Travel ideas from a local expert. We chat with Silvia Capperi, founder of the online travel agency Sunny Tuscany & Italy to get a different take on the region. Here she gives us an insider’s look at some off-the-beaten-track places to visit in Tuscany, and tells us why they should be on every travel itinerary.
“There’s more to Tuscany than Florence!“, says Silvia who has years of experience in the tourist sector. She knows that the majority of people coming to Tuscany want to visit the Duomo and the Uffizi in Florence. Clearly there’s a good reason for it. But here she gives a few suggestions for anyone wanting to broaden their horizons, and discover an unexpected side of Tuscany.
Discover the unspoilt beauty of the Maremma:
First on Silvia’s list is the Maremma in southern Tuscany. “That’s where you can still find authenticity, wild landscapes, and unspoiled nature. Everybody there is really welcoming and kind, maybe because there’re not overwhelmed by crowds of tourists yet”.
Maremma’s coastal area is the most beautiful of the region. The Uccellina Natural Park offers kilometres of unspoilt beaches, pine groves and marshland with the best birdwatching opportunities. “The park is very well organised, with different walking itineraries. Here you can get the chance to see the butteri, the Tuscan cowboys, at work with their cattle, and travel by horse-drawn carriage at sunset. It’s really romantic.”
And of course, a trip to Tuscany wouldn’t be complete without a visit to some hilltop towns. It’s good to know that Maremma has some truly charming small towns to visit. Massa Marittima with its splendid cathedral, the scenic Pitigliano in the interior, and little gems like Montemerano and Manciano.
Exploring Livorno’s canals:
“Tourists don’t think of going to Livorno, but it does have its surprises”, says Silvia. She not long ago came to discover an interesting side of this busy port. “The boat tours take you along the canals on the picturesque side of the port, called Little Venice. From there you can really get a sense of this city’s lifestyle. The people living in the houses overlooking the canals have their boats anchored outside their front door, and they regularly use them to travel around or to go fishing”.
On the subject of fishing, Livorno is also a food-mecca. If you get to try one of the local fish specialities, like cacciucco, accompanied by a glass of chilled white wine, you’re unlikely to be disappointed.
Pistoia, art and music:
And of course, Silvia can’t leave out her home town, Pistoia.“Pistoia is still off the main tourist trail, but next year there are many events planned to liven up the town. It’s got a beautiful Cathedral and interesting museums, like the Museo Diocesiano and Civico. And you have to visit Pistoia Sotterranea. It’s a tour that takes you under an old hospital, where you can see an old anatomical theatre, with some of the surgical instruments too. It’s pretty weird and atmospheric”.
“But Pistoia is not only about art and history. It’s a young city with a lively music scene. We have the Pistoia Blues Festival every Summer. And in the evening, a favourite place to go is Piazza della Sala, with a plenty of locali, outdoor cafes and bars”.
So, if you’re planning to head to Italy for the next holiday and want to know more about the most interesting and off-the-beaten-track places to visit in Tuscany, visit Sunny & Italy web site. Silvia’s agency offers tailor-made itineraries, focused on the clients’ interests. You’ll find plenty of ideas by in the “Experience” section. If you’re after an active holiday, a wine-tasting experience, or the chance to explore the more remote corners of Tuscany, there’ll be something to suit your interests.