If you’re going to Italy, you should definitely go to Florence and Rome… Those are givens.
To experience even more Italy, go to the smaller little towns in the country! Cinque Terre, San Gimignano? Sienna, Volterra, Luca? All great choices.
The best way to see these little towns is by car, although some tours also pay visits to these destinations.
Today we rented a car out of Livorno (also a cute town to visit) and headed East to San Miniato. Empoli was the suggested town to go to, but we decided to stop a little earlier and explore something off the beaten track.
San Miniato is a very small little town, but it’s charming. It’s worth a stop if you’re traveling to a different destination, but I wouldn’t make San Miniato it’s own trip.
From San Miniato, we headed South to San Gimignano, which my family has nicknamed San Gimi. We’ve been to San Gimi once before (seven years ago), and boy has it changed! But then again, who/what hasn’t changed in seven whole years?
San Gimignano has gotten a whole lot more crowded and slightly more touristy, but it’s done a miraculous job at keeping its medieval charm and friendly vibe. It’s incredibly picturesque and incredibly wonderful to spend a day in.
It takes a while to travel in the Italian countryside, mainly because of the difficulty in traveling along the autostraude (highway). However, traveling along the little country roads is absolutely beautiful! With a lot of time, you can stop at a little vineyard (which you’ll definitely come across) for lunch and wine tasting (although skip out if you’re the driver- you can always bring a bottle home! 😉 ).
The places I’ve listed in this post are all in or around Tuscany, in my opinion, the most beautiful region in Italy!
Oh, Italy, how I love you (and you’re food!).