The Best Of Tuscany

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Tuscany is a region of uncommon wealth in terms of art, history, culture, food, wine and even landscape. Hilltop towns with fortresses and city walls date back to Etruscan times. The Renaissance art in Florence, the Gothic architecture of Siena, the vineyards in the Chianti region and the unhurried pace of village life present a rich kaleidoscope of Tuscan life.
Below are listed some of the best attractions for your holiday travel through Tuscany.

Florence

This is a treasure trove of the finest Italian art, architecture and culture. You will need more than two days to take in all that Florence has to offer. Some of the best known artists, scientists and philosophers were from Florence – Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Dante, Puccini and Galileo, to name a few.
Brunelleschi’s majestic octagonal Duomo dominates the city’s skyline and is a must-see for every visitor. You can climb up to the dome for great views of the city. The Uffizi gallery houses one of the world’s best art collections and the Galleria dell’Accademia has Michelangelo’s famous David. There are scores of museums, churches and mansions to see in Florence so you will be spoilt for choice.

Pisa

Tourists throng to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa whose gravity-defying tilt began even as construction began. The ground under the tower is shaky and the quality of architecture is also a bit suspect and these two factors have combined to make the tower tilt.

The tower is one of three grand structures on the sprawling Campo Di Miracoli in Pisa. The Cathedral and Battistero are the other two unique structures next to the tower. Most tourists limit their visit to Pisa to the Campo but do make time to explore the town.

Siena

A beautifully preserved medieval town, Siena’s historic centre is enclosed within city walls. The shell-shaped Piazza del Campo is a slanting central square. On July 2 and August 16 of every year it is the site for the historic Palio or horse race which draws thousands of visitors. The Palazzo Publico which has the city’s main museum and the Torre del Mangia, or bell tower, are at one end of the Piazza. The Palazzo’s Gothic architecture is remarkable. Siena’s Cathedral is widely acknowledged to be Italy’s finest Gothic churches. There’s plenty to explore in the city and it’s a pleasure to just walk down its historic streets and alleys.

San Gimignano

As you drive towards the hilltop town of San Gimignano, you will see 14 towers rising, like skyscrapers, above the rest of the city. That’s why San Gimignano is also referred to as the medieval Manhattan. Today only 14 of the original 72 towers remain. Collegiata is the main church although there are many more in the small town. The Palazzo Del Popolo is one of the major places to see in San Gimignano. The Museo Civico and Sala di Dante with a grand fresco by Lippo Memmi are within the palazzo as is the Torre Grossa, a 54-meter high tower that provides great views of the town and the surrounding countryside.

Montepulciano

It sits high up on a steep hill. The views of the Tuscan countryside from the town are superb. This region produces some of Tuscany’s finest wines and is most famous for its Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. So apart from wandering around the central square – Piazza Grande – where all the main buildings are concentrated, head for Palazzo Ricci on Via Ricci. Palazzo Ricci is one of the town’s wine ‘cantine’. Check out the wine cellars and indulge in some free wine tasting! Montepulciano is a nice place to have lunch and walk through cobbled alleys.

Montalcino

This town, like Montepulciano, is set high on a hill and you can see its imposing spires as you drive up. The town is best known for producing the Brunello – often rated as Italy’s best red wine – so don’t forget to buy some from the town’s many cellars. A fortress from where you can admire expansive views of the countryside dominates the town.

Radda in Chianti

This is another pretty town where you can stop for lunch before departing on a wine tour at one of the nearby vineyards. The drive to Radda will take you past some of Tuscany’s best landscapes.

Badia a Contlibuono

It’s an estate located about 7kms from Radda and you have to keep an eye out for the small road that takes you up to the estate. On reaching the top, you will discover an absolutely tranquil, almost isolated place. The abbey here was founded in the 11th century and today serves as the owners’ home. Some parts of the abbey are open to visitors and there’s a family vinery which produces the famous Chianti Classico.
Not to be missed is a meal at its restaurant.

Cortona, Pistoia, Arezzo, Lucca and Volterra are also some of the other places of interest. The best thing to do is to hire a car and explore Tuscany at your own pace, stopping at quaint villages to sample local cuisine and leisurely driving past olive groves and fertile vineyards.

Another incredibly scenic area in Italy is its northern region where you will come across across tranquil lakes and picturesque town and villages. Read more about Italian Lakes Holiday.

This entry was posted on Monday, August 17th, 2009 at 7:03 am and is filed under Tuscany Destinations. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “The Best Of Tuscany”

  1. Radda in Chianti : informations, photos, carte, vue satellite Says:

    […] Panzano, and Radda in Chianti Classico; Bolgheri and Bolgheri Sassicaia elsewhere in Tuscany; …the best of tuscanyradda in chianti. this is another pretty town where you can stop for lunch before departing on a […]

  2. Peter Bazner Says:

    Cheers for the post, your site looks solid! I’ve wanted to visit the seven wonders of the world since I was young and this totally re-inspired me!

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