A week in Tuscany

Hi guys

My last trip of the summer was at the last week of august. I went to Italy for 6 days, to say goodbye to the sun... probably for a while since the weather in Belgium is not the best...

In this blogpost, Ill share with you guys which places I've visited. We had to choose and select locations because we didn't have time. On number one in Tuscany I'd say to visit stunning Florence. We didn't go there because we celebrated our past Christmas there. This was pretty magical! Because our flight was at the airport of Pisa, we visited Pisa as well. Not much to see there but perfect as a daytrip. The leaning tower and the Duomo there are just stunning. Make sure to also enter the duomo! The town of Pisa is cute as well.

We started our trip in Brussels Charleroi and took a flight to Bologna. There we rented a car. On the first day, we drove to Lucca city. The hotel where we'd be staying was just outside Lucca.

Lucca is a lovely cute little town but there's not much to see. It was a small disappointment for us.

Because there wasn't too much to see, we spent the late afternoon at our hotel, inside the pool.

It can get really hot in the summer in Italy, especially in cities so a hotel with a pool is a smart idea...

Our hotel was a villa just outside the city, in a calm region in the Tuscan hills. Hotel villa Cheli for more info. When we arrived at the hotel, we drove uphills to a private road with cypress trees. It was such a dream there!

On the second day we wanted to do something different. We drove to the Appenine mountains behind Lucca. There's a skiresort called Abetone.

In the summer there's a couple of chairlifts and a gondola open. We took the gondola up to about 1800m high.

The resort is in between 1.240m and 1.892 m high. It has 44km of skislopes and 15 lifts. That's quite a lot for a resort so close to the sea, in my opinion. Maybe in the winter, after some tshirt hikes in Lucca, it might be fun to go skiing too!

We hiked a bit around there, enjoyed the sun and then drove back to our hotel. On the route back, you follow a river and its deep gorge at "Bagni di Luccca". There's also a lot of history there. Over the river there's multiple old bridges that you can visit. The most famous one is the Ponte della Maddalena. A bridge crossing the Serchio river near the town of Borgo a Mozzano. It was bridge crossing on the Via Francigena, which was an early medieval road to Rome, for pilgrims coming from France.

In the river, you can also go rafting.

On the shot below, you can see our hotel close to Lucca. These cypress trees, leading up to the villa, were so magical!

The next day, we went tot the Cinque Terre. A total impromptu decision but a good one! We already went there for a week 2 years ago and we really loved the area. Now, since we already visited the towns, we decided to visit them all in one day. It was a busy day though haha but we managed to go to the beach as well.

At the train station of La Spezia we took regional train tickets for the Cinque Terre. With this ticket, you get access to all the towns of the region. You can hop on and off the train where you want. Especially for just a day tour, this ticket is pretty handy! Also: the ticket is only 7.50 euros for the entire day.

We started with the train to Corniglia, the highest town of them all. There we took the free bus to the city town (instead of hiking uphills). We wanted to hike there as well, because it's just so beautiful... so we took a ticket to be able to hike from Corniglia to Vernazza (like in the shot). The hike is pretty steep but not that long. After an hour, you arrive at Vernazza, passing the most gorgeous sea views.

We visited Vernazza and then wen to

Monterosso, the town with the famous orange parasols...

There's only a small area to go to the beach without reservating a chair.. so we took a chair there. For us three, for half a day, we payed 40 euros.. which is kinda crazy!

After the beach we went to Maranola and then had dinner in Riomaggiore... After dinner we went back home!

On our fourth day we went visiting Carrara. Carrara is famous for it's gorgeous white marble.

We first visited two caves. One on the outside, where you got the most gorgeous views and then one on the inside of the mountain. We were lucky enough to see a massive piece of marble fall off from the rocks.. this only happens each few days because the first cut off massive pieces, and then cut them further in smaller pieces.

After the caves, we visited Carrara town. The town square and church were pretty lovely! Carrara is still a pretty undisovered area so it was quite calm there and not touristic.

Did you know that most of the European marble comes from there? ANd they said that there's probably enough marble for the next 500 years... They only cut off the marble from these 2 areas, to protect the nature.

The Romans actually disovered Carrara. They first made their statues etc from marble from Turkey, but then discovered that they had their own marble as well!

Day 5: Siena!

Siena is after Florence the most important (cultural) city of Tuscany. It's been on my bucket list since forever so I was so happy to finally visit it!

We visited all the outside highlights of the city and booked an extra inside tour as well. With this ticket we were able to visit the Duomo on the inside and a some other highlights. The duomo is probably one of the most gorgeous places in Italy! The interior is crazy!

We also visited the museum of the "opera" where you can get up to the roof to get this stunning view!

https://operaduomo.siena.it/en/visit/ (for the official tickets)

The city of Siena is not too big but perfect for just a day. Outside the city, there's so much nature and calmness. No ugly poor buildings, just fields and cypress hills... Siena did not disappoint me at all. So much history there, for a nerd like me, this is close to heaven!

After dinner in Siena, we drove to our next hotel, which was a conference hotel just outside Bologna. Our flight was at Bologna so we decided to visit Bologna as well. We booked this hotel while having dinner in Siena, so literally very last minute... one of the advantages of Covid- all the hotels are not fully booked.

The hotel was big and had a fantastic outside area with pools. Because it was so extremely hot, we first went to the pool, before visiting the city.

Here's the link to our hotel, if you're curious! https://www.hotelrelaisbellaria.com/en

After swimming, we went to the city... The city is also not that large but perfect for a day or a weekend, if you want to visit musea as well. Bologna is another lovely city with lots of history and churches to visit.

After visiting the city, we dropped off our rental car and flew back home. Right on time before school and work started again...

Ahh, what a great summer it was!

X Steph

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