If you want to be a short drive from the marvels of Florence, but worlds away from the tourist crowds and general chaos, the medieval village of Palazzuolo sul Senio is a perfect solution: it’s home to Locanda Senio, run by the dynamic duo of Ercole and Roberta, who treat their clients as guests in their home and host cooking classes. Further afield in the oft-overlooked Lunigiana region you’ll find Montagna Verde, with the Tuscan-Emilian portion of the National Park of the Apennines providing plenty of nature-based opportunities.
In the Pisa area, look beyond the Leaning Tower to the postcard-perfect medieval town of Peccioli, where the Hotel Peccioli organizes activities like pastry-making, painting and cooking classes to help you dive straight in to old-fashioned Tuscan life. Nestled in the Pisa countryside, the whole charming village of Lorenzana welcome guests at Ospiti del Borgo where the rooms are houses and the corridors streets.
Those looking to instead stay near Lucca can opt for La Pietra Antica in Corfino, part of the Garfagnana region, which is sometimes nicknamed “Little Switzerland.” La Pietra Antica’s main structure is a repurposed family home that will make you feel like you’re living in a nostalgic memory more than a hospitality business.