When it comes to an Italian holiday you really can’t go wrong, but if you’re looking for a touch of inspiration for your next vacation here’s a quick guide to the highlights of Tuscany.
Ranked among the 50 most influential fashion capitals of the world and a declared UNESCO World Heritage site, is the city of Florence.
Arguably the most dazzling city in Tuscany, Florence is known as la culla del Rinascimento, or the cradle of the Renaissance.
This monumental city sprawls the rushing waters of the Arno river, and is the very birthplace of the Italian language.
The most notable point in Florence’s history is perhaps the reign of the Medici family.
During the Renaissance the Medici family contributed a great deal to the artistic culture of Florence by commissioning works from artists such as Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Botticelli.
Where To Go
- Cattedrale Santa Maria del Fiore, otherwise known as the Duomo is positively awe inspiring. For a small fee you can climb the steps all the way to the top to get an incomparable view of this beautiful city.
- A short walk from the duomo is the Galleria dell’Accademia which houses the famous sculpture of David by Michelangelo along with countless other sculptures and works of art from the renaissance.
Our day trip to Florence puts you right in the middle of all the action AND gives you plenty of time to see Pisa as well.
Nestled in the heart of the Chianti wine region and just a touch off the beaten path lies the cozy little town of Greve.
This Tuscan jewel is just s quick trip South of Florence and into the rolling hills and lush green valley of the Greve river.
The lifestyle of the Greve people is very relaxed and friendly so don’t hesitate to chat up one of the locals while you grab an espresso or a glass of vino at one of the cafes.
Greve is a quaint and traditional town that can be easily explored by foot so it’s perfect for those looking for a relaxing truly Tuscan afternoon.
The main square, Piazza Matteotti, is the perfect spot for a typical Tuscan lunch in the sun. Grab a table outside at one of the many restaurants and order a bottle of the house chianti, you won’t be disappointed.
Every Saturday morning this square transforms into a bustling marketplace where local vendors sell everything from fresh produce to trinkets and crafts.
Where To Go
- Chiesa Santa Croce is the 11th century church just at the end of the piazza that houses works of art from the famous school of Fra Angelico.
- Macelleria Falorni is one of Italy’s oldest and most prestigious butcher shops which offers an impressive selection of Tuscan delicacies that you really don’t want to miss out on.
Situated on the Serchio river is the city of Lucca, capital of the Lucca province.
It doesn’t get more Tuscan than Lucca, a tranquil scenic town characterized by narrow cobblestoned streets and
The most notable feature of Lucca is undoubtedly the impressively intact renaissance-era walls that completely surround its historic center.
Lucca dates back to the time of the Etruscans and was later established as a Roman city in 180 BC.
Preserved to this day the city is still laid out true to the Roman rectangular grid.
Where To Go
- The historic walls that surround this city are an absolute must-see. These towering walls that once protected Lucca from intruders long ago, have since been transformed into a charming pedestrian walkway dotted with benches and parks that boast a spectacular view.
- Cattedrale di San Martino, or the Duomo of Lucca, is a fine example of 14th century gothic style architecture and home to the most prized relic in all of Lucca. The Holy Face of Lucca (Volto Santo di Lucca) is a cedar wood crucifix carved long ago by Nicodemus himself.
Once an Etruscan village in 3rd century BC, San Gimignano is now a charming medieval town settled atop one of the high hills in the province of Siena.
San Gimignano has been recognized as a World Heritage Site thanks to its remarkable efforts in preserving the city’s fascinating history.
To this day 14 of the iconic medieval towers remain intact and unscathed by modern urbanization.
Although Tuscany is known for its fantastic red chianti wines, San Gimignano has long been praised for the renowned Vernaccia di San Gimignano, a white wine that has been considered Italy’s finest since the days of the renaissance.
Where To Go
- The Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta is in the heart of San Gimignano.
The basilica is home to countless significant Frescoes as well as the relics of the patron Saint Geminianus
- Palazzo del Popolo has been the civic authority site of San Gimignano since the 13th Century.
More splendid than your average city hall, this courthouse is adorned with a collection of historic frescoes and even its very own gallery on the upper floor.
Perched high atop a hill overlooking the Tuscan landscape is Siena, the capital of the province by the same name.
Undoubtedly, the first thing you will notice about this enchanting town is the captivating medieval cityscape surrounded by the dense green countryside.
Siena was first settled during the time of the, but legend states that this city was later founded by the two sons of Remus himself.
The main square, Piazza del Campo, is home to the legendary Palio, which is truly a sight to behold if you happen to be in Tuscany during July or August.
The historic center of Siena has even been declared a World Heritage Site.
Where To Go
- The gorgeous Siena Cathedral was created between the 12th century and 1380 and is a beautiful example of Romanesque-Gothic style architecture. From the intricate detailing of the inlaid mosaic floor to the astounding display of frescoes in the Piccolomini library, visiting the Duomo of Siena is practically a requirement of every Tuscan vacation.
- Palazzo Pubblico and the Torre del Mangia are next on your Siena to-do list. While Palazzo Pubblico is a masterpiece in and of itself, the museum within houses countless works of art by artists such as Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Simone Martini and Pietro Lorenzetti.
Our favorite tours to Siena are definitely The Best of Tuscany, The Historical Tour, and The Countryside Medieval Tour.