Days Out from Gaiole
Gaiole is an excellent base for exploring Central Tuscany. We've focused on just four below, all within an hour or so of Casacorvo, but amongst many you should consider:
Cortona, home of Francis May and 'Under the Tuscan Sun' a beautiful hill top town with an internationally renowned Cultural Festival (about 1hr 15mins)
Arezzo, famous for its jewellers, goldsmiths, and antiques markets; and home to the renowned fresco cycle of Piero della Francesca (about 1hr 30 mins).
For a more modern theme, Volterra (also about 90mins), is now better know as the Land of the Volturi, the witches coven of the Twilight Saga; though it's also worth a visit for it's more classical Etruscan history!
The best, though slightly winding way to San Gimignano is to cross the Chianti Hills via Castellina and drop down into Poggisbonsi before heading east and seeing San Gimignano's magnificent New York style towers on the skyline.
it is about an hour drive in total and parking can be a bit tedious in high season, but it's worth it, if only for the ice cream you can buy in the central piazza!
Siena is only a 30 minute or so drive down the valley and an essential 'day out' no matter how short your stay! July 2nd and August 16th are the two most important dates in the Sienese calendar as the seventeen contrade fight it out for Palio supremacy. The warm up periods are just as exciting for the tourist, and of course there is plenty more to see all the year round, not least the magnificent marble of the Duomo and it's beautiful knave flooring. Presecco in the Campo is an essential part of anyone's holiday!
Also about an hour drive, this time crossing the hills via Brolio and Castelnuovo Beradinga, onto the Siena-Perugia dual carriageway and then head south east off the A1 motorway interchange.
At 600m high, it dominates the highest ridge in the Crete Sienese and offers magnificent views of the famous postcard rolling hills.
You have to try the Vino Nobile, plenty of choice in the lunch spot restaurants.
Our preferred route to Firenze is to make the 30 minute drive to Montevarcchi and then take a fast train to the city centre, the whole journey can take less than one and a half hours. Cannot begin to list what you need to see here, and it's all in the guide books
Try Trattoria Marione at the top of Via Bella Donna off the Piazza Santa Maria Novella for a good value lunch.
**Self Catering Holiday Accommodation in Chianti**