Tuscany is known to be one of the most beautiful regions of Italy. Located in the northeast, Tuscany houses several prominent towns including Florence, Lucca, Saturnia, Pisa and Siena. The region is famous for its wine, rich culture and historical impact in Europe. Visitors can choose between a range rustic villas in Tuscany to make their holiday perfect. Here are a few of the must-visit places in Tuscany for the first time visitor.
Florence is the focal point of any trip to Tuscany. Birthplace of the Renaissance and boasting some of Europe’s most elegant architecture, Florence has everything a tourist could need. As you walk through the historical streets of this small city, you’ll find architectural gems around almost every corner. Not only does the city houses several palaces dating back to the 15th and 16th century, but it also has several chapels, basilicas and world-class art galleries. This is the reason why the entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
But that’s not all Florence has to offer. The city, like much of Italy, is a hotspot for fashion. Walk along the streets and you’ll find countless boutique shops selling the very best designer clothes. And when you visit, make sure you try some of the gourmet restaurants and sample some of Italy’s most exquisite food. Most people spend at least three days in Italy’s cultural capital before heading out to explore more of the region.
Lucca, a popular day trip from Tuscany, has a vast array of Romanesque structures. Nicknamed the ‘City of 100 churches’, tourists often find that it lives up to its name. The focal point is the fortress of which visitors can walk along the 16th-century walls. There’s also a Roman Amphitheatre and a forum to explore within the town. Broad streets lined with trees create a shady place to go for an afternoon stroll. One of the most popular ways to explore the town is by renting a bicycle. If you visit Lucca, be sure to check out the Duomo, Torre delle Ora, Guinigi Tower and San Michele.
Escape the crowds and relax in the thermal water spas in Saturnia. Hot water bubbles up from underground sources. Bathing in the mineral-rich waters provides a whole host of health benefits and is certain to give you the relaxation you need. Those who visit the spas always want to come back for more.
Pisa’s Campo dei Miracoli is a must-visit spot in Tuscany. The iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa along with a beautiful array of other buildings fill the area. Tourists can climb to the top of the tower and have views of the surrounding landscapes. And when in Pisa, don’t forget to check out the Romanesque Cathedral, Camposanto and the baptistery. Several religious buildings in Pisa have an impressive variety of frescoes decorating the walls.
The ancient city of Siena makes an excellent day trip for holidaymakers in Tuscany. Cobblestone streets dissect the historical blocks and ornate architecture of the surrounding buildings. The town’s main highlight is the shell-shaped Piazza del Campo and the Torre del Mangia. In fact, if you have the time and energy why not climb to the top of the 88 metre Torre and have the most impressive views of the historical town below? Most visitors to Tuscany often rate Siena as one of the highlights of their trip.
San Gimignano attracts thousands of day trippers from nearby Florence to enjoy the historical wonders. Within a short drive of Siena, tourists can explore the walled medieval towers. Apart from soaking up the ancient wonders, there are also several attractive piazzas, churches and a selection of fine dining options to choose from. And just outside the town, endless stretches of vineyards extend into the distance. Fans of wine will be able to sample and buy a bottle of the world-famous Vernaccia wine here too.
Picture Tuscany in your mind. If you, like many others, imagine endless stretches of vineyards and undulating hills, you’ll be pleased to know the ideal place actually exists. The series of hills near Siena have a few famous towns with ancient vineyards producing some of Italy’s best wine. One of the best ways to fully experience Val d’Orcia is to rent a car and drive through some of the smaller villages. Each has their own charm and character. Just remember to pack a fully charged camera and be prepared to have your breath taken away by the natural beauty.
The Chianti region near Florence is full of vineyards and small charismatic towns. A series of small lanes join them together making a perfect place for a road trip. Why not rent a car from Florence and drive through the region on a day trip? Or for a completely different experience, some people also like to rent a bicycle for the day. Anyone who appreciates delicious food and fine wine should visit this Tuscan region. There are a range of different routes and popular itineraries throughout the region to choose from. Search online to find out the best way to have a day trip to suit your interests.
Falling in Love with Tuscany
Falling in love with Italy’s Tuscan region is easy. From the historical towns and cities filled with old structures and beautiful churches to the vineyards and the olive trees, there’s something for everyone. Just be sure to get out of Florence and explore of what this fascinating and beautiful part of northern Italy has to offer.