Known for its traditions and history, the landscape of Tuscany has an artistic legacy that rests on its influence on high culture as it is known as the birthplace of Italian Renaissance to many. A popular destination in Italy, this place has its own linguistic and cultural identity. Thus, it is sometimes referred to as ‘a nation within another one.’ But this land with rolling hills and beautiful villas also provides optimal vacation spots for those who are looking to spend some luxury holidays in Tuscany.
The must visit places include:
- Arezzo: Set on a steep hill rising up from the floodplain of River Arno. The upper part of the town maintains its medieval façade inspire of the addition of other later structures. It has plenty of museums, churches, and monuments which offer visitors a chance to step back into history. The Cathedral of Arezzo, the Communal Palace in Arezzo, Church of San Domenico, Santa Maria Della Pieve as well as the Roman Amphitheatre along with the Piazza Grande is the main attractions of the area. Arezzo is also the destination to an annual medieval festival called the Joust of the Saracens. Here almost all the people of the town dress up in medieval garbs to cheer and support the competitors.
- Montepulciano: This medieval hill town of southern Tuscany is located in the province of Siena and is situated on a 600-meter high limestone ridge. The city is filled with elegant Renaissance palaces, hidden corners, charming squares and ancient churches, like the Palazzo Comunale, Palazzo Tarugi, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta (which has a massive ‘Assumption of the Virgin Triptych’ painted in 1401), the Church of Santa Maria Delle Grazie and the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Biagio are some of the main attractions of the place. But the laurels of the city don’t just rest on its architecture as it is also famous for its wine, especially of the Vino Nobile which is considered among Italy’s best.
- Val d’Orcia: It is a panoramic region which extends from the hills located south of Siena to Monte Amiata. It is a World Heritage Site and has several picturesque villages and farmhouses like that of Pienza (called the ‘ideal town’) and Radicofani. The village of Montalcino is also a major attraction since its Brunello di Montalcino is counted among the finest of Italian wines.
- Elba: This is the largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago and is the third largest island in Italy. But it is best known as the place where Napoleon was exiled and so a visit to his summer and winter homes are advised to the tourists. Apart from this, this beautiful island boasts more than 150 beaches, the most famous of which is the resort of Marina di Campo, the Enfola Beach, the sands of Procchio and the clear blue waters of Fetovia.
- San Gimignano: This walled medieval hill town present in the province of Siena is known for its fine towers along with its medieval, Romanesque and Gothic architecture. The town with its hilltop setting and encircling walls form a picturesque skyline. Its notable attractions include the Piazza della Cisterna which is the main square of the town, Piazza Duomo along with the variety of towers which it has preserved; like the Campanile Della Collegiata, Torre del Becci, Torri degli Ardinghelli, Torre del Diavolo, Torre Campatelli and 9 more. Visitors like to take breathe in and enjoy the town by taking walks on the cobblestone streets.
- Lucca: Famous for its Renaissance-era city walls and the medieval city that it guards, this city and commune is labeled as one of the best places to visit while in Tuscany. The Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, Piazzale Verdi, Piazza San Michele, Piazza Napoleone, Teatro del Giglio, Ducal Palace, Villa Garzoni and more are its main attractions. Along with this, the Duomo San Martino houses some of most beautiful historical treasures like the Tomb of IIaria del Carretto and Tintoretto’s Last Supper.
- Chianti Wine Region: The region includes Florence, Siena and everything in between. Considered as the most beautiful area of Tuscany, visitors can enjoy the charming vineyards, olive groves, and rolling hills. Most famous for its Chianti wine, the wine tasting shouldn’t be missed by travellers.
- Pisa: While most famous for its leaning tower of Pisa, yet the city located along the Arno River contains more than 20 historical monuments which visitors can appreciate. A few of them are Knights’ Square (Piazza dei Cavalieri), Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri which houses a bust of Donatello and paintings by famous artists like Vasari, Alessandro Fei, St. Sixtus, St. Francis, San Frediano, San Nicola, Santa Maria della Spina, San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno, San Pietro in Vinculis, the Medici Palace and more.
- Siena: Tourist visiting here can step back into the middle ages with its preserved historic center. Established on the three hills located at the heart of Tuscany, this place is lost to time and as such is declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Its main attractions include the Siena Cathedral, Piazza del Campo, the Palazzo Salimbeni and more. Home to a medieval horse racing tradition known as II Palio this center attracts a lot of visitors every year who want to immerse themselves in the art and architecture.
Along with the above jewels, the capital city of Florence shouldn’t be missed by tourists. Overall, this place seems like a world which is lost to an era long gone but it is also a thriving connection to a past which shouldn’t be forgotten.