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Places worth visiting
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Places worth visiting
The number of places worth visiting is overwhelming, but let’s just mention the ones most easily reached.
The closest destinations are Marlia, Lucca and Cinque Terre, but one cannot ignore Florence (70 km), the heart of the region, a marvelous city of art, the pearl of the Renaissance,
whose fame was earned by such geniuses as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Dante Alighieri and many others. A visitor cannot miss Uffizi Gallery – rich in the world’s greatest works of art, Pitti Palace, Galleria dell'Accademia (home of Michelangelo’s masterpiece David), Palazzo Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria filled up with copies of famous sculptures, where Savonarola was burned at the stake. Another must is Piazza San Giovanni with fabulously colorful Cathedral of Florence (Duomo) with Brunelleschi’s incredible dome, the Baptistery, with Ghiberti's doors that Michelangelo said were beautiful enough to be the gates of Paradise and Giotto's "campanile" (bell tower). Other well-known churches are San Lorenzo, Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce.
Pisa (30 km) and its Piazza dei Miracoli with the Leaning Tower, which ever new generations of engineers keep trying to straighten or rather strengthen not to lose the famous landmark, the beautiful cathedral, and huge baptistery, Camposanto Monumentale (Monumental Churchyard) one of the greatest and richest galleries of medieval painting and sculpture.
Half an hour drive from our residence will take you to Montecatini Terme, a famous spa with elegant 19th century architecture and mineral water springs that help heal all kinds of ailments.
If you travel with children, it might be a good idea to visit Collodi, a home of the Pinocchio theme park, an attraction for kids of all ages.
We recommend a one-day trip to Siena,
which fully preserved its medieval character. It’s world-famous for Palio – the annual historic horse race in one of the world’s most unique piazzas – Piazza del Campo, shaped like a shell. To enjoy the beauty of the city’s architecture, it’s worth climbing up Torre del Mangia, part of the ambitious but unfinished project of the largest cathedral in existence, the proof of the city’s former power and glory. On the way to or from Siena, consider dropping in on San Gimignano, the Manhattan of the Middle Ages.
Another noteworthy destination is Vinci, hometown of the greatest genius of all time, author of the best-known painting in the world Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci. Maybe you’ll be inspired by the landscape he lived in, too!
A short distance from our residence is Carrara,
whose marble has been used since the time of Ancient Rome, favorite material for Michelangelo and countless other artists and builders. On the way there, you cannot miss Pietrasanta, a Roman town also known for superb marble. In Church of San Antonio Abate you can see amazing modern frescos by Fernando Botero. Today's artists and sculptors are drawn to Pietrasanta from all over the world. Their studios mingle with small elegant shops, charming galleries and cafes. Every street offers astonishing abundance of art works making the town a truly magical place.
Long, golden beaches of Italian Riviera are located only 25 km from Villa Costa.
Forte dei Marmi, picturesquely located beach resort and Viareggio – an old-fashioned resort offering elegant boutiques, top-notch seafood restaurants, tiptop bars and popular discos. For the sun worshippers averse to crowds the best time to visit is the end of August – sunny weather continues till October.
Marina di Vecchiano
We recommend wide, sandy, and free beaches of Marina di Vecchiano, which have all the useful infrastructure – bars, toilets, cheap parasols and sunbeds or beach chairs and convenient parking lots (half a day - 3 Euros). If you prefer a more luxurious lido, for instance Bagno Arizona in Viareggio, the charge for the parasol with sunbeds for 4 people is 30-40 Euros per day. The price includes access to Jacuzzi, a swimming pool, a beach volleyball court and a restaurant.
Last but not least, a place to sweep you off your feet is Cinque Terre – five fishing villages perched on the rocky mountains of Liguria. It takes about an hour to drive to La Spezia or Levanto, where you leave your car and start exploring the spectacular and romantic setting by shuttle train. Reserve the whole day for this excursion. We recommend the scenic walk (good walking shoes needed!) the Via Dell'Amore ("Love Walk"), but you can sunbathe on a beach too. An unforgettable place for both active and leisurely fun!