What is there to see and do?

Luckily Podere San Martino is within a reasonable driving distance of many wonderful tourist attractions and "must-see" places to visit, whether they are places nearby or Florence, Chianti, the mountains or even the beach.


Nearby

Key

 
Image Search
Directions
Wikipedia
 

Montevettolini is the nearest village and is just 1km down the hill. While it doesnít offer much, it is a beautiful medieval village with a wonderful view over the valley, and very quiet just to stroll around or through the quiet streets.


Monsummano Terme is just 10 minutes drive down the hill and is the first town one comes to before Montecatini. It, like Montecatini is a spa town and has a number of restaurants to eat out in and is pretty to drive through. Also being the nearest town this is where you can come to for supermarkets, chemist etc. From Monsummano one can go and visit the marshes, which are a conservation area dating back to the Medici times and are well-known amongst conservationists as many species live there and yet are species from northern Europe who have created their own habitat there. Not to mention Slitti, the world famous chocolate-maker, who have their own bar there with a mouth-watering selection of chocolates, coffees and teas, not to mention a chocolate fountain.


Montecatini Terme is just 15 minutes drive away and is the nearest big town, together with Pistoia which is the same distance away, going the other way down the hill! Montecatini is famous for its spas and its "Liberty-style" architecture. One can either just walk around the spas admiring the beautiful architecture and well kept gardens, listening to the orchestra which plays daily, or one can drink the salty water which is known for its qualities in curing digestive disorders. Furthermore almost all the spas offer beauty treatments, from mud packs using the spaís own mud to thermal swimming pools, massages and more. The town also offers a wide range of designer boutiques and fashion outlets, restaurants, bars to sit out drinking a cappuccino in the morning or aperitivo in the evening, a cool park to walk around in the summer and a wide range of restaurants.


Montecatini Alto is a favourite and is situated on the hilltop above Montecatini Terme. One can either take the cable car up and back down or walk back down or drive. It is a delightful medieval village, and was the original "Montecatini" before the marshes below were drained in Roman times. There are many bars and restaurants and is highly recommended for lunch or dinner; and it's pretty just to walk around. There are some delightful shops to look at too if you want to take something back with you. Of course, while you are there you mustnít miss the famous spaghetti ice cream, either with "tomato sauce" or "pesto".


Pistoia is also only 15 minutes drive away, and a charming drive over the hilltop down through the woods. It is the largest town in the province, giving its name to the province. It is one of Jane's favourites - as while it is a big town it looks lovely with its old fashioned buildings and the centre is pedestrian only which makes a change! There is a pretty fruit and vegetable market daily and also the once a week market on Wednesday which is fun to stroll around and definitely part of the Italian culture! There is also a zoo in Pistoia which provides a fun day out for all the family.


A little further away

Collodi is only about 30 minutes away and offers a fun park for children to walk around, which is very much designed for children, based on Pinocchio - as its author came from here. There is also a pretty villa,Villa Garzoni which one can visit and has a cute park.


Vinci is about 20 minutes drive away and is of course the birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci and is a good-looking village to visit, or one can wander around the various museums and see Leonardo da Vinciís drawings and inventions. An excellent lunch can be had at IL Nicchio sitting under their vine canopied dining area! Excellent also at dinner time is La Torretta, however this restaurant must be booked in advance! Also a must be to visit when the sunflowers are in flower for the sunflower maze.


Lucca is about 30 minutes drive away and is another favourite; the centre is also pedestrian only making for a relaxed day. If you canít be bothered to walk you can hire a bike: either electric or pedal-power! The town has many beautiful churches to look in at, the famous round square to walk through, and many excellent restaurants and shops.


Montecarlo. If you look very carefully, you can see the central tower in Montecarlo from PSM (if you've installed our screen saver, you can see it to the right of the glass of wine photograph!)  It's a lovely little town with excellent views, narrow cobbled streets, and great resturants (try Antica Demora Patrizia or Ristorante La Terrazza).


Pisa is about 40 minutes drive away. In some ways it is similar to Florence with the river Arno running through it before it flows out into the sea. The centre of the town is lovely and of course one mustnít miss out on the "Piazza dei Miracoli" with the leaning tower of Pisa and the cathedral.


Viareggio is again about 40 minutes away and the local beach resort. In Italy the beach is divided up into private sections and one can either just pay for a chaise-longue or a sun-shade with chaise-longues. Jane will be happy to telephone for you in advance in high season. Alternatively one can have a walk down the fashionable "passeggiata" and look at the shops or go and walk around THE 'IN' beach resort of Forte dei Marmi which is a little further up the coast and the trendy place to be for the international jet-set.


Florence is about 60 minutes away and we highly recommend going by train or bus, as driving there is a nightmare and it is quicker and cheaper to use public transport (you can catch a train at Pistoia, Empoli or Montecatini Terme). A 'must' for art fans, fashion freaks and all tourists. A truly stunning city which has something for everyone, museums, bars, restaurants, gardens ...


Siena is about an hour and a half away and is famous for the wild Palio horse race held in July and August annually. A beautiful city with many pretty tourist attractions and the unique Piazza del Campo where the race is held. Jane recommends combining it with San Gimignano, as they are relatively close and both can easily be visited in a half day.


San Gimignano is famous for its towers, although sadly only about 11 remain out of the famous 40. A small town which is very pretty to walk around and full of "touristy" shops.


Volterra This too can be added onto a trip to Siena or San Gimignano or both, another small medieval town which is pretty to walk around and Jane says that the views from here beat both Siena and San Gimignano: the countryside is no longer that of typical Chianti but much more diverse.


Day trips

Siena/San Gimignano/Volterra

Siena/Sant'Antimo/Montalcino Sant'Antimo is only a small town but if you drive past the church and monastery are very pretty, and if youíre lucky you can stop to listen to the monks who sing beautiful Gregorian chants. Montalcino is famous for its red wine and offers good restaurants and pretty pottery and honey in its craft shops. If you donít mind going a bit further donít miss San Galgano where you can see the real sword in the stone and visit a stunning abbey.

Pienza. This is where "The English Patient" was filmed and for Jane is what Chianti is all about, little villages perched on hilltops, excellent wine, food, views ... what else can one ask for?


Abetone is about one and a half hours away, this is the local ski resort. It is pretty to walk up there in the summer and it is also well worth carrying on to theLago Santo, which is a pretty lake set in amongst woods where one can burn off some of the calories that one has eaten too many of during the holiday!


Garfagnana. This is the area up above Lucca, again totally different scenery and many things to visit from the Ponte Del Diavolo, a pretty bridge, to the Grotta Del Vento which are caves full of stalactites and stalagmites.


Wine

Here's all you need to know - Tuscan Wineries.

Sport

Golf Ė There is a great 18 hole golf course just down the hill, set in amongst the olive groves, only 10 minutes away. Montecatini Golf Club.


Horse riding Ė very nearby there is a riding stables where one can ride down on the plain amongst the marshes, a conservation area.


Tennis Ė there are quite a few clubs to choose from nearby.


Mountain Biking Ė If you enjoy mountain biking then why not enjoy seeing the countryside with a guided bike tour.


Shopping

There is a huge selection of great shops for all budgets and of course the many outlets and outlet villages too in the area. Of course Florence is the best with every shop you could even think of from Gucci, Armani, Prada, Hermes to Tiffany and Co. and so on without forgetting H&M, Benetton and the Disney store! If you are lucky enough you might even walk into a fashion shoot while there! Lucca is another favourite too with a great selection of boutiques and also some more unusual shops and being mainly pedestrian in the centre is a great selling point! Pistoia and Montecatini Terme also offer a good selection of boutiques and other big fashion names and are much closer to hand.


Personal shopping service. While in the land of style and fashion why not organise a personal shopping tour in Florence or an outlet tour with Cristina Ferro? She will liase with you before you come on holiday to understand exactly what you are looking for and which shops suit your needs best. Once here you can meet with her in Florence and she will take you to shopping heaven! Her website is: www.cfpersonalshopping.com. We recommend that you contact her in advance.


Designer outlets. There are Ralph Lauren and John Ashfield outlets in Montecatini Terme otherwise there is a very large outlet village in Barberino, on the motorway north to Bologna about 1 hour way, otherwise there is another large outlet with many designer names south of Florence at Incisa, again about 1 hour away. There is a Roberto Cavalli outlet just before Florence too, which is about 40 minutes away (map).



After your stay (or during it!), if you have suggestions for extra content, please let us know via our Facebook page!