Festivals in Castiglion Fiorentino
Enjoy a summer of festivals and events in the town. Maggio Castiglionese takes place throughout the whole of May, and then from June to September there is the ‘Castiglionese Summer’ – expect music, street theatre, markets, concerts, trade fairs, food and wine tastings……
The owners of Villa Cristina produce their own wines, grappa and olive oils and are happy to organise tastings for you.
Take a stroll
in the countryside around Villa Cristina. The hillside is covered with olive trees and apart from a farmer or two, you will probably have the place to yourselves. Simply soak up the scenery.
Palio dei Rioni
Palio dei Rioni …on the 3rd Sunday of June. Similar to the Siena ‘Palio’, this horse race takes place in Piazzale Garibaldi. The three ‘Rioni’ or districts of the town parade through the streets and then take part in the race.
Enjoy wandering around Castiglion Fiorentino,
a lovely walled Tuscan town with narrow streets, a lovely piazza and many hidden delights. Or spend the evening there having dinner by the piazza, watching the world go by.
Follow the S73 from Arezzo
towards Anghiari and Sansepolcro in the eastern corner of Tuscany. Anghiari is a well-preserved medieval centre atop a crag. Sansepolcro is the birthplace of the artist Piero della Francesca and a couple of his masterpieces can be seen in the Museo Civico.
Cortona is a must
on anyone’s list of places to see. This gorgeous hilltop town is so picturesque it will take your breath away. It is full of interesting shops selling art and crafts, and local produce.
Whilst in Cortona, follow the Roman road
called Strada Basolata, which starts from the Chiesa del Torreone (at the top of Cortona) and climbs up towards il Monte S.Egigio, following the ridge of the mountain/hill. Fantastic views!
Go to market!
In the nearby city of Arezzo, a famous antique fair is held on the first Sunday of every month. Dealers come from all over Italy to attend. See if you can find a bargain!
Enjoy the Tuscan Sun Festival.
It takes place in Cortona during the middle two weeks of August. Concerts, art exhibitions, and readings take place in the various churches and theatres, as well as many outdoor settings.
If you have read the books
‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ and ‘Bella Tuscany’, take them with you and see the places mentioned in the books come alive for you – much of the content of the novels is set around Cortona.
A ‘must do’ on anyone’s list is to experience the ‘passeggiata’. No, it is not an Italian dance! In any town or large village, especially on a weekend or holiday, the inhabitants of the town will congregate in the main square before and after dinner to have a stroll around, talk to their friends, have an aperitif or ice cream. It is the perfect time to people watch!
Enjoy the Giostra del Saracino,
which takes place in the Piazza Grande in Arezzo in June and September. People from the town dress up in medieval costumes and parade through the town, which ends with a jousting competition.
Spend the day by the lake.
Lake Trasimeno, to the south, is the Umbrian version of the sea! There are plenty of water sport activities, or take a trip on a boat to the islands. Wander around Castiglione del Lago or paddle in the lake. If you are there at the end of July, you will see the Palio of the Boats – a big boat race on the lake.
Shop at the market
for some fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, salami, and bread and then come home to have a leisurely al fresco lunch, followed by a siesta.
Cross the valley and head into Chianti for the day.
Simply pick a road and meander along it. You will soon come to a beautiful village, followed by more picturesque scenery, another lovely village, and more stunning views…
Take a tour of the many vineyards in Chianti.
Either go at your own pace stopping where you want to, or ask at any of the tourist offices for information on organised tours.
Spend the day in Siena.
Get there early to find a parking space and then enjoy the day in this most amazing town. Its Piazza del Campo is an unforgettable sight, especially when viewed from the top of the Torre del Mangia.
Take the train from Arezzo to
Florence, Rome or Perugia. It doesn’t take too long and it means you can avoid the nightmare of trying to drive into the cities and find somewhere to park.
If you are driving into Florence,
follow signs to Piazzale Michelangelo. Not only will you find free parking in this square, it is also the spot where you will have the most fantastic view over Florence. A short walk down the hill takes you to the Ponte Vecchio, over the river into the heart of Florence. Go early morning or late afternoon to avoid the crowds!
When in Florence,
head for the Piazza San Spirito if you want somewhere quiet to eat. Cross the Ponte Vecchio and turn right and you will soon arrive in the square. Popular with the locals, there are some good restaurants there, away from the tourist traps!
Simply do nothing
but relax by the pool and soak up the view.
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