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IWC Schaffhausen

The Journal

BURSTS OF SCENTS AND COLORS

May is truly the most wonderful month to travel in Italy, especially in the region of Tuscany. The countryside is burst with scents and colors. The roads are lined with wild flowers, most notably the brilliant red poppies. Some hills are covered with grape vines and olive trees, while the others are filled with tall and soft grass, which swing beautifully in the wind like an ocean wave. 

Pienza and the Portofino Chronograph Ref. IW391036
— Pienza and the Portofino Chronograph Ref. IW391036

THREE Must-Visit Tuscan Towns

1. PIENZA

 

Pienza is a tiny village in the enchanting valley of Val d’Orcia in southern Tuscany. It is considered one of the most beautiful towns in Tuscany. Strolling through this UNESCO World Heritage Site, you will discover many romantic alleys, picturesque squares, countless attractions, some with fantastic views. Piazza Pio II, the unique historical centre of the old town, is framed by many 15th-century buildings such as the Pienza Cathedral and Piccolomini Palace. The latter was once Pope Pius II’s summer residence and has roof garden with amazing valley views. The village is located about 20 kilometers east of Montalcino and a few kilometers to the west of Montepulciano.

 

Places to Eat:

 

Podere II Casale - not only do they serve dishes created with genuine and fresh produce coming from the farmhouse itself or from other local organic farmers in the region, but also they offer a fantastic view to the beautiful Tuscan hills. Highly recommend you make reservations before you go as they are very popular among the locals and visitors for lunch and dinner. 

2. SAN GIMIGNANO

 

San Gimignano is an Italian hill town in the southwest of Florence. Known as the Town of Fine Towers, San Gimignano is famous for its medieval architecture. There are a dozen of tower houses, including the stone Torre Grossa, that form an unforgettable skyline. The Duomo di San Gimignano is a charming 12th-century church with frescoes by Ghirlandaio in its Santa Fina Chapel.

 

Places to Eat:

 

Gelateria Dondoli srl - When you are in San Gimignano, you must get in line to taste one of the best gelato in Italy from this world-famous gelateria. While you are waiting, you might even be greeted by Sergio, the Master himself, in your own native language.

 

La Mandragola - Amazing place for lunch with a view to the medical towers. Their rabbit dish and ice cream desserts are incredible. 

 

a. The Val d’Orcia

b. Portofino Automatic 34 (Ref. IW357401)

 

 

Aperitivo Firenze style
— Aperitivo Firenze style

3. MONTEPULCIANO

 

Montepulciano is a medieval hilltop town that is known for its vino nobile red wine. Surrounded by vineyards, this old town is full of impressive Renaissance architecture, family-own shops, and underground cellars. For the dedicated wine lovers, Montepulciano should definitely be on the top of their bucket lists. Some of the must-see sights include the Torre di Pulcinella, a clock tower topped by a figure of the Pulcinella, a commedia dell’arte character; the 14th-century Palazzo Comunale on the Piazza Grande, which as a tower overlooks the surrounding countryside. And the Duomo, with a huge triptych above its altar.

 

Cellars for Wine-tasting

 

Cantina De’Ricci - Conveniently located just off the main square, their cellars are a must-see in Montepulciano. The guests will experience wine-tasting in a unique cave setting.

 

Cantina Crociani - The owners Susanna and Roberta show such a love and passion for what they do at Cantina Crociani. The guests will be offered an exceptionally tasty, intimate and with attention to detail wine tasting experience.

 

Gattavecchi Winery - This is a place with a beautiful setting and wonderful views. The food here is delicious and reasonably priced. The staff are friendly and helpful. Moreover, they have great wines and a cellar that includes a two thousand-year-old Etruscan tomb.

THREE BEST Hot Springs in Tuscany

 

In addition to its cultural activities and Tuscan cuisine, there is something else that constantly lures travellers into Tuscany, natural hot springs.

 

Terme di Saturnia - For those seeking to combine the thermal spring with a more traditional spa experience, Terme di Saturnia, where the flow of the water originates, is the place to be. The water is rich in mineral deposits, especially sulphur which gives it a slightly “eggy” smell. It exerts a natural peeling action on the skin with exfoliating, cleansing and moisturizing properties.

 

Cascate del Mulino - The Cascate del Mulino is one of the better-kept secrets in Tuscany. Sitting just outside the small village of Saturnia, on the ground of an old mill in the Province of Grosseto, Cascate del Mulino is a beautiful, cascading thermal spring which attracted locals and visitors alike for centuries. It is open to the public and free throughout the entire year.

 

Bagni di San Filippo - The springs at San Filippo are gorgeous. The calciferous formations, waterfalls and small pools of hot water surrounded by the woods will seem to take you to another world. You can park along the street at the town Bagni di San Filippo, then there is an easy path that runs along the river that will lead you to the hot springs.

 

a. Portofino Automatic 34 (Ref. IW357401) at the Bagni di San Filippo

b. The Terme di Saturnia

 

 

Borgo Santo Pietro
— Borgo Santo Pietro

Where to Stay

 

The story of Borgo Santo Pietro, a former refuge villa, for monks and travellers on pilgrimage in the 12th century, turned into an idyllic 20 rooms and suites Tuscan luxury resort, is one of passion and determination. It begins 20 years ago when the owners, Claus and Jeanette Thottrup, fell in love with Italy and the green hills of Maremma. Over the years, while maintaining the original characteristics of the old stone villa, they extended the property with fine details. Now, the Relais Borgo Santo Pietro has become a charming Tuscan resort that sits on the green hills of Siena and overlooks the enchanting Serena Valley. Claus and Jeanette believe a new concept of hospitality, which pamper their guests with personalised services that focus on care and sympathy and a deep connection to Mother Earth.

 

The location of the Borgo Santo Pietro could not be more perfect. It sits on the green hills of Siena and overlooks the peaceful Serena Valley. It is a short ride away from the picturesque old village of Palazzetto. It is a 35 minutes drive away from Siena and 1 hour away from Florence. They are also many famous wineries nearby from the Chianti and Montalcino regions. 


Stay tuned for Madeline’s guide to Paris - coming soon to the IWC Journal. 

 

More about Madeline Lu on her website and Instagram page. 


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