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Secret Italy: A Long Weekend in Tuscany

Secret Italy: When to Visit

Avoid Tuscany during the high season (June-September) because in the summer, everything is bigger – the price tag, the crowds, and the temperature. The best times to visit Tuscany are spring and fall, when you can score better prices, enjoy cooler temperatures, and can avoid navigating through large crowds.


 Getting to Tuscany

A Plane Lands at Pisa International Airport, in the Heart of Tuscany. pisaphotography / Shutterstock.com

A Plane Lands at Pisa International Airport, in the Heart of Tuscany.
pisaphotography / Shutterstock.com

Surprisingly, Pisa International Airport offers travelers cheaper and more direct options than Peretola Airport in Florence. For example, Delta Airlines flies direct from New York’s JFK Airport to Pisa, simplifying a long journey from the US. Additionally, budget airlines such as Ryanair and EasyJet fly into Pisa International Airport, offering tourists cheap transportation to Tuscany.

Therefore, it makes sense to start your long weekend in Tuscany in the town of Pisa, but if you insist on starting in Florence, there are plenty of options for car rental at the Pisa International Airport to take you up north.


Friday

Viareggio Beach, Tuscany, Italy

Viareggio Beach, Tuscany, Italy

Once you’ve arrived at Pisa’s International Airport, it’s time to start exploring both the most popular attractions in Italy and the more secret Italy destinations. To make the most of your short time in Tuscany, rent a car. That way, you can go to places on your own schedule.

First stop on your secret Italy tour is Park of Migliarino, San Rossore, and Massaciuccoli, a 15-minute drive from Pisa. This 60-acre park touches the border of 5 Tuscan towns, including Pisa, Viareggio, San Giuliano Terme, Vecchiano, and Massarossa. Within the park’s borders, there is the coastline of the Tirrenian Sea, Lake Massaciuccoli, and 4 rivers: Arno, Serchio, Canale dei Navicelli, and Morto e Burlamacca. Park of Migliarino, San Rossore, and Massaciuccoli is a beautiful place to go for a walk and to enjoy a picnic.

To visit a picturesque Tuscan beach, drive 20 minutes north to Viareggio. Here, you can enjoy the warm sand and the sparkling blue water. You can either call it a day in Viareggio and wait for the amazing sunset, or you can continue your afternoon in a new destination. If you choose the latter option, go to Lucca.

Lucca, a medieval, walled town, is located just 30 minutes away from Viareggio. Tourists can either rent bikes or traverse the city by foot. Lucca is an easy town to navigate and is perfect for eating, relaxing, and shopping at historic and artisan shops.

Lucca, Italy

Lucca, Italy

Lucca is home to spectacular, historical architecture and several other attractions. Start at Guinigi Tower, a 14th century, 130-step structure, that offers fantastic views of Lucca. Climb to the top and take it all in. Then, walk to the next attraction, but don’t miss Case del Guinigi, a well-preserved row of 14th century towers and brick houses. Grab a bite to eat in Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, an oval-shaped piazza that used to be a Roman amphitheater. Today, the piazza is lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants. However, there are still remnants of the original structure. Other must-see attractions in Lucca include San Michele in Foro Church and San Martino Cathedral.

Stay the night in Pisa at Abitalia Tower Plaza. This hotel is modern, clean, close to Pisa’s main attractions, and has great amenities, such as a swimming pool, Turkish bath, fitness center, and massage room.


Saturday

Sunlight reflects off the Duomo - Florence, Italy

Sunlight reflects off the Duomo – Florence, Italy

Wake up early on Saturday to start your one-hour journey to Florence. Whether you travel via car or train, this is an easy route that is well worth the trip. Florence is a popular tourist destination with so much to offer. However, fitting every Florence attraction into one day is nearly impossible. So, choose what interests you most.

For those who love art, book tickets to Galleria dell’Accademia and Uffizi Gallery before leaving home. That way, you won’t spend precious time waiting in line to see Michelangelo’s David and the best collection of Renaissance art in the world. For even more art, head to the Leonardo Da Vinci Museum to see several of Da Vinci’s rarest works.

Florence is known for it's abundance of Gelato shops! Don't Miss Out!

Florence is known for it’s abundance of Gelato shops! Don’t Miss Out!

Tourists who want to see breathtaking churches in Florence should visit Piazza del Duomo and Santa Croce. Climb Duomo to see a panorama of the city. Then, explore the Baptistery next door, which is home to massive bronze doors and beautiful mosaics. Lastly, visit Santa Croce Church, which is decorated with countless fresco paintings and is known for being the final resting place of Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, and Rossini.

When it comes to gelato, it doesn’t matter whether your visit to Flornece is for the art or for the churches, because everyone loves ice cream. At world-famous Vivoli, tourists can try the best gelato on earth.

Stay at Hotel Rosary Garden, an affordable option that offers guests a charming, elegant, and friendly atmosphere.


Sunday

secret-italy-long-weekend-in-tuscany-pisa-auto-europeHead back to Pisa to spend the day exploring the town before flying home in the evening.

Obviously, a must-see attraction in Pisa is the Leaning Tower, which is located in Piazza dei miracoli, the Square of Miracles. Piazza dei miracoli is a gorgeous square and a fun place to hang around. Be aware of tourist traps, though; some of the restaurants near the Leaning Tower of Pisa serve low quality food for an expensive price. An alternative option is to buy food from one of Pisa’s busy, exciting markets. Take your purchases to the Botanical Garden, one of the oldest in Europe, and enjoy a picnic under the Tuscan sun. With this secret Italy option, you can experience Pisa without it being cliché.

At the end of the day, you’ll need to head to the Pisa airport to catch a night flight home. You’ll probably wish your 3-day trip could be extended, but instead of being disappointed that you’re leaving so soon, remember all of the amazing experiences you had in just one long weekend in Tuscany.


Making the Most of Your Long Weekend in Tuscany with Auto Europe

When you’re ready to embark on a long weekend in Tuscany, or road trip throughout Italy, give Auto Europe a call, at 1-888-223-5555, and get started on your travel reservations today! Whether you need hotel accommodations, international airfare, car rental, or all 3, Auto Europe is here to serve you.

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