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Tuscany Routes to be explored by car
There are few places around the world that can boast the picturesque views that Tuscany has to offer. One of the best ways to explore this central region of Italy is by car. Whether you are brining your own car or renting upon arrival, driving yourself around gives you flexibility to move off the beaten path and to stop to enjoy the scenery to your heart's content. Here are a few recommended routes to explore that will keep you entertained.
Oschirmer - Wikimedia
Starting in La Foce, follow the SP40 south towards Radicofani. This short 30-minute drive will take you through landscapes where cypress trees line up in the shape of an S eventually leading you to the renowned Radicofani. On top of Mt. Radicofani, the tower from the castle stands proudly offering a breathtaking panoramic view from above of the Val D'Orcia region with pastures and meadows gently rolling below.
The valley in the Val D’Orcia region was declared one of UNESCO’s World Cultural Landscapes in 2004. While Radicofani is a part of this region, if you want to explore the northern part of the valley, start in Torrita di Siena and head south to Montepulciano along SP135. Cars are not allowed to drive in the town centre but a walk around town is more intimate anyway to explore the Palazzo Tarugi and Montepulciano. Once you are finished there, make your way to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Pienza. Cruise into San Quirico and Montalcino, which will finally lead you to the hilltop village of Brunello di Montalcino. All along this route you can view the postcard-esque scenery of Tuscany and hopefully taste some world class wine too.
Another scenic route starts in Montalcino where the best wines of Italy are said to be produced. Drive south on the SS323 through the pine and cypress hills, towards Seggiano. Make sure to stop off at the unique sculpture and art park of Il Giardino di Spoerri. Eventually you will make your way to Albergo Le Macinaie-Monte Amiata where you must take time to explore this former volcano. If you do not feel up for hiking it, there are paved roads that lead the way or alternatively you can jump on the skilift if you happen to be there in the winter.
The Luigiana region makes for another great day trip. Situated next to the river Serchio lays the city of Lucca, which will take you to the medieval hamlet in the northern mountains, Barga. Note that when driving north on the main SS12 road there will be a branch before you get to Ponte a Moriano. Stay to the east or to the right of the river, as there isn't any parking available on the western side of the river. Along this route you will pass the famous Ponte del Diavolo (Devil’s bridge), also known as Ponte della Maddalena. Once you arrive in Barga, stretch your legs on one of its many hiking trails it has to offer or explore the unique walled city by foot.