Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort Via Giovanni , Barga, Lucca 55051 45 miles from Florence
Spending two nights (free) at this Marriott connected property. Should have a car. Anyone familiar with the area, hotel dining options (which haven't sounded great where I've looked so far), don't-miss in Barga, Lucca and also Pisa which is supposedly close.
We aren't married to this place (using points we can cancel almost up to the arrival date) but thought maybe a couple R&R days between Florence and Rome might be nice.
My wife often passes the resort on her bike. I've been there too.
It is lovely country up there, but you are very isolated. It is 45 minutes from Lucca over small roads. It is a good hour and 15 minutes to Pisa. It is 70 miles from Florence, not 45.
If you want a beautiful quiet area, this might be the place to go. If you want to be able to get to Lucca or Pisa easily, it is not.
There are probably some good osterie around there serving very basic (but probably very good) local dishes. It is an area that people from the coast and Lucca go to for Sunday lunches and they wouldn't be going if the food was bad.
Lucca is a wonderful town. One of our favorites and we go there a lot. Nothing really good in the way of places to eat. Plenty of places that are average, but nothing more than that.
Pisa is Pisa. You go there for the tower area. Other than that the town is not interesting. There too, there is nothing really good re eating. The best eating somewhere near the area is on the coast or back toward Florence.
Hope this helps a bit.
Thank you so much for commenting.
We have to balance the price (free) with the bit of inconvenience (additional time driving). I'm thinking of doing a full day tour from Florence that would include a stop in Pisa (as well as Siena and a winery I believe) so we'd get that done ahead of time.
I genuinely appreciate anything else you might like to add! We will only be there 2 nights, won't be there on a Sunday.
I was in that region too long ago to recommend any places to dine. However, I highly recommend going up to the Duomo that sits above the town of Barga. The view from there is stunning and the interior of the Duomo is well worth seeing.
I would also recommend driving further up the Serchio River Valley to visit the pretty villages of Castelnuovo di Garfagnana and Castiglione di Garfagnana. Both villages are pleasantly off the beaten tourist path.
My guess is any of the trattoria in these villages will serve food well worth eating. You will likely not find menus in 5 languages posted there!