Top 10 Places to visit in Tuscany
Tuscany is not simply the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance: from north to south, it boasts a lot of places worth visiting.
Culture, art and traditions combined with gentle hills, vineyards and charming villages makes Tuscany not only the most dreamed Italian destination, but an unforgettable experience that will leave you the desire to discover more and more about this fabulous region.
Even it is almost impossible to condense the Tuscan places to visit in a short list, here you are a useful overview of the cities and locations you can’t absolutely miss during a holiday in Tuscany.
Surrounded by wonderful hills and built around the Arn River, Florence is a full immersion in a world of art, culture and excellent food. It is known as the Cradle of the Renaissance and considered one of the most amazing Italian cities. Florence houses the Galleria degli Uffizi, one of the oldest and most famous art museums of the Western World and the huge cupola of Florence’s Duomo designed by Filippo Brunelleschi in the 15th, just to cite a few examples of its treasures. Wandering in and around the city you can also discover several secret places as gorgeous free gardens and parks.
The historic centre of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. Here you can breathe the charm of this medieval hill town, visit the fortresses of the Medici Family, strolling in the popular fan-shaped square Piazza del Campo where the popular horse race (Il Palio) is held in summer. Not-to-be-missed are also its beautiful Gothic buildings include the Cathedral and Palazzo Pubblico, as well as numerous churches. Furthermore, Siena is surrounded by flourishing green landscapes, medieval ancient castles, fortresses and farmhouses.
Versilia and Lucca
Lucca can be defined as the only city in Italy where you can walk along a complete set of ancient walls with well-preserved towers, from where you get stunning views and are able to capture the essence of the city in pictures. From Lucca, if you proceed towards the north-western of the province, you can easily reach the Versilia, a subregion of Tuscany, named after the Versilia river. Known for fashionable Riviera resorts, it consists of numerous clubs that are frequented by local celebrities. Nightlife, social life and fine sandy beaches are the main features from Viareggio to Forte dei Marmi, the ideal place in Tuscany for long walks and social gatherings.
Chianti is the wine region of Tuscany. It extends over the provinces of Florence and Siena, covering all of the area between the two cities and extending to the east toward the Valdarno and to the west to the Val d'Elsa. Chianti offers a unique landscape, with green, gentle hills covered with wide fields of vineyards and olive groves. Many of the wineries are open for tours and tastings: an invaluable treasure for those who are interested in exploring the eno-gastronomic culture of Tuscany.
The photo with the leaning tower is a must, but Pisa is much more than this, starting from the Baptistery, the Cathedral, the medieval old town. The city centre offers a vibrant and affordable cafe and bar scene surrounded by well-maintained Romanesque buildings, Gothic churches and Renaissance piazzas. Pisa is also a river city with many natural hot springs and an important thermal baths tradition, as a matter of fact it offers the chance to mix a cultural break with a wellness holiday in Tuscany.
Val d’Orcia - Pienza, Montalcino and Montepulciano
The Val d’Orcia, World Heritage Site, delights the eyes both with its spectacular landscapes and with its medieval towns such as Pienza, Montalcino and Montepulciano. Crossed by the namesake river, this wonderful region in southern Tuscany stretches along the provinces of Siena and Grosseto. Pienza enjoys a strategic position on atop a hill, dominating all the Orcia Valley. It is located about 20 kilometers east of Montalcino and a few kilometers to the west of Montepulciano amidst gentle undulating hills and wonderful natural landscapes.
Located about halfway between Florence and Siena, San Gimignano is also called the “city of beautiful towers” and its 14 medieval towers create an amazing skyline that you cannot miss experiencing. San Gimignano's historic center is a UNESCO world heritage site and must-sees during your visit to this small village are absolutely the Duomo, the Palazzo Comunale, the Pinacoteca museum, Torre Grossa and the ruins of Montestaffoli fortress. San Gimignano is also well-known for the excellent quality of its local white wine: the Vernaccia di San Gimignano.
Maremma and the National Park
The Tuscan Maremma is a land of wonderful surprises located between the provinces of Livorno and Grosseto. From the coast to the secluded inland, it is able to offer blue sea and long beaches, but also green hills and natural thermal baths. In the south of Maremma, you cannot miss the stunning National Park, a protected wildlife area and one of the best destinations for hiking in Tuscany. Maremma is also a perfect destination for Etruscan history lovers and for travelers looking for breathtaking medieval villages, incredible food and delicious wines as well!
Cortona and Val di Chiana
Cortona is one of the most enchanting places of Val di Chiana, sits on the top of a hill about 600 meters above sea level and surrounded by a beautiful landscape. It is located very close to the Trasimeno Lake and to the most important sightseeing and hill top towns of Tuscany. Cortona is enclosed by stone walls dating back to Etruscan and Roman times. Furthermore, its medieval buildings and narrow lanes give the town an evocative atmosphere.
Tuscan Archipelago and Elba Island
Elba, Giglio, Capraia, Montecristo, Pianosa, Gorgona, Giannutri are the seven islands that make up the beautiful Tuscan Archipelago, located between the Ligurian and Tyrrhenian Sea, in the west of Tuscany. Elba is the most famous one and the third biggest Italian island after Sicily and Sardinia. It is an appreciated resort for sea holidays in Tuscany thanks to its fine sand and clear waters as well as for the fascinating evidences of its past as the Pisan towers and Etrurian fortresses.