7 day guide to Tuscany: where to go

Well hello to you my reader chums! With its rolling hills, endless vineyards and renowned for the incredible art scene, Tuscany is a central region in Italy everyone needs to visit. I fell in love with the region as soon as I stepped off the plane and can't wait to explore even more one day. On my trip, I was there for 7 days and tried to see as many places in the region as possible over the week.

7 day guide to Tuscany: where to go

If you're planning a week in the city, here's where you should go.

Florence: 3-4 days

Florence, the capital and heart of Tuscany should be first on our list when visiting the region. The capital is as beautiful as you would expect every capital city to be. The impressive architecture, art scene, cobbled streets, quaint shops and incredible places to dine. I absolutely loved exploring the city and it became moreish seeing more and more as I ventured round.

7 day guide to Tuscany: where to go

Florence is packed with plenty of things to see and do from museums, galleries, churches, stunning buildings, tours to simply wandering the pretty streets. As it's such an amazing city, I would recommend spending longer than shorter in it - as that way you won't only see the main sights, you can immerse yourself into all the hidden away gems and venture away from the main hub.

I would say you could fit in all the main sights into 2-3 days even only 2 at a push but would recommend staying longer so you won't need to rush around the sights and can take your time, and soak in all its beauty. Florence is a city that will steal your heart and leave you in love with the Italian culture, food, and architecture.

For more information on what to see and do, here is my 3-day guide to Florence.

Pisa: Afternoon/day trip

Pisa is renowned for its leaning tower and when you're in Tuscany, its something you have to see - even just for the candid photo. The city of Pisa is surprisingly very small and doesn't take too long to look at the main sights. As it's a very tourist area, there isn't much beyond the tower to see that you could easily spend an afternoon to a day there.

7 day guide to Tuscany: where to go

Depending on how you like to travel, I would either suggest booking a tour to take you around the sights and have a tight schedule or hop on a train to the city and explore at your own pace. Pisa can be easily reached by train from Florence.

For more information, check out my 24 hour guide to Pisa.

Lucca: 1 day

Lucca, the quaint and humble city is a place I think everybody should get the opportunity to see on their trip to Tuscany. The main hub of Lucca is located in castle-like city walls and wherever you stroll around looks like a medieval fairytale. Lucca is renowned for its architecture, quaint walkways and plenty of authentic restaurants.

7 day guide to Tuscany: where to go

I fell in love with Lucca as soon as I arrived. It had the same heart Florence had but on a much smaller scale, with fewer tourists and a quiet appeal. It was everything I hoped it would be. As the city isn't huge, you can easily see everything within a day and I would recommend staying a night there so you're able to soak up the whole city as well as grabbing some breakfast before you move onto the next location.

Despite the size, there are quite a few things to see and do as well as some of the prettiest streets you'll ever set your eyes on. Can you tell I absolutely adored it? Lucca can be reached via train but the main station is a way out of the centre.

For more information about the city, have a look at my 1-day guide to Lucca.

Siena: 1-2 days 

Siena is renowned for its medieval buildings and makes for the perfect place to explore and set a base or for day trips. I really loved Siena; there were plenty of things to see and do, hidden gems wherever you look and a lot of opportunities for walking. The city is very hilly so that's something to keep in mind if you're not the best walker. Siena has iconic buildings, the cutest shops you'll ever see and too many pizza shops to count.

7 day guide to Tuscany: where to go

The actual city of Siena, you could easily see all the sights in a day, however, I would recommend a second day there to either explore the off-the-beaten-track areas or to go on a day trip. Siena is a prime location for day trips and you can use the second day to go on one of them.

For the day trips, I would recommend Monterggioni as it's only 20 minutes away on the bus and the most incredible little place you'll ever see with great views of the Tuscan hills.

Other day trips include San Gimignano, Montalcino, a Chianti wine tour (which usually takes around 5 hours to a whole day trip), Livorno, Assisi or simply returning back to one of the previous cities I've mentioned.

For more information about the city, here is my 2-day guide to Siena.

I hope you enjoyed this guide. When are you planning to go to Tuscany?

Thank you for reading <3

Book review: Feminists Don't Wear Pink and Other Lies curated by Scarlett Curtis

Well hello to you my reader chums! Feminists Don't Wear Pink and Other Lies is the book every single person needs to read at least once in their lifetime. It's a book that not only educates but highlights pressing issues that the majority of people aren't aware of regarding feminism and the patriarchy. And is one of the most inspiring and sassy books I've ever read.

Book review: Feminists Don't Wear Pink and Other Lies curated by Scarlett Curtis

The book came out last year and I've been wanting it for ages that when I finally got my hands on it, I couldn't wait to delve in as I heard so many good things - and I'd already fallen in love with the accompanying podcast.

This book contains essays or poems on what feminism means to each writer and offers an insight into the individual's views. There's everything from feminism in the workplace, period poverty, sexual harassment, to being a girl boss and owning being a woman. I loved the variety of topics and how every page could not only educate myself but also open my eyes to some issues I wasn't even aware of.

What does feminism mean to me?

When I was younger, I wasn't really aware of what feminism was or what it meant. Every time the word did pop up, I always remember people pulling faces or there was a negative connotation around it, however, I was always intrigued. It wasn't until my English class in the sixth form when I really learned about what feminism meant and my English teacher said we were all feminists. At the time, we were learning about the Bloody Chambers which is feminist fiction and opened my eyes to the whole matter.

Feminism isn't man-hating (a terrible stereotype), feminism is simply the equality of men and women - and wanting women to have the same rights and privileges as men. This goes within the workplace and how society views us. But on the flip side, it also means that men are allowed to show their emotions and be exactly what they want to be - again not conforming to the stereotypes of what society expects of men too. We shouldn't judge people on their genders and allow the freedom of expression. Feminism is fighting for the minorities and aiming for everybody to be accepted into society so we can all be free in our choices and how we are treated.

I've always been an active pro-women type of gal, boosting my best friends up and always encouraging them to do and be exactly whatever they want to be, not allowing barriers or stereotypes to get in their way. In a world that is so against women, I think it's important to help boost the ones around you and the ones you see on social media.

I've also always been someone who's never understood why there is a divide between women and men and why we aren't just equal. Why does the gender pay gap exist? Why have women always been treated less than men and still continue to be in modern society? To me, feminism is about fighting for everyone to feel accepted and not lesser than anyone else.

Book review: Feminists Don't Wear Pink and Other Lies curated by Scarlett Curtis

Thoughts on the book

As I was reading this book, I couldn't help but feel incredibly empowered. Every single woman in the book shared their raw view whether it was serious or a comical piece, either way, it made me proud to be a woman. I absolutely loved the book and wanted to read on even when the pages ran out. It's incredibly interesting hearing women from all walks of life telling their stories and sharing insight into the world in essay format. I couldn't help but be hooked on each word and feel inspired by the powerful women in the book. Hearing their stories made me feel grateful for what I had and inspired to do something more for equal rights.

I would recommend this book to everyone. To the feminists of the world who feel empowered, to those who don't understand feminism and for those people who think feminism is a negative word. We all need to feel inspired and empowered and this book shows how strong us women are even when hell is chucked in our faces. The book makes me incredibly proud to be a woman and has made me realize how strong we are. Here's to girl power!

I hope you enjoyed this book. What are your thoughts on it?

Thank you for reading <3

2 days in Siena, Italy: what to see and do

Well hello to you my reader chums! Siena is a beautiful city in Tuscany known for its hilly cobbled streets and medieval buildings. I absolutely loved Siena; it was like a larger version with Lucca with all the Italian beauty. I loved exploring it (even with the steep hills.) Siena is a charming place, full of history, pretty walkways, and the best restaurants.

2 days in Siena, Italy: what to see and do

If you're planning to visit Siena on your trip to Tuscany and going for a day or two, here is everything I got up to.

Day 1: Sightseeing and exploring the city

Duomo di Siena - The cathedrals in Italy are a vision of beauty and Siena's was no different. It's one of the main attractions in Siena and completely worth the visit. The cathedral is split up into sections that you can pay to get into. On my trip, I went into the main area and saw the cathedral in all its glory.

2 days in Siena, Italy: what to see and do

Complesso Museale Santa Maria della Scala -  This museum was once a civic hospital which cared for abandoned children, the sick, the poor and the pilgrims. Now it's a place with a rich history and some interesting exhibits to see. As I walked around the museum, I found a mixed bag of things to learn about. There were the art murals, a church, underground tunnels, chapels and so much more to see. For the Santa Maria della Scala, you can get a combined ticket with the Duomo. There are a lot of different ticket options to choose from.

Piazza del Campo - This is the main square (or oval) in Siena and a hub for restaurants, cafes, and the location where people sit down with an ice cream in hand. The square is home to Torre del Mangia, which dates back to the 1300s. It's Siena's most popular square and a vision of beauty with the medieval architecture.

2 days in Siena, Italy: what to see and do

2 days in Siena, Italy: what to see and do

2 days in Siena, Italy: what to see and do

Torre del Mangia - Dating back to the 1300s and located in Piazza del Campo, this tower was originally the tallest in medieval Italy. It looks over the square and you're able to climb up it for a beautiful view of the city.

2 days in Siena, Italy: what to see and do

Going for a walk - As I always say, the best way to see a city and find the hidden gems is by going for a walk without following Google maps. Siena is a beautiful place to roam around as you come across some tucked away restaurants, little shops, and some really pretty streets.

2 days in Siena, Italy: what to see and do

Day two: More exploring and a day trip to Monteriggioni

Siena isn't a huge city so you're able to see all the sights within a day that on the second day, I would recommend a day trip. Dan and I chose to visit Monteriggioni, a small walled town known for its medieval architecture. The castle walls of which hold the town, offer a 360 view of the Tuscan hills and honestly, I've never seen anything so beautiful.

2 days in Siena, Italy: what to see and do

Monteriggioni is located about a 20-minute bus journey from Siena. You can get the bus from Piazza Gramsci which is the main bus hub in Siena. Look out for bus 130 or 131 as they will both take you to Monterggioni - just make sure you get off at the right stop! Bus tickets can be bought at any newsagent style shop or cafe with the large T symbol outside.

2 days in Siena, Italy: what to see and do

On the walk up to Castello di Monteriggioni, I was presented with the most incredible views of Tuscany which got better as I walked further up. Monteriggioni is the quaintest place I've ever seen and I'm so happy we added onto our itinerary. It's not the biggest place so an afternoon there would be enough time to soak up the glory.

2 days in Siena, Italy: what to see and do

Museo Monteriggioni in Arme - If history is your thing, make sure to take some time to look around this museum. It offers an insight into the war of Siena and all the army wear/weapons used in medieval times. It's also a lot of fun to try on all the gear.

Church of Santa Maria - This church stands in the middle of the square of the town. The town itself is very small and there are a select few restaurants which are located by the church.

Quaint shops - Monteriggioni was home to some of the quaintest shops I've seen on my Italy travels with them full of homemade items including bags, clothes, and jewelry. They're the perfect place to pick up a souvenir and take a browse.

Monteriggioni wall's - On two sides of the castle edge, you're able to climb up and see all the Tuscan hills- it's honestly stunning. Tickets for this can be bought at the entrance on either side of the walls and are worth it - and you'll get entrance to the museum with these tickets too.

Ristorante le Torri Monteriggioni - As I previously mentioned, the town only had a select few restaurants and we dined there on our visit. The pasta here was delicious! I had a ragu and Dan, pesto - and they offered a complimentary soup starter and bread.

Where to stay

Siena is rather small that wherever you stay, you'll be able to reach the main sights on foot, however, the more central, the better. We stayed at Hotel La Perla, which was within walking distance to pretty much anything (even the train station - about half-hour away.) The hotel was pretty modern and ideal to venture around the city from.

Where to eat 

Ristorante Al Mangia - Ever since coming back from Italy, I've raved about this restaurant. It was located in a tucked-away alley from the Piazza del Campo and opened in 1937. The food here was top quality and some of the best I tried in Italy. We both ordered the bolognese style pasta and it was incredibly rich and moreish with a chocolate fondant dessert to follow. It's the type of family-run restaurant where locals visit more than tourists and I like that as you can fully immerse into its authenticity.

2 days in Siena, Italy: what to see and do

How to get there

Siena is very easy to get to from surrounding cities. You can either get a train from places like Florence, Lucca, etc or the bus. We took a train from Lucca and it took around 2 and a half hours. It was the longest train journey out of them all but completely worth it. You can also drive to the city but may find trouble parking near hotels in the centre.

Day trips from Siena

Florence - Florence is the heart of Tuscany and always worth another visit, even if you've been plenty of times. The train from Siena to Florence takes an hour and a half which will give you plenty of time to explore the city.

Pisa - Pisa is quite a small city that you're able to see all the main sights in an afternoon visit. From Siena, it takes around an hour and 45 minutes per train.

Lucca - Lucca is the quaintest city and small enough to soak up all the beauty within a day. It's quite a long train journey. however, at 2 and a half hours.

Monteriggioni - I've raved about this a lot in this article, but honestly, his would be top of my list for anyone visiting Siena as it's only a 20-minute journey away.

Chianti region - The Chianti region is renowned for its wine and the best vineyards to see in Tuscany. From Siena, you can easily book a tour of the vineyards which usually lasts 5 hours between 2pm-7pm. Look online or at the local travel agents whilst you're in the city to book- or even ask your hotel.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Is there anything you'd recommend to see in Siena?

Thank you for reading <3

How to travel more sustainably

Well hello to you my reader chums! The planet and its climate are a real issue today, which needs to be changed and reversed as soon as possible. I may sound dramatic, however, I need to be. It's crucial for us to make some big changes in order to save the planet. Although as individuals we don't have the power to do something on a large scale, we can help out on a smaller level - and that comes with living sustainably.

How to travel more sustainably

Travel obviously isn't the biggest way to live sustainably and it has bad effects on the environment, however, there are a few things you can do to travel sustainably. 

Try alternative methods of transport

As convenient as getting a plane is, there are alternative methods of travel. Obviously, if you're going across the world, then a plane will be your first port of call. However, if it's a shorter trip away or you want to get around a country, then consider getting a train or bus for your holiday. Train travel is so simple, especially across Europe. If you're under 26 as well, then you can buy a train youth ticket which is a lot cheaper than an adult ticket.

Pack sustainably

When it comes to packing for your trip, it's important to be aware of what you're putting in your case or backpack. Think about how you're being wasteful and what reusable things you can bring along on your trip. If you're wondering what to pack, here's my eco-friendly guide to packing.

Research the companies you're booking with 

Something a lot of people don't realise when they're booking their holiday or excursion is the company isn't very ethical. This could be for a number of reasons, but one reason is if the company book tours that harm animals whether that's elephant trekking or monkey shows. With that in mind, it's important to do an overall check of who you're booking with and their ethical stance. 

Avoid animal shows/ look into sanctuaries

This goes hand in hand with booking your holiday. When you're abroad in warmer countries, they'll often put on animal shows as a way to entertain tourists. This can be something like elephant riding, whale shows, alligator wrestling or anything bizarre and horrible you can think of. All of these shows or things you can do will harm the animals or the animals aren't being treated properly. To prevent this, don't endorse the shows and actively try to look for more ethical measures to see the animals. This can be through animal sanctuaries who rescue animals and actually look after them - again research into this as some claim to be sanctuaries and really aren't.

Eat like a local 

Eating like a local gives you the opportunity to not only taste local delicacies but also lets you help local communities and even the economy. By paying out for global chains, you're paying for the food products to be imported which are adding fuel to the fire essentially. This is because of the CO2 emissions that are caused to ship all this food over to different countries. If you eat things that are sourced locally, you're preventing the importing from happening and helping towards an overall larger movement.

Stay at greener hotels 

These days, a lot of hotels are trying their best to be more sustainable and green to help out the planet. With the greener options out there, try and choose them over a chain hotel or one that is very wasteful.

Make ethical choices

As we're travelling, we often get lost in the moment and don't really think about doing our bit for the planet. We get stuck in the idea of living our best lives and living for the moment. However, when you are venturing around, be mindful of your choices, whether that's to do with food, how you're travelling or what you're doing.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What are you doing to try to make your trip more sustainable?

Thank you for reading <3

24 Hours in Lucca, Italy: what to see and do

Well hello to you my reader chums! Italy will forever have my heart; the cuisine and culture brings me so much joy - I absolutely love it. On my trip around Tuscany, I also stopped off at Lucca for a day and it's become one of my favourite places ever. Lucca to me was like the more humble and quiet Florence with the same cobbled streets and beautiful architecture.

24 Hours in Lucca, Italy

The main city of Lucca is located in city walls which makes the location even cooler. In the walls, you'll find intertwined cobbles streets, rustic restaurants, sights to see and even nicer people to speak to. Out of all the places I visited in Tuscany, it was the least touristy and that's what gave it the authentic vibe I fell in love with.

We arrived to Lucca late morning and after checking into our hotel, had the entire day to explore. Lucca isn't huge so you can easily fit all the sights in one day and soak up the hidden gems too.

24 Hours in Lucca, Italy

What to see and do 

Get a feel of the city - My favourite thing to do in Lucca was to explore every single corner possible. It's one of those places where every turn you make, it's all beautiful. Dan and I easily found ourselves spending hours walking around, admiring the city and chatting - it's the perfect thing to do, whoever you may be with (even if you're a solo traveller.)

Torre Guinigi - If you read through my guides to Tuscany then you may have realised we did a lot of climbing towers and up tall buildings throughout our trip to get a view of the city. This tower was on my list but we came across it as we were browsing the city. As you go up the tower, it has that traditional look and true Italian vibe of a building - and the view is even better. There's something so amazing about seeing an entire city up high.

Piazza dell'Anfiteatro - One of the most iconic squares (well circles) in Lucca was this one. The oval-shaped area is filled with restaurants, cafes, and shops - and makes for the cutest place to dine at night.

24 Hours in Lucca, Italy

Palazzo Pfanner - I love visiting a palace and learning about the history that I couldn't miss this one in Lucca. Dating back to 1667, the palace is now converted into a museum of arts and artifacts with a beautifully manicured garden at the back. I loved this palace a lot as it wasn't over the top but grand in its own way, and hidden away that you wouldn't think it had such a significant meaning.

Chiesa di San Michele in Foro - Piazza San Michele is a beautiful square and has a cathedral in the middle of it which you're able to go in. The square has plenty of restaurants and cafes nearby to stop off and admire its beauty.

24 Hours in Lucca, Italy

Where to stay

Lucca is quite a small city that wherever you stay, you're able to get to the main part quite easily whether that's by foot or taxi. Our hotel, La Bella Addormentata, and Prince Calaf was located out of the city walls and about a 10-15 minute walk away. It was in the ideal location as the area was residential and quiet but we were close enough to explore the main sights. Also, the breakfast here was incredible - there was literally everything you;d need in a buffet spread.

Where to eat

La Cranceria - Pizza is everything in Italy and when we were there, we had it for lunch every single day. Ths pizza shop serves up a variety of pizza flavours for as cheap as 2 Euro per slice and it's honestly so delicious! It had my favourite ever tomato sauce on a pizza and I'm certainly craving it right now as I type this post.

24 Hours in Lucca, Italy

Matta gelato - Italy is the place where gelato is born and this was my favourite gelato place in Lucca. I had both chocolate and stracciatella and it tasted like top-quality ice cream.

24 Hours in Lucca, Italy

Piazza dell'Anfiteatro - Even though this square is probably one of the most touristy places and the food isn't as authentic, it's a perfect spot for night time dining when all the restaurants are lit up.

How to get there 

Lucca is really easy to get to. You can either get the train from nearby cities including Florence, Pisa or Siena or drive to the city (but just make sure your hotel has parking). We went from Pisa to Lucca which only took half an hour on the train.

I hope you enjoyed this post! Are you planning to visit Lucca?

Thank you for reading <3