Do you want one more reason to stay at our farmhouse? From Casa Carlotta it is possible to reach the most beautiful and interesting holiday destinations in Tuscany and Umbria that are famous for their historical value, cultural interest, food and wine and are within short driving distance.
This is because we are in a central location in the heart of central Italy, only a few minutes from the A1 Motorway (Florence-Rome) and from the Siena–Perugia Freeway.
Towns in the province of Arezzo
Foiano della Chiana (3,5 km, 5 min)
The old town has Etruscan and Roman origin. This lovely little town is really charming thanks to the typical red color of cotto tiles covering the façades of buildings.
Giorgio Vasari talked about Foiano while depicting the old Scannagallo Battle fought in 1554 between the French-Sienese army and the Spanish-Florentine army.
The town boasts marvelous representations of the Virgin Mary by the Della Robbia family that can be admired in the Churches of Sant’Eufemia, San Domenico and San Francesco. The big painted board representing the Coronation of the Virgin by Luca Signorelli and a painting by Pomarancio in the Collegiate Church are also not to be missed.
The town is widely known for its important carnival that takes place every year between February and March. Another moment devoted to carnival is in the summer when people say goodbye to the allegoric floats before they are destroyed and get ready to create new ones for the following year.
Cortona (24 km, 25 min)
Set in an enviable hilly location, Cortona is one of the most loved towns by tourists. Originally an Etruscan stronghold, Cortona was conquered by the Romans and Goths before becoming a free commune in the 12th century when it enjoyed a period of notable splendor.
The heart of Cortona can be discovered with a lovely walk from Piazza della Repubblica to the nearby Palazzo Casali, seat of the MAEC Etruscan Museum where the famous lamp dating back to the 5th century B.C. and the Tabula Cortonensis are on display. The Diocesan Museum, which is opposite the cathedral, contains instead the "Annunciation" by Fra Angelico and works by other major Tuscan artists, including Luca Signorelli, who was born in Cortona.
Other beautiful churches to visit are the Gothic Church of San Francesco and the Sanctuary of Santa Margherita, which contains the body of the saint who died in 1362. The Medici Fortress of Girifalco affords the best views of town and countryside and in the north east area of Cortona visitors can tour Hermitage Le Celle, which was founded by Saint Francis in 1211.
Arezzo (30 km, 35 min)
It is the capital of the province. This city was really important during the Etruscan domination. In the upper part of the town, which dates back to the Middle Ages, one can visit the Cathedral, the Medici Fortress, aristocratic palaces and picturesque towers. The lower part is more modern and constantly expanding.
Many famous people were born in Arezzo like Giorgio Vasari, Piero della Francesca, Guido Monaco, Francesco Redi and Francesco Petrarca.
Among the things to see in Arezzo there is the Church of San Francesco with frescoes representing the Legend of the True Cross by Piero della Francesca, a Renaissance masterpiece of inestimable value.
Castiglion Fiorentino (20 km, 25 min)
This old little town has Etruscan and then Roman origin. Its medieval city walls towered above by the Cassero are almost intact. The view from the historical center is dominated by the castle of Montecchio (10th century), where the famous soldier of fortune John Hawkwood lived. Other medieval attarctions to visit are the Church of Sant'Angelo (12th century), the Church of San Francesco, the Church of Sant'Agostino and the Palazzo Pretorio. Subsequently (in the Renaissance period) other monuments were built: the beautiful loggia by Vasari (1513) in the Town Hall Square, the Church of Gesù (1545) and the Church of Consolazione (1607).
La Verna and Camaldoli (85 km, 1 hour and 20 min)
The Sanctuary of La Verna in the Tuscan Apennines, perched on a mountain covered by a beech and fir forest, is visible from the whole Casentino region and the upper Tiber Valley thanks to its unmistakable shape with its top (m 1283) formed by three peaks. On the rocks and surrounded by the forest you find the huge complex of the Sanctuary that preserves several spirituality, art, culture and history treasures. Another important religious place in that area is the Monastery of Camaldoli, where Saint Romuald founded the Camaldolese Order around the year 1000.
Towns in the province of Siena
Montepulciano (20 km, 25 min)
Situated on the highest Tuscan hills, it is a lovely medieval town and a beautiful example of Renaissance architecture. The landmarks to see are the Cathedral, the Loggia del Mercato, the Avignonese and Tarugi Palaces and the Bucelli Palace with burial urns and Etruscan and Latin inscriptions. Other places of interest to visit in Montepulciano are the Church of Saint Agnese, the patron saint of the town, and the Civic Museum. Montepulciano is the home of excellent Nobile wine.
Siena (54 km, 45 min)
Since 1995 it is a Unesco World Heritage Site. Piazza del Campo cannot be missed, as it is one of the most representative places of the old city. Some other important monuments to visit are the Palazzo Pubblico, the Museum and the Cathedral built at the end of the 12th century. Twice a year, in July and August, the inhabitants recreate their medieval heritage in the renowned Palio.
Pienza (30 km, 35 min)
A jewel to visit is Pienza, which offers incredibly stunning views, with smooth hills and cypress tree lines, one of the famous postcard landscapes of Tuscany. The attractions to visit in the town center are the Cathedral, Palazzo Piccolomini and the Diocesan Museum.
Pienza is famous for the production of cheese made with sheep milk and seasoned in a variety of different flavors ranging from walnut leaves and pomace to pit seasoning.
Montalcino (40 km, 50 min)
Montalcino is perched on top of a hill overlooking three valleys: Val d’Orcia, Val d’Arbia and Valle dell’Ombrone. It owes its reputation to the production of the famous “Brunello di Montalcino” wine, which is appreciated and celebrated all around the world.
The town has a typical medieval layout. Among the attractions to visit there are The Town Hall, the Cathedral and the Churches of S. Agostino, S. Egidio and S. Francesco. In the Archaeological Museum you may see a number of interesting prehistorical and Etruscan findings from the area whilst in the Museo Civico you may see two terracottas by Andrea della Robbia.
Florence and its renaissance masterpieces
Florence (100 km, 1 hour and 30 min)
It is one of the most important cities in Italy famous for art, architecture and culture.
Among the most renowned art and religious places of the city there are certainly the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Baptistery, the Uffizi Gallery, the Bargello Museum and the Accademia Gallery. The churches of Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce are real art galleries, as well as the Laurentian Library is an exceptional example of the architectural genius of Michelangelo. The important collections preserved in Palazzo Pitti, the romantic Old Bridge and the Boboli gardens also deserve a visit.
What to see in Umbria
From farmhouse Casa Carlotta it is possible to reach also the main and most interesting holiday destinations in Umbria.
Here are some of our suggestions.
Castiglione del Lago (30 km, 25 min)
It is one of the most beautiful towns of Etruscan origin near Lake Trasimene, where the medieval walls and the ancient castle are still well preserved.
It also includes the Polvese Island, and owes its medieval appearance to the Della Corgna family, who became lords of the lake in the 16th century.
Lake Trasimene is the fourth biggest lake in Italy. The area of Trasimene is full of fascinating attractions and in the summer it is possible to visit its islands or the towns in the surroundings. The best beaches are near Castiglione del Lago.
Perugia (60 km, 45 min)
Perugia lovingly preserves remarkable traces of its past splendor. It was a powerful Etruscan town and then an important medieval city. It is the capital of Umbria, an important cultural and tourist destination that has been seat of a prestigious university for over 700 years with students coming from all over the world. That is why Perugia has a significant international vocation.
Among the things to do and the attractions to visit there are the 13th century Main Fountain, Palazzo dei Priori, the Renaissance Fortress Rocca Paolina, the National Gallery of Umbria, which is one of the most important art galleries in central Italy, and a lovely walk in the city center.
Assisi (80 km, 1 hour)
Assisi lies at the foot of Mount Subasio and is an enchanting and spiritual town. Founded by the Etruscans and later dominated by the Romans, the town is the birthplace of Saint Francis, Patron Saint of Italy.
The main attraction of Assisi is the Basilica of Saint Francis, which was built in the 14th century and is an important pilgrimage destination. It consists of two churches: the upper one was built between 1228 and 1230 and is embellished with frescoes made by Giotto and Cimabue on Saint Francis' life; the lower one was built between 1230 and 1253. The Franciscan monastery founded by Saint Francis in 1206 is also worth a visit. Another magnificent example of Gothic architecture is the Church of Santa Chiara where you can see the crucifix that spoke to Saint Francis according to what was handed down.
Gubbio (109 km, 1 hour and 15 min)
The Roman town of Gubbio has the most medieval appearance of the Northern Umbrian towns.
Gubbio is famous for its local crafts, mainly ceramics, and for its well-preserved medieval traditions, including the well renowned procession of the Candles in May. The place to start a tour of Gubbio is Piazza Quaranta Martiri, named after forty citizens shot by the Nazis in 1944. Here you can visit the Cathedral of the 13th century building, which is an admirable example of Gothic architecture. Other important monuments in Gubbio are the Palazzo Ducale, the Palazzo dei Consoli and the Roman Theater, a perfectly preserved 1st century amphitheater located at the foot of the town.