Discover Tuscany's Enigmatic Side

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| Tue, 06/04/2024 - 05:00
A five-bedroom home near Montecatini Terme
Invite your friends and family to soak up the views and take a dip in the pool of this five-bedroom home near Montecatini Terme / Photo: August

There’s no denying Tuscany’s allure. Endless cypress trees, medieval hill towns, award-winning wines, farm-focused cuisine, thermal spas, and Renaissance masterpieces are all an invitation to embrace a slower pace. 

But much of Tuscany’s distinctive character is best experienced not in the tourist draws of Florence or Siena but in charming towns and villages between Lucca and Pistoia. To enjoy Tuscany’s quietly enigmatic side, linger for a few weeks in a country home, rather than a hotel. Rent a car to navigate country roads. Visit farms to select produce of the day, or eat lunch in an agriturismo, where you can learn about the source of what you’re tasting. Lingering is a way to discover those serendipitous spots, revealed when you take an unexpected turn.

Championing these provinces is August, a co-ownership platform for European holiday homes and a regional expert in sourcing and renovating homes in Tuscany. August's real estate director, Athénaïs Dunod, carefully curates its locations.

He says:  ‘’We meticulously source properties in the region's most enchanting villages, selecting locations that embody the timeless charm and cultural richness of Tuscany. By partnering with local experts and immersing ourselves in the community, we ensure that every home we offer not only meets the highest standards of elegance and comfort but also captures the true essence of Tuscan living.’’

But whether staying in a farmhouse to host your closest friends and family or spending extra days in the Northwest on your way to other parts of Tuscany, this guide is the starting point to see the region’s quieter side. 

Soak up spas and Liberty Style architecture

Montecatini Terme
The spas in Montecatini and their Liberty-style luxury offer a relaxing way to spend a day / Photo: Gabriella Clare Marino, Unsplash

One of Europe’s oldest spa towns, Montecatini Terme, is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its mineral-rich springs and Liberty Style terme (spas), where it’s said that Giuseppe Verdi, Giacomo Puccini and Vittorio Emanuele II spent time. Terme di Tettuccio, built in the 1700s and renovated in the 1920s with Carrara marble statues, a shell-shaped granite fountain, and intricate tile panels, can be visited with advanced reservations for guided tours. The modernized Terme Redi has a series of treatments available, including drinking thermal water and balneotherapy (thermal bathing). 

Explore Tuscany's farms and flavors

August Tuscany Signture collection
In a kitchen with mosaic tiles and terracotta stone near Montecatini Terme explore Tuscan flavors and recipes/ Photo: August

The mineral-rich Tuscan land also gives root to its world-renowned wines, olive oil and bistecca. From restaurants to farm stays and olive mills, there are many opportunities to get to know Tuscany through its culinary roots and local experiences.

As Dunod says: "By partnering with local experts and immersing ourselves in the community, we ensure that every home we offer captures the true essence of Tuscan living.’’

Here are a few ways to experience it:

Antico Podere Cavozzoli, Montecatini Alto
Opened in 1951 by Gino Guidarini and Disma Dinelli, the terraced farm is now run by their grandchildren and is prized for its olive oil. In addition to olive oil tasting, Antico Podere Cavozzoli opens its land to visitors to learn about using wild herbs in cooking and for medicinal purposes, and to participate in the olive oil harvest. 

Fattoria il Poggio, Montecarlo
Set in an 18th-century farmhouse in the medieval village of Montecarlo, Fattoria Il Poggio’s hearty lunches include Tuscan dishes such as pappardelle with cinghiale (wild boar), Bistecca alla Fiorentina and mixed antipasti dishes. There are also cooking classes to learn family pasta recipes, and tastings at its small winery.

Frantoio di Croci, Massa e Cozzile
Following a family tradition from the early 1900s, you’ll find more than 5,000 olive trees at this oil mill. You can learn about olive oil production, including how olives are selected at the optimal time and processed in a specific method to maintain a high quality. There are also olive oil cosmetics for sale.

Embrace a new Tuscany routine

An outdoor cafe in Tuscany
Linger with friends in the piazza as you embrace a new lifestyle / Photo: Catarina Belova, Shutterstock

A coffee and pastry at a bar could become a morning routine after spending extended time in Tuscany. Pasticceria Giovannini, in the same family for five generations in Montecatini Terme, is the kind of place where friends have standing appointments for coffee or aperitivo — it's an undefined community gathering place.

Embracing the rhythm of new routines in an authentic Tuscan farmhouse is another way to unlock the region’s inimitable charm, according to August. As Dunod says, spaces are designed to “maximize 180-degree views of the hills, and create indoor-outdoor seamless flow with al-fresco entertaining."

The longer you stay in Tuscany, as with any extended holiday in an August home, the more you’ll get to know the local rhythms of the countryside and its towns. 

About August
August is a platform to co-own a curated collection of five holiday homes in the Alps, the French Riviera, Tuscany, the Cotswolds, Mallorca, and Europe’s culture capitals London, Paris, Barcelona, Cannes, and Rome. With a mission to unlock a pan-European lifestyle, August is a full-service, integrated real estate development and lifestyle company that acquires, renovates, interior designs, maintains, and manages homes. Its Pied-à-Terre Collection (starting at $400,000) includes a property in the center of Rome. Tuscan villas are in its Signature, Premium, and Prime collections (starting at $472,000). Launching a few Collections each year, the company has an ever-growing waitlist of would-be homeowners who want to show up and enjoy their holiday. Request a brochure today to Discover available collections.