4 Day Trips In Tuscany To Tick Off Your Bucket List | Natural Retreats

4 Day Trips In Tuscany
To Tick Off Your Bucket List

Discover this incredible National Park on the Tuscan coast...

Holidays in Tuscany are blessed with incredible panoramic scenery, a fascinating history and stunning weather, but are also on the doorsteps of vast national parks where an incredible collection of flora and fauna can be found.

The Migliarino San Rossore Massaciuccoli Park is just 15 minutes from the bustle of Pisa and an hour from the city of Florence, meaning that you can switch from metropolitan moments to natural discoveries and have the best of both worlds!

The park itself is a natural encyclopaedia in the open air, with a fantastic variety of animals to spot, 23km of sandy shores and dunes to relax on, marshes, rivers, lakes and ponds to explore and a huge area of dominating pine woodlands to lose yourself amongst.

Walking and cycling are popular ways to cover the wide area, with many choosing to pack up a picnic or BBQ and head to the beaches to enjoy the cooling sea breezes. Horse-riding, canoeing, kayaking and golf are also undertaken by locals and the several visitor centres have plenty of handy information for newbies to take advantage of. There is also a dedicated contact list of expert guides who are available to give guided tours of the best sights and sounds to be found in this corner of Tuscany.

This ancient Tuscan city is located close to the Tyrrhenian Sea on the tranquil River Serchio. Lucca's old city walls are still standing and can be dated back to the Renaissance era. However, rather than protecting the inhabitants, these beautiful walls now serve as quaint walkways and cycle paths that take visitors around the perimeter of the city.

If you love a good walk, Lucca is the perfect place to stretch your legs whilst exploring the beauty of Tuscany. The pathways along the stony walls offer wonderful panoramic views of Lucca's historic buildings, and keep explorers can climb several of the towers to get an even better viewpoint. The narrow streets and maze like walkways are packed full of beautiful churches, dotted amongst quintessential Italian shops where there are many treats to sample.

Perfect for those who like to immerse themselves in local culture and events, Lucca plays host to a variety of well known festivals, so before you travel, it's a great idea to find out what's going on and see if you can work some fun into your itinerary. The Lucca Summer Festival attracts famous bands and singers, and for those who love an operatic evening, an Puccini opera festival is held every year in Torre del Lago.

Apart from the Walled City, Lucca boasts 1,200km of underground cave systems to discover. The Apuan Alps Regional Park allows visitors to explore the Monte Corchia cave system (the third deepest in Italy!). With their own unique micro-climate, the caves have incredible collections of stalactites and stalagmites, as well as beautiful, natural underwater growths known as 'cave pearls'.

Foodies will fall in love with Lucca as this region has plenty of delicios home recipes, which can be found across the culinary spectrum. From restaurants to markets, make sure you keep an eye out for tortelli lucchese, (fresh pasta stuffed with meat and served simply with ragu). If you want the authentic experience, then dive into the tasty salted cod with olive oil and black pepper.

The capital city of the province of Siena shares the same name, and is steeped in history and a charming regional culture. Similar to it's other Tuscan counterparts, Siena is a beautiful walled city and is most famous for the 'Palio' - a traditional horse race in the main square.

With ancient roots, the Palio is more like a medieval joust in which ten contestants battle till the end, with the final victory meaning power and honour for the victor. Visitors are welcome to watch the Palio trials amongst the council benches around the square (€5 for the morning trials and €10 for the afternoon), but come the palio finals, it's best to find another corner of this gorgeous city to explore as it's an incredibly popular event!

The historic aspects of Siena have been deemed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and the reason why is clear when you stroll around the atmospheric city. The focal point is awonderful black and white Cathedral built between the 12th and 13th century, where inside you can find the Piccolomini library. Interestingly, it was meant to be the largest cathedral in Italy, but due to the plage, it was never finished.

Lying on the scenic Arno River at the base of the Apennines, Florence is a stunning city, draped in culture and home to some of Italy's finest art. Boasting more art than most other cities in Europe, churches, museums and grand palaces are flooded with beautiful renaissance pieces that were born as a result of the creative activity that exploded during the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries.

The famous Cathedral square that has stood fast for 1600 years, is the central hub of Florentine religious life. Known locally as the “Piazza San Giovanni” or “Piazza del Duomo”, is home to the Baptistery of Saint John, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (the duomo) with excavations of Santa Reparata, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Museum of Opera del Duomo, the Cathedral Canonries, the Lay Confraternity of Mercy, the Bigallo Portico, the Archbishop’s Palace, the Column of Saint Zanobius, and the Pisan porphyry columns. (Plenty of discoveries to be had if you're a budding culture vulture!)

The competitive spirit rings true in Florence, as citizens wanted their Duomo (cathedral) to be grander and more ornate than their sister Tuscan cities, Siena and Pisa. Dedicated to the Madonna, 'Santa Maria del Fiore' is a result of 170 years of labour and is well worth a visit during your travels to Florence.

If you're ready to start your adventure on the Italian coast, browse our beautiful collection of holiday villas in Tuscany, or call 01625 416430 for further information.