I have foregone the rugged beauty of Sicily, to return to the more manicured and well groomed region of Tuscany. It has been over 3 years since I last visited this rather picturesque province of Italy and once again the Contessa Di La Proctero is taking me out of my comfort zone by planning a week’s break at the Tuscan spa town of Montecatini Terme.
Most Brits would probably head straight to Florence, Lucca, or maybe Siena for their Tuscan sojourn, so it was no surprise to find that there were very few English in this well presented town. Montecatini Terme is strewn with tree lined avenues, stroll down the pavements of the Vaile Guiseppe Verdi, where you can stop off at Libertine Bisrot for a cold beer or a refreshing Campari Sprite before heading to the funicular railway which will take you up to Montecatini Alto. Offering you breathe taking views of the town down below and the surrounding countryside this hillside treasure has a delightful village, where you can visit the renaissance churches if like a bit of culture, or just eat or drink in the charming square in the centre of this pleasant hamlet.
Sightseeing may not be your bag so, you may just want to sit in one the numerous parks and watch the world go by, or better still grab a coffee and biscotti at somewhere like the Caffe Giovanni or Caffe Granduca and just people watch, which for me is the only way to spend time while on an Italian holiday.
Pelligrini’s served great local Tuscan cuisine, where I would strongly advise you try the rabbit, if just want a snack then go to Il Maialetto which served up incredible sandwiches. To drink the choice is endless. The beautiful people tended to gather along Viale 1V Novembre at bars like Syrah. If this is too vain and shallow for your taste, then visit the Piccolo Bar (busy every night) or the strangely English titled Beer Shop and Tap Room, for some top notch craft beers.
Obviously no trip to Italy can be completed without a little bit of retail therapy and Montecatini Terme just about managed to keep me happy, lot of shops but easily the best were Benedetti and Lisa Ann, with latter stocking a very nice range of Santoni shoes.
On the last day I sat in Piazza Del Popolo with Basilica Santa Maria Assunta in the background and reviewed my stay this Tuscan spa town. Overall this was completely different holiday from what I normally would have, but was a huge success. Please visit this wonderful place because you will really enjoy it