Three Weeks in Tuscany (day15)


IMG_7422-2 copy Heading towards the south of Tuscany for our final week, it is time to enjoy some of Montalcino‘s famous Brunello di Montalcino. The vineyards surrounding Montalcino are about 120km south of Florence in the Tuscany wine region. In 1980, Brunello di Montalcino was awarded the first Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) designation and today is one of Italy’s best-known and most expensive wines.IMG_7393-2 copy

The hill upon which Montalcino sits has probably been settled since Etruscan times. Its first mention in historical documents in 814 AD suggests there was a church here in the 9th century, most likely built by monks associated with the nearby Abbey of Sant’Antimo.IMG_7355-2 copy

About 9km down the road from Montalcino you can find the Abbey of Sant’Antimo. Though its history is somewhat obscure, it is believed to have been in existence since the 8th century.

Rich Smukler currently resides in Boca Raton, Florida. His works have been featured in numerous museums, galleries and private collections internationally. You can see more of his works at http://www.richsmuklerphoto.com. (Kick back and stay awhile).

Three Weeks in Tuscany (day 14)


IMG_6281-2 copy-2 Pietrasanta is a town and comune on the coast of Northern Tuscany in the province of Lucca. This medieval jewel has roman origins dating back to 1255.

IMG_6284-2 copy-2 It has been over seven years since we were last here, and little has seemed to change, except for the magnificent art work that adorns the city center and essentially everywhere you walk and look. Scores of artists have congregated here to feed from the synergy of creative juices.

IMG_6299-2 copy-2 If coming for the first time, my strong recommendation is that you make sure to be here during the evening. This sleepy town comes to life as the sun goes down; restaurants and shops open, street mimes, musicians and entertainers all come out to make this a completely entertaining experience. For those enjoying the beach, you are only three kilometers from what is considered one of nicest.

IMG_6312-2 copy-2Rich Smukler currently resides in Boca Raton, Florida. His works have been featured in numerous museums, galleries and private collections internationally. You can see more of his works at http://www.richsmuklerphoto.com. (Kick back and stay awhile).

Three Weeks in Tuscany (day 13)


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Heading through the mountains from Castelnuovo di Garfagnana to Pietrasanta is nothing short of an amazing experience! Open your windows; turn off the radio; and breathe in the best that mother nature can dish out!

IMG_6262-2 copyAs you approach the west coast you sense something very special happened here. The marble mines in the Apuan Alps is where Michelangelo secured so much of the marble he worked with.IMG_6276-2 copyPietrasanta, is a wonderful artists’ village, stocked with scores of sculptors, painters, artists of all types, which create a unique and delighful environment. It will be tomorrow’s stop on our journey.

Rich Smukler currently resides in Boca Raton, Florida. His works have been featured in numerous museums, galleries and private collections internationally. You can see more of his works at http://www.richsmuklerphoto.com. (Kick back and stay awhile).

Three Weeks in Tuscany (day 12)


IMG_6184-2 copy-2Lucca is a vibrant city known for its pedestrian promenade that encircles the city upon its exterior walls, once of military significance and later in the 20th Century as a race track for cars!. The town dates back to the Etruscans and became a Roman colony in 180 B.C. IMG_6189-2 copy-2 The old world charm is blended with upscale shops and energy. Its history is dramatic and chocked full of interesting sights, cafes, restaurants and people.IMG_6181-2 copyBoth residential and commercial, there is a lovely combination of serenity and electricity.  Lucca should be placed on your “to do”list.

Rich Smukler currently resides in Boca Raton, Florida. His works have been featured in numerous museums, galleries and private collections internationally. You can see more of his works at http://www.richsmuklerphoto.com. (Kick back and stay awhile).

Three Weeks in Tuscany (day 11)


IMG_6767-2 copy-2Barga is a marvelous medieval fortress town that has roots going back to the 9th Century. It is the chief town of the mid-valley of the Serchio River and located about 22 miles north of the provincial capital, Lucca. IMG_6752-2 copy-2 Positioned on the Gothic Line in World War II, it was a major military objective as the allied forces moved north against the German army. Bring your walking shoes, as the alleys and walkways are quite steep and challenging. But, the charm and sites are well worth it.IMG_6793-2 copy-2Rich Smukler currently resides in Boca Raton, Florida. His works have been featured in numerous museums, galleries and private collections internationally. You can see more of his works at http://www.richsmuklerphoto.com. (Kick back and stay awhile).

Three Weeks in Tuscany (day 10)


Travel about 30 minutes north of Bagni di Lucca and you’ll find Lucchio. After what seems to be an interminable and challenging drive up the winding and narrow mountain road, you will come upon this ancient, medieval village that at times rises above the clouds. About 25 residents live in this amazing scenographic treasure that still has remains from its mountaintop fortress dating back to the 11th Century. It was once one of the most strategic positions in the whole valley. IMG_6411-2 copySit quietly and breathe deeply. The soft breeze and quietude are deafening. You wonder how people live and lived here; the wars fought and lives lost here. It is unimaginably beautiful and serene. I must return to this place.IMG_6433-2 copyRich Smukler currently resides in Boca Raton, Florida. His works have been featured in numerous museums, galleries and private collections internationally. You can see more of his works at http://www.richsmuklerphoto.com. (Kick back and stay awhile).

Three Weeks in Tuscany (day 9)


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Fabbriche di Vallico is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Lucca in the Italian region of Tuscany, located about 70 kilometres (43 mi) northwest of Florence and about 20 kilometres (12 mi) northwest of Lucca.

The main village of the comune, Fabbriche, was founded by ironworkers from Bergamo in the 14th century.

Rich Smukler currently resides in Boca Raton, Florida. His works have been featured in numerous museums, galleries and private collections internationally. You can see more of his works at http://www.richsmuklerphoto.com. (Kick back and stay awhile).