Treasures of Tuscany
Experience the treasures of Tuscany through the eyes of the people that have visited this enchanting destination.
Bordered by the Apennine Mountains and the Tyrrhenian Sea, Tuscany covers an area of almost 23,000 km2. Praised for its fabulous wines, priceless art and spectacular countryside, it is the most well-known of the twenty Italian regions and one of Europe’s most captivating travel destinations. It is not possible to see everything that Tuscany has to offer in one trip but we have highlighted some of the region’s ‘must-see’ attractions.
GET ARTY IN FLORENCE
The capital of Tuscany, Florence is home to one of the greatest collections of Renaissance art in the world. Take in the works of Botticelli, Michelangelo and Raphael, among others, at the Uffizi Gallery and pay homage to Michelangelo’s David, one of the world’s most recognisable works, at the Accademia Gallery.
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ATTEND ITALY’S MOST FAMOUS HORSE RACE
Siena is not only a beautifully-preserved medieval town, but also home to Italy’s most famous horse race, Il Palio. Taking place in the famous square, Piazza del Campo, this is a race that is as much about pageantry, civic identity and Sienese pride than it is about a bareback horse race. The race takes place twice a year, on July 2 and August 16.
THE LEANING TOWER OF PISA
Whilst the Leaning Tower is the main attraction of Pisa, there is plenty more to see, from the Duomo and Baptistery to the Camposanto with its beautiful frescoes and impressive tombs. Once a maritime power to rival Genoa and Venice, Pisa has an elite university with many students across Italy competing for places. This has resulted in a vibrant cafe and bar scene, acting as a contrast to the Romanesque buildings, Gothic churches and Renaissance piazzas.
EXPLORE THE LAID-BACK CITY OF LUCCA
The perfect spot to unwind, Lucca is a charming town filled with churches, terracotta roofs and cobblestone streets and encircled by ramparts built in the 16th and 17th centuries. Perhaps the most essential sight is Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, a former Roman amphitheatre which today is lined with shops and bars. There are also several stand-out churches such as Duomo di San Martino and San Frediano which are worth visiting.
CHEER ON COMPETITORS AT JOUST OF THE SARACEN
Dating back to the Middle Ages, the Joust of the Saracen is a famous medieval costume festival held twice a year in June and September in Arezzo, a compelling city known for its churches, museums and sloping Piazza Grande. The jousters and their horses sport the colours and symbols of Arezzo’s four districts, which are all hoping to win the Golden Lance. Rather than aiming their lances at each other, contestants score points by hitting a wooden target held by a carving of a Saracen king.
La que había montada en #Arezzo: media ciudad disfrazada con trompetas, tambores, estandartes, lanzas, ballestas.. y unos locos a caballo embistiendo contra un monigote de madera!! 💪👍 #JustaDelSarraceno #GiostraDelSaracino #TurismoFriki #TurismoMedieval #Toscana #Italia #Italy #JoustOfTheSaracen #Tuscan
DRINK WINE IN CHIANTI
A hilly region of central Tuscany, Chianti is renowned for producing some of Italy’s most esteemed wines. With cypress, olive and oak-wood trees, a vineyard-strewn landscape and picturesque castles and villages, it is also one of Tuscany’s most beautiful regions. The main towns are Greve, Radda and Castellina but there are plenty of smaller walled villages such as Volpaia and castle estates offering wine tasting opportunities galore.
WANDER THE STREETS OF THE BELLE TORRI
Described as Italy’s ‘Medieval Manhattan’, San Gimignano is famed for its spectacular skyline which is dominated by fifteen medieval towers. Beautifully preserved, the village has a fine array of religious and secular frescoes and is surrounded by beautiful countryside.
HIT THE HEIGHTS OF MONTALCINO
One of Tuscany’s highest towns, Montalcino is at the centre of the prestigious Brunello wine region and part of the picturesque Val d’Orcia region which includes many superb villages, castle, hamlets and farmhouses. Montalcino has scarcely changed since the 16th century, offering stunning views of the valley as well as a 14th century fortress which has remained practically intact since the Middle Ages and often becomes the setting for festivals, concerts and events including the Jazz and Wine Festival in July.