The Best Area’s In Toscane
Tuscany is considered to be one of the most beautiful regions of Italy. Located in the central region of the country, Tuscany is divided into 10 provinces – Florence, Grosseto, Livorno, Lucca, Massa, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato, Siena and Arezzo. The region has an estimated population of 3.7 million inhabitants and is known for its wine regions, culture and huge historical impact in Medieval Europe. Tuscany (or in particular Florence) was considered to be the birthplace of the Renaissance and during this time period the country flourished and created some of the most influential and legendary scholars, artists and visionaries the world has seen including Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo.
Throughout history, Tuscany has been a place of importance – this region has been settled since the Etruscan period and has been inhabited by the Romans, and other notable civilizations. Today it remains one of the most popular regions of Italy and draws a huge amount of tourists annually. Firstly, Tuscany boasts some of the finest cultural cities in Italy such as Florence, Pisa and Lucca – these cities boasts some magnificent historical buildings and world class museums. Furthermore, the Tuscan countryside is absolutely stunning and is a fantastic place to explore – you can visit the island of Elba and see where Napoleon was exiled, or travel through Tuscan wine country. When visiting Tuscany, you are sure to find cultural enlightenment and learn a great deal about the history of Italy and Europe.
Let’s have a look at the best places to visit in Tuscany:
The Duomo and Baptistery are simply magnificent with their polychrome faces. The Ponte Vecchio spanning the Arno River is intriguing with its array of shops and stalls.
The Piazza della Signoria contains the medieval Palazzo Vecchio, the Galleria dell’Accademia and the opulent fountain of Neptune. Every corner of this city is packed full of interesting sites of historical significance.
Each structure is awe inspiring in its own right; the bell tower is just the icing on the cake. Pisa also has several interesting museums, a fantastic botanical gardens and some spectacular scenery along the Arno River. You may come for the leaning tower, but you will leave having seen so much more.
Lucca also features the glorious Duomo that features an immense bell tower and has a highly decorated façade. Other attractions of note include the Torre delle Ore, Guinigi Tower, San Michele in Foro and the Museum of Villa Mansi. This variety of historical sites make Lucca an attractive destination within the Tuscany region.
The old town is the main area of interest and contains some beautiful structures such as the Fortezza Medicea, the Duomo San Donato and the Teatro Petrarca. If you are interested in museums and history, Arezzo also has several high quality establishments including the Museo Archeologico Mecenate and the Museum of Medieval and Modern Art.
Surrounding the ancient Fortezza Nuova is an area known as Nuova Venezia – this gorgeous part of Livorno has a series of amazing canals and cobbled streets that are waiting to be explored. Aside from the port and the canals, Livorno also has some impressive attractions such as the Mercato Centrale, the Piazza della Repubblica and the Terrazza Mascagni.
Zeno and its Baptistery, the complex of San Giovanni Fuorcivitas, the Museo Capitolare and Pistoia Zoo. Furthermore, Pistoia is surrounded by some amazing mountain towns such as the spa town Montecatini Terme and the beautiful town of Montecatini Alto. Finally, for those who seek adventure, there is always the immense Monte Cimone mountain range waiting to be conquered.
Additionally to take a look at the cities manufacturing past, the Textile Museum offers keen insight and is an interesting museum. Whilst in Prato, you must try the famous Biscotti biscuit and the cured Mortadella Salumi – these two delicacies are simply divine and two of Prato’s finest creations. For the adventurous, Prato has many cycling routes and some gorgeous surrounding countryside.
The main square is charming, and the surrounding fields are covered with vineyards producing the famous Vino Nobile.
9. Val d’Orcia
Pienza in particular is worth a visit and has been dubbed as one of the most impressive Renaissance settlements due to its beauty, stunning surroundings and picture perfect architecture. This whole region is waiting to be explored and offers much in terms of sight-seeing and outdoor pursuits.
10. Island of Elba
Elba is possibly best known for being the island to which Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled after his forced abdication in 1814. This Tuscan island is located in-between Corsica and Mainland Italy and has a population of 32,000. As a tourist destination Elba has a great variety of things to offer.
Firstly the island has a wave of fantastic beaches with golden sands that are perfect for sunbathing and relaxing on. Secondly, the island has some amazing sites such as the Heritage Iron Mine and the Villa San Martino which was Napoleons second residence. Finally, the island is home to a wave of top quality restaurants offering sublime Italian cuisine and home grown Elban wine.
11. San Gimignano
Aside from the gorgeous domineering towers and the central piazza, Gimignano also has several fantastic museums including the Museo Estrusco and the Museo Archeologico.
Furthermore the Piazza del Campo is possibly one of the most impressive squares in Tuscany and transports you back into a bygone era. Aside from the breath-taking architecture, the city has a plethora of museums and the narrow cobbled streets are simply perfect to amble through.
The main draw of this city is the historic old town centre – much of the original city walls still stand, as do several defensive bastions – these structures encircle the historic town centre and create a clear divide between the old and new.
Within the town centre you can find some interesting sites such as the Duomo di Grosseto, the Porta Corsica, the Bastione Cavallerizza and the Aldobrandeschi Palace. The Piazza Dante is also one of the most beautiful places in the town and contains some of the city’s most important buildings.
14. Montecatini Terme
Terme Tettuccio for example is an opulent spa with classically designed buildings and some excellent spa facilities. For those who wish to explore, the town also has a funicular railway that travels to the neighbouring town of Montecatini Alto – this is another sublime mountain town that has some beautiful buildings and offers amazing views of the surrounding countryside.
15. Chianti Wine Region
Some of the smaller villages worth a visit include Greve, Chiocchio and Panzano. Consider hiring a car and driving through the Chianti Wine Region – the countryside is sublime, the villages are charming and the wine is excellent.