5 lovely and unusual places in Tuscany

If you're asking yourself: "how can I surprise my loved one?" the answer is not always immediate and maybe you need a hand to make up your mind. Well, you're lucky because that’s why we’re here! You can find some ideas on Around Tuscany and Tuscany Arts, or you can organize a romantic dinner using Tuscanycious’ super tips. Here are other 5 little-known places that will leave your partner speechless.

1) Montefoscoli and the Temple dedicated to Minerva

You might find it hard to believe, but there’s a neoclassical building perched on top of a hill in Tuscany? It’s the Temple of Minerva Medica, set within a small grove of holm oaks, near the town of Montefoscoli, in the province of Pisa. It’s one of those places that hardly anyone knows about in Tuscany, let alone the rest of Italy or abroad! It was erected around 1822 upon the wishes of Andrea Vaccà Berlinghieri, a physician and luminary of the University of Pisa. His intention was to devote a monument to his father Francesco, who was also a physician, and to celebrate their profession with a dedication to the goddess of medicine and wisdom, Minerva Medica. A monumental avenue approaches the temple, which is built entirely in terracotta, with the exception of the pediment's lintel, which is in white marble. The choice of the temple’s location was not coincidental. Following the intentions of his father, Francesco, Andrea chose the area where his father had planned, in 1808, the construction of a villa, which would eventually be built further south. The Temple can be visited upon reservation. Guided tours to the Temple are organised every full-moon night by the "Ippolito Rossellini" cultural association. For information and reservations Email Phone: +39 050 551285 Website
Minerva Temple [Photo Credits: Mongolo1984]
Minerva Temple [Photo Credits: Mongolo1984]

2) Giglio Island and the Lighthouse of Lovers

For those who love indulging in the sound of the sea with landscapes featuring cliffs, for those who love the smells and the uniqueness that characterize islands, there is Giglio Island in the Tuscan Archipelago. Take your time and spread your love together with the quiet rhythm of the place. The nature of the island is perfect for lovers, especially thanks to the atmosphere you can breathe in, the charm of the old stone houses and the ancient walls, as well as due to one of the most romantic places in the world, located in the middle of the Mediterranean bush overlooking the sea. This place is the Lighthouse of Lovers, nestled in the pinewood of Giglio Island. Website (in Italian)
Giglio lighthouse [Photo Credits: Maurizio Manetti]
Giglio lighthouse [Photo Credits: Maurizio Manetti]

3) Montecatini Alto

Not everyone knows that the town of Montecatini is characterized by two distinct parts: the famous part of the spa (Montecatini Terme), which made it famous worldwide as a spa town, and the little-known Montecatini Alto, a medieval village situated on the top of the hill that dominates Montecatini Terme. Montecatini Alto was a Roman castle situated at 299 meters above sea level and which gave rise to the town of Montecatini we know today. Initially, the only Montecatini was the one on the hill, and the baths were none other than a swamp below the castle. Since ancient times, however, the swamp waters were famous for their curative properties; in fact, the thermal heritage of Montecatini was probably already known to the Etruscans. Why go to Montecatini Alto on Valentine’s Day? First of all, for the surprise effect: the views from the top are breathtaking, as they embrace a vast plain. And then after all that effort to reach the top, you will be justified in treating yourself to a nice spa bath! Actually, Montecatini Alto can be reached by using red funicular, which opened in 1898 that covers approximately 1,050 meters over a vertical drop of 202 meters. Read more about Montecatini
Montecatini Alto [Photo Credits: Rich Jacques]
Montecatini Alto [Photo Credits: Rich Jacques]

4) Guinigi tower in Lucca

Have you ever heard of the tower with trees on top? Yes, it does exist and it is located in the centre of Lucca: the Torre Guinigi. The Torre Guinigi is the most important tower in Lucca, one of the few remaining within the city walls. The tower was donated to the local government by the descendants of the Guinigi family. The tower, built in stone and bricks, is one of the most representative monuments in Lucca and its main feature is the presence of some oaks on its top. The tower is 44.25 meters tall and you can reach the top through 25 staircases and 225 steps. From the top, you can see the city centre, Piazza Amphitheatre and the landscape of the surrounding mountains, the Apuan Alps in the northwest, the Apennines (north) and Monte Pisano (south). Read more about the romantic town of Lucca.
Lucca seen from Guinigi Tower [Photo Credits: Emma Ivarsson]
Lucca seen from Guinigi Tower [Photo Credits: Emma Ivarsson]

5) Abbadia a Isola on the Via Francigena

Abbadia a Isola is a hamlet in the municipality of Monteriggioni near Siena: it’s still a hidden and fascinating corner of Tuscany. The village was built around the Benedictine monastery founded at the beginning of the eleventh century; at that time, it was a land emerging from the edge of Padule del Cannetto across the busy Via Francigena, a medieval road devoted to pilgrimage and trade. Thanks to this privileged position, Abbadia a Isola increased its power and gained great strategic importance in the Middle Ages. The stretch of the Tuscan Via Francigena linking the ancient village to Monteriggioni is a beautiful path of low difficulty of about 4 km.
Abbadia a Isola [Photo Credits: Mirella Bruni]
Abbadia a Isola [Photo Credits: Mirella Bruni]
Do you know any other romantic venues in Tuscany? Which one is your favourite? P.s. here are 2015 suggestions by Tuscany Arts.