Immerse yourself in the unconventional natural beauty of Northern Tuscany, birthplace and chosen home to some of history’s most famous artists.
World famous opera composer Giacomo Puccini was born in Lucca and chose to spend his life in Torre del Lago, on the quiet shore of the lake. The maestro has left a long-lasting tradition of music and opera to the area; the Puccini Festival entertains thousands of visitors each year in its open-air theatre with arias from Turandot, Madame Butterfly and his other masterpieces.
Michelangelo settled in Seravezza, a small town on the route to white marble quarries, while working for the Medici family. His legacy lives strongly in Pietrasanta and Carrara; the beautiful church facades still standing there are examples of his first architectural projects. He was also the one to promote the building of a new road connecting the Apuan Alps to the sea.
Today, both Pietrasanta and Carrara welcome artists from all over the world who journey to find artisans in marble, mosaic, bronze and other hand-crafts to advise in the creation of their art pieces. Pietrasanta in particular is a small fashionable town, full of restaurants and cafés and only accessible to pedestrians. It becomes very lively on weekends and in the summer months.
Nearby Forte dei Marmi (literally, the Fortress of Marbles) is today a posh resort town and hub of shopping in Tuscany, rich with boutiques and fashionable shops. The beach resorts of Forte dei Marmi are among the most luxurious in all of Italy, VIP-spotting is not unusual during the summer season.
The magnificent amphitheater of the Apuan Alps is a paradise for hikers or those who wish to simply take walks on its pristine trails and marvel at the breathtaking views.
Along the way, you cannot miss stopping to tour the area’s small villages, hidden gems of history and traditions. Explore the towns of Pruno, Levigliani, Giustagnana or La Cappella, where you can take part in marble carving sessions at the Monte Altissimo School.
This region was appreciated and developed by the Romans, who built a few villas on its rolling hills. The ruins are today a special setting for the Roman Festival in July.
Francigena Way, another ancient route that connected Canterbury to Rome, cuts through the region to the city of Lucca, which is definitely worth a visit. Its beautiful walls and historical center is a charming place to stroll around with kids and enjoy some shopping of local art crafts.
Last but not least, Viareggio—a city popular for its majestic, not-to-be-missed Carnival in February—is the perfect place to enjoy a walk along the art deco promenade or stop for a meal in a seafood restaurant in the harbor area, where the biggest yachts in the world are still being built.
Another major attraction of Northern Tuscany is the food, which is particularly appreciated for its land and seaside cuisine. Take the chance to visit one of the region’s century-old ham workshops or taste its famous cacciucco, a shellfish soup.
If one has time to stretch a bit further from the region, Versilia area is within close reach to Cinque Terre, Pisa and Florence.
A local concierge, knowledgeable of the area, will be a valid support for planning your day tours and enjoying your stay to the best.
By Serena Giovannoni, – Estevillas Travel Consultant, Wedding Planner and Personal Assistant in North Tuscany area
Edited by Amay Smith
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