Tuscany

  • Once travelers have exhausted the treasures of Rome, Venice, Florence and Milan, they often take time to relax and savor the exceptional beauty and intriguing culture of Tuscany  You can experience the Tuscan countryside when driving between Rome and Florence, but it is likely that this will just whet your appetite for more exposure.
  • Tuscany is an attractive agricultural area, replete with vineyards, inviting small towns, and a slow but appealing pace of life.
  • Be sure to examine our Photo Guides to Tuscany as they provide additional information about attractions and some great photographs of places we think you will want to visit.

Tuscany, Italy

Florence is the crown jewel of Tuscany (Toscana), although the entire region is known for its numerous important contributions to the art and culture of Italy and world history. Once you are outside of Florence, the attractions of Tuscany are mostly found in its hill towns,  attractive settlements whose endowments include  a unique culture,  beautiful landscapes and a pleasant climate. The gorgeous countryside of Tuscany includes coastal plains, rolling hills and modest mountains.  As you may know, the “magic” of Tuscany has been used as the background for many wonderful works of literature.

Florence
Florence
  • We have prepared a short photographic tour of the beautiful landscapes of Tuscany to get you started on your travels in this enjoyable section of Italy.
  • Tuscany is a region to be savored and it has become the section of Italy most favored by visitors interested in taking  lengthy vacations.  Its hill towns are known for their scenic settings, interesting history, good food and pleasant quality of life. An increasing number of vacationers who visit Tuscany do so in hopes of savoring the pace and quality of Tuscan life, rather than flitting from one eye-popping attraction to the next, as is common when visiting Rome, Venice, or Tuscany’s own Florence.
  • Tuscany is the ideal place to practice what we like to call “plop and hop”, that is, pick a pleasant town as a base and take day-trips from there to see the areas’ other attractions. By using one town as a home base, you avoid packing and repacking, while accruing the advantages of experiencing the area towns when they return to normal after the day-tourists have left. In addition, by establishing a base you will fall into the local, rhythmic pattern of daily life, which allows you to better understand and appreciate Tuscany and the intensive bond that has been forged between this beautiful region and its people.
    • If you can spend a few days savoring the delights of Tuscany, you will find it a most enjoyable experience.

Noteworthy destinations

  • Siena is a lovely town that has managed to retain its medieval look and feel.  Its Piazza del Campo, featuring the Palazzo Pubblico, is considered by many to be the finest town square in Italy.  Siena has several interesting art museums (especially the Pinacoteca Nazionale) that are small but filled with treasures.  The town’s  Gothic-style Duomo is a showstopper.  Siena offers a variety of attractions and should be included in any tour of Tuscany.
Siena
Siena

 

  • Visit Pisa to the see the Leaning Tower, as well as  its companions the Duomo and Baptistery. Other attractions in Pisa are limited and most visitors find that a few hours exhausts the town’s possibilities. One other item that you may find interesting is that Pisa was the birthplace of Galileo Galilei.  One of his earliest discoveries was made while observing a swinging chandelier in the Pisa Cathedral.  He realized that the motion of the swing was regular, a notion that helped make accurate clocks. In addition, he is purported to have experimented with gravity by dropping objects from the Leaning Tower.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
Leaning Tower of Pisa
    • Be sure to budget some time to see Tuscany’s hill towns.
      • In the Middle Ages, the city was near a  famous pilgrimage route to Rome, the Via Francigena, which contributed to its trade and prosperity. The prosperity brought the urge for uniqueness and so began a competition between the wealthy traders to build a tower higher than any other in town. At one time there were more than 70 towers looming over the town, but time has taken its toll on these extravaganzas.
      • In addition to photographing the towers, be sure to see  the main church known as La Collegiata  di San Gimignano (it was once a Duomo (cathedral), the Duomo Square, the People’s Palace and the Museum of Sacred Art.
      • The town is also known its shopping, including fine works by local craftsmen.  The town has several excellent restaurants.
      • Be sure to try a glass of Vernaccia, a local white wine whose origin dates back to the 13th century.  Its award winning taste is reputed to be due to the fact that its grapes are grown locally on a layer of sandstone with unique characteristics.
        • Cortona, another of Italy’s charming towns preserved from ages past, is famous for its walls built by the Etruscans and rebuilt  and extended in the Middle Ages.  Cortona is also known for its delightful piazzas.
Chianti
Chianti