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West Tuscany

by Filippo di Lenardo, 10 March 2015

West Tuscany

Where food and art magically come together

When people think Tuscany, their imagination normally takes them to the heart of the region with the stunning Chianti countryside, the picturesque villages of San Gimignano and Montalcino or the beautiful cities of Florence and Siena.

Tuscany - PietrasantaAn area however that deserves more visibility is the north west of Tuscany. Forte dei Marmi does not need any introduction, all elite travellers know about this glamorous destination visited in summer by the international high society. This destination is just as enjoyable to visit in late spring and late summer allowing you ultimately to get the opportunity to savour it to the fullest.

What people do not know is that within 40 km from Forte one can come across unexpected and unforgettable experiences that go beyond great nights out and beautiful beaches. This area offers much more and is mainly fantastic for two things: gastronomy and art.

We have put together a sample itinerary highlighting some of the finest things one can experience here. You will soon realise how food and art magically come together for a stay that will stimulate all your senses.

Day 1

Arrive in the afternoon in your stunning Villa in the charming village of Pietrasanta, just a 10 minute drive off Forte dei Marmi, arguably Italy’s hottest “art hub” where artists like Botero and Paul Smith spend most of their time. Head to the centre of town and enjoy dinner in one of the trendiest restaurant, a vineria with great wine selection and typical Tuscan dishes. Pietrasanta has an incredible vibrancy so don’t be surprised if after dinner you will stumble upon an art related festive event like a jazz festival or a concert.

Day 2

In the morning you will head for the glamorous village of Forte dei Marmi for a relaxing day at the beach or in alternative for great shopping. Once you appetite builds up, make sure you stop by this cute restaurant overlooking the beach famous for its impeccable seafood. In the afternoon you will discover the Forte’s artistic side by visiting some of the best art galleries including the ones of Susanna Orlando and Tornabuoni. Of course your day could not end without a fantastic dinner. You will dine in Forte dei Marmi finest restaurant, a one Michelin star experience that will make you discover Tuscan seafood at its best.

Day 3

You will spend the day in Pietrasanta and discover its incredible artistic treasures. Some of the possible activities can include the visit the marble carving studio SEM where works by Damien Hirst, Marc Quinn and other artists are currently carved followed by visit of famous local mosaic maker. After a lunch in a local restaurant in Pietrasanta where you will sample typical “mainland” rustic Tuscan antipasti, you will visit the casting foundry Chiara to see lost wax casting of sculptures including those of Botero. A tremendous experience will be awaiting you for dinner. To really dig in the local culinary heritage you will head to this beautiful Bourbon villa in the Versilian countryside where you will be cooking traditional Tuscan dishes with an Italian Mamma. You eat all together sampling your creations while enjoying a selection of local wines.

Day 4

In the morning head north to the city of Carrara, famous all over the word for its precious marbles. Visit the antique cast museum and contemporary museum of marble casting history. If you want something more adventurous, a private jeep excursion into the caves and visit of local marble carver high up in the mountains can be arranged. Alternatively if you are looking for something more exclusive a private visit to the unique Henroux cave can be arranged followed by an unforgettable meal under a big olive tree where you’ ll taste one of the best local delicacy: the marble aged Lardo di Colonnata! In the afternoon you can continue your art tour by visiting a private atelier to view some unique art pieces or if you feel discovering the local wines head to a small artisanal winery that ages their wine in marble: a very precious and rare experience. For dinner, on your way back to Pietrasanta you will stop by Ca Maiore to have dinner in charming typical Tuscan trattoria.

Day 5

In the morning you will head to the city of Pistoia and visit Marino Marini foundation with beautiful statues including its famous horses. You will then head towards the relaxing countryside of Lucca to visit a premium winery that applies biodynamic viticulture. Have a tour of the estate and of the ancient Villa where the owners live in. You will have lunch with the wine producer at their place and taste different type and vintages of wine while matching it with a selection of local products from local farmers. In the afternoon head to the beautiful city Lucca, one of Italy’s undiscovered gems for a fun cultural tour of the city’s most fascinating sites. If you fancy staying in Lucca for dinner, eat in the gorgeous garden of this one michelin star restaurant where the chef will delight you with his creative takes on local classics.Pietrasanta - Tuscany

Day 6

In the morning you will head south to the area of San Miniato for a unique experience: Truffle hunting. With the truffles you have hunted, the chef prepare for you different truffle inspired dishes that will knock you out of the park. In the afternoon you will head towards the neighbouring village of Lari to visit farmer famous all over Italy for producing incredible high quality goods such as dried meets, eggs and cheese. An experience not to be missed!

Your last dinner will be in Pietrasanta in a graceful terrace to enjoy one last time the electric atmoshpere of this picturesque village.