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San Gimignano and the Vernaccia

Tuscany is not only home to the famous Brunello di Montalcino and Chianti wines: red or white, all Tuscan wines have always stood for guaranteed high quality products.

Vernaccia

Let’s go to a short trip among the most renowned white wines of Tuscany, starting from the Vernaccia di San Gimignano. As historical documents state, Vernaccia seems to be deeply rooted in Tuscan wine tradition – its origins go back to the 13th century: nobility, popes and prestigious people used to set their tables with a bottle of Vernaccia, that soon became a very popular and prestigious wine.

Even Dante Alighieri speaks about Vernaccia in his Divine Commedy, when he meets Pope Martino IV among Gluttons, said to have been glutton of Vernaccia.

An exclusive DOC

Where does it come from? As the name suggests, Vernaccia is produced exclusively in San Gimignano territory, whose restricted and limited area is a guarantee for its authenticity and high quality.

It has been the first Italian wine to get the prestigious award Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) in 1966, recently upgraded to DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita), that further confirms the importance gained both in Italy and all over the world.

white wine

Itineraries dedicated to food & wine

If you’re foodies and are planning a trip dedicated to food & wine, this could be an interesting itinerary. San Gimignano is located, in fact, among Florence, Pisa and Siena, an amazing area that offers lots of tourist popular sites to visit and art treasures to discover as well.

The first step of your wine trip could be Florence: after visiting the Renaissance Cradle a bit – at least a couple of days – you could drive to Siena for your next stop (there you’ll find all B&B and hotels in Florence city center, but if you prefer a more peaceful and restful accommodation, here you’ll find all the farmhouses in Florence surroundings).  The Chiantigiana panoramic route is the best choice for enjoying one of the most beautiful panorama in Tuscany, but keep in mind that Chianti area is such an enchanting place that deserves an exclusive travel for exploring all the rolling hills and tasteful wine cellars. You could also include it as a privileged stop in your trip if you’ve enough days to spend in Tuscany: in this case, here you’ll find some suggestions for finding an accommodation in Chianti.

So Siena next stop. Declared World Heritage Site – the old city center, to be more precise – by Unesco, Siena is like a precious gem nestled among the green landscape of Tuscany.

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San Gimignano, Patrimonio dell’Umanità

san gimignano amidst hills

At a short driving distance from the city you’ll find San Gimignano, that is really worthy more than just a quick visit, for both its prestigious wine and its artistic and architectural treasures.

Alike Siena, San Gimignano is an Unesco World Heritage Site, mainly thanks to its authentic post medieval aspect that has preserved till today, and to its famous towers standing out against the skyline (whose nickname – Medieval Manhattan comes from).

For this itinerary, car is the best mean of transport, but once got in San Gimignano you need to know where to park, since all car parks are located outside the old city center and are not free of charge. Have a look at this article about parking in San Gimignano, there are useful information and helpful advices. If you prefer, instead, leaving directly from Florence or Siena, here there are some suggestions for using public transports.

San gimignano

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Close to San Gimignano, there are many other quaint villages that deserve a visit; Certaldo, home to traditional and music Summer festivals, Poggibonsi and Volterra just to name the most important.

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Pisa, antica repubblica Marinara

From there, you’ll easily reach Pisa, the old Maritime Republic and home to the famous Leaning Tower: if you get to drop by there during the Saint Patron Feast on June 16th, don’t miss the Luminara di San Ranieri with splendid fireworks.

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san gimignano

All along your travel, keep in mind that the main protagonist of this itinerary dedicated to food & wine should be her, the Vernaccia: try it with typical local dishes, based on white meats or fish, with snacks and appetizers, that simply emphasize its fruity and delicious taste.

Enjoy the trip…and the wine :-)

Versilia: the Tuscan Ibiza

Another sea destination in Tuscany is Versilia, along the northwestern Tuscan coastline, renowned for its sandy long beaches and for its lively nightlife!

Its most popular sea resorts are Forte dei Marmi, Viareggio, Lido di Camaiore and Torre del Lago. Each of these locations is rich in accommodation suiting everyone’s need, from luxury 4 star hotels, to campsites and hostels and offers lots of amenities for entertaining both children and grown-ups throughout their vacations.

Versilia in Tuscany

Versilia has become a popular sea destination not only for all the services it offers, but also for its wonderful, natural context: long and wide beaches which hosts many fully-equipped bathing establishments (perfect for families with children as there are also outdoor, salt water pools and kids playgrounds) all along the coastline, with the Apuan Alps as an impressive background.

Besides being ideal for families, Versilia is one of the most popular sea destinations in Tuscany for young adults. The more than lively nightlife of Versilia is well renowned in all Italy, thanks to the many nightclubs and discos located directly on the beach offering every kind of amusement and fun. There are young people that arrange an entire vacation dedicated to their nightlife amusements, as well as many others who come from nearby locations just for a fun, dance weekend.

A beach in Versilia

Each of these locations has its distinctive features, let’s have a look.

Forte dei Marmi: the Lady Marble

Marble querry close to Forte dei Marmi

As the name goes, Forte dei Marmi owes its historical fortune to the nearby marble quarries. The Marble quarries in the Apuan Alps are located just a few steps from Forte dei Marmi, offering interesting itineraries amidst nature and in those impressive marble mountains. A must if you decide to experience this itinerary is Colonnata, where the delicious lardo is produced.

Among all night life lovers, Forte dei Marmi is renowned for the Capannina of Franceschi, a night club that has become the symbol of this town, due in large part to its popularity earned during the 1960’s and 70’s among the international jetset.

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Viareggio, a touch of Brazil in Tuscany

Allegoric float of Viareggio Carnival

Like Forte dei Marmi, Viareggio stands for sandy beaches, music and fun, but its long and elegant promenade with all Liberty-style buildings and luxury boutiques makes this place a nice and characteristic town to calmly enjoy by leisurely strolling along this promenade. We highly recommend evening walks with a gelato cone in hand, simply delicious!

Viareggio however has gained its international claim for the famous Carnival that is held annually along the promenade: an impressive parade with large, colored allegorical floats and people in characteristic costumes gives life to the city, attracting visitors from everywhere.

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Lido di Camaiore

Versilia equipped beach

Right next to Viareggio you’ll find Lido di Camaiore, a less famous destination for the younger crowd, but a popular sea resort for families with children. A bit more quiet and relaxing, due to a smaller amount of pubs and discos, Lido di Camaiore offers everything one needs and accommodation perfect for families, from self catering apartments to 2,3 or 4 stars hotels, all concentrated right along the sea promenade facing the beaches.

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Torre del Lago Puccini, classical music by the lake

As the name goes, this location pays tribute to renowned Italian musician Giacomo Puccini, who lived and composed many of his operas here. His villa, overlooking the Massaciuccoli lake, is open to the public and is home to the Puccini Museum. Besides the small chapel, classical music lovers can pay tribute at the famous musician’s burial site.

In summer, close to the composer’s villa, the great Puccini Festival is held annually in an open-air theatre and is an opera event known worldwide.

Torre del Lago is also considered the resort area in all of the Versilia that best welcomes homosexuals: there are in fact many gay pubs and discos that attract people from over Italy and abroad.