Visiting Tuscany

Visit Campiglia Marittima

When you want to take a break from the beach, you can easily get to some of Tuscany’s world-renowned sights, from country villages to art-filled towns like Florence. Some destinations you can only reach by car but in some instances you can take the train, especially if you want to stop along the coast up to Pisa. 

Capalbio e il Giardino dei Tarocchi

Capalbio is a small hilltop town up on the hill, with beautiful alleys and monuments, like, the Chiesa del Cuore Immacolato, the Rocca Aldobrandesca, Palazzo Collacchioni, where Giacomo Puccini’s piano is kept, and its tower that you can climb to the top of. 

Only a short drive away is the Giardino dei Tarocchi, a sculpture garden by artist Niki de Saint Phalle, inspired by the major arcana of the Tarots. Massive statues, colored in mosaic patterns, with fountains and gear animations will transport you to a world beyond your imagination. 

Distances from Santa Cecilia
130 km

Where to park

There’s a large parking lot in Via Circonvallazione or you can park along the road. Parking may be metered, so please check before leaving your vehicle. 

Castiglioncello

A small seaside town loved by famous actors Alberto Sordi and Marcello Mastroianni, today home to Italian singer Renato Zero. In summer, at the large pine grove Pineta Marradi, you can enjoy a break from the sun, but also have some fun at the small amusement park for kids or playing minigolf. Castello Pasquini, surrounded by a large park, is now owned by the municipality of Rosignano, which holds here many events.

The town is famous for its many boutiques and cafés, but you can also stop by the Archeological Museum if you wish to learn about the history of this area.

Distances from Santa Cecilia
40 km

Where to park

At the pine grove parking lot in Via della Pineta 29 or along the road.

Firenze

The Cathedral and its Bell Tower are undoubtely two of Florence’s most famous monuments. You can visit both and enjoy a breathtaking top view from Brunelleschi’s Dome or Giotto’s Bell Tower.  Another symbol of Florence is Piazza della Signoria with Palazzo Vecchio, where the lords of the past met in the famous Salone dei Cinquecento. You can also reach the top of the tower, where glass flooring allow you to look downward. Taking a picture of Perseo under the arcades is a must. The world-famous Uffizi is a treasure-trove of masterpieces. such as Botticelli’s Venus. After a visit here, you can take a walk on Ponte Vecchio among the windows of master goldsmiths or try your luck at Fontana del Porcellino in Piazza Mercato Nuovo: place a coin in the mouth of the piglet and let it go, if it falls between the grates, fortune will smile upon you. Though, legend says that it’s enough to rub the nose of the piglet to bring good luck. 

Bargello, once a prison, is today a national museum. You can also visit the scientific museum Galileo Galilei, Dante Alighieri’s House or modern fashion museums like Gucci’s and Ferragamo’s. Palazzo Pitti is also worth visiting, featuring 4 different museums. Behind it stands a large open-air museum, the Boboli Gardens with wonderful statues and fountains. 

In the San Lorenzo neighborhood, you can visit Cosimo de Medici’s home with its garden, the church of San Lorenzo where the family used to pray, and the Medici Chapels where both Cosimo de Medici and the more famous Lorenzo de Medici are buried. The market of San Lorenzo is the perfect place to buy leather bags and jackets made by local artisans. 

Stop for a snack at Mercato Centrale or grab a delicious sandwich at Antico Vinaio. If you feel adventurous, you can try a lampredotto sandwich from one of the many food trucks on the streets. Traditional restaurants also serve ribollita and bruschetta with fegatelli, and of course the iconic Fiorentina steak! Last but not least, don’t miss Piazzale Michelangelo, which is easy to get by bus, where there’s a copy of Michelangelo’s David and an amazing view over the town.

Distances from Santa Cecilia
140 km

Where to park

At Fortezza da Basso on Viale Strozzi or in the underground parking lot below the central railway station, Firenze Santa Maria Novella. Both parking lots charge a fee.

Grosseto

Its town walls are considered among the best preserved in Italy, built in the 13th century and made of 6 angular bastions and one Cassero Senese on the eastern side dating back to the 14th century. Piazza Dante Alighieri is the town’s hub, lined with arcades where you can find shops and eateries. Nearby, the Palazzo Aldobrandeschi, one of the most beautiful in Italy, and  the Cathedral, dating back to 1294, built with white and pink marble which alternate along the facade and the side walls. Along the main street, there are two churches worth visiting: Chiesa di San Francesco and Chiesa di San Pietro. In Piazza Baccarini 3 you can find the Archaeological and Art Museum of Maremma, to learn more about the area. 

Just outside Grosseto, there is a brand-new mall if you’re in the mood for some shopping. 

Distances from Santa Cecilia
80 km

Where to park

There’s a parking lot in Largo Busatti or in Piazza Esperanto 8.

Livorno

While this seaside town it’s often overshadowed by other sights in Tuscany, Livorno is still a destination in its own right. Famous artist Modigliani was born here, and the town is home to many artists, live film director Virzì and singer Bobo Rondelli, just to name a few. 

Terrazza Mascagni is probably its most iconic spot, with a long promenade lined with bars, pizzerias, and ice cream shops and the renowned Bagni Pancaldi, the first to be built on concrete in Italy, once frequented by the high nobility and important people like Carducci, Pascoli, and Mascagni. The aquarium, on the promenade, is a great visit for kids. Don’t miss the Fortezza Vecchia fortification, with its massive ramparts jutting into the sea and the 4 Moors statue: there’s only one place in the square where you can see the noses of all 4 at the same time, can you find it? Don’t skip a walk around the Little Venice neighborhood, where our sister hotel Agave in Città is located. Here man-made canals weave through ancient palazzos, and it’s a sight to behold.

When you get peckish, stop at Mercato Centrale, also known as Mercato delle Vettovaglie and try cacciucco, torta di ceci and to top it off some ponce alla livornese (a coffee liquor). At the southern end of town, the Calafuria cliffs tower over wonderful coves where you can go swimming in summer.

Distances from Santa Cecilia
65 km

Where to park

In Via Forte dei Cavalleggeri to go to Terrazza Mascagni, or at STP Parking near Fortezza Vecchia and the ferry terminal.

Lucca

Known also as the town of the hundred churches, Lucca will surprise you. The old town is enclosed between the sixteenth-century walls, on which it is possible to take beautiful walks or ride a bicycle, while enjoying the views. The elliptical-shaped Piazza dell’Anfiteatro is not to be missed, with plenty of bars and restaurants for a break and churches, buildings, and towers to visit. 

Lucca’s must sees:

  • Cattedrale di San Martino, with its peculiar asymmetrical facade, home to Tintoretto’s Last Supper. 
  • Chiesa di San Michele, with the statue of the archangel Michael placed on top, subject of many a legend, some say it’s wearing a diamond that0s visible only from certain angles.
  • Basilica di San Frediano, with a mosaic facade, displaying Christ’s Ascension into heaven, surrounded by angels and the apostles.
  • Torre Guinigi, a tower 45 m tall, built with stones and bricks, home to 7 oaks.
  • Torre dell’orologio, a tower with 207 steps and a superb view. 
  • Palazzo Ducale, with majestic halls, royal apartments and more.
  • The Giacomo Puccini Museum, housed where the famous composer once lived. 

Visiting Lucca can be tiring, so make sure to take a break and try the famous Buccellato, sweet bread made with raisins.

Not that far from Lucca is Borgo a Mozzano, famous for Ponte del Diavolo. The story goes that the master-builder in charge of the construction of the bridge made a pact with the Devil: the bridge would be finished in one night in exchange for the first soul crossing it. But every pact can be bent, even one with the Devil, in fact, the master-builder made a pig cross the bridge and saved a human life! 

Distances from Santa Cecilia
110 km

Where to park

There are many parking lots, both free and metered, outside Lucca’s walls. Do not enter with your car inside the city walls, or you’ll risk a hefty fine, even if you reside abroad.

Massa Marittima

While it is not well known as other Tuscan towns, Massa Marittima has nothing to envy to other famous hamlets. The town is divided into 2 main parts:

  • Città Nuova, the upper part, with Torre del Candeliere known also as Torre dell’Orologio which is linked to Cassero Senese, a fortified complex crossing Arco Senese. 
  • Città Vecchia, the oldest part of town. Here you can find Palazzo Garibaldi and the main square, home to the Cathedral from the 13th century, as well as Palazzo Comunale and  Fonti Pubbliche. Just in front, a peculiar fountain with frescoes portraying the Tree of Abundance, which bears erect phalluses as fruit. Don’t miss Palazzo del Podestà and the Archaeological Museum of Massa Marittima either. 

Distances from Santa Cecilia
50 km

Where to park

 At Parcheggio dell’Ortino or along Via Massetana. Parking spaces may be metered, so please check before leaving your vehicle. 

Pisa

The first thing that comes to mind when Pisa is concerned is of course the leaning tower and its Piazza dei Miracoli. The tower leans because of a structural ground failure that took place back when it was built, between the 12th and the 14th century, and that still requires measures to prevent its fall today.  Close by, the Cathedral with a Latin cross-shaped plant, built with colored marble and the baptistery, the largest in the world, with a circumference of 107.24 m. The northern side of the square ends with the Camposanto Monumentale o Vecchio, a cemetery where frescoes and sarcophagi honor the nobles, politicians, and military leaders that are buried here. You can climb on top of the Mura di Pisa (for a fee) to walk across town. Another square worth a visit is Piazza dei Cavalieri, inside Palazzo della Carovana, once the headquarters of the Order of Knights of Santo Stefano, created by the grand duke Cosimo I de’ Medici, is now home to Italy’s top università, Scuola Normale Superiore, where geniuses tackle the challenges the future hold. The Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri was designed by Giorgio Vasari to which they later added the bell tower and the two side buildings used as warehouses. The Clock Building is famous because its construction incorporated Torre del Muda where, as told in Dante’s Divine Comedy, Conte Ugolino Della Gherardesca died in 1289.  

If you’re in the mood for shome shopping, walk across Piazza delle Vettovaglie to get to Borgo Stretto and Borgo Largo with their famous arcades filled with shops and cafes. 

Distances from Santa Cecilia
90 km

Where to park

There are some free and metered parking spaces near Piazza dei Miracoli on viale Bonanno Pisano and in Via Cammeo Carlo Salomone. There’s also a parking lot at Pisa central railway station. Don’t try to park closer to the attractions or anywhere that’s not clearly a metered parking spot, most areas are restricted to residents, and you’ll risk a hefty fine, even if you reside abroad!

San Galgano

A spectacular abbey without a roof, surrounded by fields. It takes its name from Galgano, a knight who led a life full of vices and excess, but who, thanks to the Archangel Michael who came to him in a dream, decided to convert to a life of redemption and forgiveness. His horse led him to Montesiepi and from here he started his life as a hermit, putting his sword in the stone, where it still stands today. In 1185, when Galgano died, thanks to the Bishop of Volterra and the Cistercian monks with whom he corresponded, the Montesiepi Hermitage and San Galgano Abbey were established.  Today this is a pilgrimage site and a touristic destination. It is a place that retains the magic of its history and the legends that it has seen: it is said that Galgano was not only one of King Arthur’s knights, but also a keeper of the Sacred Graal. The abbey is majestic with its high walls and the columns still supporting the vaults of the central nave. All around there’s the garden and not far there’s a kiosk where you can rest while having a cold drink.

Distances from Santa Cecilia
80 km

Where to park

There’s a large parking lot at the entrance of San Galgano .

San Gimignano

Along the road, before seeing San Gimignano, you’ll spot its towers soaring up in the sky. Originally there were 72, one for each wealthy family of the time, but nowadays only 13 are left.  

It’s a small town filled with many monuments, still preserving many of its original Medieval characteristics. In the main square there is the Cathedral, with many frescoes and statues inside, and the Palazzo Comunale with the Torre Grossa on one side, open to the public, and Loggia del Comune on the other side. The latter hosts the Civic Museum of San Gimignano with different themed rooms, including one dedicated to Dante, who lived here in the 14th century.

Nearby, in Piazza della Cisterna you can find an octagonal well and stop for a break at one of the many cafés. 

The Torture Museum features replicas of the different international torture tactics, with a room dedicated to the death penalty with dummies to make believable scenarios.

Distances from Santa Cecilia
100 km

Where to park

At Parcheggio Giubileo P1 or at Parcheggio P3. Both charge a fee.

Siena

The world-famous Palio horserace attracts many tourists from all across the globe every year. Piazza del Campo, wher it takes place, sits right at the center of Siena. With its particular shell shape, the square slopes towards the Town Hall, built between 1298 and 1310. 

The Torre del Mangia is a true wonder: next to the Palazzo, this tower is 88 meters tall, from the top you can senjoy a magnificient view. It takes its name from its first bell-ringer, whose nickname was “Mangia” (eat) because of its culinary vices. 

You can recognize the Cathedral from its black and white striped facade and the floor decorated with esoteric symbols. To its right, there’s the Opera Museum where world-renowned works of art are kept, such as Donatello’s Tondo. The Baptistery is also unique, with a bronze and marble baptismal font, surrounded by frescoes.  

Walking along the alleys of Siena is like journeying back in time, today you can find artisan shops next to big chains, so there’s something for everybody! At Christmas, Siena is even more charming thanks to the markets and the light decorations, but above all for panforte and ricciarelli, two delicious sweet treats. Try pici cacio e pepe for lunch or dinner, you won’t regret it!

Distances from Santa Cecilia
120 km

Where to park

There are many metered parking lots outside the town walls. Do not enter with your car inside the town walls, or you’ll risk a hefty fine, even if you reside abroad. It’s a short walk to the main attractions in most cases.

Volterra

The drive alone to Volterra will surprise, the views are simply stunning.  The town is protected by might stone walls and it develops in a series of alleys lined with artisan shops, ice cream parlors, and restaurants, where you can try traditional dishes like Cinta Senese salami, Balze DOP pecorino, and soup. In Piazza Martiri, you will be amazed by the view, on sunny days you can even see the sea in the distance, while in Piazza dei Priori stands one of the most ancient buildings of all Tuscany, Palazzo dei Priori, home to the frescoed Sala del Consiglio, and Torre del Palazzo, which you can visit. Nearby is Palazzo Pretorio and Torre del Porcellino, which features a small gargoyle in the shape of a boar.  The Catehdral has always been a symbol of the religious power of Volterra and comprises many chapels. The nearby Baptistery is embellished with green and white marble, while the rest of the building is in bare stone. It houses the famous baptismal font by Giovanni Vaccà of1750. 

The Etruscan Museum is not to be missed, it showcases not only the history of Volterra, but also the history of the whole area. Among the artifacts on display, two are very famous, the Urn of Spouses and the statue known as Shadow of the Evening.

If you’re feeling brave, visit the Torture Museum, with replicas of models from the past. 

Volterra is also famous for alabaster craftwork, a stone tough to work, which you can learn more about at the Alabaster Museum. 

Not very far from Volterra, there are still active the archaeological excavations of the Roman Theater and Parco Fiumi, where you can find an Etruscan acropolis and the Medici Fortress.

Distances from Santa Cecilia
65 km

Where to park

There are two parking lots: Parcheggio Docciola and Vallebona. They both could charge a fee, especially in summer, so please check before leaving your vehicle.

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