Take it from Frances Mayes: every thing actually is higher beneath the Tuscan solar—from the crisp vino to heaping plates of recent pasta and historical palazzos. I had the privilege of navigating Italy’s famed countryside in a 2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale, winding by vineyards and olive groves, and previous charming villas tucked into lush hillsides. For those who want a reset from, nicely, life, Tuscany is no doubt the place to do it. The beloved area is world famend for its relaxed vibes, crimson wines, Roman bathtub homes, and Renaissance cities like Florence and Lucca. Seize a glass of wine, and put together to dwell la dolce vita. Under, the perfect locations to go to, eat, drink, and the place to remain in Tuscany.
What to See
Bagni di Lucca
FYI, there’s a set of hamlets in northern Tuscany simply outdoors of Lucca known as “Bagni di Lucca” or “Baths of Lucca.” The realm is known for its therapeutic thermal waters utilized by the Etruscans and Romans. Throughout the nineteenth century, the world peaked in reputation when it turned the summer time residence of Elisa Baciocchi, the sister of Napoleon Bonaparte. Now you can soak in her private marble bathtub, a black and white checkered masterpiece, on the Terme Bagno Bernabo in Villa Corsena.
Bike and Bites
If you wish to expertise Lucca like a neighborhood, hop on a motorcycle. Town is understood for its extremely well-preserved Renaissance partitions encircling the historic metropolis middle. The 40-feet excessive by 90-feet huge partitions type a 3-mile loop that has been was a strolling and biking path. It’s utterly flat, shaded by bushes, and has nice spots to cease for a picnic (learn: nice for inexperienced persons). There are a great deal of bike rental spots across the metropolis, however company staying at Grand Universe Lucca can go for a “bike and bites” expertise that comes with a motorcycle and a basket of “schiacciata” or Tuscan flatbread, stuffed sandwiches, “buccellato” or candy bread, and Tuscan wine.
Based in 1655, Gioielleria Carli is the oldest jewellery retailer in Italy—and one of many nation’s most beautiful. The store in Lucca is itself a murals, with checkerboard marble flooring, hovering frescoed ceilings, and a shocking gilded clock. Strolling by the entrance door is like stepping again in time. The merchandise is equally ornate, with romantic gold rings, vintage silver brooches, and Italian red-coral pendants. A number of the jewellery was crafted by the members of the family-owned enterprise (the Carli household is now in its thirteenth technology working the boutique), and different items are made by native goldsmiths.
The place to Eat
Sala dei Grappoli
Famed Tuscan landmark Castello Banfi is understood for producing a few of Tuscany’s greatest wines. Seems, its doorways are additionally open to diners. Relax with a bottle of Brunello and seasonal Italian dishes on the winery’s Michelin-starred restaurant La Sala dei Grappoli. In good climate, you’ll need to attempt the home pastas on the out of doors terrace, which has a stupendous view of the property.
Osteria San Michele
Osteria San Michele is open each to lodge company at Villa Lena, in addition to different vacationers. Produce from the property’s backyard influences the seasonal menu, with gadgets like stewed artichokes with wild mint and truffle, pecorino soufflé, and twice-cooked asparagus. San Michele’s wine listing consists of bottles produced by native winemakers, plus a number of the property’s home-grown natural wines. There may be Tutti I Giorni, a vibrant Tuscan crimson, and Da Occassioni, a full-bodied Tuscan crimson. Additionally obtainable is a glowing rosé created in collaboration with a household run enterprise in Veneto that has been making wine for over 600 years.
That is no atypical gelato. That is prize-winning gelato. Gelateria Dondoli, a store in Gimignano, has garnered a number of high titles within the aggressive world of ice cream making, together with “world champion” and “greatest ice cream on this planet.” Sergio Dondoli is the mastermind behind the store’s candy creations, which incorporates greater than 40 flavors and 12 trademarked ones. Merely put, San Gimignano is considered one of Italy’s tastiest nationwide treasures.
The place to Drink
Villa a Sesta
Villa a Sesta is ready within the stunning Tuscan countryside, amid a sprinkling of medieval villages and different vineyards. They’re well-known for producing Chianti Classico Gallo Nero. The property predominantly cultivates the Sangiovese grape, the primary base for Chianti Classico wine, and a brand new cellar incorporates cutting-edge technological methods for fermentation and winemaking in French oak barrels and barriques. The property is open for wine-tasting, dinner, and even has a world-famous polo and equestrian membership, if you happen to’re up for it.
Buchette del Vino
Buchette del vino, or wine home windows, are considered one of Florence’s greatest saved secrets and techniques. Many of the home windows are round 12 inches excessive and eight inches huge, constructed out of stone or brick, and in a dome form. They have been first popularized as a secure method to promote wine when the plague swept by town within the 1630s and practically 300 have been cataloged throughout Tuscany since. Extra not too long ago, the to-go drink home windows re-opened throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, when bars and eating places shut down. A Fb group “Buchette del Vino” now tracks all of the open home windows in Florence.
Antinori nel Chianti Classico
Antinori nel Chianti Classico is a greater than 600-year-old wine producer. Right now, it’s a serious vacation spot in Tuscany, as a lot for its legacy as its mesmerizing edifice designed by Marco Casamonti. Antinori is without doubt one of the Italy’s largest wine producers, and the label is synonymous with status and grandeur. The winery is open for tastings and excursions, but it surely’s greatest to make a reservation. PSA: It operates different estates in Tuscany, together with Le Mortelle, which will be discovered on the coast near Castiglione della Pescaia.
The place to Keep
There’s heaven, after which there’s Villa Lena. Set deep within the peaceable woods of Tuscany, the property is a particular retreat with an historical historical past. The terracotta-hued nineteenth century villa on the grounds nonetheless has its authentic frescoes, and the encompassing forests stay virtually untouched. Whereas technically a lodge, Villa Lena additionally operates as a residency program devoted to supporting worldwide up to date artists working in artwork, music, movie, literature, style, and different artistic disciplines. Not solely are company in a position to soak up one-of-a-kind artwork hanging up within the lodge—they’ll additionally take a portray class with the present artist resident. Villa Lena grows its personal wine and olive oil, and presents excursions of the winery and groves for company. It even has a brand new store (now obtainable on-line) known as the Cupboard of Curiosities, that includes its wine, olive oil, and artwork. As well as, the whole villa will be rented out for weddings which might be catered in-house, and embellished with flowers grown on the property. As a result of why not get hitched in Italian paradise?
Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa
One of the best half about Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco is waking up there. Set on high of a mountain within the coronary heart of the Serchio Valley, the surroundings is unparalleled. You’ll be able to see swirling morning fog and verdant inexperienced bushes for miles. Morning cappuccinos simply style higher with a view like that (belief me). Most of the rooms at Renaissance Tuscany boast balconies, marble loos, and opulent robes. After an extended day spent mountain climbing the close by hills of Northern Tuscany or, if you happen to’re like me, sampling wine and consuming copious quantities of cacio e pepe, the peaceable rooms are a beautiful method to wind down. The lodge restaurant presents conventional Tuscan fare, which will be loved al fresco on the patio throughout hotter months. There may be additionally a heated pool on the grounds.
Grand Universe Lucca
Lucca is, in a phrase, magical. Often known as “The Metropolis of 100 Church buildings,” it’s positioned between the Apuan Alps and the Versilia coast and is known for its artwork and imposing metropolis partitions, that are among the many greatest preserved fortifications in all of Europe. By means of the partitions and into the guts of town at Piazza Napoleone is Grand Universe Lucca, the previous Palazzo of the Paoli household throughout the Renaissance period. The boutique lodge is located simply steps from the famed Teatro del Giglio and the Chiesa dei Santi Giovanni e Reparata. The inside of Grand Universe is simply as stately, with velvet drapes and high-end facilities. Legacy, the restaurant at Grand Universe, presents native delicacies, whereas the lodge’s well-known rooftop champagne bar serves up unparalleled views of Lucca’s well-known structure.
Rose is a Senior Editor at ELLE overseeing options and tasks about ladies’s points. She is an achieved and compassionate storyteller and editor who excels in acquiring unique interviews and unearthing compelling options.