Ask anyone who has ever been to Tuscany and you’ll most surely hear that this region of Italy is a perfect match for those searching for an all-embracing and enriching Italian experience. Why? Simply because this part of Italy has it all: mouth-watering local cuisine, top-notch DOC wines, world-class Renaissance art, small historic towns with authentic architecture, and, of course, jaw-dropping landscapes of endless green hills of olive trees and vineyards to fall in love with. In this piece find out everything you need to know to get the most out of your Tuscany tours.
Those going to Tuscany are likely to arrive first to its beating heart – Florence. This incredible city certainly won’t disappoint as there’s no better place on Earth to enjoy the jewels of the Renaissance period art than in the motherland of this European art direction. And seeing at least some of these priceless masterpieces and fine collections is twice or even thrice as special when you take into consideration that these legendary artists, painters and sculptors actually lived and created their pieces right here in Florence.
Even those who aren’t “artworms” can’t help but fall under the irresistible charm of splendorous artwork such as the Birth of Venus by Botticelli or the sculpture David by Michelangelo. So when in Florence, save enough time for discovering its many first-rate galleries such as the Uffizi Museum, Galleria dell’Accademia or Palazzo Vecchio and Palazzo Pitti. Of course, visiting the main symbol of Florence, the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral with the marvelous Dome created by Filippo Brunelleschi, is also an absolute must-do.
Pisa & Lucca
Try naming a couple of symbols that are most associated with Italy. Is the Leaning Tower among the ones you’ve listed first? This declining bell tower located in the historic Tuscan city of Pisa is perhaps the most famous tower in the world.
Interestingly, its unintended tilt is the result of an engineering miscalculation, plus the marshy soil under the tower wasn’t taken into account. Thus there were many obstacles when building it (construction began way back in 1173 and took three and a half centuries!) and throughout the years of its existence, there were many close calls and circumstances in which the tower needed to be reinforced to prevent it from collapsing. Apart from the tower, which you can actually climb, the whole white-stone complex in Pisa, the so-called Field of Miracles, is really impressive.
As for neighboring Lucca, it’s among the less discovered Tuscany destinations that are surely worth seeing. The well-preserved architecture of this petite town encapsulates an important layer of Italian history and here are some sights not to miss: the Church of San Michele in Foro and the Lucca St. Martin Cathedral, both dating back to the late 1060s. Including a day trip to Pisa and Lucca and seeing all the highlights can be a great addition to Northern Italy tours.
San Gimignano & Siena
Continuing the topic of towers, consider going to the medieval city San Gimignano. This is no typical Italian city. Standing atop a hill in the gorgeous surroundings of fields and greenery, San Gimignano gives the impression of being a very secluded location. Possibly this is due to its closely standing buildings, narrow streets, high dominating 14th-century “torri”, as well as old stone city entrance gates that are part of the 13th-century walls that encircle the town. There are 14 towers which have made it to our days, therefore check out at least one of them, for example, the 1298 Torre Grossa, see the Town Hall and stroll its charming piazzas.
Another unique Tuscan town that can make a great day trip is Siena. The UNESCO-listed city center of this sun-kissed red-brick town houses many splendid landmarks. As such, the Siena Cathedral, which is more than 500 years old, and the gorgeous Palazzo Pubblico with its Torre del Mangia, standing on the Piazza del Campo square are a marvel.
One of the greatest things about Italy tours to Tuscany is the perfect chance to taste world-class Italian DOC and DOCG wines, noted all over the globe for their lush taste and high quality. And tasting the wines isn’t the only good part to it – the road to the small wine regions and petite Tuscan towns dotted among the vast hilly expanses of green orchards and grape fields is an adventure of its own. The landscapes and vistas on your way to wine regions such as Chianti, Montalcino, or Montepulciano will take your breath away, not to mention the incredible on the spot opportunities to actually explore the vineyards and centuries-old cellars and get an insight of how wine is traditionally produced there.
Traditional Tuscan Food
A perfect match for local wine is undoubtedly a plate of different local cheese. The best-known Tuscan cheese is called pecorino and is made from sheep milk, other kinds to taste are the creamy and soft stracchino, caciotta, ricotta and marzolino. As for non-dairy gastronomic treats, Tuscany is renown for delicious steaks, for example, the Bistecca alla Fliorentina. What is more, the region’s olive oil is simply the best you can find in Italy, so having a snack with this product can go on you Tuscany “to dos”.
All in all, Tuscany is a great choice for a memorable vacation to Italy. The diversity of things to see and do, the chance to get inspired by centuries-old history and art, plus the opportunity to taste the rich flavors of authentic Italy make the region of Tuscany a highly popular destination to definitely put down on your travel bucket list.
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