One of the reasons we love Bagni di Lucca is because it is so central to lots of places we like to visit, whether just for the day or for an overnight stay.
Here are just some of my favourite places within a few hours of Bagni di Lucca…in no particular order. If you click on the name of the town, a post I have written previously will appear as if by magic.
Portovenere is on the Ligurian coast, just north of La Spezia. It is one of our regular day trips. We have also stayed overnight in the Grand Hotel, which offers fabulous views over the town. The coastline here is spectacular and there are a couple of tiny streets full of interesting shops, restaurants and places to buy delicious pesto, produced in the area from the very best basil.
Siena is a gorgeous Tuscan town which has my favourite church in all of Italy. On my first visit I was lucky to be there very early in the morning and was the only person there. Now that you have to pay to go in and it is more regulated that is unlikely ever to happen again. I will never forget the magnificent interior appearing as my eyes adjusted to the low light. The walking tour of Siena is a treat not to be missed.
Florence is an obvious choice. I often go with no particular agenda, just wandering the gorgeous streets is. I always catch the bus as driving there is awful and finding a park worse.
Orvieto sits marvellously on top of a tufa plug. I say hello every time I go past on the train between Rome and Florence and I visit as often as I can. We usually stay overnight as it is a 3 hour drive from Bagni di Lucca and there is much too see and do in Orvieto. The underground tour through some of the tunnels under the town is really worth doing.
Bologna is another place I like to stay overnight. It is a university city and has a vibrant atmosphere and a wonderful food culture. The street food markets here are my favourite in Italy. I really need to stay long enough to do some serious food shopping and cook at home. On a previous visit I climbed to the top of the very high tower in the centre of town for an excellent view.
Milan…don’t let anyone tell you this is an ugly industrial town. It is full of the most elegant shops in the world and some of the most stylish people you will see anywhere. If you are interested in fashion Milan should be on your list of places to visit. It has fabulous restaurants and galleries and a magnificent cathedral that defies description.
Forte dei Marmi is only an hour away from Bagni di Lucca by car and we go often, sometimes just for lunch at one of our favourite restaurants, Il Fortino. The town is full of elegant shops and has a pier over the water which offers spectacular views of the marble mountains behind the town.
Montalcino is a famous wine town. Like many Tuscan towns it sits prettily on a hill with stunning views over the surrounding countryside. A couple of years ago I went for the weekend to be part of the Sagra del Tordo, and incredible festival where the whole town is involved in an archery competition. Everybody dresses up in wonderful costumes, feasts on delicious food and watches the exciting competition.
Asciano is a tiny town not far from Siena. While is is quite a cute little place it is actually the road to Asciano that we like so much. To get to the town you drive over some of the most spectacular scenery in Tuscany. After leaving Asciano we usually head off to another favourite place….
Pienza is a tiny town, once again high above the plains surrounding it. Pope Pius II recreated the town as a perfect monument to himself. He chose Florentine architect Bernado Rossellino to good effect…the town is delightful.
Volterra is an Etruscan town with a fine set of Roman ruins. It is not as busy as nearby San Gimignano and Siena, but is well worth a visit. We have been a few times and always find something interesting to see.
San Gimignano is the city of towers. It is a little spoiled by the sheer number of tourists who go there. Most of the tourists leave at about 5.00pm, so staying overnight is a good option. In the evening you get to have the town to yourself and can wander peacefully through this beautiful place.
Verona is a very pretty town with an amazing amphitheatre from ancient times which is still in use. It is also very stylish and great for an overnight stay. It is on the trainline between Bologna and Venice…my next favourite place to visit.
Venice can’t be left off the list. On a good day Venice sparkles like a jewel. Riding on the vaporetto down the Grand Canal has to be one of the very best things you can do. I also love the less visited islands of Burano and Torcello. We usually take the train to Venice and stay for a couple of night and just wander…getting lost in Venice is compulsory.
Lucca is just 30 minutes drive, or 40 minutes by bus from Bagni di Lucca and one of the loveliest towns in all of Italy.
Of course there are many more places to visit around Bagni di Lucca, but they can wait until next time.
2 posts on Bella Bagni di Lucca have been shortlisted in the Italy Magazine Blog Awards. I would be very happy if you voted for them. It is no doubt because of that you that I nade the list. Here is the link …Italy Magazine Blog Award. I have been nominated in Best Single Living in Italy post and Best Single Travel Post. You can vote by clicking on the black space beneath the photo fo the blog.