The weather, the food and the landscape… these are just three of the reasons that persuade people to move to Tuscany (and to Italy in general) for their retirement. In this post we choose 5 places that are particularly popular among the retired. Have you retired in Tuscany? Would you like to do this?
Halfway between Lucca and Florence there’s a Tuscan town that is gradually taking up residence in the hearts of those who visit it: I’m talking about Pistoia, a lively place surrounded by the Ombrone river valley, the Valdinievole and the Pistoia mountains.
It is a place filled with art and special things to do, like topiary art and visiting an old factory that creates handmade bronze cymbals.
For a classic tour, don’t miss Piazza del Duomo, which once was the centre of the religious, political, judicial and social domains of the town. Piazza del Duomo, the true heart of the city and home of the most famous monuments, is home to the Praetorian Palace, the Baptistery and San Zeno Cathedral, a religious building of rare beauty.
Among the liveliest places of Pistoia there’s Piazza della Sala, the central meeting square of Pistoia people both during the day and at night as well as home to the city market since ancient times. Another popular square to hang out in is Piazzetta degli Ortaggi.
Underground Pistoia is the perfect place to discover the city in his deep heart. The Museum of Underground Pistoia is located at the Ospedale del Ceppo, a structure dating back to 1277.
The city of Lucca is a Tuscan gem loved by people from all over the world and, in recent years, more and more people have decided to move here from other countries, both within and outside Europe. Anyone visiting the city of Lucca is positively surprised by the peace and quiet afforded by the old town centre and its environs.
Visible from the walls, the Guinigi Tower, built around 1390, stands out above the roofs and can be recognized because of the trees on its top. The city of Lucca is traditionally known as the city of a hundred churches for the great number of places of worship of various eras inside the walls.
Do not miss Lucca Cathedral, dedicated to St. Martin, founded by San Frediano in the eleventh century, and the church of San Michele in Foro, a marble structure built in 1070. From the church of San Michele, walk along the main street of the city, Via Fillungo, to the Basilica of San Frediano, one of the oldest religious buildings and the still active core of the procession of the Holy Cross on September 13.
The Chianti is one of the most beautiful hilly areas in Tuscany and perhaps Italy, famous worldwide for the production of Chianti wine. Vineyards, olive groves, fortified villages, castles and splendid landscapes characterize this area of Tuscany that stretches between Florence and Siena.
Chianti is connected to Florence from the road SS222, also called as the Chiantigiana, which crosses this area of Tuscany, so it is easily reachable. There are many places that deserve a visit here. Greve in Chianti is considered as the gateway to Chianti, settled by the Etruscans and the birthplace of the great navigator Giovanni da Verrazano. Piazza Matteotti, also called the Mercatale, is the main attraction, as well as the Church of Santa Croce. For wine lovers it is definitely worth visiting the Wine Museum.
A short detour from the Chiantigiana road takes you to Montefioralle, an ancient medieval castle among the oldest in Chianti and still retaining its original appearance. Back on the main street you arrive in Panzano in Chianti, where the food features one of the most delicious T-bone steaks in the world and where you can enjoy stunning panoramic views.
4. Montecatini Terme
Montecatini Terme is located in the Valdinievole area, just 15 kilometres west of Pistoia. It is a city full of charm and culture, near to the main cities of Tuscany, as well as being the capital of wellness and relaxation.
Green parks, spas with innovative technology, an accommodation system with a long tradition of hospitality and many opportunities to relax characterize Montecatini Terme. The town preserves the atmosphere of the Belle Époque and spas are decorated with frescos in Art Nouveau style. There are also several sports facilities and racecourses as well as being a paradise for shopping and entertainment.
The surroundings of Montecatini offer other interesting sights, such as Montecatini Alto. Reach the picturesque village by going up in the carriages of the oldest funicular in the world and enjoy the picturesque panorama over the city and the whole Valdinievole.
The Versilia area of Tuscany is well known for its beaches and nightlife, but can be also a special destination after retirement because of its good air, its towns on the flat and the long bicycle paths to get around.
In the morning head for the promenade of Viareggio, where you will see a lot of people cycling, walking, chatting at the bars and also fishing along the pier. The climate is good all year round and there are also shaded places for the summer, such as the wide pinewoods from Viareggio to Marina di Pietrasanta.