5 Charming Country Towns in Tuscany to Visit in November
While Tuscany’s major cities like Florence, Pistoia or Lucca have their own allure, the true essence of this Italian region lies in its serene country towns. From Val d’Orcia to the Casentino Castles, from Cascate del Mulino to our wonderful farmhouse for rent, the coutryside has much to offer. And November, with its crisp air and golden landscapes, is perfect for experiencing the rustic beauty and rich traditions that thrive in the lesser-explored gems.
Five idyllic country towns in Tuscany that beckon travelers seeking an authentic autumn escape
1. Montepulciano: The Wine Lover’s Paradise
Nestled amidst vine-covered hills, Montepulciano is a haven for wine connoisseurs. In November, the vineyards show endless warm hues, creating a breathtaking backdrop for wine-tasting tours. This is the time of the year when people celebrate the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, a renowned red wine, in the annual wine festival.
Beyond the vineyards, the town’s medieval architecture and charming streets beckon exploration. The Piazza Grande, with its imposing Renaissance buildings, provides a picturesque setting for a leisurely stroll. Don’t forget to sample local delicacies like pici pasta and pecorino cheese.
2. San Gimignano: Towers in the Sky
San Gimignano, often referred to as the “Medieval Manhattan” for its impressive skyline of stone towers, exudes a timeless charm in November. The absence of summer crowds allows for a more intimate experience as you wander through the narrow, cobbled streets. The town’s well-preserved architecture offers a window into its medieval past.
The Tuscan countryside surrounding San Gimignano is dotted with olive groves and vineyards. Take a scenic drive or hike to savor the autumnal beauty of the landscape. Don’t miss the chance to taste the town’s famed saffron-infused dishes.
3. Pienza: A Renaissance Gem
Pienza, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a jewel of Renaissance architecture in the heart of the Val d’Orcia. In November, the town is draped in a gentle tranquility, allowing visitors to appreciate its architectural splendor and scenic vistas without the summer crowds.
Pienza is also famous for its exquisite pecorino cheese, that you sample in the local shops. The town’s picturesque streets, adorned with pots of vibrant flowers, are perfect for aimless wandering. Take in the panoramic views from the Piazza Pio II, named after Pope Pius II who envisioned this ideal Renaissance town.
4. Volterra: A Journey through Etruscan History
Perched on a hill, Volterra boasts a history that dates back to the Etruscan era. November provides a peaceful backdrop to explore the town’s archaeological treasures and ancient walls. The Etruscan Gate and the Roman Theater offer glimpses into its storied past.
The Alabaster workshops, a craft that has been practiced here for centuries, invite you to witness artisans at work. The town’s artisanal shops are perfect for finding unique souvenirs. With fewer tourists, you can soak in the ambience of Volterra’s cobbled streets and medieval squares.
5. Cortona: Under the Sun of Tuscany
Made famous by Frances Mayes‘ memoir, “Under the Tuscan Sun,” Cortona is a picturesque hill town with captivating views of Lake Trasimeno and the Val di Chiana. In November, the town is so peaceful, providing an ideal setting for contemplative walks and scenic drives.
Cortona’s Etruscan Museum houses an impressive collection of artifacts, giving insight into the region’s ancient history. The town’s charming boutiques and artisanal shops offer a delightful shopping experience.
In conclusion, November in Tuscany unveils the hidden treasures of its country towns. These idyllic escapes, away from the bustling tourist hubs, offer a chance to immerse yourself in the authentic beauty and traditions of the region. Whether you’re sipping wine, marveling at the architecture, exploring the old streets, unraveling the local history, or basking in the tranquility of autumn, each town promises a unique and memorable journey.
So, pack your scarf and coat (but be prepared to some last warm days) and set off on a Tuscan adventure that will linger in your memories long after the leaves have fallen.