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Seeking Small Villages in Tuscany or Piedmont

I am seeking a few small villages to visit this summer in either Tuscany or Piedmont. Hoping more for Tuscany.

Happy to stay in Siena and make day trips. But I would prefer to have a much smaller village to stay in and use that as a place to ride bikes to other villages or something along that line.

Also need recommendations as to where to stay.

Civita di Bagnoregio looks like a fascinating place to visit - something along those lines. Montepulciano?

Posted by
5 posts

My vote is for Piedmont. While Tuscany is beautiful and loaded with art, Piedmont is far less touristy, equally beautiful and the food is incredible. We have spent time there on six occasions. Numerous small villages in the Langhe wine area of Piedmont make perfect home bases. We love the towns near Alba, including Barbaresco, Neive, Monforte d"Alba, La Morra, and Grinzane Cavour. The roads between these towns are scenic and not heavily trafficked, so are perfect for bike riding. There are numerous B&Bs and agriturismos in the area providing friendly first rate acclamations and at a lower cost than you would find in Tuscany. The small cities of Alba and Asti are food capitals and beautiful in their own right. The New York Times rated Piedmont as having the best food in Italy. And if you have time, Turin, Italy's first capital has incredible piazzas, elegant cafes and first rate museums if you want a change of pace.
Piedmont means foot of the mountains, and the northern and western parts of the region are Alpine and stunning. In northeastern Piedmont are Lago Maggiore and Lake Orta, well worth a visit, while the smaller mountains and hills in the southern part of Piedmont are the center of hazelnut production. Piedmont is world famous for its truffles, both the white and black,. Turin introduced chocolate to Europe and there are fine chocolatiers in both Turin and Alba (which is also home to Nutella). If you need advice as to where to stay or eat, feel free to ask. Have fun!

Posted by
7456 posts

I second the Piedmont villages the poster above gave you. It is a less touristed area. We stayed in Alba and drives to the wine villages were not long.
For Tuscany, look at the Chianti region. There are many small towns along the historic Chiantigianna, SS222 which links Siena to Florence., We have stayed in Panzano, Greve, and Castellina and Radda several times and they would fit your description of what you are looking for.

Posted by
1767 posts

Montepulciano is perched up high so you may want to rent an electric bike. Pienza would be a good place to visit; one hour by bike but I don’t know how safe it would be to ride there.

Posted by
2700 posts

Great advice above. There’s a Bar to Bar cycle route through the wine towns of the Langhe Roero. Two years ago I stayed at a wonderful agriturismo just outside Barbaresco. The Agriturismo Tre Stelle was a fantastic find. Great hosts, wonderful breakfasts, super restaurant recommendations.

Posted by
556 posts

I've been to Alba and it is a nice town! I've just been to some villages.... Berceto and Previde and the town of Pontremoli which were quite nice. Previde is a "borgo" and very tiny. Berceto was absolutely beautiful and a bit bigger than Previde with many shops and restaurants. Previde and Pontremoli are in upper Tuscany near the border with Emilia Romagna. All are quite popular with bikers and hikers. I was walking on the Via Francigena trail but saw many bikers . I've been to Montepuliciano and other towns but these are much less touristy.

Posted by
43 posts

We have traveled all over Tuscany, usually visiting in May, and have never found any places overly crowded with tourists at that time of year, even larger cities like Florence and Siena. It may be tough to bike between towns, given the distances between towns, the hilly terrain, and the fact that many towns worth exploring are on hilltops.

We usually make Radda in Chianti and Pienza our "base" spots, with easy day trips to villages, wineries, and castles from those towns.

If you're looking for smaller towns and villages that are off the tourist path, you may want to check out some of the small Italian municipalities that have been awarded the Orange Flag by the Italian Touring Club for excellency in tourism, hospitality, and the environment.

http://www.travelingintuscany.com/album/album10orangeflag.htm