Lucca, the treasure chest of Tuscany
The trade in precious silks is what originally made Lucca rich. When you take a stroll along the 16th-century town wall in the shade of old plane trees, the grandeur of composer Giacomo Puccini’s birthplace really becomes apparent. In the centre, which is almost free of cars, an opulent panorama unfolds made up of Roman lanes, churches and cupolas, wide squares and stately town palaces.
Artful and ornate – Florence
Florence is a synthesis of the arts: From the smallest relief to the largest palazzo, from the Uffizi Gallery to the street painter, the Tuscan metropolis offers an abundance of art. The historical trade hub owes its riches in art and architecture to the Medici family, who promoted artists like Botticelli and Michelangelo and erected impressive architectural gems such as the Basilica di San Lorenzo.
Living Provencal style in Aix
Its successful blend of baroque elegance and a lively student scene is one of the reasons why Aix-enProvence ranks amongst France’s top five of the most popular places to live. Stroll under the old plane trees of the famous Cours Mirabeau for a taste of this Provençal capital’s history; its main boulevard is lined with small bistros and antique shops, elegant residences, fountains and boutiques.
Little Venice in Languedoc: Sète
To one side the blue of the lagoon, as smooth as glass, and the Mediterranean Sea opposite: Sète has found itself a comfortable spot by the water. With its colourful facades, the canals and bridges, the harbour town is considered the “Venice of Languedoc”. On its main canal, the Canal Royal, you can dine like a king – especially the local oysters are a treat!