It has been a while since I have been to Tuscany. I first went to Florence for my 21st Birthday, which was followed quickly by another stay just outside the city, but to include a trip to the famous city of Siena.
This time though, I got to sample the ‘Tuscan Coast’ and the seaside town on Viareggio, about 25 minutes from Pisa Airport. Travelling in November it wasn’t that busy, but you can see that it would be extremely busy in the middle of summer, the long promenade lined with lidos, bars and shops to suit every traveller.
Staying at the Principe Di Piemonte, the grand dame of hotels along the seafront, I was impressed by the grandeur of the building even before I entered. That theme continues throughout the hotel, with an air of an old school glamour. You could be in the south of France, but no, you’re in Italy.
Having sampled the food, you will no doubt be impressed and in the summer even more so with the 2 Michelin starred Il Piccolo Principe Restaurant.
What I hadn’t appreciated was the vast number of places you could visit in the area. On a short tour we were shown the site of the Puccini Opera Festival, only a short drive from Viareggio, the factory where they make the floats for the famous Viareggio Parade which takes place every February and the lovely town of Pietrasanta. The day ended with a short stroll around the upmarket resort town and neighbour Forte di Marmi. The shopping street lined with names such as Prada, Dolce and Gabbana and Cartier.
The room was really well appointed, with each floor having a different theme. Mine had an Art Deco influence, and the soft in the small living room made quite a statement! It really is impressive when your bathroom is nearly as big as the bedroom though!!
For the second night, we had to Florence. Not that going straight there would be a good use of time, we stopped in the gorgeous city of Lucca. The narrow streets within the walled city are a maze to walk (and get lost in), and it is certainly worth the effort to climb the tower to take in the amazing views!
I would be staying at the sister hotel to the Principe di Piemonte in Florence, the Hotel Brunelleschi. This small luxury boutique hotel has a wonderfully central location, overlooking the famous Duomo and just a couple of steps from the main shopping streets of the city. My room, although smaller than I had on the coast was extremely comfortable, and considering it is right in the middle of the city extremely quiet. The highlights are the two suites, one in the tower and one overlooking the Duomo which are ideal for a romantic city break.