Many of our guests never leave Le Mura or its grounds, others like to visit the area. Le Mura makes a wonderful base for a groups of friends who like exploring, eating and enjoying Tuscany and all it has to offer. Below are some ideas for trips out, for more trips visit our blog:
Benabbio and our hills: The villages around Le Mura are perfect for a leisurely day of delightful surprises. Many villages have themed festivals in the summer with local food. Highlights in the area include the church of San Cassiano or the castle of Lucchio. Wander up to the top of Benabbio and then through the wood to discover the castle and visit the archeological site. Puccini and Napoleon III were also visitors to Benabbio. In 1600 the population of the village reached 1500. Today full-time residents number about 300. A ceremony that has remained unchanged in Benabbio for centuries is on 15th August, the Festa in Onore della SS.Vergine or Festa dell'Assunta. There is a procession of the wooden statue of The Virgin around the village by candlelight. Benabbio has a wonderful village shop selling local produce, a news agent and two restaurant/bars, one with a wood burning pizza oven, both run by Benabbino families. In the summer there is also a club with dancing under the stars on a Saturday night. Benabbio has a very active community with lots of young people, giving everyone a chance to practice their Italian.
Bagni di Lucca has been a popular spa since Roman times, which still functions today. The British have been very closely associated with Bagni and it was an important stop on the Grand Tour. Significant visitors include the poets Byron, Shelley and the Brownings. Other regular guests were the poets and winners of the Nobel Prize for literature Carducci and Montale, writers like Dumas, Heine and Montaigne, musicians like Strauss, Listz, Paganini and Puccini, and Popes, politicians and regents. Napoleon’s sister Elisa married the Grand Duke of Lucca and had her summer palace in Bagni di Lucca. A couple of generations later, Napoleon III stayed in a little retreat a few meters away from Le Mura. Testimony of this prestigious 18th century tradition still remains: the Anglican Church, the neo-classical temple at Villa Demidoff, numerous other beautiful villas and also the first Casino in Europe.The public swimming pool uses the thermal waters. There are also tennis courts, bars, restaurants and a supermarket. The river has splash pools for a dip in the clear waters.
Lucca has been described as the perfect city with its wall to keep it safe and has recently been declared a UNESCO world heritage site. Ride or walk around the walls, visit the churches and museums, enjoy browsing in the elegant shops with their Art Deco fronts, or simply enjoy a famous Italian Gelato made by one of the family owned Gelateria. A meal in Lucca can be elegant and sophisticated as in the restaurant “Buca di Sant’Antonio”, frequented by Princess Margaret of Great Britain or a simple Osteria on a piazza.
Lucca has 98 Romanesque churches to explore. St Martino, the Duomo, contains Jacopo della Quercia’s Ilaria del Carretto and Tintoretto’s Last Supper. San Michele’s church was built on the ruins of a Roman temple. Lucca’s galleries reveal unexpected masterpieces of Mediaeval and Renaissance art. The streets within the walls are closed to traffic and bicycles can be rented. This is the city of Puccini and Boccherini and is full of music. There are concerts every day.
The Aristocratic C16th Villas Of Lucca are situated just outside the city and can be visited with their wonderful Italian gardens. Many lie on or near the wine trail. You can visit some of the vineyards and taste the wine.
Florence needs no introduction.
This city of the Renaissance has everything.
Pisa. City of Maritime power and
Architecturial wonders including the famous leaning tower.
Vinci. Birth place of Leonardo. To
get there is a beautiful drive.
the Versilia coastline. Viareggio is a glamourous Art Deco resort with a luxury marina. Forte dei
Marmi is full of designer shops and holiday destination of the celebs. South of Versilia there are gorgeous long sandy beaches inside the natural reserve of San Rossore.
Torre del Lago. Summer home of Puccini. The famous
Puccini festival is held here in the summer against the backdrop of the lake. The website www.puccinifestival.it
Cinque Terre. A series of 5 villages on a rocky part of the coastline connected by a wonderful coastal path. The water is crystal clear and the scenery spectacular.
Tennis, Riding, Fishing, Hand gliding, Swimming/diving, Walking, Mountaineering, Skiing and Golf are all nearby. www.skiinfo.com
Orrido di Botri is a narrow gorge with
clear mountain water and waterfalls, eagles can be seen circling above as you hike or swim.
Maranello is the home of Ferrari; it
has a great museum and you can find the spot on the road where you can watch them testing the cars.
Shopping. Go to the designer outlets and
pick up all the bargains just off the motorway at Barberino di Mugello, north of Florence.
Carrara Caves. Visit the white mountains
where great artists from Leonardo and Michelangelo to Henry Moore have chosen their marble. The quarries and marble caves have tours.
The National Park of Apuanian Alps in
Garfagnana, which can be seen from the house. Wonderful hiking and mountaineering.
Barga a beautiful mediaeval town built
around a cathedral dating back a 1000 years. The town has strong Scottish connections.
Restaurants. Dining and drinking the local
wines is a real pleasure and prices are very
Summer Concerts and Events-including Lucca Summer festival (July) and Puccini Festival (August)
Brunelleschi’s Fortress at Vicopisano. Open
Saturday 15-19.30 and Sunday 10-12.30 and 15-19.30 . 25th March to 30th November.
Adventure Park of Selva del Buffardello near San Romano. A great day out for the family. Tree top adventure trails and much more. Visit their site on http://www.selvadelbuffardello.it/en
For booking and information please contact Celia & Enzo
+39 349 744 8771
email: vcituscany (at) yahoo (dot) com