Tuscany is perhaps the most beautiful and best-known part of Italy. The unforgettable hilly landscape, the wonderful wines from the Chianti or the famous Brunello, the cultural wealth, the magnificent medieval towns and villages and the beautiful beaches. But also Italian lifestyle, enjoying good and authentic food, the beautiful nature, the people, in short “La Dolce Vita”.
Tuscany offers a wealth of ancient culture that begins with the Etruscans, before the Romans over 2000 years ago .Many painters and writer were inspired by the fascinating scenery of Tuscany. Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli and Dante Alighieri, were the most famous Renaissance artists. The source of the Renaissance is located in Tuscany. Many cities are on the must-see list.
The best known and most visited area is located between Florence and Siena. The Chianti region. This green strip covers a lovely scenery of hills with vineyards, interspersed with forest and charming towns such as Greve, Castellina, Radda, Panzano and Gaiole.
South-east of Siena lies the particular region of the Le Crete Senesi. A highly eroded landscape dotted with groups of cypress trees give this landscape a very special appearance. This region has famous towns like Montalcino, famous for its Brunello wine, Pienza and Montepulciano, the town of the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. A visit to the abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore is a must, in particular, to see the beautiful frescoes by Luca Signorelli and Sodoma in the cloister depicting Saint Benedict’s life.
Florence, the capital of the Tuscany region, is contained in the picturesque valley of the Arno river, which flows under beautiful bridges and past beautiful old houses. The city is world famous for its extraordinary wealth of monuments and works of art and is known as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Florence is the most pronounced renaissance city of Italy. Nowhere else in Italy are so many buildings and works of art from this period. Among the many attractions include the Duomo, Santa Maria del Fiore, with the famous dome designed by Brunelleschi. The Basilica of San Lorenzo di Medici parish church; The Santa Maria Novella; Santa Croce with the tombs of the Florentine Niccolo Machiavelli, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Galileo Galilei, Giorgio Vasari and Gioacchino Rossini. The Ponte Vecchio, the old bridge, with its shops. Palazzo Vecchio, or Pallazo della Signoria, for centuries formed the administrative center of the city. Palazzo Pitti with the Boboli Gardens has long been owned by the Medici family and now houses one of the most famous museums in the world featuring works by all the great Renaissance masters. The famous square and heart of Florence is the Piazza della Signoria with the Palazzo Vecchio and several statues, including a replica of Michelangelo’s David. This square provides access to the “Uffizi” one of the most important art museums of the world (think of the “Birth of Venus” by Botticelli). But a visit to Florence starts at Piazzale Michelangelo which lies on a hill that offers a panoramic view of Florence.
Siena has a typical medieval atmosphere, one of the finest medieval squares in the world and the city of the Gothic, which are the characteristic aspects of the atmospheric Siena. The place is built on three hills and was especially in the Middle Ages an important city. The south of Siena is very charming with places like Montepulciano, Pienza and San Quirico
Arezzo is a little less known but definitely worth the Piazza Grande. Here is the antique market on the first Saturday and Sunday with about 100 antique dealers.
Pisa is world known for its leaning tower, the Campanile.
Lucca is a fascinating city surrounded by 17th-century ramparts of red brick and has numerous squares and small alleys. From the 11th century the city was famous for its silk. This explains the wealth of monuments.
Volterra is a city that already in the 8th century was inhabited by the Etruscans. From the Etruscan and Roman past a lot has been preserved. Volterra is known for centuries for its alabaster artifacts. The main attractions of Volterra Piazza dei Priori, the Palazzo dei Priori, the 13th-century Pisan Cathedral, the Renaissance castle and the town wall with several gates, such as the Etruscan Porta all’Acre.
San Gimignano is also called the ‘city of the beautiful towers. Once there were 72, now there are only 13 left. The height of these towers testified moreover the wealth of the owner. But is has also many squares and one of the best Ice-cream parlour of Italy.
Not mentioning all those wonderful small towns and villages such as Montalcino, Montepulciano, Pienza, Cortona and Certaldo Alto.