Off the Beaten Path Tuscany: Poppi, Pratovecchio, & Stia.
Updated: Dec 7, 2021
Full Day Itinerary: Pratovecchio, Stia, & Poppi
Located about 1 hour from Lucignano (north of the city of Arezzo and east of Florence) is the Pratovecchio Stia area. It is part of the Casentino Valley which is within the province of Arezzo and is where the Arno River flows, one of the most important rivers of central Italy, outside of Tibor. It is so important that the regional council of Tuscany unanimously passed the approval of a project called “Arno d’aMare”, which means “Arno to Love”. The project is meant to stop the culmination of plastic in the river and is part of a larger environmental awareness campaign to educate around the impacts of plastic pollution.
The area is perfect for those who love nature, mountains, hiking. It is also home to a number of medieval castles you can explore, and new varieties of food and wine to taste like pinot noir and metodo wine, honey, and brown trout.
Pratovecchio and Stia are about a 5 minute drive apart so they are easy to visit in the same trip. Walk the historic town centers, shop, and stop for lunch to experience some of the local cuisine and wine.
Between Pratovecchio and Arezzo (on the way back), you will see a medieval town (and castle) up on a hill. This is Poppi. It is a beautiful, unexpected town off the beaten path. The drive up to the top is even gorgeous with tree lined streets, tuscan homes tucked away behind hedges, and a very large castle at the top called Castle of the Earls Guidi. Buy a ticket for about 8 euros and explore the entire castle including the prison, library, climb the tower, and admire the frescos. It is not to be missed.
Before heading back, wrap up the day at Cantina Fregnan for a cold glass of sparkling Metodo. When you think of Italian sparkling wine, Prosecco often comes to mind. Metodo Classico is a different method of producing sparkling wine in this region. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are often the varietals used in making this type of wine with a very specific vinification process. One can usually drop in for a tour and tasting after 4pm but reservations are always welcome to ensure they are open. You can also make a reservation for dinner served on their estate which offers beautiful ambiance and a nice breeze from the valley.