THE OTHER SIDE OF TUSCANY: WHERE TO GO THIS SUMMER

Beyond the gorgeous coast and the quintessentially Tuscan towns of Pisa and Florence, there is plenty to do in the much-loved region of Tuscany. [...]

Beyond the gorgeous coast and the quintessentially Tuscan towns of Pisa and Florence, there is plenty to do in the much-loved region of Tuscany. Travellers can find so much more in store to explore, travelling beyond the gateways with ease to quaint and quiet corners to the lesser-known hidden gems of Lucca and Barga. 

LUCCA

Time travel to the Renaissance era

Near Pisa and Florence, lies Lucca, the city of a hundred churches. Visitors can enjoy walking along the historic city walls and explore the gorgeous gardens and squares. Travellers will fall in love with the city for its sights but also for its flavours when visiting local markets and wineries. To experience the city just like the old times, Grand Universe Lucca offers a tour by horse and carriage with an aperitif (from £41 per person) or ‘bike & bites’ for a walk on the walls that surround the city with a typical (and delicious) local snack.

Book the ‘Summer In Lucca’ package directly through Marriott (www.marriott.co.uk) for a four-night stay for two at the Grand Universe Lucca. The package includes accommodation in a king-sized room on a bed and breakfast basis and a wine tasting experience for two from £1,542. Based on June travel dates.

Live concerts in the square: Lucca Summer Festival in Piazza Napoleone

The most anticipated musical event in the Italian summer is back this year in Lucca, a Tuscan city with a long musical tradition. The month-long Lucca Summer Festival from (25 June – 24 July 2022) features legendary artists from all over the world, performing across the city in historical venues and public squares. The 2022 line-up already features Justin Bieber, John Legend, Liam Gallagher, Zucchero. The Sommita’ Martin Orsyn Champagne rooftop at the Grand Universe Lucca is the best-hidden spot to soak up the atmosphere with a glass of champagne.

Expedia (www.expedia.co.uk) offers a 3-night stay at Grand Universe Lucca during the Lucca Music Festival in a king-sized room with city views priced from £960 for two people over the weekend that John Legend is performing. Based on travel from 8 – 11 June, for two adults sharing.

BARGA

Discover Barga, Italy’s most Scottish town!

Head to Barga for an escape that feels like a home away from home. Largely still under the radar, Barga proudly prides itself on being ‘the most Scottish place in Italy’. Whilst the destination looks like a classic medieval Italian town with its Duomo, red-roofed houses and cobbled streets, surprisingly it has very strong Scottish connections going back to the turn of the last century. Guests can discover the beautiful historic centre, the vineyards and olive groves and join traditional folklore events.

Marriott (www.marriott.co.uk) offers ‘the Summer In Tuscany’ for weekend stays Friday to Sunday for two people at the Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa. A two-night stay including daily breakfast, dinner and one bottle of wine per day for two is priced from £555 based on June departures. Excluding flights.

Explore Il Ciocco, a biker’s heaven

Nature lovers will fall in love will Il Ciocco, an off-the-beaten-track destination in the heart of the Serchio Valley. This is a fascinating part of Tuscany, nestled in the Apennine Mountains straddling the regions of Tuscany and Emilia. Locals consider Il Ciocco a mountain bike haven for its evolving network of bike routes with kilometres of itineraries in the woods for every riding style. Not a bike fan? Trekking is also high on the agenda here and visitors can look for wild herbs and seek out breathtaking views.

Thomas Cook (www.thomascook.com) offers a three-night stay at Reinassance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa in a double room priced from £956.75 for two adults sharing, including flights from London Stansted with Ryanair. Based on a 1 July departure.

Detox on a spa resort with an Italian touch

Travellers looking to break free from the stress of daily life should look no further than the Tuscan countryside. Surrounded by 1,700 acres of gorgeously landscaped grounds is the Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa with luxury rooms and suites with spectacular valley views. Guests can refresh in the sparkling waters of two pools, or rejuvenate at the resort spa. Some of the spa’s highlight treatments involve local products such as the wine ritual with Tuscan grapes and the cabernet scrub with a grape marmalade.

Expedia (www.expedia.co.uk) offers a three-night stay at the Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa in a king-sized room priced from £582 for two people over the weekend. Based on travel from 10 – 13 June for two adults sharing.

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Lydia Matthews
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