Ultimate Guide for a Tuscany Road Trip (part two)
Click the following link to read the first part of this Tuscany Road Trip Guide.
BACK TO TUSCANY: DAYS 16 THROUGH 19
Tuscany Road Trip to Suvereto, Italy
Suvereto is a marvelous medieval hamlet surrounded by ancient walls. The village features stupendous Tuscan architecture, cobblestone alleys, shaded colonnades and evocative churches. Not surprisingly, Suvereto is on the “Most Beautiful Villages of Italy” list.
The settlement is nestled on a hill that slopes down towards the Etruscan Coast. Within the village you’ll find boutique shops, outdoor cafes and artisans proudly displaying their work. There are also many annual festivals and events that take place.
Suvereto was our home base for a few days while exploring the region. We stayed at Il Chiostro Suites and Apartments, which was a former convent and is next door to a small church in a quiet alcove of the village. The accommodations are quite spacious, even coming equipped with a full kitchen. The views from our windows near the top floor were breathtaking.
If you want to visit this region of Italy, we highly recommend Fulfluns Winetasting & Tours. If it were not for Filippo Magnani, we would not have discovered everything that I am sharing with you here. We sort of felt as though we arrived as tourists, but left feeling like a local.
- Osteria I’Ciocio – One of the best restaurants we dinned at in all of Tuscany. Suburb meal with al fresco dining on the expansive patio.
- Il Cacini – A lovely seafood restaurant with a fantastic outdoor patio. They offer a prix-fixe menu and will keep serving you until you stay “Basta, per favore.”
- La Barona – Nice café for coffee with the locals. If you stay at Il Chiostro Suites they will provide you with a voucher for a pastry, coffee and juice.
PLACES TO VISIT NEAR SUVERETO
The ancient village of Bolgheri emanates a unique charm and is located just a short distance from the sea, surrounded by countryside full of vineyards and olive groves. The harmonious architecture of the village is apparent as soon as you entered through the red brick castle.
Tuscany has always been known for the Chianti region, but right in the heart of Chianti is the emerging Bolgheri wines, which is one of the most prestigious vino regions in Italy. It is still a relatively young region, but they are becoming well known for their Bordeaux red varieties.
- Enoteca Tognoni is a wine lovers paradise and a fantastic place for lunch or dinner.
- Wine tasting at Le Macchiole – a top-notch boutique winery (reservations required). Le Machiole has one of the most amazing Cabernet Francs in the region!
- Marina di San Vincenzo is just a short drive away with an enchanting harbor village.
Tuscany Road Trip to Sassetta, Pratra and Belvedere
With Filippo Magnani as our guide, we stopped by these incredible Tuscan villages where we had a wonderful pasta lunch in Belvedere at Belvedere di Suvereto, a small B&B and restaurant.
Near Belvedere is a family agrotourism farm called Le Germandien, where they have a couple rooms for rent and produce a line of bio products and supplements to help elevate a number of ailments naturally.
Driving towards Sassetta you pass chestnut woods, spelt fields, and pig farms where the famous cinta senese are raised. Another small village with more than 1000 years of history
Tuscany Road Trip to Calidario Terme Etrusche in Venturina Terme
Calidario Terme is an extraordinary experience that makes you feel like you’ve stepped into an old Etruscan or Roman bathhouse. This is a top-notch spa, resort and restaurant ensconced around a natural thermal spring.
- Floating bubbles experience – Freshly cut pineapple and a cold bottle of prosecco on a small floating platform lets you soak in the massive outdoor thermal pool in hedonistic comfort.
- Dining at Aqvolina Restaurant – A sensational dining experience with a menu that recreates traditional Tuscan dishes made from fresh local products.
Calidario Terme is an authentically charming setting where you will find harmony and well-being in an otherwise chaotic world.
PETRA Winery (next day)
This is one of the most unique and extraordinary wineries either of us had ever experienced. Petra Winery is part of the Wine Architecture Project, a collection of uniquely designed wineries in Italy. Touring the estate is something that will make wine enthusiast down right giddy, igniting the senses and setting the stage to taste some outstanding wines.
Special experiences can be arranged where you don’t just do a simple wine tasting, but rather enjoy your wine with a perfectly paired meal.
Castello di Populonia and Baratti Gulf
Who knew Tuscany stretched to the coast? Near the village of Populonia is the beach of Baratti, which is an incredible coastal area sprinkled with a forest of Tuscan Rock Pine trees, a specious that look like they have been manicured by man, but if fact are all natural. Down the Etruscan coast and up a hill is Castello di Populonia, a fortified castle with lookout tower. This is a delightful area to stroll, do a bit of shopping from local merchants, and take in the spender of the sea.
TUSCANY ROAD TRIP DAYS 19 THROUGH 22 IN GROSSETTO
From Suvereto we drove inland about two hours southeast to Maremma, where the most precious Etruscan pearls of Tuscany emerge. Pitigliano, Sovana and Sorano are known as the “Cities of Tuff” due to the geologic formation of the land. This is an undiscovered area of Tuscany that many tourists are unaware. If you enjoy visiting lesser-known areas when you travel, then continue reading about this fantastic area of Tuscany.
Agriturismo Biologico Sant’Egle
Our home-based for the next few days was Agriturismo Biologico Sant’Egle. Located smack in the middle of the “Tuff Cities,” this boutique inn makes for the perfect location to explore the region. Sant’Egle is a distinct and special lodging experience. For starters, they have a zero impact focus on biodiversity and WWF Italy has named them the best farm in Italy for sustainability and conservation. They grow and cultivate many organic products, some of which are processed and sold in their gift shop, such as lotions, soaps, shampoo, spirulina and many others.
Staying at Sant’Egle is refreshingly different from the traditional hotel or inn; it is an over all experience that so many are searching for these days. They offer many activities to connect and unwind, such as a Tibetan Gong Massage, or a romantic sunset dinner in a hot tub. The property grounds evoke a place of serenity and well-being. Everything about Sant’Egle is thoughtfully deliberate to blend and balance with nature. Even the morning breakfast is a stupendous and healthful experience. Click the following link to read more about Sant’Egle
Pitigliano has an unmistakable skyline, which makes it visible from long distances. Pitigliano has an ancient past, with centuries of changes in civilizations and cultures with a surreal charm emanating throughout. This is yet another area dominated by the Etruscans back in the 7th to 5th Centuries B.C.
When we visited Pitigliano, it just happened to be during the annual Corpus Domini festival (a tradition that dates to 1625). The streets were lined in floral carpets made of flowers, colored wood chips, coffee grounds and other organic materials. The entire village seemed to be lined with these colorful carpets, each different from the next, each equally impressive in color and design. After Sunday Mass is completed, the Bishop and his congregation march through the streets saying prayers while marching band members play music at designated intervals. It was truly a special experience and lucky timing on our part.
Mark your Calendar:
Next Corpus Domini festival is on Sunday, June 14th, 2020.
Terme di Saturnia
The thermal waters at Saturnia are an enticing stop while on a Tuscany road trip, with its terraced pools and inviting blue waters. This is a popular Instagram destination in Tuscany as you can see why by the photo. We had every intention of getting there early, but the comfort and amazing breakfast at Sant’egle beckoned us to stay at the inn longer than we had intended.
We arrived at Saturnia late one morning and it was already quite busy. We also go ourselves lost, which ate up valuable time. There are several paid resort areas, but we wanted to take advantage of the free entrance called “Cascate di Mulino.” Our initial mistake was seeing a long line of cars and deciding to turn around (we had no idea it was the entrance). Come to find out, the cars only back up for a moment, as traffic is one-way at the entrance to the parking lot.
If you want to get some less encumbered photos and have a bit of peace and quiet, we recommend getting there before 8am. There are many areas to soak in the 37.5ºc/100ºf thermal water and it’s worth checking out several of them. If you soak in the stream above the waterfall, use caution as the water is swift and the surface slippery.
While Sorano is not a completely unique hilltop village, this town is definitely one of a kind! It’s much less touristy than Pitigliano, but with all the charm. The town of Sorano is literally carved out Tufo rock, creating a captivating combination of cantinas, towers and alcoves to explore that will give you a look at small village life in Tuscany, while making you ponder the past.
- Fortezza di Sorano is located at the very top of Sorano—this former fortress turned into a restaurant and hotel is both a lovely place for lodging as well as dining. This is one of the top-5 oldest lodging places in the world, dating back to 11th century.
- Necropoli Etrusca, an unearthed site of the ancient Etruscan people that dates back over 2500 years. Hundreds of years before the Romans gained power. The entire area around Sorano is full of old Etruscan tombs, caves and other ancient sites.
Sovana is yet another fascinating village very near Sant’Egle. This is a stark contrast to Sorano and Pitigliano, it’s less dramatic, but more refined with high-end shops and restaurants. It’s also much smaller than the other two villages; an hour or two would be plenty of time to stroll the streets and visit some of the highlights. We ended up having lunch there, so we spent a bit more than a couple of hours.
That’s it from this Tuscany Road Trip. If you have any questions at all, leave a comment below and we’ll try and get back with you. If you’ve ever done a Tuscany road trip, share some of your favorite places.