, superb cooking and seriously edible markets. Florence is not fusty. Nor has the greedy city lost its gutsy Tuscan soul: traditional inns still serve earthy peasant fare, including macho steaks.

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Lucca

Lucca is a classic Tuscan city on a human scale, with just enough cultural attractions to beguile but not bewilder. Often bypassed by fans intent on ticking off the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Lucca is Tuscany’s self-deprecating star. It is a mellow city of seductive charms, with ramparts encircling the city, which were transformed into a tree-lined promenade in the 19th century. Lucca has more than its fair share of splendid Pisan-Romanesque churches, with ornate facades of green, grey and white marble. Its perfectly-preserved walled heart, quiet sophistication and peaceful pace of life are all credited with winning over sceptical fans. That’s before talking about its pinky-gold palaces, pedestrian-friendly bastions, crowd-pleasing concerts, enchanting shops and its renowned olive oil and wine estates. In summer, outdoor concerts add to Lucca’s appeal, as do the discreet wine bars and cosy inns. To jaded urbanities, Lucca represents life as it should be led.

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Pisa

No city is as closely associated with one single monument as Pisa is with her tower. It is a wondrous site but so are the cathedral and baptistery. Both owe much to the influence of Islamic architecture, which Pisan merchants and scholars experienced through trading with Moorish Spain and North Africa. Once a thriving Roman port, Pisa’s harbour silted up in the 15th century, and it is now marooned on the Arno river, six miles (10 km) from the coast. Great medieval sea battles were fought off these shores, with the city-state of Pisa becoming first an ally then a rival of other Tuscan states, including Lucca and Florence, along with the maritime powers of Genoa and Venice. Wonderful though the Leaning Tower is, many visitors fail to notice the treasures outside the Campo dei Miracoli. It’s certainly worth exploring Pisa’s other `miracles,’ from the riverbanks to the lively town.

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Experience an official tuscany tour with

OFFICIAL FIRENZE DOME COMPLEX TOUR WITH SKIP THE LINE TICKET AND GELATO

Join the OFFICIAL DUOMO TOUR, Skip the long line with our guide and climb up to the TOP amazing Brunelleschi Dome to enjoy the magnificent skyline of Florence, Renaissance masterpieces and UNESCO heritage of humanity.
What will you do in the tour:
.Enter the Cathedral without a queue from a private entrance
.Discover the genial techniques of construction of the Cupola
.Climb the 463 steps and walk along the secret passages of the 1400s
.Admire the largest frescoed surface of the world and the marvellous marble floor
.Dominate the skyline of Florence and the Tuscan countryside up to the Chianti
.Visit the inside of the Baptistery to admire the golden Mosaics
.Enjoy a delicious Italian artisan Gelato

from 115,69 US Dollar

Shared Wonderful Tuscany Wine Tour in Chianti Wine Region Siena & San Gimignano

9.30 am Departure from Florence.
10.15 am Visit Siena.
12.30 am Departure from Chianti Classico and stop at boutique winery for an authentic Tuscany Lunch included wine, olive oil tasting & balsamic tasting (Vernaccia, Chianti Classico, Chianti Riserva, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Truffle Oil, Vinsanto).
02.30 pm Through the beautiful Tuscan countryside approaching San Gimignano. (the unique medieval city of towers - a UNESCO World Heritage Site) Visit the famous medieval watch towers (we recommend you to climb the Great Tower). Gelato time
4.00 pm We go back to Florence where the tour would be end by 5:00 pm but only after making a stop at Piazzale Michelangelo for a panoramic appreciate the exceptional view of Florence

from 271,86 US Dollar

Livorno Seafront Promenade with Wine Tasting

Discover Livorno's charming and lively seafront accompanied by a local expert guide. A lovely and easy walk among scenic views, gardens, elegant palaces and historic buildings that are part of the history of the city.

from 185,1 US Dollar

Local Market Tour and Dining experience at a Cesarina's home in Montepulciano

Visit the  vibrant local market and immerse yourself in a  private dining experience at a Cesarina's home, enjoy an  exclusive show cooking and  taste authentic recipes from Montepulciano treasured in family cookbooks passed down by real Italian Mammas. Feel the warmth of Italian hospitality as you connect with local people. 

Enjoy a  4-course menu including starter, pasta, main course with side dish, dessert with  drinks included (water, selection of red and white wines from regional cellars and coffee). At the end of the experience, take your souvenir back home: the official Cesarine  apron and shopping bag.

from 167,75 US Dollar
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