lunedì 9 gennaio 2017

In the middle of Countryside: what can You do??

Hi Guys,

now imagine to be in Tuscany, in a warm sunny day. The nature is blooming ... a question holds your mind: "What Can I do today?"

Luckly You are in Montaione, and believe me, we are REALLY in the heart of Tuscany. I usually use these words as claim, for advertise, and this is normal, but I'm happy that I can tell the truth, because in the middle of the region there are so many possibilities:

First of all: the most natural, probably the most obvious: Take Your car and visit all the beautiful towns that surround Borgo La Casaccia. (Here I will not write about what You can do in each different town: You will find a lot of informations on internet, my aim here is to give You some suggestions)

Florence (1 hour far from Borgo La Casaccia):

You can't miss it! Consider one whole day to visit it.  By car or by Train as You prefer (check other post in this blog)

Siena (1 hr far from Borgo La Casaccia):

 The same, You have to visit it, and You need one day, from the morning to the late afternoon. The Best Solution is get there by car, but You can use the train if You don't mind to walk 20 minutes to reach the historical center.  If You have energy and time, I suggest You to spent 30 minutes in Monteriggioni, a beautiful Medieval town on the road to Siena.

Remember, Florence and Siena are Warm cities, so, be prepared in summer...

San Gimignano (20 minutes far from Borgo La Casaccia):

 The Town of towers. It's another must. Unique in the world, it is crowded almost every day of the year. But , it's a joy for your eyes. Half day is ok for the visit

Volterra: (30 minutes far from Borgo La Casaccia):

 The town of alabaster, it's the other player of the match. In fact 50% of clients prefer Volterra, the other 50% prefer San Gimignano. of Course there is no a winner, I can say that "in my opinion" , the town of San Gimignano is more beautiful, but the landscape of Volterra is really amazing. Oh, don't forget to buy an alabaster owl in Volterra. It's the typical gift.  Half day is ok per the visit.

You can visit San Gimignano and Volterra in the same day. It's possible, but You will be very very tired at night..

Certaldo (15 minutes far from Borgo La Casaccia):

 A town that is not known from mass tourism but it's beautiful! After You pass through its doors it seems to enter directly in the medieval age; it's not crowded, and it's small. So for me it's a good solution to visit something different, close to us, and very typical. Spend just 1 or 2 hours there, no more. Remember, You have to visit Certaldo "Alto"  only (the high part of the town). Certaldo low is modern and there's nothing to say about it.

Pisa (1 hour far from Borgo La Casaccia):

Pisa is "Piazza dei Miracoli" , the square with the tower. But not only the tower: Dome, Baptistery, Cemetary, the whole square is breathtaking; then...stop... don't spend more time in Pisa; Usually I suggest to my clients to visit the square in about 2/3 hours and then drive to ...

Lucca: (1 hr 15 far from Borgo La Casaccia):

A city builded for wars and it has never did a war in its history: so , the architecture of the place is really original and beautiful! You can do a walking tour of the walls, it's a nice experience (by bike also)

If You want to drive a little bit more, and You want to enjoy the seaside (1hr 20 minutes far from Borgo La Casaccia), we have the solution!

The nearest seaside is "Marina di Pisa"; but , believe me, if You drive only 15 minutes more You will reach Viareggio and the Versilia Coast that is much more better. Versilia is an "area" on the coast and Viareggio is the biggest town; then, You find several towns next to Viareggio, like Forte dei Marmi, Marina di Carrara,Lido di Camaiore etc... all of these places are along the coast.
Why I prefer Viareggio? Because the atmosphere is really like the "dolce vita"; imagine the road with palms and buildings in liberty style, next to the road there's the parking, then a very long walking path with shops and restaurants and clubs, and then the beach. Remember that in Italy we have "clubs" on the beach. So You have to rent an umbrella, sunbeds and so on (medium price: 30 euro per day). But there are also some spaces where You can sit in the sand for free (In Viareggio this place is next to the Clock Tower, You can see it from every place of the walking path).
So Viareggio is a right solution between sea,shops,comfort etc....
You may ask:  Is the sea clear and beautiful? it depends from the day, but in general it's not the sea that You may find in Sardinia , for example. It's not "the beautiful sea" You can imagine in Italy. For that You have to drive south , for example to Grosseto or Porto Santo Stefano, but it takes 2h30 to get there..

Close to Montaione You find the town of Gambassi Terme (15 minutes far from Borgo La Casaccia); honestly, the town is really small, the landscape is nice, but the town itself cannot be compared to places like San Gimignano , Volterra etc.. but in Gambassi Terme there are The Therms:
Terme della Via Francigena -

Therms are quite small, You will find an open air swimming pool (don't go there for that, Borgo La Casaccia has much more bigger pools ;) ) , a covered and heated swimming pool , and then the "wellness path": Sauna, Turkish bath, Cold Shower . Check the website and I let You decide.

Sometimes You could find (cross fingers) a day of bad weather: rare but not impossible. Some clients asked to me for a place where kids can have "fun with water , but covered"
Here's my suggestion:

Hidron (45 Km far from Borgo La Casaccia, about 1 hr)
Campi Bisenzio, Firenze
It's a big center with: covered swimming pools, Wellness center, Fitness club, open air swimming pool (VERY big) , park, Restaurants and coffee shop. In few words it's an acquatic park that can be used also during rainy days.

It's beautiful to visit places, but what about the experiences You may live? Sometimes they are the most beautiful memories we have about an holiday.  Also from this point of view We have something to offer and I would like to give You my ideas:

Enogastronomy: the top of the top. Wine, Olive Oil, Cheese, Meat, local products.  In Tuscany the range of possibilities is really wide, and it's difficult to say to You :"this is the best place to go" because I haven't experiences every place and , overall, when we talk about "eat and drink" the personal taste is fundamental. However I can give You some suggestions and You will find them in another dedicated post. But,  in a a way or another, While you are in Tuscany, don't miss to visit a wineyard, and to taste local products!

Trekking and Mountain Biking: In Montaione there are 30 Km's of Trekking paths, and Borgo La Casaccia is on one of these paths. Exactly the path number 2. Last year, some mountain bike lovers create a nice website: . They rent bikes and they do guided tours too, but overall , in this website you find a section where ALL of these paths are showed, with distances, heights and so on. Very useful. The APP Wikiloc it's really well done too.
The Track number 2 on which we are it's quite hard. From Borgo La Casaccia by bike it's really difficult, much more better by run.
Remember that the landscape here is "up and down": it could be very hard from people coming from places like Denmark, for example, where the landscape is more "flat". So, don't start Your excursion at 11h00 in July because it could be very hard!
There are Two places for bike rental:
Landhill (3 km far from Borgo La Casaccia)
Via J.F.Kenney 10

or through the website that we already said:

Quad:Yes, we have also this possibility. (5 kms far from Borgo La Casaccia)
Via Leonardo da Vinci 14
There are really several opportunities, from the single rent to the guide tour with lunch outside.
My first experience with Quad was in Lanzarote (Spain) and from then I started to love it. If You want to see countryside from a different point of view it's a good choice. (Not really cheap, take a look at the website for prices)

Guided Tour, Cooking lessons, Truffle hunt: If You are looking for some really peculiar experience I suggest You to trust . I cooperate with them when clients ask me to organize a cooking lesson in Certaldo or San Gimignano and I love to work with Elisabetta and Claudia. They are really professional and clients love them. They have a wide range of tours, not mass-market oriented. The price, as usual is not cheap, but , in my opinion, there's the value for money.

So we have: visits to cities, to the seaside, to therms, visit to  a winery, taste of cheese, Bike tours,Quad Rental, Cooking lessons.... but... Remember You are on holiday so relax Yourselves.
Sometimes enjoy the pools of Borgo La Casaccia, sunbathing while you drink a glass of wine taken from our cellar it's the best way to spend the day.....

Francesco Pellegrini
Owner of Borgo La Casaccia

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