Famed for food, wine, art and stunning rural landscapes, Tuscany is an essential stop on any trip to Italy. Join our tour online for a taste of what to expect from this diverse region.
From the opulent art galleries of Florence to the postcard worthy cypress alleys, Tuscany holds an allure for travellers to Italy like no other region. The picturesque countryside is dotted with quaint medieval villages set in rolling hills and ancient olive groves. The towns and cities are brimming with some of the best-known art from the Renaissance period, when powerful families competed with each other and the church to commission the most beautiful sculptures and paintings. Food draws heavily on regional flavours and traditions, with local and seasonal produce crafted into fresh and delicious dishes. And Tuscany is the home of some of Italy’s most famous wines including Chianti, Montepulciano and Brunello. What more could you want from a holiday destination?
Join us on a whirlwind trip around some of the highlights of this incredible region on our virtual tour. While we can give you a taste of what is on offer in Tuscany, you really need to visit to truly savour the flavours, history and culture in real life.
Any trip to Tuscany must start with the region’s capital, the enchanting city of Florence (Firenze). Known as the birthplace of the Renaissance period, here you will be amazed by the incredible wealth of painting, sculpture and architecture masterpieces, including Michelangelo’s David, Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Bramante’s Dome. The best way to discover the UNESCO World Heritage listed historical centre is on foot, where you can wander the narrow cobblestone streets to admire the impressive palazzi, take in the aromas of delicious Tuscan cuisine and peruse the stylish fashion boutiques. Make sure you leave enough time to explore the array of works in the famous art galleries, including the Uffizi and Gallleria dell’Accademia, and enjoy a stroll across the iconic Ponte Vecchio.
A little over an hour’s drive from Florence is the charming medieval town Siena. Said to have been founded by Remus’s two sons after they fled Rome following their father’s murder, the village is well worth a day trip from Florence where you can wander the charming narrow streets, admire the stunning architecture and dine on the heavenly Tuscan food. Dominating the skyline is the Torre del Magia, towering above the main square, Piazza del Campo. The Piazza del Campo is also the location for the Palio, a thrilling horserace which takes place twice a year around the square.
Follow the Arno River west of Florence and you will arrive in the picturesque city of Pisa. While best known for the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa, there is plenty more to enjoy in the historical city. Start your exploration of the city in the Piazza dei Miracoli, where you can get your kooky Leaning Tower photos and admire the other impressive buildings in the square. Most of these buildings were built in the 11th and 12th centuries, when Pisa was a powerful maritime republic, thanks to its proximity to the Ligurian Sea. The Leaning Tower, the bell tower for the nearby cathedral, was built in the 12th century and began to lean shortly after construction was completed. The unstable foundations lead to a tilt of up to 5.5 degrees, but various measures have been put in place to ensure it doesn’t fall over and keep the lean at about 4 degrees.
Lucca is another captivating Tuscan city brimming with history and old-world charm. The conservation of the city’s defensive walls, often torn down to make way for modern development in other cities, have kept Lucca beautifully preserved within their confines. No longer necessary for protection from enemy cannons, the walls have been repurposed as the Passegiata della Mura Urbane, a 4.2 kilometre footpath encircling the city. You can rent a bike or walk the entire city wall to take in the views and atmosphere of the picturesque city. Inside the walls, the city’s rich history and culture is there to be explored, from the Piazza dell Anfiteatro, centred around a former Roman amphitheatre, to the impressive San Michele in Foro. Opera lovers will appreciate Lucca’s celebrations of its most famous resident, composer Giacomo Puccini.
Another of Tuscany’s impressive historical towns in the gorgeous San Gimignano. Much like Lucca, San Gimignano is beautifully preserved inside the medieval walls. The city was once a flourishing town that catered to travellers and pilgrims on the trade route between Florence and Rome, before the population was decimated by the Black Death in the middle of 12th century. The town was then subjected to Florentine rule and remained in poverty until the 19th century. With little money to redevelop the town, much of the medieval architecture was preserved, including a dozen of the original city towers. These towers were built by the city’s wealthy to protect themselves from invaders and San Gimignano once contained roughly 60. Together with San Gimignano’s medieval walls and hilltop position, the towers give the village one of the most the iconic skylines in Tuscany.
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