Italy's Hilltowns On Your Own

Italy Articles

Listing # RA-1024430


Details of Italy's Hilltowns On Your Own, Italy Articles
Details for Italy's Hilltowns On Your Own

Contributed By RealAdventures

by Kathleen Winkler

Tour buses nose up to the ancient city wall, side by side like cattle in a pen. The doors whoosh open, spilling a stream of tourists who gallop for the medieval gate. Inside they'll find a warren of narrow streets filled with shops selling Coach bags, Hermes scarves, and the ubiquitous tee shirts emblazoned with "Siena" in gold lame. Several hours later the tourists emerge to climb aboard the busses again, convinced they've "done" an Italian hill town.

But they haven't.

They've seen the Epcot version of a hill town. A stage set. A pretty picture airbrushed for tourists. Oh, it's medieval, all right; Siena is very old. Its square and cathedral are worth seeing. But the medieval is so overlayed with the modern, it's in danger of being lost. There is another way to see Italian hill towns – the real ones, that is. Do it on your own. Of course, you'll need a little guidance. Otherwise, it's easy to get lost wondering among the twisting back roads and lanes that honeycomb the Italian hills.

The answer? The many bed and breakfasts or small, charming inns that dot the landscape in Tuscany, where the owners who have spent their whole lives in the area are happy to devise a tour just for you. Inns such as La Querce. Tucked into a twist of road at the edge of the small town of Chiusi (about an hour south of Florence), hosts Paolo and Michela Bartolozzi, along with Paolo's brother, Guido, specialize in helping guests see a part of Tuscany that tourists usually blaze right past.

Their flag and flower bedecked pale-yellow farmhouse, the early part built in the 18th century, was part of a working farm raising wheat and cattle until 1972. Then it became a small hotel. The Bartolozzis bought it in 1995 and, after loving restoration, opened it as an 11-room bed and breakfast. The rooms, with their cool tile floors, heavy wooden shutters and whitewashed walls, each have a private bath and amenities rare in small inns, such as televisions and in-room phones. There's also an in-house restaurant under a brick archway that specializes in true Tuscan fare: rabbit-sauced pasta, an array of roasted meats and vegetables, wines and desserts of the region.

But the best part of staying at La Querce is having your own tour coordinator sitting with you at breakfast, maps spread out on the table, while he traces your route for the day. Fluent in five languages, including English (he teaches hotel management at the University of Rome), Paolo delights in sharing his corner of the world with guests.

The first place he will send you is into Chiusi, just minutes away. This small town boasts one of the most complete Etruscan museums in Tuscany (the Etruscans inhabited Italy before the Romans and were absorbed into Roman culture, but not before leaving behind a huge number of tombs filled with statue-crowned sarcophagi and dark brown painted pottery). Your ticket includes a visit to two Etruscan tombs hollowed out of a grassy hillside. Visit Ristorante Zaira in town and the tomb (now the wine cellar) his restaurant is built on; dusty wine bottles pyramid on black-and-white mosaic floors dating from 650 B.C.

After Chusi, Paolo presents a menu of hill towns, some that attract a few tourists here and there and others reached by gravel roads, where tourists never go. Consider:

Bagno Vignoni: the town of the hot springs. The centerpiece of this tiny village is a large, square hot water pool built in ancient times and visited by such notables as Pope Pius II Piccolomini, Saint Catherine of Siena, and Lorenzo "the Magnificent" de Medici, along with anyone else who wanted an arthritis cure. You can't bathe in the pool anymore, but you can dangle your feet in the hot water stream flowing at the edge of town.

Rocca D'Orcia: where a forbidding tower on a strategic hilltop broods. You can climb the tower, peek through the arrow slots, and imagine yourself part of a medieval army holding off the enemy.

Castiglioncello Del Trinoro: a village so tiny, it's barely a crossroads. Gravel lanes wind around sleepy stone houses, dozing in the warm Italian sun.

Monticchiello: the town of flowers. Dooryard gardens grace the cobbled streets, spills of flowers overflow clay pots and wrought-iron balconies. An outdoor restaurant with colorful umbrellas tucks into the corner of the ancient wall, commanding a spectacular view of the rolling green countryside.

Radicofani: the town you can see from 20 miles away. Its crenelated-tower crowned castle is enthroned on a high hill, looking like a monarch gazing solemnly over his domain. Hike the narrow streets, lick a gelato in the charming square, and revel in castle romance.

Montefalco: an old military town. The wine bar in the square offers free tasting in their wine cellar, and you'll surely want to tuck a bottle or two of the local vintage into your luggage.

These, of course, are just a few of the hill towns you can visit in Tuscany and nearby Umbria – there are literally hundreds. From Chiusi, you can easily drive to the more well-known towns such as Montepulciano, San Gimignano and Assisi. Siena and Florence are but an hour and a half away by train, and you'll avoid the driving and parking hassles the influx of tourists has created.

When visiting Tuscany, don't be satisfied with just the tourist hill towns written up in your guidebook. Get off the beaten track and see the true old Italy; you'll take home memories that go far beyond shops and postcard stands. You'll taste the quiet life that still exists tucked into central Italy's grape-terraced hillsides.





Like This Listing? Share it with your friends


Map & Contact Info - Italy's Hilltowns On Your Own


Interactive Map for Italy's Hilltowns On Your Own
RealAdventures
Italy's Hilltowns On Your Own
Italy

Website: Hotel LaQuerce








impressions Listing Impressions


Who do you think this listing would appeal most to?

Ideal For
 
Couples
0 votes
 
Family
0 votes
 
Groups
0 votes
 
Senior
0 votes
 
Solo
0 votes
 
Students
0 votes
Style & Spirit
 
Active
0 votes
 
Adventurous
0 votes
 
Educational
0 votes
 
Inspiring
0 votes
 
Party
0 votes
 
Relaxing
0 votes
 
Romantic
0 votes

Similar Listings You May Be Interested In

Accommodations in Italy | View More...

Rome: caput mondi.. come and discover with us

Rome: caput mondi.. come and discover with us
.Italy, Italy Bed & Breakfasts
Our B&B is located just a 5 minutes walking fron the Vatican , St Peter's square! Sistine Chapel and vatican Museums very close.All historical centre is part walking part by bus distance....
50 Per Night

Relax and Beauty in Tuscany Maremma

Relax and Beauty in Tuscany Maremma
.Italy, Italy Hotels & Resorts
The Antico Casale di Scansano is a 4-star Resort Hotel since over 20 years, with 30 bedrooms, 4 of which are comfortable suites, situated in Tuscan Maremma. If you love Nature, Relax and good food, this is a place for you !...
79 Per Night/Pers

La Serissa Apartment

La Serissa Apartment
.Italy, Italy Vacation Rentals
The Serissa house is the ideal place to spend the holidays. The Mediterranean city, the smells, the sounds, the colors of the sea and the historic culture of the center are all just a few steps away from our comfortable house....
Rates from 60 Per Night


Activities, Adventures & Tours in .Italy | View More...

Bike Tours in Europe -- BikeToursDirect

Bike Tours in Europe -- BikeToursDirect
.Italy, Italy Bike Tours
BikeToursDirect represents Europe-based bicycle tour operators and provides a central resource for travelers interested in guided and self-guided bike tours in Europe. Tours currently cover 200 routes in 30 European countries....
Starting at $900 Per Week

Capri Boats Charters Transfers with Capritime Boat

Capri Boats Charters Transfers with Capritime Boat
.Italy, Italy Sailing & Yacht Charters
Experience Capri by sea in one of Capri Time Boats' traditional Capri boats, luxury charters, exclusive private transfers & private boat tours around the enchanted isle of Capri, throughout the Bay of Naples, Amalfi Coast, Positano, Ischia and beyond...
$175 Per Trip

Primavera del Prosecco - Bike the Wine Roads

Primavera del Prosecco - Bike the Wine Roads
Vicenza, Italy Bike Tours
Join Italiaoutdoors and welcome spring with a bike tour of the Prosecco, Piave and other Veneto wine regions. Visit the province of Treviso, during the Primavera del Prosecco festival, a celebration of the wine, food and culture of the region....
Specials Now! $3,495 Per Person


Nature & Wildlife in Italy | View More...

Romantic and relaxing time on the natural island

Romantic and relaxing time on the natural island
.Italy, Italy Eco Tours
In green Umbria��� Part of the Natural Park of Lake Trasimeno�� �The Isle of Polvese� This place in which, nature, culture and history provide a harmonious background for new technologies...

Whale Watching Europe

Whale Watching Europe
.Italy, Italy Whale Watching
The best whale watching in Italy. Daily excursions in the International Sanctuary of cetaceans in Mediterranean Sea...
Specials Now! 30 Per Person

Real Safaris with African guide Adventures

Real Safaris with African guide Adventures
Chieti, Italy Wildlife & Safari Tours
We offer 7 days/6nights safari experience to Kenya (Tsavo-Amboseli-Masai Mara) or to Tanzania (Ngorongoro-Serengeti-Manyara). Mobile tented camp or luxury lodge Full board. All our safaris use 4x4 jeep Include all park fees and professional guide....
1,600 Per Person


Personal Growth in Italy | View More...

Language ,art And Culinary

Language ,art And Culinary
.Italy, Italy Language Schools
societa dante alighieri in siena has a prestigious reputation . It welcomes students of all ages and nationalities that can attend courses of italian language art, culture or gastronomy . rich program of activities and accommodation service,...
70 Per Person


Advertise Your Accommodation or Travel Services


Create A ListingGreat Vacations & Exciting Destinations Listing
Add a full-page listing promoting your accommodations, tours or travel services to customers on our network of travel sites. Your listing page can have up to 26 images, unlimited text, interactive map, availability calendar, ecards, photo-gallery and more.
Rates From US $17 Per Month    » View Details

» See Link Codes
Link Codes - Add This Listing To Your Site

Add this listing to your website, CraigsList, FaceBook, MySpace or blog.

Italy's Hilltowns On Your Own
.Italy, Italy Articles
Avoid the tourist traps and discover a new side of Italy by exploring rural, medieval-era Tuscan towns.

Great rates & deals!

>>

.Italy, Italy Articles | Italy Articles | Italy Vacations | .Italy, Italy
Articles | Articles Italy
Link Code


RealAdventures
Italy's Hilltowns On Your Own
Italy

Website: Hotel LaQuerce

Current Search






Disclaimer: Information provided through RealAdventures website, newsletters, emails or other services has been provided directly by the companies and/or individuals owning or offering the products/services. RealAdventures does not guarantee or warranty the accuracy of the information contained herein. It is the sole responsibility of the user to ensure the accuracy and clarity of any posted material and to determine the suitability of any service for their particular needs or requirements. Likewise, it is the responsibility of advertisers to determine the suitability and credit worthiness of potential customers prior to any transaction.
/listings/1024430_Italys-Hilltowns-On-Your-Own?Source=RSS