San Giuliano Terme, Italia
May 29-31, 2019
As I traveled down the heart of Italia from Venezia, my base camp for my next stop was the community of San Giuliano Terme which is located in Pisa province. I stayed at the five star resort, Bagni di Pisa that is steeped in royal history. From San Giuliano Terme my tour group branched out to see the Cinque Terre, Lucca and Pisa which all were a short drive away. Let’s get ready to learn, see and do in the Tuscany region.
- Cinque Terre, Italia: The five islands that line the Mediterrean Sea have been recognized as a UNECSO World Heritage Site that allows for these cultural significant landmarks to be protected and preserved. During this visit I took every form of transportation imaginable. My tour group first boarded a train to the island of Monterosso. This coastal village had some of the most beautiful beaches and scenic views that stretched for miles. Head to the top of the mountain to visit the monastery and the one friar that maintains the property. As my tour group continued to island hop, the form of transportation we switched to was a ferry boat that docked on the shores of the village of Vernazza. Small and tiny it’s a great place to sit down and people watch while eating some gelato. My favorite flavors are lemon and pistachio by the way. The third and final island I visited was Manarola. A little larger than the rest of the islands, this is the ideal location to stop for lunch since there are more options available and you can reduce the amount of time you wait for a table. Though I didn’t get to visit all five islands I enjoyed my time there and felt I was able to experience the uniqueness of each village I visited.
Munch Tip: Try the authentic dish of the Cinque Terre, Trofie al Pesto. On Manarola island the Michelin star rated restaurant, Marina Piccola offers a delicious rendition of the dish. In addition to the mouth watering food, this restaurant has great views that help to add to the ambiance of the island. Just remember to add a few extra Euros to your dining budget to cover the indoor seating fee that will be added to the bill.
Trofie al Pesto
- Lucca, Italia: This quaint Italian town is packed with so much history that it’s hard to capture it all. My local tour guide, Gabriele eloquently expressed the history of Lucca by taking us through Roman times to the town’s role in World War II (WWII). The historical nugget that stood out for me was the reference to the African American Soldiers who served in the mountains of Lucca during WWII. He said the Spike Lee directed movie, Miracle at St. Anna was based on this historical occurrence. It made me appreciate the reach and impact of how African American Soldiers contributed to WWII history. Throughout my tour in Lucca, we saw several Roman Catholic churches that showcased the artistry of the area. My observation during my visit was that the Lucca people are very proud of their city and love to educate visitors on the beauty and uniqueness of the town.
Munch Tip: A Lot of the shops are closed during the middle of the afternoon, so head over to Antica Bottega di Prospero for a glass of vino and antipasti. Or head to the center of town and have a light lunch in the middle of what used to be a Roman colosseum.
- Pisa, Italy: Just a short taxi or train ride from San Giuliano Terme, Pisa is a great half day excursion. The iconic Pisa Tower is a must and tickets can be purchased for 18 Euros for adults. Other attractions worth considering to see are the Baptistery, Camposanto, and the Sinope Museum which all have an additional cost to view. Also, don’t forget to try a pizza in Pisa because it is something that is not only fun to say, but also delicious to eat. My fellow travelers and I ate at the Antica Trattoria Antonietta which is literally a hop, skip and jump from the leaning tower.
Munch Tip: Visit the leaning tower of Pisa later in later in the afternoon to avoid the crowds. During the summer the last entrance time is at 7:30PM. You can also purchase tickets online before you arrive in Italia.