Travel off the beaten path Tuscany Off-the-beaten Path

Unexpected Tuscany: 5 places you can’t believe are in Tuscany

Castle of Sammezzano

Tuscany is definitively toomuch! I’d love to say that I’m 100% Tuscan, but I’m still surprised by the richness of my lovely region. During the last few years I discovered marvelous hidden places, that I’ve never thought to be in Tuscany. These are 5 places you won’t expect to see in Tuscany!

The Castle of Sammezzano

It took me 4 years to visit the Castello di Sammezzano. When you enter this magical place, it’s like entering the majestic residence of an Indian Prince. It counts 365 rooms, one more beautiful than another. Each one is different, decorated with sparkling colors or bright white. For more information and photos about Sammezzano see this post.

Castle of Sammezzano

The Tarot Garden

The first time I visit this sculpture garden I was speechless. This is probably one of my favorite places in Southern Tuscany. Located near the fancy town of Capalbio, it was built by French artist Niki the Saint Phalle in the late ’90s. She created large sculptures with colorful hand-made ceramics representing the major arcana in the tarot deck. For more details about the Tarot Garden read this post.

Tarot Garden

Tarot Garden

San Vivaldo

San Vivaldo is called the Jerusalem of Tuscany. It’s located near Montaione and is an Holy Mount, chosen as hermit by the Franciscan Vivaldo Stricchi in the 12th century.

During the 16th century the Franciscans who lived there decided to reproduce the topography of the holy places of Jerusalem and built  25 chapels. Each chapel is richly decorated with impressive statuary terracotta representing the Life and Passion of Christ. Thanks to Pope Leone X a pilgrimage to San Vivaldo was valued as much as a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and this is where the name Jerusalem of Tuscany come from.

For more information visit the official site here.

San Vivaldo terracotta

Terracotta in San Vivaldo

Antinori in Chianti Classico

Antinori family is one of the oldest noble families of Tuscany. The family is renowned for its excellent wines, produced in several locations around Tuscany. Among Antinori properties there is Antinori nel Chianti Classico, a contemporary winery in Bargino, about 20 minutes driving from Florence city center.

The stunning architecture of the cellars was constructed to be part of the landscape, literally immersed in the vineyards. The cellars underneath the hill are kinda of a temple for wine lovers. For more information visit the official site here.

Antinori Winery in Chianti Classico

Antinori Winery in Chianti Classico

Scaffaiolo Lake

My father told me that we used to go there quite often when I was a little child. I was actually born nearby, but I don’t have memories of this place and it was a great discovery from last year. When I arrived on top of the mountain where Lago Scaffaiolo lies, right in between of Tuscany and Emilia Romagna, I was shocked by its beauty. It looked like Iceland!

The lake is located at 1775 mt above sea level, has no fish but only tadpoles. It takes about 1 hour hiking from the parking of the Iron cross and offers incredible views especially at sunset! If you love mountain chalet you can stay right next to the lake at Rifugio Duca degli Abruzzi.

Somewhere over the Apennines #tuscany #landscape #mountains

A photo posted by Valentina Dainelli (@toomuchtuscany) on

Buongiorno from Scaffaiolo Lake #tuscany #landscape #lake

A photo posted by Valentina Dainelli (@toomuchtuscany) on

What was the place you didn’t expect to see in Tuscany?

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