Photographs at Forte Belvedere

The pop visionary David La Chapelle opened his photographic exhibit last week at the Forte Belvedere and the evening was unfortunately marked by a tragic event: Veronica Locatelli, 37 years old, suffered a fatal 8 meter fall from one of the bastions of the fortress. A tragic incident for which we wish to express condolences to the Locatelli family. The fortress was closed for a few days after the accident.

If you will be in Florence between now and October 16, you can visit the extraordinary exhibit of over 100 photographs that present and critique a consumerist, individualist America. A student of Andy Warhol, La Chapelle worked for magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair and the New York Times Magazine. He has also been sought after for provocative portraits by celebrities, including Madonna, Naomi Campbell, David Bowie and Paris Hilton.

The exhibit illustrates La Chapelle’s decision to turn his work into art. You can read more at The entrance fee to the exhibit is 8 euros.

About Lourdes Flores

An American living in Florence for over 10 years, Lourdes continues to explore and discover new places in Tuscany with the eyes of a tourist but with the experience of living in Italy. She shares her experiences on this blog and website, particularly offering lots of travel planning help on the Forum!

  • Armando

    We are returning to Florence in Jan of 2018 and would like to spend a few days in the Chianti area. Its seems that many hotels & spas etc. are not open at this time of year?, and also getting around would require a car? Do you know what the weather is really like at this time of year?

  • Weather can be a bit chilly, you do require a jacket/coat and to dress in layers. Hat, scarf, gloves are also a nice plus to have.
    Many hotels and spas are open year round – but some take advantage and take some time off in this period since it is the low season. You will most definitely find some closed, but not all – just take a look and contact them ahead of time. Those that are closed now will likely be so next year too. But if you find them open now, it’s likely they’ll be open next year too in the same period.

  • Jane Afford

    Hi, My friend and I are interested in exploring Tuscany but all the hotels advertise romantic holidays in double rooms. Can you recommend any providing twin rooms not based on guests being a couple?

  • Most hotels have double rooms with two twin beds — and either leave them separate or join them depending on request.
    So, if in doubt, contact the hotel you like and ask them whether they can have two twin beds for the room!

  • Esteban Gambaro

    hi , i am leaving to milan june 3rd , for a week, i am going with wife and 2 kids 6 and 10 yo, like to be doing agriturismo and visit some towns in tuscany area, renting a car in milan for a week , please advise where i can get a nice agriturismo kid friendly
    thank you

  • From LA, you need to fly into a big European city and then take smaller plane to either Florence or to Pisa. Not many fly directly from US to Pisa but search and see if you find something that works. You really do need a car to get to Monteriggioni and to see the smaller towns in Tuscany.
    I suggest you use Google Maps to see the route between any town you choose as your base and the lake area. The easiest will be if you rent a car and drive.

  • Kathy

    I’ve never driven in Europe & was afraid that was the best way to see Monteriggioni. Thank you for your information!

  • Kathy

    How much time should we spend in Monteriggioni? Is one full day enough or should we stay longer?

  • Yes, the small towns in the countryside are much easier to visit with your own car.

  • Actually, I think all you need is about 2-3 hours max, depending on whether you plan to eat a lunch or dinner there to make it longer. Monteriggioni is TINY with like 3 streets. Climbing the wall and going a bit around is fun, visiting the church and walking around… but after that, you can move on. Given limited time, I recommend Monteriggioni as a stop going to or from Siena. Siena definitely merits an entire full day there!

  • Elizabeth Low

    Hi Lourdes, I am visiting Tuscany with my mom, but we both can’t drive. Would this make it difficult to see the countryside? We especially want to see Cinque Terre too!

  • Hi ELizabeth,
    Yes, some parts of countryside will be difficult to see or explore without a car but that isn’t a problem, you could always join in a small/medium size group tour that will drive you around into Chianti or hills so you get a chance to see the countryside too. Take a look at the many tours here:
    You can most definitely do Cinque Terre from Tuscany by train easily, no need to drive there. From Florence or Pisa, you catch a train there although you could also do it with a group tour, if you want to go with others but drawback is you have schedule to follow. Otherwise,the train is better for having more time and exploring on your own schedule.

  • lisa

    Hi Lourdes,
    I am celebrating my 50th this year and am coming to Italy wit three friends. From the 14th of September to the 17th we will be staying in Rome. On the 17th we will be heading to Tuscany until we leave on the 22nd. Do you have any recommendations for where to ground ourselves in Tuscany to optimize our stay there? I have read and heard so many different opinions, but you seem like a pro so I prefer to ask you. We will have a car and would like to rent a villa (with a pool, preferably) and travel daily from there. We would also like to take a cooking class while we are there if you have any suggestions. Thank you in advance. Any info will be greatly appreciated to make this trip as special as possible. Lisa

  • Matt I

    Hi! We are planning to visit Italy in early August with our 6 month old baby. We are flying into Milan but planning to take a train right down to Florence to explore the Tuscany region. Any recommended itineraries for 5 days in the Tuscany region that are somewhat baby friendly as well? Thank you!

  • Do you want to use Florence as your base for the 5 days? You can use bus and train to move around and in addition to Florence (dedicate 2 full days to the town) visit Pisa, Siena and Arezzo on the other days. I wouldn’t suggest trying to add anything else, August can be warm and with a small baby you’ll want to remain flexible and slow to adjust to baby’s needs. Strollers are easy to take on regional trains so you should do okay. Get to Siena with bus, that way you’ll also see the Chianti countryside along the way and get right into town (train station is further from the sights).

  • Are you looking for a villa to have for yourselves or one shared with others? A B&B set up or more like an apartment? Each with private room or shared? The options are many, that’s why I ask. Take a look at these, which have a variety of different setups for you and your friends:

  • I do think a car would make it better for you to get around and to Monteriggioni, there isn’t a good bus connection there and back that will let you move easily from there. It would be more practical to you fly into Florence since most tours start from near the main SMN train station. There are a lot of vespa tours, take a look:
    If you have a car, it will be easier to get back to Florence to get the high speed trains to Milan.

  • Kathy

    Grazie mille, Lourdes. We have rented a car to drive to Monteriggioni. Also, signed up for a Tuscany Vespa tour. Looking forward to visiting beautiful Florence once again!

  • Wonderful! 🙂 Enjoy Tuscany!

  • Rachael Pinter

    Hi Lourdes, I am travelling with my two sons (25 and 23) and we are driving. I’d like to find a place where we can easily walk to the centre (20 mins or so) and that has parking (and not hard to drive to) and which we can also easily drive out of for days in the country! Any suggestions?

  • Do you mean center of Florence? There are many places outside of the center that do have parking, easy to get to that don’t require getting near the ZTL – take a look here:

  • With no car, the area along the coast that is easy to reach with train is around Viareggio/Camaiore/ up to Massa. Then south of Tirrenia down to Livorno and to San Vicenzo. Areas south of that I wouldn’t recommend much without a car, since the train line moves inward away from the coast. If you want some nightlife, I’d suggest area of Viareggio.

  • grishma patil

    Hi lourdes,

    So my husband and I are coming to tuscany on15th june for 5days and we were planning to stay in castellina in chianti for all those days and going around by hiring a car. Do you think this is a good idea to have base at 1 place or should we add another base?

    also it is necessary to have a base in florence, if not then whats the best place to stay and see florence, pisa and nearing places? Please helppp..

  • Castellina is a good base for 5 days, you don’t need to add another location. I would go to Florence as a day trip, Pisa and Lucca on another day and spend the other days exploring Chianti, San Gimignano, San Donato in Poggio, and SIENA, don’t forget Siena 😀
    Yes, a car is definitely required to move around the area easily!

  • grishma patil

    Thanks for the suggestion lourdes.. also do we visit florence, pisa, lucca and siena by car or train ?? How is the parking scene in these cities ?

  • I would suggest the car for the day trips — all have good parking areas outside of the ZTL so you don’t risk driving into the wrong part of the center and getting fines. Check out Villa Costanza in Florence – you park buy the A1 and take tram into the center –
    for Siena:

  • grishma patil

    Many thanks lourdes, you have been of immense help.. i was really worrying if i should opt for another base in tuscany. Also any other suggestion I should keep in mind for tuscany in terms of places to visit, restaurants, etc plz suggest !!
    I might message here incase I need anything again.. Thanks again 😀

  • There are lots of tips and suggestions on places and more, browse around the many parts to see what else you find interesting ;-).

  • It is a lot to fit into one day, I think you can do car rent pick up, drive to Pisa, lunch and then on SG before checking in, then move Volterra to following day to just not visit in a hurry. You can do then head on to Siena for the rest of the day. Rest of itinerary looks great!!

    In Pisa I always recommend Montino’s for pizza but especially for “cecina”, it is a chickpea flatbread, delicious!!
    In SG we really enjoyed Peruca –

  • You should rent the car when you leave Florence to have for when you’re in Chianti, you can either return it in Siena or keep and return to Florence if it costs less to do the return at the same place. You don’t need the car in Siena but you do need it to get to Castellina and to explore the area. Take a look at Cellese: and to Borgo Pietrafitta:

  • Jon

    Hi Lourdes, I am planning a trip to Tuscany with my wife and in-laws in April 2020. We are arriving in Rome but want to spend the majority of our time in Tuscany. We were thinking of using Siena as our base but I see in the comments section of this thread that you generally recommend Florence as a base. Is there a reason that you recommend Florence over Siena? Our goal is to enjoy wine, food, and the countryside and would prefer to do this away from tourist centers. Where do you think would best serve us as a base?


    Hi Lourdes,
    We are planning a trip to tuscany and not sure where to have our home base. I have reservations currently in Siena, San Gimignano and Gaiole in Chianti. We plan to stay in one of these locations for 5 days, then drive to Civitavecchia to head out on a cruise to Italy, France and Spain. Which location do you think would be the best for our homebase? We have been to Italy a few times and have visited Siena, Florence, San Gimignano. Of course love them all. This time we are just doing our own thing and will have a car. What are your suggestions. Greatly appreciate your advice!

  • Since you’ll have a car, I believe any of them will work out perfectly. In Siena, just make sure you are not in the center where you can’t reach it with the car or have to pay for public parking…. if so, then I’d stay out of the city.
    Where would you like to concentrate your time for those 5 days? I think that will determine better whether to stay in SG or Gaiole…. for exploring Chianti wine country, Gaiole is better. For heading west toward the coast, SG is better. If you want to explore southern Tuscany, the Val d’Orcia, then I’d suggest staying in that area. If you just want to relax and enjoy the area without too much driving, you can do that anywhere. So it really depends on how you see this holiday!!

  • If you won’t have a car, Florence has the best connections to all over the region. Siena also makes a great base, but the transport to do day trips has to be planned a little bit better, with a bit more attention on bus or train schedules. That’s basically it. If you want to see the countryside, I recommend you do rent a car so that you can move more easily — and stay wherever you want in the countryside, not necessarily in either city.