The Tuscany region is one of the most visited and desirable destinations on earth and at the top of every wanderlust’s bucket list. It isn’t any wonder why with its Renaissance art cities like Florence, Siena, and Pisa and medieval hilltop towns like San Gimignano. Then there are the rolling hills and endless vineyards of Chianti and Val d’Orcia which produce some of the best wines in the entire world. Its Versilia coastline on the Tyrrhenian Sea with luxurious destinations like Viareggio even impress celebrities. We’ve compiled a “top 10” list of sorts of what to see in Tuscany, so let’s go! Andiamo!
No one can visit Italy without seeing the capital of Tuscany- Firenze. Florence is the birthplace of the Renaissance and it’s evident even 500 years later. In fact, 2019 marked the 500 year anniversary of the death of the great Leonardo da Vinci.
The magnificent Duomo with its bell tower and baptistry is the beating heart of the city and the start of every proper tour. One of the most photographed bridges in the entire world is the famous Ponte Vecchio which should be seen from various vantage points and at different hours. Another absolute must-see is the Piazza della Signoria and for a stunning view of the entire city from above, Piazzale Michelangelo.
No visit to Tuscany is complete without seeing the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. It is conveniently located in the Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles) along with the Duomo, the bell tower, and the baptistry. It truly is miraculous and tourists enjoy it because it is surrounded by a large green lawn and there is no car traffic. The river Arno also runs through Pisa which means it too has some beautiful bridges.
Siena‘s famous palio horserace has been going on for over 800 years in the Piazza del Campo. This is one of the most beautiful squares in all of Italy. The Gaia fountain as well as the famous tower, Torre del Mangia, are also located here. Just a short distance away is the Romanesque-Gothic Duomo along with the Piccolomini Library.
The walled city of Lucca is much more relaxed than the first three cities already mentioned. Its famous Piazza dell’Anfiteatro is truly charming. For a breathtaking view, climb to the top of either the Giunigi Tower or the Tower of the Hours (Torre delle Ore), or both! They are the only two surviving towers of the 250 that originally graced the town during the Middle Ages.
The ancient Etruscan city of Arezzo isn’t always a priority for tourists but it should be! This city still has a Roman amphitheater as well as the Saint Francis Basilica and Bacci Chapel. Its Piazza Grande or Piazza Vasari is the heart of the city and also where its famous Christmas market is held.
The quintessential Tuscan hilltop hamlet of San Gimignano with its 13th-century walls and magnificent towers has become one of the most popular destinations in all of Italy. Small and quaint, this is the ideal place to window shop and taste Tuscan dishes.
Speaking of Tuscan dishes, the region is not only synonymous with art but also with food and wine. Chianti is a region within the region that produces some of the world’s best wine- Chianti Classico DOCG. This is the perfect area to explore by car stopping along the way at the numerous castles, monasteries, and of course, wineries and getting a true taste of Italy!
Siena’s Val d’Orcia region is another example of a region within a region. This is one of the most photographed landscapes in the entire world. Its wines are among the most imported in the world with names like Brunello di Montalcino DOCG and Rosso di Montalcino DOC. The entire valley is breathtaking in any season and full of delightful towns.
Tuscany borders the Tyrrhenian sea and its luxurious stretch of riviera known as Versilia has been drawing the rich and famous since the 1950s. Viareggio is probably the most well known with its annual Carnival celebration being one of the most famous in all of Europe. Other cities include Forte dei Marmi, Marina di Pietrasanta, and Torre del Lago.
With just a short ferry ride from Piombino (Livorno), you can be on the beautiful island of Elba part of the Tuscan archipelago. Napoleon was exiled here in 1814 and after visiting, you’ll agree it wasn’t very much of a punishment. The turquoise waters are some of the clearest in all of the Mediterranean. You can also visit 5 of the other islands in the archipelago with the exception of Montecristo.
We hope that this article has inspired you to plan your next dream vacation in magical Tuscany!