Tuscany is a region in central Italy with an area of about 8,900 square miles. It is known for its landscapes, traditions, and history. It is regarded as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, and it has been home to many figures influential in the history of art and science. With its spectacular scenery, hill towns, and relaxing Tuscany villas, it is one of Italy’s top vacation destinations. Tuscany’s travel attractions include historic cities and art, medieval hill towns, beaches, beautiful countryside, and of course, great wine and food.
The region’s capital is Florence, which is one of the most important Renaissance architectural centers. Its Duomo is magnificent but crowded with tourists, same with their large piazza. Their stunning piazza is a wonder to behold. Florence has several interesting museums filled with many famous paintings and sculptures. Medici palaces and gardens are also located in this area. There are also many attractions such as the wine regions of San Gimignano and Poggibonsi and, above all, friendly welcoming people, great food, and good weather.
Siena is a medieval hill town in Tuscany famous for its large fan-shaped piazza known as the Piazza del Campo. Siena offers other good tourist sites like its cathedrals and museums. In July, the majority of the tourists and locals loose themselves over the free music festivals in the streets, which run from the early evenings into the early morning hours. I can recommend Siena as one of the best locations where you can enjoy a fantastic and wide variety of music from jazz, soul, pop and classical. As restaurants can be expensive in Italy, look for small family-run trattorias for some of the best meal values.
Lucca is a city having one of the best-preserved walls in Italy. On top of the walls are paths for walking and bicycling. There are plenty of cafes and picnic spots along the route, and there are children’s parks as well and to really wear the children out, you can take them up the Torre Guinigi tower. It has 230 steps with ancient oaks on top. Lucca also has several well-preserved towers and by climbing to the top, you can get a fabulous view of the city. Lucca is also an ideal shopping center and has great restaurants.
Another great walled city in Tuscany is Montepulciano, which is built on a sloping limestone ridge. It has many beautiful Renaissance buildings and has one of the most impressive main squares in Tuscany. You should also take a day trip to Montalcino, a classic walled town set high on top of a hill. Montalcino is known for its great wine, called Vino Nobile, and it has castle at the edge of the town that offers wine tasting. You can spend your mornings wandering around the narrow streets and squares. The perfect place to do this is in the Enoteca La Fortezza, which is located inside this fourteenth-century fortress. The stone vaults are filled with excellent wines and you can also buy local prosciutto, salami, and pecorino cheese.
In northern Tuscany, you can find Pisa, which is famous for its leaning tower, but Pisa has much more to offer to the traveler, including its medieval center, beautiful Baptistery, parks, statues, and the homes of Lord Byron and Shelley. You should also visit the hilltop town of Cortona, which was used as the backdrop of various films like “Under the Tuscan Sun.” Cortona is surrounded by Etruscan walls, and much of its history is retained in its architecture. Cortona has great views, grand buildings, relaxing Tuscany villas, fascinating medieval architectures, and a large ex-pat community so you’ll have no problem finding English-speaking people around.