Under-the-radar places in Tuscany for Italian cuisine fanatics

By Stef Zisovska
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Tuscany is the most visited and most bohemian region in Italy for people who like to avoid the majestic capital Rome. Florence, Pisa, and Siena are the main touristic cities in the Tuscany region where you can always find crowded streets, museums, and restaurants, especially if you decide to visit Italy in summer. If you are a person who likes to avoid these noisy cities, then think about visiting other parts of Tuscany that you maybe never heard of but are still beautiful and worth your attention.

In the following towns, you will find the same amount of history and art like in the famous places, but the good thing here is that you will have it all for yourself and never have to wait in line to take a picture in front of some epic monument.

Barga

Cathedral in Barga

Barga is a medieval town, hour and a half northwest of Florence. It’s so off the beaten path that even some Italians don’t know it exists, which makes it a perfect spot for all of you who like to feel the true spirit of Tuscany. Barga’s biggest attraction is the cathedral dedicated to Saint Christopher that you can reach after a pleasant walk through the town’s medieval streets. For an even more exciting experience, drive a half hour southwest of Barga to the wind cave, Grotta del Vento, where you can join various guided tours, and see the spectacular limestone and alabaster formations and many underground lakes.

Have in mind that the latter has about 1,200 steps, so if you’re not in a good shape, a prior leg workout is necessary.

Castelnuovo di Garfagnana

Italian pasta

Castelnuovo di Garfagnana is an ancient town, a 15-minute drive from Barga. The history of the town dates back to the 8th century. This town is famous for the slow food movement restaurants where you can taste the superb local cheese and meat. Visit the beautiful traditional tavern Il Vecchio Mulino di Andrea for the best Italian dishes from your dreams. Tuscany is also known as the wine area of Italy, producing top-class wines that get exported all over the world. Driving the curving roads, only 10 minutes from Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, you’ll find Podere Concori, a biodynamic winery that doesn’t use any chemicals in the process of fermentation, but instead factors in lunar cycles and astrology to produce sulfate-free wine. Actually, women are the ones who crush the grapes with their bare feet until all the juice comes out.

Ponte Della Maddalena across the Serchio

When you leave the winery, make sure you stop at Ponte Della Magdalena and take some cool photos.

Lucca

The best meats and cheeses

Tuscany offers many more places with good food, and one of them is Pisa’s neighboring town, Lucca. This is a perfect town to spend a peaceful afternoon, exploring the narrow streets and passages with a rented bike. Gli Orti di via Elisa is one of the best restaurants where you can have a relaxed lunch accompanied by a bottle of well-selected wine. Lucca is larger than Barga, so you can spend even more time here, exploring the old architecture.

Tuscany

Tuscany is the favorite region of many movie directors who choose this part of Italy as their inspiration. One of them is, for sure, the great Bernardo Bertolucci. If Italy is your dream place, then try to organize a trip to Tuscany this summer and have the best meals in your life. Before going there, make sure you lose a couple of pounds and then gain them back with the help of the best Italian cheeses, all kinds of pasta, and cappuccinos. Make the most of your travel by mixing history, architecture, and extraordinary cuisine. Good luck!

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