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    ROAD TRIP IN TUSCANY

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    Casentino Valley Road Trip - Florence to Camaldoli Itinerary

    Embark on a journey through the rolling hills of Tuscany, valued for its natural beauty and historical significance by travellers from all around the world.

    Tuscany is famous for its vineyards and exquisite wineries. However, this enchanting region has much more to offer. The roots of the Renaissance run deep in the region and are still visible in the breathtaking heritage. Get enchanted by the beautiful scenery and its centuries old castles and fortresses.

    Start your journey with a car hire in Florence, the capital of the region, which is a museum as much as a city. Florence represents a masterpiece of Italian architecture hosting numerous artistic and historical attractions. Travel further west and discover charming towns like Pontassieve, Londa, Stia and Poppi. Take your time while on the road to enjoy the stunning scenery. When in Italy, taste buds are sure to get some special attention - the local specialities, homemade wines and Tuscan products, fresh and locally sourced, are a promise of great culinary pleasure! Explore the most impressive castles and monasteries on your way. End your trip in Camaldoli in the forests of Casentino, where the Catholic order of Camaldolese has founded its home.


    Auto Europe has put together a comprehensive guide for your road trip in Tuscany. It features tips for fun activities and interesting sights throughout one of the most beautiful European landscapes. You could also use the information to plan daily trips in the region. Experience Tuscany with our guide and remember - complete freedom on your travels is only possible with a car. Enjoy your road trip to Florence and don't forget to visit some other awesome Italian cities such as Rome, Bologna or Genoa!

    Driving Itinerary Distance Driving Time
    Florence to Pontassieve 11.7 miles 30 minutes
    Pontassieve to Stia 28.3 miles 1 hour
    Stia to Poppi 13.5 miles 39 minutes
    Poppi to Camaldoli 13.7 miles 39 minutes
    Total: 66.8 miles 2 hours 48 min

    Day 1: Florence

    Road trip in Florence, Italy Road trip in Florence, Italy

    What to do in Florence

    Florence is truly a fantastic place for everyone who would like to immerse themselves in Italian history and culture. The city is a piece of art itself with all the churches, palaces, bridges and gardens dotted around the city core. A plethora of architectural gems such as Palazzo Vecchio, Duomo di Firenze and the Basilica di San Lorenzo will welcome you on your Florence tour. For history aficionados we recommend the numerous museums and galleries. The Uffizi Gallery is probably the most beloved Florentine gallery, famous for its collections of Renaissance paintings and sculptures. The gallery is home to some of the works of Botticelli, Raphael, Rembrandt and Michelangelo, and many other famous artists.

    With the rich heritage aside, Florence gives its visitors a completely different image, that of a significant modern city and the centre of contemporary Italian fashion. Enjoy shopping for clothes in exquisite designer boutiques and if you have some luck, get some pieces at bargain prices! One shopping tip for bargain hunters and local manufacture fans - visit the markets in San Lorenzo for astonishingly low prices of Italian leather products, clothes and souvenirs.

    Florence is an ideal place for the travellers who would like to learn the language as it really is. Furthermore, a car hire in Florence is the perfect starting point for a road trip in Tuscany. Check our choice for luxury and sports cars and treat yourself with a superior travel experience. Enjoy the ride through the picturesque Italian landscapes in one of the powerful and chic cars. Auto Europe will assist you with planning your exciting and varied holiday starting with a road trip to Florence! Before setting off on your trip, we recommend you take a look at our guide to driving in Italy.

    Where to eat in Florence

    What would a trip to Florence be without having the famous Italian Gelato? A creamy and sweet treat for everyone's taste buds! In Italy, there are legal requirements as to what ingredients may be used for producing the proper ice-cream. However, every ice-cream maker has their own personal secret and way of preparing ice-cream. The most popular ice-cream parlour in town is Marco Ottaviano il Gelato Gourmet. Other famous places include Gelateria La Carraia, Gelateria Santa Trinita, and Gelateria dei Neri. These are only a few of selected restaurants in the centre of Florence. You will find many more exquisite places on your way!

    Restaurant/Bar Price Address
    All'Antico Vinaio ££ Via dei Neri 65/R 74/R, 50122 Florence, IT
    Passa Guai £ Borgo Degli Albizzi 20/R, 50122 Florence, IT
    La Prosciutteria ££ Via dei Neri 54, 50122 Florence, IT
    Mangia Pizza Firenze ££ Via Lambertesca 24/26, 50122 Florence, IT
    I'Pizzacchiere £ Via S. Miniato 1/2, 50125 Florence, IT
    Il Desco £££ Via Cavour 27, 50129 Florence, IT
    Cacio Vino Trallalla ££££ Borgo SS. Apostoli 29R, 50123 Florence, IT
    Marco Ottaviano il Gelato Gourmet ££ Via Matteo Palmieri 34/R, 50122 Florence, IT
    Gelateria La Carraia £ Piazza Nazario Sauro 25, 50124 Florence, IT
    Gelateria Santa Trinita £££ Piazza Frescobaldi 11-12/R, Ponte Santa Trinita, 50125 Florence, IT
    Gelateria dei Neri ££ Via Dei Neri 9/11R, 50122 Florence, IT

    Where to stay in Florence

    Florence numbers among the most beloved tourist destinations in Italy. The city is, therefore, always ready for visitors and has plenty of hotels and other accommodation options available. If you are landing at Airport Florence Peretola, also known as Amerigo Vespucci, you could stay in Hotel Firenze Novoli, a hotel offering high-quality service and comfortable rooms, only a mile away from the airport. Novotel Firenze Nord Aeroporto, just a couple of blocks from the airport to the west, offers four-star accommodation at affordable prices. For a more central location choose Convitto Della Calza situated in the heart of the city. All famous sights will be only a stone's throw away. A few steps away from the Santa Maria Novella rail station and in immediate vicinity from the San Lorenzo markets, you will find Hotel Plus Florence with its nice rooms and great service. On the outskirts of Florence you can get some peace and quiet in Borgo Di Villa Castelletti, ideal for a whole family stay. The St.Regis hotel glitters with premium furnished rooms in a 5-star setting. It will enchant you with a luxury wellness centre and art decó-inspired hotel rooms. If you opt for exploring Florence on foot, please bear in mind that finding parking spaces in the centre can be rather challenging. Several streets downtown are restricted to use by locals only so that driving or parking your car hire there will most certainly result in a fine. Plan your trip ahead to avoid such inconvenience. Take note of the hotels situated directly on main roads or on the outskirts of the centre such as Hotel Columbus, Hotel Corolle or Mullino di Firenze, which will enable you to leave your car hire there instead of wasting time looking for a car park.

    Next stop: 30 minutes


    Day 2: Pontassieve

    Road trip in Pontassieve, Italy Road trip in Pontassieve, Italy

    What to do in Pontassieve

    When you travel from Florence to the east, you will reach the ancient town of Pontassieve in the picturesque Arno Valley in less than 4 miles. Pontassieve, home to impressive architecture and beautiful ancient churches, is also a great stop to take a break during your road trip. Take some time to explore the wonderful surroundings and the town itself. The economy in Pontassieve is centred mainly around the manufacture of glass, leather and ceramics products. This is your chance to buy some authentic Italian products!

    Due to its important strategic position as a railway hub, Pontassieve suffered several bombing attacks during World War 2. The traces of devastation are visible even today in spite of reconstruction of the city. Some historic parts have been left untouched and they have retained their ancient charm to this day.

    Where to eat in Pontassieve

    In Pontassieve you will find plenty of cosy restaurants and pizzerias serving food with local flair. The Tuscan cuisine is simple and full of character. Delicious dishes typical of the region are created with locally grown fruit, beans and mushrooms with the addition of cheese, meat and aromatic herbs.
    Pay a visit to Artemide and taste the mouthwatering salami, cheese and unbelievably good chutney. Take your family to Ristorante il Maccherone to get a taste of the local ambiance and the warm Italian hospitality. If you are in a hurry, grab a snack at Pizzeria l'boccia or a dessert in La Via Del Gelato. This is just a short overview of eateries in Pontassieve. Exploring the town on your own will surely result in finding more great places!

    Restaurant/Bar Price Address
    Artemide £££ Via di Galiga 21, 50065 Pontassieve, IT
    Ristorante il Maccherone ££ Via di Doccia 74, 50065 Pontassieve, IT
    Pizzeria I'Boccia £ Piero Calamandrei 35/37, 50065 Pontassieve, IT
    LA Via Del Gelato ££ Via Aretina Loc. Siece, 50065 Pontassieve, IT

    Where to stay in Pontassieve

    Pontassieve hosts a number of charming B&Bs and cheap hotels near Florence but still far enough from the busy city centre. We recommend spending a night in Pontassieve, for example in Albergo Villini or Leonardo's Rooms, where you will pay only a small fraction of the price you would pay in Florence downtown.

    Relax in the Casale Il Querceto in the south of the city . Sit back in the delightfully rustic tavern and enjoy the view over the beautiful hills. Of course, there are also more traditional hotels in Pontassieve such as Hotel Moderno. Enjoy a first-class stay at the luxurious Agriturismo Veroni. The romantic resort is located in the middle of a vineyard, and features a pool, lavishly furnished apartments and the possibility to try your hand at winemaking!


     

    Next stop: 1 hour


    Day 3: Stia

    Road trip in Stia, Italy Road trip in Stia, Italy

    What to do in Stia

    Stia, along with its surroundings and the atmosphere, is already an attraction itself. Get to know the traditional Tuscan life under the a thousand-year old shingle roofs in Stia. Discover this rustic paradise of Italian culture and cuisine! Start in the centre of Stia and discover the beauty of the countryside, have a picnic among the green hills of the wine country, walk through the Casentino Forest National Park or explore the surroundings in your comfortable car hire in Italy. Visit the wool museum and gain a fascinating insight into the history of Stia's still thriving textile industry!

    Take a walk or a ride south of Stia towards Pratovecchio and get a deeper insight into the medieval architecture in one of the most impressive castles in the region. Enjoy the fantastic views of the city from the ruins of the castle of Romena. The old churches and monasteries in the city centre, such as the church of San Biagio, the Monastery of Santa Maria della Neve, and the church of San Romolo will simply enchant you! For a quiet relaxing break, take a short walk along the Arno River.

    Municipalities Stia and Pratovecchio offer a closer look at the pristine Tuscan landscapes, and you will enjoy this experience in a convenient, flexible and comfortable car hire from Auto Europe!

    Where to eat in Stia

    Stia offers a great selection of traditional Tuscan restaurants in a quiet and peaceful environment away from the busy Tuscan capital Florence. The famous Italian restaurant Caranbar di Goretti Massimo in Stia's downtown is definitely worth a visit! So are Ristorante Pizzeria Da Vincenzo and Da Filetto which also offer some exquisite local dishes.

    In Pratovecchio you will also find both fancy and cosy family restaurants. Give your taste buds a special dining experience at La Tana Degli Orsi. Since the restaurant can get quite busy, it is better to book a table in advance. For a quick lunch, go to Osteria Toscana Twist and enjoy some delicious gnocchi or the highly-praised bruschetta.

    Restaurant/Bar Price Address
    Caranbar di Goretti Massimo £££ Via Adamo Ricci 19, 52017, Stia, IT
    Ristorante Pizzeria Da Vincenzo ££ Via Roma 6, Stia, IT
    Da Filetto £ Piazza Tanucci 28, 52017 Stia, IT
    La Tana Degli Orsi ££££ Via Roma 1, 52015 Pratovecchio, IT
    Osteria Toscana Twist £££ Via della Liberta 3, Pratovecchio, IT

    Where to stay in Stia

    In the area around Stia and Prativecchio you will be spoiled for choice regarding accommodation. From luxurious boutique hotels to farm stays - everyone will find the right accommodation! The current leading and probably best known hotel in Stia is Hotel Falterona , known for its stylish decor, its courteous professionals and quality services. The hotel is very busy, so you should book your room in advance. Interesting, exciting and above all close to nature is a stay at one of the local farms. At Agriturismo Podere Il Piano you can learn how quality cheese and wine is produced or help with the vegetable harvest. Later on in the evening relax with a good glass of wine and take in the stunning view of the splendid Tuscan scenery.

    Spend a pleasant and affordable night at the B&B Casa Landino, right on the banks of the Arno. Or stay in harmony with nature at Podere Pian di Selva, only a short walk from the famous ruins of Castle Romena. Take advantage of the range of activities such as tennis, golf, mountain biking and excursions in the National Park Foreste Casentinesi.


     

    Next stop: 39 minutes


    Day 4: Poppi

    Road trip in Poppi, Italy Road trip in Poppi, Italy

    What to do in Poppi

    The small community of Poppi attracts visitors with terracotta villas and shining crops and meadows all around. At the same time, Poppi serves as a southern access to the Hermitage of Camaldoli. The combination of a variety of historical sites, sports facilities and beautiful countryside at your fingertips make Poppi a place with so much to see and discover. The Poppi Castle towers over the city and if you decide to visit it, you will be in for a special treat - here you can see the ancient inner yard, the richly embellished frescoed chapel, and an extensive collection of rare manuscripts in the old library.

    The museum on the ground floor features interesting exhibits which throw light on the battle of Campaldino. The Madonna del Morbo church is just a short walk away. Visit the church and see the stunning works of the famous Renaissance artist Filippino Lippi. At the ornithological museum and botanical garden Carlo Siemoni you can get familiar with the ecosystem of the local forest through the interesting exhibition, a large collection of plants and a variety of photographs of the local wildlife. This will be a great introduction for your onward journey to the lush forests of the Appennino Tosco-Romagnolo.

    A short drive to the north along the Via di Camaldoli leads you to the ancient forests of Camaldoli, home of the Holy Hermitage and the Monastery of the Camaldolese Order. The ancient seat of the Order is impressive and well-known for its impressive baroque architecture, its centuries old furniture and the artist and writer Giorgio Vasar´s work. The historic site is considered a sacred place and still serves its original purpose: a place of reflection and tranquillity in the midst of ancient forests.

    The city of Poppi and the Hermitage of Camaldoli are two places that you should really visit during your tour. They provide a perfect itinerary for a two-day trip with the car in Tuscany. Discover the Italian heritage and the magnificent landscapes of Tuscany at your own pace!

    Where to eat in Poppi

    Discover your new favourite dish in one of the many restaurants and ice-cream parlours in the rural village of Poppi. Mingle with the locals and enjoy superb dishes made with handmade pasta. Try the special beer brewed at the premises of the Atlantic Oil restaurant. The restaurant with such an unusual name is located inside an old car garage and is very popular both with locals and tourists because of its trendy but casual atmosphere.

    In the Osteria il Porto you can taste some juicy steaks coming from the local market, and you will also find game among other things on the menu. For dessert, you should definitely try some ice-cream at the Gelateria Paradice. As a recommendation for a short break on your adventures through the city, we recommend Bar Vittoria. Here you can enjoy the finest Italian espresso made by master craftsmen. The Ristorante del resort | Tre Baroni before the hills of Camaldoli offers a modern twist on the classical Tuscan cuisine.

    Restaurant/Bar Price Address
    Atlantic Oil ££ Via Falterona 50, Porrena Di Poppi, Poppi, IT
    Osteria il Porto £££ Via Roma 226/b, Ponte a Poppi, Poppi, IT
    Gelateria Paradice ££ Piazza Garibaldi 5/6, Poppi, IT
    Bar Vittoria £ Via Nazionale 23, Badia PraDaylia, Poppi, IT
    Ristorante del Resort I Tre Baroni ££££ Via di Camaldoli 52, Moggiona, 52010 Poppi, IT

    Where to stay in Poppi

    Especially popular in Poppi, family-run hotel restaurants are particularly welcoming because of their local and family-friendly character. In the multitude of offered accommodation, you should have no trouble finding a place to stay, which will correspond exactly to your taste and your travel budget. From cozy B&Bs to highly luxurious hotel rooms, Poppi has something suitable for everyone. The Parc Hotel has stylish rooms with private balconies and a beautiful pool. Through its optimal location in the city centre, you can enjoy the picturesque view of the river Arno. The hotel San Lorenzo is located directly beneath the Castle Poppi. Here you can relax in the private garden or in the health centre of the hotel. In the sauna you will find numerous physiotherapy treatments on offer. If you want to go into the city centre quickly and easily, we recommend a room at the Hotel-Restaurant Casentino , or Hotel Torricella, which is a cheaper alternative, located directly in the city centre of Poppi. Wonderful hotels are waiting for you outside the centre, too! For example, the Resort Hotel Borgo allows you to take in the breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding nature. The hotel's rooms are elegantly furnished and perfectly radiate the flavour of ancient Italy. The Locanda dei Baroni is located within the Casentino Forest National Park and will surely be an unforgettable experience. The silence of the dense forest invites you to dream and relax on your holiday.


     

    Next stop: 39 minutes


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