When considering travelling to the beautiful region of Tuscany, Italy, there are a host of locations that you can choose from to give you a great base for exploring nearby towns and cities. Lucca and its neighbour, Bagni di Lucca, are two of the most interesting locations in the area of Chianti. Villa rental nearby is an ideal way to be within easy driving or biking distance to the cities that still retain many of their historical features.
Lucca – Lucca is a city located in the heart of Chianti region of Tuscany on the River Serchio, in the province of Lucca, of which it is the capital. A Chianti villa rental near the city will allow you access to the historical area, which is still surrounded by an intact, Renaissance-era wall. The wall was built with small red-coloured bricks that were made specifically for use in its construction. It was built in the 16th and 17th centuries as a defence mechanism against the ‘old enemy’ and other ‘capital’ of the Tuscan region, Florence, and Lucca is the only completely walled Italian city. Though the walls were never actually used in defence of the city, they did prevent a disaster in 1812 when the river Serchio overflowed its banks and threatened to flood the medieval city centre. A century and a half ago, the wall was changed into a promenade; taking a stroll along the top is an excellent way to spend an afternoon away from your Chianti villa. Rental bikes are available at various points in the city, if you prefer a bit more speed on your route. The walls currently make up part of a 4km circuit of the city park, with shady, paved paths that the locals and visitors both make ample use of.
Bagni di Lucca – Located just 27kms away from Lucca in the central region of Tuscany, is the small commune of Bagni di Lucca. The town has been known for its thermal springs and baths since the Roman era. If you choose to bike to the town from your Chianti villa rental home, then take time to reward yourself by indulging in the many spas and pampering facilities that are still very much a part of life in the town. Once you are fully revived, stroll around and see where Napoleon’s court spent their summers, before crossing the Ponte della Maddalena (the Bridge of Mary Magdalene), which is a well-preserved example of medieval engineering – known as a ‘devil’s bridge’. The folklore surrounding this style of masonry arch bridges ranges from the lore of the battle between the builders and the devil over the heroic effort it takes to build one, and the more popular version which states that the devil made a pact with a simple herder to build the bridge in exchange for the soul of the first person to cross it. But since the Ponte della Maddalena has been around and in use since 1080 AD, you have nothing to fear!