01 May
Garfagnana

Discover Tuscany’s hidden side: The unspoilt Garfagnana

Tuscany is a wonderful part of the world to visit, and no more so than the mountainous region to the north known as the Garfagnana. With rolling hills, the Serchio River where water rushes through the lush green valleys, wooded areas and traditional old villages, many perched on high vantage points, this part of Tuscany is a traveller’s dream.

The area boasts two regional parks, where you can wander freely, untroubled by many people. Tourism is far more subdued in these parts, mainly confined to the more adventurous visitor with aspirations to explore areas of unspoilt natural beauty.

To explore tiny winding stone streets, balconies with geraniums and terracotta roofs, whilst gazing out at distant blue mountains, visit the medieval town of Barga in the province of Lucca. This is a town for the artistic side of your soul!

Likewise, the village of Castiglione di Garfagnana is included in a national list, as being one of the most beautiful villages in the whole country. This medieval walled town sits high on a hillside aloft the river Esarulo, a tributary of the mightier Serchio.

The similarly named Castelnuovo di Garfagnana is another ‘must see’ town of the region, which is home to the impressive Rocca Ariostesca (Aristo’s Castle) from the 12th century. The town is also the start of one of the most spectacular and somewhat scary drives in the whole of Italy, over the Alps to Massa on the coast.

Asides the many fabulous, medieval hillside towns, there are many places waiting to be explored in this stunning part of Tuscany.

Windy Caves

Visit the Windy Cave (Grotta Del Vento) and experience the natural beauty of ancient underground caverns and the fantastic creations made by water over thousands of years.

Devil’s Bridge

Visit the legendary ‘Devil’s Bridge’ in Borgo a Mozzano. Legend has it that the man who built the bridge sold his soul to the Devil in order to complete the construction. The bridge got completed, but the man sought help from the local priest who told him to first lead a pig across it, to retrieve his soul. Apparently, it worked!

Vagli di Sotto

The ghost town of Vagli di Sotto, lies beneath 34 million cubic meters of water. Today it only emerges when the dam is emptied for maintenance work. This does not happen regularly, but is due again soon and many of its buildings remain structurally sound.


 

24 Mar
Medici Fortress. Sansepolcro. Italy.

Exploring Tuscany’s Sansepolcro

Sansepolcro is a hidden gem that nestles close to La Mancha and Umbria on Tuscany’s border. This traditional, medieval town, boasts honey stone buildings, palaces and piazzas, and is extremely well-preserved, reminiscent of bygone ages. Sansepolcro nestles on flat land in the upper Tiber valley, which makes it easier to walk around, unlike many of the hilltop settlements.


 

13 Jan
Tuscany

Why Tuscany is a photographer’s haven

Coming home with great fun photos of your holiday is all part and parcel of a good trip. However you may be more seriously interested in recording the wonderful areas you visit, and taking the best shots possible with your equipment. This is when choosing a good location is important. There are many wonderful places in Europe that you can visit, and Tuscany is up there with the best.


 

07 Nov
Garfagnana, Tuscany, Italy - Vagli di Sotto village on Lago di Vagli, Vagli lake

Discovering Garfagnana: One of Tuscany’s ‘undiscovered’ beauty spots

The Garfagnana is a mountainous region in the north-western part of Tuscany. It comprises of a beautifully wild, broad valley covered in woods and dotted with picture perfect villages. Garfagnana has two natural parks: the Regional Park of the Apuan Alps and the National Park of the Tosco-Emiliano Apennines. This area of rolling hills and vineyards has plenty of winding mountain roads, rivers and medieval towns perched on top of raised ground.


 

10 Oct
Anghiari 

Exploring the Beautiful villages of Tuscany

Everywhere you go in Tuscany there are enchanting towns, villages, hills, castles and vineyards. In fact, one of the best things about Tuscany is getting lost on the small roads and discovering new hidden gems, and beautiful and historic places where we you feel a timeless atmosphere, different from everywhere else in the world. Here are three of the dozens of communities in Tuscany that are well worth visiting.


 

16 Sep
San Gimignano

Discovering the stunning Tuscan countryside

Tuscany is one of the most visited Italian regions, and for good reason. Tourists are infatuated with its history, culture, cities, small villages, hills covered with vineyards that give us some of the most famous wines in the world, as well as artistically rustic villas and farmhouses set amongst wonderful countryside and dramatic coastline.


 


 

09 May
Siena Cathedral

What makes Siena Cathedral so special? 

Many Cathedrals look impressive from the outside, but fail to impress or are too austere or ostentatious on the inside, but not the stunning cathedral of Siena.

The ‘Duomo di Siena’ as it is known in Italian, has the form of a Latin cross, with a dome, transept and bell tower. The lantern on top of the dome was added by the 17th century Italian architect and sculptor, Gian Lorenzo Bermini.

Built between 1215 and 1263, Siena Cathedral has an incredibly ornate frontage with an impressive window. The cathedral is constructed of white and greenish-black marble in alternating stripes. Black and white are the colours of Siena, and symbolically associated with Senius and Aschius, the horses of the founding fathers of the city.

This Gothic building is filled with the treasures of Pisano, Donatello and Michelangelo. The columns continue the white/black motif and above you are busts of past pious men of Siena. But it’s the floor that you need to study, incredible mosaics providing storytelling masterpieces.

The cathedral comprises of 56 inlaid panels created by over forty artists between 1369 and 1547. Total completion of these images took nearly six centuries, and only finished in the 1800s.

The painting by Donatello of John the Baptist, the rose window and the marble pulpit, are all feasts for the eyes. As is the Piccolomini library, which was constructed by Pope Pius III, in memory of his uncle, Pope Pius II.

The fine indoor views, detailed landscapes and luxuriously clothed figures, are absolutely stunning, augmenting the individuality, uniqueness and blatant beauty of this magnificent Italian cathedral.

The city of Siena is home to many architectural treasures and the ‘Duomo di Siena’ is definitely one of them.