Welcome to Northwestern Tuscany


University hub Pisa and 'love at first sight' Lucca – with its 16th-century walls ensnaring a labyrinth of butter-coloured buildings, Romanesque palaces and gracious piazzas – have an air of tranquillity and tradition that begs the traveller to linger. Lesser-known Pistoia, Prato and Pietrasanta, all off the beaten tourist track, provide a welcome reprieve in high season from the crowds (dead-easy half- or full-day trips by train from Florence, incidentally). This is snail-paced Italy, and impossible not to love.


Top experiences in Northwestern Tuscany

Northwestern Tuscany activities

$177.36 Day Trips & Excursions

Cinque Terre Small-Group Minivan Tour from Pisa

Leave your Pisa hotel by air-conditioned minivan and set off on a journey down to the Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre means ‘five lands’ and the region takes its name from the five charming villages that are dotted along its rugged coast. Learn more about the UNESCO World Heritage-listed site from your tour escort as you travel. Mostly inaccessible to cars, these idyllic towns are free from traffic, making them perfect to explore on foot. After driving up the coast, hop out of your minivan and continue your journey by either boat or train, depending on the weather and sea conditions. Your tour escort will then lead you around each of the towns by foot, allowing for free time in each destinations to shop, explore or even sunbathe at your leisure. Stop first at Riomaggiore, the most southern of the five towns. Follow your guide around its charming streets, stopping to admire the pastel-colored housing built into the cliffside. From there, head to Manarola, the oldest village in the Cinque Terre, visit Vernazza, then make your way to Monterosso, where you can dig your toes into its sandy beach or even dip into the warm water for a swim.  After the tasting, begin the journey back to Pisa, where you’ll be dropped back at your hotel.

$103.65 Food, Wine & Nightlife

Cooking Class in Lucca's Historic Center

Make your way to the cooking class location in the historic center of Lucca, easily reached from your central lodging.Walk with the chef to a market for a tour and to pick up ingredients. Learn about some of Lucca's specialty purveyors of local produce, gourmet foods, maybe even visit a local wine shop. The day's menu will take us where we need to go.  Along the way you will learn about and sample some of the region's delicacies while we do our shopping. Then it's back to the 18th century palace, just a short walk from the shopping district.Don your apron, sip on prosecco or coffee (your choice) and begin your cooking experience with a tasting of four extra virgin olive oils from the local area to compare and contrast and gain knowledge about selecting, purchasing, using, and storing authentic EVOO. Giuseppe grew up on an olive oil mill property and can share many stories and tips on the old and the new methods of processing. You will also taste local cheeses and honeys from Tuscany accompanied by the famous gusti focaccia.Then, you will begin to tackle the menu. Chef Giuseppe chooses offerings relating to the seasons of Tuscany, so menus will vary by time of year, but always include one starter, two pasta or risotto courses, one dessert, wine from the region, Nespresso, and limoncello. (Dietary restrictions can be taken into account when notified in advance.)The spacious kitchen and prep area is fully air-conditioned, and designed with both elegance and modern convenience in mind. It is a comfortable venue, also allowing you a peek inside an authentic Tuscan 'palazzo' dwelling, with high, vaulted, and chestnut-beamed ceilings and antique wood and marble floors.   You will sit down to an authentic meal in your spectacular dining room complete with fresh flowers, pressed linens, and classical music to ensure that lunch is one of your most memorable meals in Tuscany. There is nothing more organic and convivial than cooking with friends, and sitting down to the bounty of the Tuscan region - prepared by you.  We hope that the recipes and techniques that you experience with us will bring you memories - and good meals at home - for many years to come.

$11.52 Shows, Concerts & Sports

Walking Tour and Exploration of Lucca

ItineraryThis is a typical itinerary for this productStop At: Porta San DonatoThe tour begins in Piazzale Verdi at the old Porta San Donato where the tourist information centre is located, adjacent to the historic Renaissance walls.Duration: 10 minutesStop At: San Michele in ForoFrom Piazzale Verdi, you will walk along Via San Paolino which corresponds to the ancient Roman street (Decumanus Maximus), passing by the Renaissance church dedicated to the Patron Saint of the town, San (Saint) Paolino. At the end of the street, behold Piazza San Michele, the area where the ancient Roman forum was located. Time to stop to photograph the spectacular facade of the 12th century church of the same name. Along the way, you will encounter Lucca's most famous celebrity, Giacomo Puccini, and see the exterior of the building where he was born. Still today, his operas fascinate audiences all around the world!Duration: 30 minutesStop At: Basilica of San FredianoStroll along to reach Via Fillungo, the main and busiest shopping street of the town where both traditional shops and medieval tower houses live. The two highest civic towers will also be covered: Torre delle Ore (the tower with the clock) and the very particular Torre Guinigi, which is crowned by seven holm oak trees. More surprises await, such as the stunning Byzantine-style mosaic on the facade of one of Lucca's best-loved churches: San Frediano. Duration: 30 minutesStop At: Piazza AnfiteatroJust a few steps away from San Frediano church is one of the most beautiful squares in Lucca, Piazza Anfiteatro. The elliptical shape of the characteristic piazza is due to subsequent construction of buildings over the foundations of the ancient Roman amphitheatre. Duration: 30 minutesStop At: Lucca's Duomo (Cattedrale di San Martino)A short walk along more medieval streets and you will reach the Cathedral of San Martino with its unusual and striking Pisa-Lucca Romanesque facade. This is where the tour ends.However, if you are not too tired, the guide will be very happy to continue the tour inside the Cathedral. There is a € 2.00 entrance fee. In the interior, the Volto Santo (the Holy Face), an evocative wooden crucifix, highly venerated for centuries and the symbol of Lucca, an incredible Last Supper painted by Tintoretto, and, in the sacristy, the beautiful marble sarcophagus of Ilaria del Carretto, the early 15th century masterpiece sculpted by Jacopo della Quercia of Siena, await your visit. Duration: 30 minutes

$36.85 Sightseeing Tickets & Passes

Leaning Tower of Pisa Afternoon Admission Ticket

Recognized worldwide, the gravity-defying Leaning Tower of Pisa has captivated crowds for centuries with its distinctive tilt. The tower, which took nearly 200 years to construct, started leaning even before it was finished and still nobody knows for sure why this is! Some say it was the result of an architectural miscalculation, whereas others believe the soft clay ground was the cause.Decide for yourself by exploring this must-see UNESCO World Heritage Site! After exchanging your voucher for your afternoon ticket, head past the long entrance lines that gather in Cathedral Square and start the climb skywards.You’ll have a strict 30 minutes to climb to the top, take in the views and head back down, so be sure to make every second of your time in the tower count! The 294-step staircase can be disconcerting; with steps slanting different ways, but you’ll be rewarded with fantastic panoramic views over Pisa from the top! Walk around the tower’s balcony and take photos of the busy square below, littered with incredible monuments like Pisa Cathedral and the Campo Santo cemetery.

$183.12 Day Trips & Excursions

Cinque Terre Tour Small Group Tour by Minivan from Lucca

Cinque Terre is one of Italy's most beautiful destinations. This tour dedicates a full day to discover charming Ligurian fishing villages and the amazing paths and areas between them, giving you a spectacular overview of the coast. You will also marvel at the stone walls and terraces that villagers have created over the years for vineyards and olive trees. You will discover this magic land by ferry-boat (or by train in case of bad weather conditions). Travel along the Ligurian villages and experience all the beauty of this fantastic land.There is no hiking on our tour, we will reach village by village by train or boat, but we do not suggest the tour for people with walking difficulties.

$74.86 Food, Wine & Nightlife

Flavors of Lucca Small Group Tour with Food Tasting and Wine

We’ll start our Lucca tour at the very spot that welcomes most visitors to the city: the Lucca train station. From there, we’ll head through the majestic city walls and reach the beautiful Cathedral Square, giving you your first taste of life in Lucca.But wait! To truly “taste” the city, you need to do just that and put your taste buds to work. Italians never start the day without their espresso fix, so we’ll do as the locals do and savour a cup of coffee. And because a good espresso goes best with a delicious treat, we’ll taste a traditional delicacy: buccellato cake. We’ll take you to an original vintage place and enter the magical world of chocolate too! Merchants and nobles were Lucca’s first lovers of chocolate and the tradition of chocolate-making has lasted for five centuries. We’ll taste the best selection in one of the most beautiful chocolate shops in town.Don’t worry, though, we’ll keep moving so you can walk off the calorific chocolate! With the caffeine and sugar fuelling us we will head towards the main shopping street of Lucca, admiring the medieval and Renaissance architecture and the signs of the old shops that testify to the city’s ancient artisan traditions: shoemakers, knife grinders, and silk merchants.We’ll get to take in wonderful views from the top of the city as we wander along a part of the Renaissance walls. This pedestrian way is where locals regularly run, walk, and relax.This last stop on our Lucca tour will bring us to Roman times in the Piazza della Anfiteatro, or Amphitheatre Square, which is full of typical shops – and lunch! We’ll introduce you to some authentic food and wine, like maybe some Bazzone cured ham, Colonnata lardo, finocchiona salami, or Pecorino cheese produced in the Garfagnana mountains. To wash it all down, we’ll cheers with a glass of good local wine or artisan beer. Salute! 

Northwestern Tuscany in detail