Casentino Valley, Tuscany Road Trip

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Tuscany Road Trip Planner - Casentino Valley: Florence to Camaldoli

Embark on a journey through the rolling hills of Tuscany for a taste of natural beauty and historical prominence esteemed by travelers around the globe.

Tuscany, Italy is renowned for its verdant landscape blanketed by magnificent vineyards and exceptional wineries but there is so much more to see and do in this truly enchanting land. A rich cultural heritage and fidelity to Renaissance-era roots permeate the scenery and drivers touring this area will encounter castles constructed centuries ago which pepper the winding country roads amongst farmland and quaint villages.

Begin your journey in Florence, the regional capital and artistic masterpiece of Italian architecture, where you'll delight in a plethora of museums, ancient landmarks, and incredible restaurants that'll indulge your palette and titillate your cultural curiousity. Venture westward into the resplendent countryside and discover fanciful towns like Pontassieve, Londa, Stia, and Poppi while you soak in the beauty of the luscious green expanses surrounding you. Partake in local fare from homemade wines to authentic Tuscan dishes, all freshly prepared from local produce. Finally, explore some of the most inspiring castles of Italy - the perfect way to cap off your trip before concluding your journey at the archaic hermitage of Camaldoli. If you're wondering what to do in Florence, Italy, don't! A world of wondrous travel experiences await you here!

Auto Europe has compiled a comprehensive Tuscany road trip planner in the pages below to help guide you to some of the best activities and attractions in the area while leading you along some of the most iconic and scenic drives in Europe. The structure is by no means rigid and you can use the information provided to arrange any number of fantastic day trips from Florence. Uncover a rarely experienced aspect of Italy that can only be espied with the versatility and freedom granted by a rental car on your very own Tuscany road trip!

Tuscany Road Trip Planner

Italy Road Trip Planner Driving Distances
Locations Distance (Miles) Estimated Time
Florence to Pontassieve 11.7 31 Minutes
Pontassieve to Stia 28.3 1 Hour, 2 Minutes
Stia to Poppi 13.3 39 Minutes
Poppi to Camaldoli 13.6 35 Minutes
Total: 63.2 2 Hours, 49 Minutes

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Florence, Italy Casentino Valley Road Trip Day 1: Discover Florence

Attractions to See and Things to Do in Florence: It's no secret that Florence is one of the most fantastic locations for those looking to immerse themselves in Italian history and culture. The city itself is a work of art, with dozens of ancient structures, churches, palaces, bridges, and gardens spread around the downtown area. An architectural walking tour makes for an excellent free attraction in Florence with plenty of awe-inspiring sites, such as the Palazzo Vecchio, Duomo di Firenze, and the church of San Lorenzo. An extensive roster of museums are also available for those looking to further satiate their historical curiosity. The Galleria degli Uffizi is perhaps the most popular exhibition in town, world famous for its collections of Renaissance-era paintings and sculptures from the likes of Boticelli, Raphael, Rembrandt, and Michelangelo, but Florence hosts a myriad of other historical institutes highlighting all sorts of classical Italian art.

Historical wonders aside, Florence is also an important modern metropolis and center of contemporary Italian fashion. Fabulous opportunities for shopping and outlets proffering posh designer items are located all around the city. Some of the finest jewelry in the country can be found at boutique purveyors like The Ponte Vecchio and such shops are well worth a visit just to peruse and admire, even for those who aren't looking to buy. If you're looking for some great deals, though, take a trip to the San Lorenzo Markets where you'll find astonishingly affordable bargain prices on everything from Italian leather goods and clothes to souvenirs and more.

Florence is an ideal location for travelers
seeking a distinctively Italian holiday experience and the city makes for a perfect starting line on a tour of Tuscany. Check out our selection of luxury and sports car rentals in Florence and indulge in a thrilling driving experience that most can only dream of, cruising through the scenic Italian countryside in one of our many available powerful precision-engineered exotic vehicles. Auto Europe is here to make your European adventure easy and affordable so start planning your Florence road trip with us today!

The Best Restaurants in Florence: One could spend an entire lifetime sampling the scrumptious offerings from authentic Italian restaurants in Florence, but you'll want to experience at least a few of the best eateries available while in town. Spectacular sandwiches are the delicacy of choice at All'Antico Vinaio, with delicious local meats and bread baked fresh just across the street! Grab one of the greatest paninis you've ever tried at Passa Guai or treat yourself to a wide selection of fantastic meats, cheese, and wines at La Prosciutteria. Visit both Mangia Pizza Firenze and l' Pizzacchiere to decide for yourself where the best pizza in Florence comes from or, for something different, stop in Il Desco for creatively unique Mediterranean dishes. Make a reservation at Cacio Vino Trallalla for a personalized culinary experience lead by one of the friendly staff members and you're sure to have a dinner you won't soon forget!

Florence GelatoNo visit to Florence is complete without a taste of some local gelato. A soft type of ice cream with a high density and small amount of air, gelato is a creamy treat that is characteristically smooth and deliciously decadent. There are legal statutes in Italy establishing criteria for what constitutes true "gelato" but each purveyor has its own unique recipe and method for creating the ideal frozen treat. Marco Ottaviano il Gelato Gourmet is perhaps the most widely acclaimed gelateria in the city but be sure to try other parlors like Gelateria La Carraia, Gelateria Santa Trinita, and Gelateria dei Neri to find your personal favorite!

These are just a few of the best restaurants in downtown Florence but there are hundreds more for you to try while touring around the lovely town. Remember to check out our Florence driving guide, and Florence ZTL Map to help you navigate to and from restaurants and attractions in the downtown area.

Restaurant/Bar Price
All'Antico Vinaio $$ Via dei Neri 65/R 74/R, 50122 Florence, IT
Passa Guai $ Borgo Degli Albizzi 20/R, 50122 Florence, IT
La Prosciutteria $$ Via dei Neri 54, 50122 Florence, IT
Mangia Pizza Firenze $$ Via Lambertesca 24/26, 50122 Florence, IT
I' Pizzacchiere $ Via S. Miniato 1/2, 50125 Florence, IT
Il Desco $$$ Via Cavour 27, 50129 Florence, IT
Cacio Vino Trallalla $$$$ Borgo SS. Apostoli 29R, 50123 Florence, IT
Marco Ottaviano il Gelato Gourmet $$ Via Matteo Palmieri 34/R, 50122 Florence, IT
Gelateria La Carraia $ Piazza Nazario Sauro 25, 50124 Florence, IT
Gelateria Santa Trinita $$$ Piazza Frescobaldi 11-12/R, Ponte Santa Trinita, 50125 Florence, IT
Gelateria dei Neri $$ Via Dei Neri 9/11R, 50122 Florence, IT

Florence Hotels and Lodging: Florence is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and the city is well equipped to accommodate visitors with dozens of great hotels inside and outside the city center. If you're flying into Florence Peretola Airport, also known as Amerigo Vespucci, check out Hotel Firenze Novoli for a fantastic value on accommodations less than a mile away or Novotel Firenze Nord Aeroporto which offers a reasonably priced 4 star stay just a few blocks west of the airport. Booking a room at Convitto Della Calza will neatly situate you in the historical center of town where you'll have no trouble walking to a number of Florence's prominent sights or look into Hotel Plus Florence for a convenient location just a few steps away from Florence Santa Maria Novella Rail Station and the San Lorenzo Markets. Borgo Di Villa Castelletti offers a wonderfully inviting environment for families in a quiet area outside town and St. Regis provides only the most premium amenities for those looking to indulge in an elegant 5 star experience in the center of downtown, including a luxury health spa and art deco inspired rooms.

Travelers should be wary that, although a fantastic place to tour on foot, Florence is a notoriously difficult locale to park in and many streets in the center of town are off-limits to non-residents; driving on restricted roads or parking downtown will often result in tickets and fines for visitors. You can avoid possible travel complications by planning ahead and looking into hotels off major roadways on the periphery of the downtown area, like Hotel Columbus, Hotel Corolle, or Mulino Di Firenze, where you'll still have convenient access to the historic center of town and parking will be much easier. Those who wish to avoid driving entirely can tour Florence with a private chauffeur service while you're in town but don't forget to get out and explore the lovely surrounding countryside, too!

Tuscany Road Trip: Florence Scenic Drive Map

Florence Map Scenic Drive

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Tuscany, Italy Casentino Valley Road Trip Day 2: Peaceful Pontassieve

What to Do in Pontassieve: Travel about 10 miles east of Florence and you'll arrive at the rustic Tuscan town of Pontassieve, snugly situated in the scenic Arno Valley. Home to dozens of historic churches and a plethora of resplendent Italian architecture, Pontassieve is a lovely place to stop and take some time to appreciate the rich heritage that saturates this striking region of the country. The industrial economy of the town is supported by a large population of artisans who specialize in the manufacturing of glass, pottery, and leather goods so this is a great place to see some fine Italian artistry and craftsmanship. The city's important role as a railway junction led it to sustain heavy bombing during World War II with remnants of the destruction still evident to the modern day. Although Pontassieve has undergone a drastic reconstruction, historic parts of the city have been left largely untouched and still convey their Medieval splendor.

Pontassieve Restaurants, Bars, and Nightlife:  Pontassieve is filled with casual Italian restaurants and pizzerias where you can get a taste of authentic local fare. Tuscan cuisine is characteristically simplistic, utilizing fresh regionally sourced meats, cheeses, beans, mushrooms, and fruit that are used to create  conducive harmonies of flavors and textures in hearty and delicious dishes. Have your fill of this delightful culinary style at Artemide with organic salami, cheeses, and amazing chutneys among other delectable specialties. Dine in a traditional ambiance of an old style trattoria at Ristorante il Maccherone where families are welcome and the friendly servers work hard to embody the warm Italian custom of hospitality. Grab a quick bite to eat at Pizzeria I'boccia or treat yourself and your fellow travelers to some gelatos and sweets at LA Via Del Gelato. These are just a few highlights of the food culture among restaurants in Pontassieve but a quick visit to any of the abundant local family-owned restaurants can lead to the discovery of your next favorite eatery!

Restaurant/Bar Price
Artemide $$$ Via di Galiga 21, 50065 Pontassieve, IT
Ristorante il Maccherone $$ Via di Doccia 74, 50065 Pontassieve, IT
Pizzeria I'Boccia $ Piero Calamandrei 35/37, 50065 Pontassieve, IT
LA Via Del Gelato $$ Via Aretina Loc. Siece, 50065 Pontassieve, IT

Pontassieve Hotels and Lodging: Pontassieve is host to a number of charming bed & breakfasts as well as many affordable options for hotels near Florence, out of the way of the bustling city center but still close enough to offer convenient access to the Tuscan capital and surrounding areas. Spend a night at Albergo Villini (Viale Armando Diaz 28, 50065 Pontassieve, IT) or Leonardo's Rooms (Via Piave 7, 50065 Pontassieve, IT) for a charming stay at a fraction of the cost of the bigger hotels in the Florence downtown area. Indulge in an enchanting experience at Casale Il Querceto (Via di Querceto 53/B, 50066 Rignano Sull'Arno, IT), set amongst the hills south of town where you'll be able to kick back and unwind in a gorgeously rustic inn with views of the countryside and beyond. Traditional hotels like Hotel Moderno(Via Londra 5, 50065 Pontassieve, IT) are available in Pontassieve as well and for a luxurious high-end stay check out Agriturismo Veroni (Via San Martino a Quona 67, 50065 Pontassieve, IT), providing a wonderfully romantic facility set in the center of a vineyard with a decadent pool, lavishly decorated apartments, and opportunities to participate in agricultural activities like wine-making.  

Tuscany Road Trip: Pontassieve Scenic Drive Map

Pontassieve Map

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Tuscany, Italy Casentino Valley Road Trip Day 3: Tour the Tuscan Countryside at Stia

What to See and Things to Do in Stia: The atmosphere and environment in the lovely country town of Stia is an attraction to behold in and of itself. Get a taste of the traditional Tuscan way of life amongst earthenware shingled rooftops and 1,000 year old timeless architecture in this breathtaking locale where you'll uncover a rustic paradise of culture and cuisine. Venture out in any direction from the center of town to find yourself surrounded by the stunning beauty of rural Italian wine country where you can picnic amongst the rolling green hills, hike Casentenesi National Forest, or explore the countryside in the comfort and convenience of your vehicle. Visit the Wool Museum for a glimpse into the history behind Stia's still-thriving textile industry and stop in at shops like Tessilnova to purchase locally woven woolen clothes.

Take a walk or ride just south of Stia and tour Pratovecchio for a more immersive display of medieval architecture and Italian castles. The Castle of Romena sits on a hillside overlooking town where you can enjoy fantastic views of the landscape from the well-preserved ruins of the ancient towers and walls. Make a walking tour out of visiting the several ancient churches and monasteries downtown, such as the Church of San Biagio, Monastery of Santa Maria della Neve, and Church of San Romolo, or take a stroll down the beautiful Arno River for wonderful and free things to do in Pratovecchio. The communes of Stia and Pratovecchio offer wonderful stages for experiencing a rare and untouched side of the Tuscan countryside and all of this is within your reach when you utilize the convenience and versatility of a rental car! 

The Best Restaurants in Stia:  Stia hosts a wonderful array of traditional Tuscan restaurants near Florence, set away from the busy metro center in a more peaceful and intimate environment. Locals and visitors alike both travel from near and far to dine at the famous Italian restaurant Caranbar di Goretti Massimo, located directly in the center of the Stia downtown area, which is lauded by many as the best restaurant in Tuscany! Caranbar Restaurant is one eatery not to be missed when you visit Stia, but you'll delight in the Tuscan specialties at any one of many other family-owned trattorias and pizzerias; Ristorante Pizzeria Da Vincenzo and Da Filetto are two worthwhile mentions.

You'll also find many good choices of casual family eateries and fancy Italian restaurants in Pratovecchio, which borders the southern edge of Stia. Try the ravioli and homemade pastas at Da Paola or indulge your tastebuds in an exceptional culinary experience at La Tana Degli Orsi but be sure to make reservations because this fantastic restaurant is often crowded with locals and tourists who come to sample some of the finest cuisine in the region. For a quick lunch stop in at Osteria Toscana Twist and be sure to try their widely acclaimed gnocchi or delectable bruschetta.  

Restaurant/Bar Price
Caranbar di Goretti Massimo $$$ Via Adamo Ricci 19, 52017, Stia, IT
Ristorante Pizzeria Da Vincenzo $$ Via Roma 6, Stia, IT
Da Filetto $ Piazza Tanucci 28, 52017 Stia, IT
Da Paola $$ Loc. Lonnano 52, Pratovecchio, IT
La Tana Degli Orsi $$$$ Via Roma 1, 52015 Pratovecchio, IT
Osteria Toscana Twist $ Via della Liberta 3, Pratovecchio, IT

Stia Hotels and Lodging: There are a number of choices in booking your accommodations around the Stia and Pratovecchio area, from luxurious boutique hotels to agricultural themed farm stays.  The premier and perhaps most popular hotel in Stia is the Hotel Falterona (Piazza Tanucci 85, 52017 Stia, IT), known for its stylish decorating, personable staff, and high standards of service, but vacancy runs out quickly so you'll have to book well in advance to reserve a room. You can save money while immersing yourself in a unique farm stay at Agriturismo Podere Il Piano (Localita Tartiglia 20, 52015 Pratovecchio, IT) where you can experience firsthand the growing and production of sumptuous cheeses, wines, and local vegetables against the beautiful backdrop of the Tuscan countryside. Look to B&B Casa Landino (Piazza Jacopo Landino 31, 52015 Pratovecchio, IT) for a charming and affordable night on the banks of the Arno River or live in harmony with nature for a spell at Podere Pian di Selva, just a short walk from the famed ruins of Romena Castle, with mountain biking, excursions into Casentino Forest National Park, golf, and tennis. Stia and the surrounding region offer a welcomed reprieve from the bustling metro area and you'll delight in spending a peaceful night or two at any one of these lovely hotels near Florence

Tuscany Road Trip: Stia Scenic Drive Map

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Poppi, Italy Casentino Valley Road Trip Day 4: Historic Hermitage and Magnificent Castles in Poppi

Things to do in Poppi: This quaint commune of terra cotta villas and endless grassy meadows exists as your southern gateway to the Hermitage of Camaldoli. Here a myriad of historic sites, recreational facilities, and easy access to the encompassing natural world combine to provide you with an abundance of things to do in Poppi, Italy. The immediately prominent Poppi Castle towers above the town and offers a chance to explore its ancient courtyard, fresco-adorned chapel, and extensive library of rare archaic manuscripts. From here you can continue your historical journey at the Museum of the Campaldino Battle, set up on the ground floor of Poppi Castle, or walk over to the Church of Madonna del Morbo, which features paintings and frescoes by the famous Renaissance artist Filippino Lippi. The Ornithological Museum and Arboretum of Carlo Siemoni is a fascinating attraction dedicated to providing information on the local forest and ecosystem; come here to view an extensive collection of live plants and photographs of indigenous animal species before taking your own journey out into the lush woodlands of the Appennino Tosco-Romagnolo.

A short drive north along the Via di Camaldoli will bring you to the ancient forests of the Camaldoli State Reserve, home to the Holy Hermitage and Monastery of Camaldoli. This ancestral seat of the Camaldolese monastic order is a popular attraction widely acclaimed for its Baroque architecture, venerable walnut d├ęcor dating back hundreds of years, and works from the renowned Renaissance artist and writer Giorgio Vasari. The historic site is hailed as a sacred location and still serves its original purpose in providing a place of quiet reflection amidst the peace and serenity of the ancient woodlands.

The town of Poppi and historic Hermitage of Camaldoli are two attractions you simply must add to your list of things to do near Florence. Each makes a wonderful destination for day trips from Florence or the capstone to a more immersive Casentino Valley road trip. This wondrous exploration of Italian heritage and opportunity to uncover the gorgeous countryside of Tuscany is a unique experience which you can enjoy thanks to the versatility and freedom of touring at your own pace and direction in your very own vehicle!

Busy Local Favorites and Fantastic Family Restaurants in Poppi:  Find your next favorite meal among a slew of trendy restaurants and gelaterias in the rustic commune of Poppi. Mingle with locals and celebrate your Italy road trip with heavenly homemade pastas and delicious beers brewed right on premises at Atlantic Oil. This beloved local favorite operates out of an old auto garage, hence the creative name, giving it a trendy but casual ambiance adored by visitors and residents alike. Enjoy a juicy locally-sourced steak at Osteria il Porto or try the wild boar, sure to please those with a more adventurous palette! After lunch or dinner be sure to treat yourself to some delectable gelato at Gelateria Paradice, famous for having some of the best frozen treats in the country! If you have a moment to stop in for a quick caffeine fix, visit Bar Vittoria and sip some masterfully crafted espresso drinks while you take a break from touring the area. Head into the hills towards Camaldoli to experience fine dining in true Tuscan style at Ristorante del Resort I Tre Baroni, offering creative classical dishes with a distinctively modern flare. 

Restaurant/Bar Price
Atlantic Oil $$ Via Falterona 50, Porrena Di Poppi, Poppi, IT
Osteria il Porto $$$ Via Roma 226/b, Ponte a Poppi, Poppi, IT
Gelateria Paradice $$ Piazza Garibaldi 5/6, Poppi, IT
Bar Vittoria $ Via Nazionale 23, Badia Prataglia, Poppi, IT
Ristorante del Resort I Tre Baroni $$$$ Via di Camaldoli 52, Moggiona, 52010 Poppi, IT

Poppi Hotels and Lodging: Family owned hotel-restaurants are prominent among hotels in Poppi, but you should have no trouble finding an array of different accommodations to suit your tastes and budget, from quaint bed & breakfasts to high-end luxury stays. Look to Parc Hotel (Via Roma 214, 52014 Poppi, IT) for chic rooms with private balconies and a beautiful pool deck at a great value, all situated neatly in the center of town overlooking the Arno River. Hotel San Lorenzo (Piazza Jacopo Bordoni 2, 52014 Poppi, IT) also boasts a fantastic location directly below the Poppi Castle, offering guests access to a private garden, health center, and sauna with a range of physiotherapeutic treatments. Get a room at a great value with easy access to the center of town at Hotel-Restaurant Casentino (Piazza della Repubblica 6, 52014 Poppi, IT) or Hotel Torricella (Via Torricella 14, 52014 Poppi, IT) when you're traveling on a budget. Rest your head outside of the city center at Resort Hotel Borgo (Via Camaldolese 52, Poppi, IT) and you'll have panoramic views of Poppi and the surrounding wilderness, all in an elegantly decorated and refined antique setting. For a truly unique and meditative experience inside the ancient Casentino Forest National Park, stay at Hotel Locanda dei Baroni (Via di Camaldoli 5, 52010 Camaldoli, IT) where you'll reinvigorate yourself amongst the towering and peaceful forest just a short walk from the Hermitage of Camaldoli.

You're sure to have the trip of a lifetime touring the smooth hilly roads of the Tuscan countryside in Casentino Valley. Be sure to sign up for GPS for your next European adventure and you'll be able to explore with confidence and assurance while you take in all the beauty and wonder your chosen destinations have to offer!

Tuscany Road Trip: Poppi Scenic Drive Map

Poppi Road Trip Map Scenic Drive

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