May 19, 2012, 12:39 PM
Visiting PISTOIA in July and start of August
I am visiting Pistoia for the first time and intend visiting the following places
Florence via the train
Lucca via Train
Chianti by Car
San Gimignano by Car
Sienna by Car
Do you recommend any other places and which resort/town do you recommend visiting on the coast?
May 21, 2012, 10:21 AM
Viareggio and the Versilia on the coast
Pistoia is a great base from which to visit all of the main sights in Tuscany, as your itinerary already shows you're planning to do
Don't forget Pisa - you can get there by train from Lucca/passing through Lucca. How many days total will you have? Closest to the area along the coast is the Versilia, which really comes alive during the summer and at night. Lots of night life partying along the beach boardwalk while during the day you have km of sandy beaches as well as lots of sun umbrellas and beach chairs lined up along the beach. Main towns there to visit would be Viareggio and Forte dei Marmi for the beaches (see the list of top beaches along the coast for more ideas). In the same area, you can explore the castle at Massa and the marble quarries in the mountain above Carrara.
We love the Garfagnana, which is the valley that runs on the eastern side of the Apuan Alps that face the Versilia. Here you can find the charming town of Barga and other small villages you can enjoy a whole day out exploring. Closer to Pistoia, you can discover the valley with the 10 Castles. This keeps you in the general area not knowing precisely how many days you have in addition to the ones needed to complete your itinerary. Hope in the meantime these suggestions offer further ideas for your trip!!
May 21, 2012, 09:51 PM
Re: Viareggio and the Versilia on the coast
Good to hear with your very useful reply. Can i ask, we are based in Pistoia from the 21st July and fly back on the 4th August can i ask whether there are any wine or music festivals in the area whilst we are staying in Pistoia. I ask this question because we visited Montepulciano a few years ago in August and at the time there was a wine festival and top quality music for the rest of the night. Can i ask whether Montepulciano is too far from our base in Pistoia? Can you recommend any places to enjoy wine tasting in Greve in Chianti?
Sorry for so many questions, Perhaps you could recommend other places such as Arezzo and Prato
Many thanks for your help
May 21, 2012, 11:43 PM
Giostra dell'Orso + Luglio Pistoiese
Ciao again! Since I wrote this afternoon, I was actually looking for the July events in Pistoia - the must-see for you now that you've given me your dates is on July 25 - the Joust of the Bear in Piazza Duomo, Pistoia's main summer event in honor of its patron saint. You can see some info on the official site here: http://www.giostradellorso.it/Il-25-...-Pistoiese.asp but unfortunately only in Italian (I'm going to have to write an article for the guide on it since we went last year and that way have info in English!!) The main competition is teams competing against each other in racing around the sand rink and catching a small ring off a dummy with their lances.... the four sections of town compete against each other, all the trials are added up to make the grand winner, all preceded by grand parade in historical costume. Add it to your calendar for sure, it was a lot of fun to watch!
As part of the July events, there is the Pistoia Blues festival but I found dates are July 12-15, earlier than when you'll be here. I'll keep looking for events nearby, but definitely you'll have lots in Pistoia and surroundings. Most places organize wine/food events like the one you mention in Montepulciano every weekend so you don't need to go down there for that same type of event (it is kind of far, especially since most events are in the evening). I'll keep looking for other events in Pistoia and around and post what I find back here.
Definitely recommend Prato which is close by (the center is small but the Duomo is very charming and so are the walls). Arezzo is also very lovely, it is a bit further away but if you plan on doing day trips around the region it is definitely doable in a day.