Mini guide to 10 lesser-known hill towns in Tuscany
Since you really appreciated our “Mini guide to the top 10 hill towns in Tuscany,” we decided to write a similar post highlighting 10 additional beautiful and unknown hill towns. The selection has been really hard: the territory of Tuscany, in fact, consists of almost 70% of hills dot-ted with delightful villages.
Barga is one of the most-awarded medieval villages in Tuscany, due to its historical, artistic and tourism-related importance. It is nestled in the heart of the Serchio river valley and is the chief town of the “Media Valle” (mid valley) in the area of Lucca. Its charming position be-tween the slopes of the Tusco-Appennine hills and the majestic Apuan Alps that separate Garfagnana from Versilia make it even more beautiful.
A medieval castle protected by a city wall dominates the town, which can be access via three gateways. The town has remained approximately the same throughout the centuries, with lit-tle streets that run between the irregular buildings. In Piazza Ser Barghesano you can find the Romanesque Cathedral that was built between the 11th and the 16th centuries.
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Inhabited since the Palaeolithic era and nestled in the Montalbano hills only 10 km from Pra-to, the town of Carmignano deserves a visit not only for its landscapes but also for its food and wine products (there is even the Museum of Vine and Wine!).
Some of the most important sights you can’t miss are the 10th century well-preserved For-tress in the upper part of the town, the 12th century church of San Michele e Francesco with the “Visitation” by the Renaissance master Pontormo, several Etruscan tombs in Comeana and the beautiful Medicean villa in Artimino.
Read also: The hamlet of Carmignano: art, landscape, archaeology, wine and good food
Casale Marittimo is located on the Wine Route along the Etruscan Coast, between Pisa and Li-vorno, next to Cecina. Casale Marittimo is a little gem founded in the year 1000 and has since remained almost intact. It has stone buildings, a castle, two concentric circular walls ad many things to see: a Clock Tower, the House of the Treasurer, the Palazzo della Canonica in front of the Church of St. Andrew and the small church of St. Sebastian which dates back to 1775. It al-so houses a grave from the fifth century B.C. and a Roman Imperial villa.
Read also: Casale Marittimo on the Wine Route along the Etruscan Coast
Casole d’Elsa is a picturesque medieval village in the Val d’Elsa, located 417 meters high on a hill about 25 kilometres west of Siena. For many years the Etruscan-inhabited Casole and its surrounding areas were fought over by Sienese, Florentine and Volterran forces.
Today you can visit many important buildings, such as the church of San Niccolò of Rom-anesque origin, the collegiata of Santa Maria Assunta from 1161, the church of Santo Spirito and even Palazzo Pretorio, which is the ancient seat of the town council.
Cetona is a village located on the north-eastern slopes of the eponymous mountain, inhabited by humans since prehistoric times. The town of Cetona sits on the hillside around the Rocca, and has a square tower and an inner fortress wall. Also noteworthy is the Collegiate, the Church of St. Michael Archangel and the Town Hall
It is worth a visit for the archaeological finds on display in the Civic Museum of the Prehistory of Mount Cetona and the Belverde Archeological - Natural Park, but also for its high-quality life and its pristine environment. Cetona, in fact, is considered a striking destination for its typically medieval urban plan and for the thick vegetation that is perfect for a relaxing holi-day.
Read also: Exploring Valdichiana: 3 reasons to visit Cetona
Cutigliano is a medieval town standing at a height of 678 metres above sea level in the Tus-can-Emilian Apennines, near the city of Pistoia. As with many other towns on this list, it has been awarded the “Orange Flag” label (Bandiera Arancione) for its welcoming atmosphere and for its beautiful setting.
Among the town’s main sights are the yellow town hall characterised by many coats of arms and the Church of the Madonna di Piazza, which dates back to 1600 and houses a precious terracotta panel in the “Della Robbia” style.
Read also: Cutigliano, the medieval village in the Apennines
Fosdinovo is located on a hill overlooking the sea, at just 15 kilometres from Massa, and is considered the open door to the Lunigiana. The town is home to a medieval castle of the Malaspina family into the town centre. While walking in the narrow medieval streets you will also see St. Remigius Church, the theatre and the Oratorio della Compagnia.
From the top of Fosdinovo you can see the valley of the river Magra, Portovenere and Pal-maria, and, especially on clear days, the islands Capraia, Gorgona, Elba and Corsica.
Read more: Fosdinovo, a medieval hamlet in Lunigiana
Giglio Castello is located on a hill in the centre of Giglio Island, between the villages of Giglio Campese and Giglio Porto. It is an ancient medieval village that has maintained its look of a fortified village: majestic medieval fortress walls and high watchtowers characterise the vil-lage.
Three granite doorways also characterise the main entrance of the village, and once inside the walls you can walk along the walkways or into its narrow streets with stairs and terraces*. Arches, dark underground passages, steep steps carved in rock and old houses are character-istic of Giglio Castello.
Read more about Giglio Island: Two days in Giglio Island: some ideas for an unforgettable stay
At just 6km from Manciano and part of its municipality lies Montemerano, a 12th century town in the heart of Maremma. The town was built on a hill by the powerful family Aldobran-deschi and is completely surrounded by walls.
There are three doors where you can enter the maze of narrow streets. Inside the village you can visit the Church of San Giorgio (14th century), which is the main parish church of the vil-lage, and the Pieve of San Lorenzo (built in the 12th century), a former parish church of the village that constitutes the oldest building in Montemerano.
Read also: Montemerano, a hidden gem of Maremma
Radda in Chianti
Immersed in the incomparable beauty of the Chianti area, between the valleys of Arbia and Pesa, lies Radda at a height of 530m above sea level. Radda in Chianti is a delightful medieval town enclosed in large defensive walls that still maintain their medieval look. Narrow streets meet in the main square where the Romanesque Church of San Niccolò characterises the village.
You can also visit the Grand Duke’s Ice House, or the Museum of Sacred Art of Chianti located in the Franciscan Convent of Santa Maria in Prato. Wherever you decide to go, don’t miss the opportunity to taste the Chianti Classico DOC produced in the area.