Discover the most impressive destinations in Tuscany, Italy. The best loved towns and areas in Tuscany that continue to capture the imaginations of travellers. This is real Tuscany. Places where you’ll find renowned sights, museums, views and attractions that have made the area famous.
BEST DESTINATIONS IN TUSCANY, ITALY
FLORENCE – Enjoy masterpieces of art and architecture
Art lover? Architecture nut? Then Florence just has to be part of your trip. As Tuscany’s unofficial ‘capital’, it’s known as the ‘cradle of the Renaissance’. Its famous cathedral, the Duomo, is one of the wonders of the world, and a visit to the city has to start in the Cathedral Square.
The other focal point of the city is Piazza Signoria, with the handsome Palazzo Vecchio, open-air sculpture museum Loggia dei Lanzi and adjacent Uffizi Gallery filled with Renaissance masterpieces by Botticelli and Leonardo. The statue of David is to be found at the Accademia, More stunning frescoes adorn churches like Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce. Don’t miss the view from the panoramic terrace Piazzale Michelangelo.
SIENA – See Il Campo, one of the most beautiful squares in Italy
For a full immersion in the Middle Ages, Siena is your best bet. You’ll find one of the most striking Medieval squares in Italy, Piazza del Campo, and a stunningly beautiful Gothic Cathedral, whose exterior is just an introduction to what’s inside. A veritable treasure trove of statues, frescoes and a famous marble pulpit. Walking around and getting lost in the narrow streets and cobbled alleyways of Siena is the best way to appreciate the amazing atmosphere of this town. To see Piazza del Campo in a different light, spend the night and go for a walk in the square after dark when the buildings are illuminated.
SAN GIMIGNANO – Climb a Medieval tower
Keeping with the Medieval theme, the other top choice has to be San Gimignano, the most famous of all Tuscany’s hilltop towns. With its fourteen Medieval towers still overlooking it all, lovely squares that seem too picturesque to be real, this small town is unique even in Tuscany. Visit out of season if you can, to better appreciate the enchanting atmosphere of its cobbled streets. Visit the Duomo to get an eyeful of the Medieval frescoes, and then try a mouthful of gelato at Dondoli, one of the most famous gelaterie there is.
PISA and the Leaning Tower – Get inspired by the Square of Miracles
The ancient Maritime Republic of Pisa is renowned all over the world for the bizarre and beautiful sight that is the Leaning Tower. It’s the Cathedral’s Medieval bell tower that tilts dangerously to one side. Despite this you can climb it, and the view of the Square of Miracles is one of the most amazing sights in Tuscany. It gets pretty crowded so it’s better to come early in the morning or late in the afternoon, or even better to see the tower at night. A walk along the Lungarni and the city centre will complete your visit.
VAL D’ORCIA – World-famous views, and the towns of Pienza and Montalcino
This is where you’ll find the most famous of all Tuscany views. Those soft rolling hills, white roads and lines of cypress trees, idyllic spots made famous by countless films and postcards. The Val d’Orcia is a rural area south of Siena where some of the most scenic roads of Tuscany are. Enchanting small towns like romantic Pienza, and wine-capital Montalcino and Montepulciano complete the picture. Definitely one of the top destinations in Tuscany.
CHIANTI REGION – The home of Chianti wine
Wine lovers shouldn’t miss the Chianti region for the world. This area between Florence and Siena is famous as a producer of top quality wines, and wine tasting opportunities here are varied and plentiful. It’s the perfect destination to get a taste of the good life in Tuscany. The beautiful countryside views add pleasure to this already pleasure-rich land where vineyards and olive groves soak up the sun and give the landscape a relaxing, idyllic atmosphere. Perfect for a regenerating holiday.
LUCCA – Discover the city of 100 churches
Lucca is increasingly becoming known and appreciated amongst tourists, but it still retains its authentic feel. Enclosed by a set of massive ramparts, the city centre is a jewel made of lovely squares and Medieval churches. A very laid-back and pleasant destination, made for a romantic holiday or a family trip. One of Italy’s most famous composers Giacomo Puccini was from here and as a bonus you can listen to his operas in his home town.
TUFA TOWS in the Maremma – A truly unusual sight
This must be the most unusual sight in Tuscany. Pitigliano, Sovana and Sorano, known as the ‘tufa towns’ are hilltop towns located in the Maremma region in southern Tuscany. Their Etruscan past is visible in the necropoli that are found in this area, and the landscape of tufa rock is weirdly fascinating. The ancient buildings have been constructed out the rock itself, a surreal sight. Despite the fact that this area is one of the most charming destinations in Tuscany, it looks and feels well off the beaten track.
CORTONA – Beauty under the Tuscan sun
One of Tuscany’s most famous hilltop towns, Cortona was made famous by the novel “Under the Tuscan sun”. Arriving in Cortona and seeing it perched on the top of a hill, with the beautiful church of Santa Maria delle Grazie on the slope of the hill is quite a view. Once inside the city walls, you find a lovely Medieval city centre, ancient buildings and a beautiful main square. Plus little boutique shops where local pottery is sold, and plenty of welcoming locales. Some fine Etruscan remains are hosted in the Accademia Etrusca Museum. It has become quite a popular destination, so try to visit out of season if you can.
ELBA ISLAND – Experience beach life at its best
The best way to live the Mediterranean life experience is on Elba Island. Just over an hour by ferry from Piombino, the Elba Island is the biggest of the Archipelago Toscano National Park, and offers lovely beaches, clear water, picturesque villages and plenty of opportunity to enjoy nature. Hiking or biking in the Elba Island are amongst the best activities apart from enjoying the unspoiled beaches.