Bagno Vignoni, Tuscany

Known for its thermal waters and underwater piazza (seen in the photo below), the Tuscan town of Bagno Vignoni was the departure point for the 8-day Tuscany cycling trips I used to guide. We’d arrive by coach from Florence, and 25 or so North Americans dressed in spandex cycling gear would walk up from the parking…

Posted by on Dec 7, 2009 in Tuscany | No Comments

Pienza Tuscany : 5 Reasons to visit

There are more than five reasons to visit Pienza Tuscany but these are my favorites. The area is full of surprises: have you ever been moving along absorbed in your own thoughts, and seen something so gorgeous that it stopped you in your tracks, completely overriding what you had been thinking about?   That’s the…

Posted by on Nov 30, 2009 in Tuscany | 4 Comments

Cycling in Tuscany

When I worked guiding cycling tours in Italy, the first question I got in the mornings over breakfast was Where are the hills on today’s route? People had booked their trips having understood the level of difficulty of the trip, but they wanted to know specifically about that day’s hills so that they could pace…

Posted by on Nov 20, 2009 in Cycling, Tuscany | No Comments

What to see and do on Capraia Island, Italy

Formed by a volcanic eruption 9 million years ago, which produced the island’s gorgeous red rock, the Island of Capraia is referred to as the “wild island”. It’s a national park, and is part of the group of islands off Tuscany, known as the Tuscan Archipelago. It’s a popular summer destination for Italians but it’s very…

Posted by on Jun 26, 2009 in Tuscany | No Comments

What to do in Lucca Tuscany

Take my recommendations for what to do in Lucca Tuscany and you’ll have a wonderful visit! This walled Tuscan town has excellent food, magnificent views, beautiful art, and medieval walls you can cycle on. It’s a satisfying combination as a tourist: eat a lovely Italian meal, then cycle it off. Or, climb the tower, eat the meal and…

Posted by on Apr 14, 2009 in Tuscany | 9 Comments

Montepulciano, Tuscany

Montepulciano, Tuscany is one of my favorite towns in Italy, probably because there’s a little of everything, with a heavy focus on wine. Built on a hill and surrounded by picture-perfect countryside, it also does well in the Atmosphere, Art & Architecture categories. And so far, it’s still somewhat off the beaten track.   What…

Posted by on Mar 23, 2009 in Tuscany | No Comments

Monteriggioni, Tuscany

In the case of the medieval walled town of Monteriggioni in Tuscany, a picture is definitely worth a thousand words.  Begin appreciating this tiny town, surrounded by vineyards, during the approach. After entering its walls there really isn’t that much to do: visit the wine tasting room for a sample of some very (very very!)…

Posted by on Mar 2, 2009 in Tuscany | No Comments

What to see in San Gimignano Italy

Even if you had no idea what to see in San Gimignano Italy, you’d immediately notice its unique skyline. Now a UNESCO world heritage site, this walled Tuscan city was founded by the Etruscans and then became prosperous in the middle ages due to its location as part of the Via Francigena, an ancient pilgramage route between…

Posted by on Oct 1, 2008 in Tuscany | No Comments

Locanda Dell’Amorosa

When I travel as a tourist, I usually choose a hotel that is purely functional: comfortable and quiet, so I can get a good night's sleep; and centrally located so I can maximize tourist time. This means that in Italy I usually pick a 3-star hotel located in the center of a city. But then I discovered…

Posted by on Sep 8, 2008 in I Recommend, Tuscany | 2 Comments