Three Tuscan Towns
Even if you visited once or twice, you might have missed much of Tuscany because it is so big. In land area, Tuscany is Italy’s fourth largest region but much of it is mountainous and covered in forests. Wild boar (cinghiale) are common. Porcupines love to root up the truffles before the well trained truffle dogs can get to them. Here are some off-the-beaten-tracks towns to explore, and if you can’t you can live vicariously through some excellent olive oils we’ve selected for you.
Porto Santo Stefano – A not-so-well-kept secret for Italians, the town of Porto Santo Stefano is on the far southwest corner of Tuscany on an island connected to the mainland by a landbridge. The town is upscale, but quiet. The harbor is very scenic, and is home to some nice looking yachts since a number of wealthy Italians have homes here. From Grosseto, head down the coast and head out onto Promontario d’Argentario. Make plans to visit Paolo and Simone at Oliveto Fonte di Foiano, where you can experience their agriturismo and learn about olive oil production.
Visit Coastal Tuscany: Conde Nast Traveler
New York Times: Gems on the Tuscan Coast
Chiusi – If Italian history is your thing, you probably have missed the Etruscan museum in Chiusi. Chiusi is right off the A1 autostrada, and is actually two towns, Chiusi and Chiusi Scalo. You are a stone’s throw away from Umbria, and right on the rail line for a quick train ride to or from Rome. In the center of Chiusi is the Etruscan museum with a fine selection of artifacts. Little is known of the Etruscan language, but a good book to read in preparation for your visit is SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, by Mary Beard. Look up the word Ghirarium before you go to the museum. Chiusi is a good home base for visiting the vineyards and olive groves of Avignonesi. Stay here to enjoy the peaceful side of Tuscany.
Visit Chiusi, Tuscany Travel Guide
Pontassieve – This time of year, you might be heading to Florence to visit your kid on a semester abroad program, or maybe for the grape or olive harvest. While there is plenty to do in Florence, take a drive east toward Pontassieve, then head north to Santa Brigida to visit Castello del Trebbio. Visit the castle, stay in a farmhouse, and learn about the production of wine and olive oil. From Pontassieve, you can follow the Arno River and drive down the SR69 where you can pick up the A1 at Incisa Reggello and head back up toward Florence. If you like outlet shopping, take a detour to stop and do some shopping at The Mall Luxury Outlet at Leccio Reggello right off the A1.
Visit Tuscany | Shopping in Florence