Tuscany has been a cultural epicenter from medieval times through the Renaissance and beyond. Whether you're an Owner or a guest at the resplendent Timbers Resorts property Casali di Casole, nestled amidst 4,200 rolling acres in the heart of Tuscany, you are perfectly positioned to explore the region's many medieval hill towns, home to history, art and culture.
Here are three that can't be missed. All easy jaunts from Casali di Casole.
This Etruscan and medieval town came into international consciousness with the popular book and subsequent movie “Under the Tuscan Sun,” which had people the world over falling in love with Tuscany without ever having visited. Narrow streets run up the hills that comprise Cortona, and the architecture is medieval with touches of the Renaissance’s influence. Because the town is situated atop hills, the view into the valley below and of the surrounding vineyards and olive groves is one of the most picturesque in Tuscany.
The historic center of Siena, a city set among hills, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is one of the most-visited towns in Italy. A big draw for tourists is the famous bi-annual Palio di Siena horse race, which pits the city’s wards against each other in celebrations and competitions rooted in local traditions and dating back to medieval times. Plan ahead for a trip to Siena and reserve a table at Il Canto Restaurant, recently named one of the world’s 50 Best Restaurants for the third time. Also keep an eye out for the town's signature pottery, recognized around the world.
The 14 medieval towers of this walled town have endured hundreds of years and still stand, visible for miles outside the city. Additional architectural fixtures of the classic medieval Italian town—high-rising churches—dot the city. Two of the largest, Collegiata and Sant’Agostino, contain impressive displays of Renaissance artwork. Aside from medieval architecture, the city is well known for its Vernaccia grape, which yields the local favorite wine, a crisp white named Vernaccia di San Gimignano.
Not to be missed in Tuscany is a visit to the Leaning Tower of Pisa in the eponymous city near Casali di Casole. Construction for the tower began in the 1100s but took more than 200 years to complete due to various wars. In the 1920s concrete was injected into the ground around the base of the tower, which stabilized it. Tourists are now once again allowed to climb the stairs inside.
For suggestions on how to spend your time in Tuscany while at Casali di Casole, contact the bilingual concierges at [email protected].