Things To Do in and around ….
We can help advise you on the best places to eat and where to go. We also provide an information pack on the local area with maps.
Start your day off with an energising walk through the olive groves around the estate, or head along the trail leading directly from The Frantoio for a relatively easy 10 minute meander along the path to Castelvecchio Alta, a sleepy little village with friendly locals, carry on 15 minutes down the hill to the lower village to have a coffee and pastry in the local bar or just over the road there is a traditional Trattoria for lunch or dinner. For a more energetic walk turn left before the village and walk up into the woodland towards the hill village of Buti (7km), this is a hard walk on a hilly trail, up above Buti there are many more trails for walking, mountain biking or even climbing on the Via Ferrata (grade 4). This area up above the Frantoio is called Monte Serra and is a popular area for outdoor activities and picnics in the fresher, cooler Summer air, on Sundays there are lots of road and mountain bike cyclists, testing their endurance on the hills.
There are many great day trips within easy driving distance. Closer to home we suggest taking short trips to some of the local towns and villages. Montecarlo is a beautiful medieval hill town surrounded by vineyards, the town has DOC status and we can arrange a wine tasting for you. Lucca of course is beautiful and well worth making several trips to fully appreciate everything it has to offer. Pistoia is a lovely town, slightly off the tourist trail with an interesting old centre, we especially love the fruit and vegetable market in Piazza Sala. Montecatini and Montesumanno Terme, both have spas to relieve any aching muscles from sightseeing or you can take a funicular up to the old village for lunch in one of the restaurants in the old square.
The Piaggio factory in Pontedera has a museum which is well worth a visit, you can see some fine examples of the legendary Vespa scooter and of course our very own L’Ape, the little three wheeled van which is still as popular today and you will see lots of in our area, very useful for using around olive groves and vineyards.
Within 1 to 2 hours drive – Volterra and San Gimignano – beautiful hill towns surrounded by typical Tuscan scenery – rolling hills and cypress trees. Lerici and then a short ferry to Portovenere – lovely fishing villages for a great seafood lunch or swim in Byrons grotto (azzure blue sea). The Cinque Terre – Five stunning fishing villages just North of Lerici (busy), you can hike on trails connecting them, take local trains or ferries or drive, however please note that the roads are narrow and it can be difficult to find parking space in high season. (car parks outside the villages). The Garfagnana – mountainous area just North of Lucca, this is a great area for outdoor sports such as hiking, mountain biking, canyoning, climbing and horseriding or you can savour the local produce in one of the many good restaurants around Barga and Castelnouvo di Garfagnana. Chianti – the region is famous for wine but the villages are beautiful and make a great day trip – Greve in Chianti, Radda in Chianti, Castellina in Chianti, San Panzano in Chianti and also worth a trip is the little medieval hill town of Monteriggioni. Siena, a captivating city with one of the most beautiful piazzas in Italy, famous for The Palio in July and August. Val D’Orcia and the beautiful hill towns of Montepulciano, Pienza, San Quirico D’Orcia and Montalcino, famous for Brunello wine. You can also visit one of the thermal springs including our favourites in Bagno Vignoni and Bagno San Filippo.
Beaches and the coast. The Tuscan coastline near us is varied – there are the larger, more popular resorts of Viareggio and Forte di Marmi (45 mins) or South of Livorno (60 mins) there are some resorts popular with the locals including Castiglioncello, Vada and San Vincenzo. If you drive just over the border into Liguria (60 mins) you can find small beaches near pretty villages built along the rocky but picturesque coastline including Tellaro, San Terenzo, Lerici and Portovenere. Of course there is also the famous Cinque Terre (90 mins), the water in this area is really clear and great for swimming as it is a marine park.
Pisa is best known for the world famous Leaning Tower but those who go there with their mind already made up that the Tower is the only thing to see may miss the rest of the architectural and artistic marvels of this beautiful city. The long walk from the Campo dei Miracoli to the train station is run through a pedestrian area with many interesting sights, shops, and restaurants.
Nearby Lucca is a beautiful walled city which has maintained much of its medieval character with charming narrow streets, beautiful piazzas, classical gardens and well preserved walls encircling the old centre (4km) which are popular for walking or cycling. Car access is strictly limited to residents within the walls which helps create a pleasant ambiance for strolling around and exploring, join the locals on their bicycles and hire by the hour from one of the many bicycle rental shops situated around the main entrances of the city. The main shopping street is Via Fillungo from Piazza Santa Maria down through the city to Via Roma, don’t miss Piazza Anfiteatro, Piazza San Frediano, Piazza San Salvatore and visit Enoteca Vanni which has one of the best wine cellars, Piazza San Michele where you can try Buccellato, the well known cake of Lucca at Taddeucci Bakery and Via Santa Lucia to visit Antica Bottega di Prospero and Amadeo Giusti one of the oldest and best bread shops in Lucca.
We suggest you spend a few days exploring as it is full of interesting places to see, to eat, to drink and to just relax and sit, soaking up the atmosphere of this very special Tuscan city.
Only 15 minutes drive away – a beautiful little hill town is famous for producing Montecarlo DOC certified white and red wines. It is a small town with narrow streets so it is best to park just outside the ancient walls and walk in (few minutes). You can choose to eat or drink in a number of traditional trattorias, good quality restaurants, enotecas and cafes. Many of the wine producers offer tastings and cellar visits including the very good Fattoria Di Montechiari, Fattoria La Torre or Tenuta del Buonamico and each year at the end of August/beginning of September there is the Montecarlo wine festival.
(2 hours) – Five spectacular villages spill down from cliffs to picturesque harbours with restaurants, cafes and shops. For an amazing day trip we recommend you to travel there by train via La Spezia or by boat from Lerici via Portovenere to explore this unique and beautiful coastline. We really like the villages of Vernazza and Manarola in the Cinque Terre and one of our favourite days out in this area is to drive to Lerici (60 mins), wander around the town and harbour then take the ferry over to Portovenere (20 mins) for a stroll, a swim in the beautiful sea at Byron’s grotto and then to have a fish lunch watching the boats go by.
This beautiful island with some of Tuscanys best beaches is well worth visiting, it is very busy in July and August. If possible visit late May/June or September when the temperatures are still hot enough to enjoy swimming at some of the best beaches in Tuscany with less people or traffic on the small island roads. It is possible to visit in a day, Piombino is 90 minutes drive, then you take the 60 minute ferry to Portoferrario. To really appreciate the island though you may want to spend a few days there.
Lucca is the nearest big fair on the 3rd weekend of the month held in and around Piazza Napoleone, Bientina our closest town 5 to 10 mins drive away (fourth weekend), and Vicopisano a lovely little village near Bientina (second Sunday), it is more of a car boot sale but can be interesting to visit.
Arezzo and Siena are also well known and the antiques fairs are similar in size to the one held Lucca.