In this post, I will share with you our itinerary for a relaxing weekend break in rural Tuscany near a village called Barga. It was a weekend full of relaxation, wine tasting, hiking and excellent Tuscan food.
Before we start this post, I wanted to say huge thanks to the hotel & resort Renaissance Tuscany who hosted us and made this weekend trip possible as well as shown us the best of non-touristy and unexploited Tuscany!
Here’s what you can expect to find in this post:
How safe is Italy right now? Travelling during the global pandemic
If you’re wondering how safe is Italy, well, it depends on where you go. I recommend to check the government guidelines and the infection rate before travelling, but from my personal experience, I must say that I felt very safe in rural Tuscany. We stayed away from big cities – Lucca was the biggest one we visited (and it only has a population of 88,000 people).
People were very conscious, and Italy has very strict rules on masks. Many people were wearing masks even outside! Update: now it’s mandatory to wear masks in Italy even outside.
Our hotel, Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco, even had a temperature-based entry to the hotel – they had a very advanced automatic system, which would open the door only if you don’t have a fever! I’ve never seen that anywhere else, so that was exciting.
A relaxing weekend break in rural Tuscany: how to get to Tuscany
If you’re wondering, how to get to rural Tuscany and some non-touristy unexploited places, I recommend flying to Pisa airport and hiring a car there. It would be challenging to explore rural Tuscany and Tuscan mountains without a car. We hired our car through Expedia, but I can also recommend Rentalcars.com, which we always use to hire a car.
It takes about 1 hour 10 minutes to drive to Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco, where we stayed for a weekend. However, just to reach rural Tuscany, you need to drive for only 30-40 minutes.
Where to stay in rural Tuscany – resorts, B&B and farm stays (agriturismo)
As I mentioned a few times before, we stayed at a quiet resort close to the village of Barga and a couple of wineries called Renaissance Il Ciocco. We were invited by the hotel and loved every minute of our stay there. I would definitely return to Renaissance Il Ciocco for another relaxing weekend.
A relaxing weekend in rural Tuscany: the best things to do
If you’re wondering, what is there to do in rural Tuscany, there are plenty of things you can do and enjoy in rural Tuscany / Tuscan mountains.
1. Go on a hike
Rural Tuscany is a fabulous destination for hiking. There are plenty of mountains and hill near Barga, and you can spend an entire weekend hiking. Or, alternatively, you can go for a short 2-3 hours hike starting from the Agriturismo Pian di Fiumi. Make sure to bring sturdy shoes and appropriate clothes for hiking! The hikes in Tuscany pass through wonderful medieval villages like Guzzano-Pieve di Controne and San Gemignano di Controne.
You can even go on a tougher and longer hike from Bagni di Lucca, another stunning town in rural Tuscany. You can find the route here.
2. Go rafting
Another activity you can do in rural Tuscany is rafting. Agriturismo Pian di Fiumi organises a lot of rafting trips down to the Ponte del Diavolo.
If you’re into sports and would like to spend an active weekend in rural Tuscany, then you will probably enjoy e-biking there. E-biking tours are organised by Il Chocco, so you can definitely email them or call them, and they will point you to the correct person to book your e-cycling activity.
4. Visit beautiful villages and towns in the non-touristy part of Tuscany
My favourite thing about rural Tuscany is that it still feels unexploited and non-touristy. Even though cities like Lucca receive tourists, they are still nowhere as crowded and popular as places like Rome and Florence. However, in rural Tuscany, you will be able to find a lot of amazing towns like Barga, Bagni di Lucca, Lucchio and many more, that are lesser-known and lesser-visited and are true hidden gems of Tuscany!
5. Visit organic vineyards and take a biodynamic wine tasting and an amazing rural lunch there.
Tuscan wine is amazing! One of the absolute best things you can do in rural Tuscany is to visit one of many organic (and not just organic) small family-owned vineyards. We had a chance to visit Podere Concori – just after the grape harvest season has finished and it was amazing. We learned more about the biodynamic wine and its production and had a short tour around the vineyard. Our favourite part, however, was the lunch and wine tasting at Podere Concori – everything was exquisite. I loved every single wine we tasted and just wished we could find them in the UK! However, you can get them in only Italy, United States and Russia for now.
I recommend reaching out in advance and book a tour/tasting / lunch, as it can get pretty busy!
6. Relax and enjoy amazing food
Finally, you can just relax and enjoy your time at the hotel. We were lucky to stay at a resort with an amazing swimming pool and stunning mountain views. If you want to relax, this is a perfect place to do that! You can relax by the swimming pool and read a book, or you can just enjoy some spa procedures that you can book at the hotel. Finally, the restaurant at Renaissance Il Ciocco is amazing – we really enjoyed our 4-course dinner and can definitely recommend it!
Summary of a relaxing weekend break in rural Tuscany: food, wine and hiking
To summarise, this weekend was much needed! It was our first trip after the pandemic, and it helped us to remember that amazing feeling of travelling again! I wanted to say huge thanks to Renaissance Il Ciocco, who invited us and showed us the best part of rural Tuscany and made us fall in love with it even more! I hope that this post was useful for you and now you will consider rural Tuscany as your next destination. Should you have any questions, please DM me on Instagram, you can find me as @lizatripsget!