There is no better place to admire the beauty of nature than in Tuscany, which was created with love, being perfectly aged. Let yourself amazed and get ready to discover the place you will easily fall in love with.
Tuscany’s wonderful landscapes with green hills interlaced with vineyards is the perfect place to relax your senses while walking through the forest, smelling the fresh air, viewing the vivid green of the trees, getting closer to the intimate, authentic atmosphere and weather.
Tuscany has two very diverse faces – the first one is characterized by art such as Florence, Siena, Lucca and Pisa, followed by the second one which is mainly considered to be the countryside of the region, with small villages, castles, villas and vineyards.
Unquestionably the best known region of Italy among foreign travelers, Tuscany conjures up romantic images of idyllic hill towns bristling with Medieval towers, flowing green landscapes of low hills, and fields of sunflowers. It’s a tough reputation to live up to, but Tuscany does it with ease. This landscape is studded with some of Italy’s best-loved cities and attractions: Florence, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Siena, and lovely little Lucca. Add the island of Elba and a clutch of hill towns, each with its own distinct character and history, and consider that this was the cradle of one of the greatest artistic and philosophic revolutions in Europe’s history – the Renaissance. It’s no wonder everyone wants to visit Tuscany. Entire books have been written cataloging its many tourist attractions, but here, you’ll find the cream – those top places you won’t want to miss.
Weather in Tuscany
Best travel months are April, May, June, September, and October. The climate in Tuscany is generally mild with differences depending on the geography of each area. Winter offers many sunny, mild days but nights are cold, particularly in hill areas. The coolest months are January and February, with January being a bit cooler.
How do you get here?
If you want to get in Tuscany, you can fly to the main airport in Pisa. From Pisa you can fly direct to United Kingdom with British Airways, EasyJet and Ryanair. Florence’s Peretola airport has no capacity for intercontinental flights, and as the low-cost airlines avoid it, it’s also a relatively expensive destination. There are direct trains from Pisa Airport train station to Florence every 2 hours (journey time 57 minutes), and more frequent connections that involve a change at Pisa Centrale.
The train is a reasonably fast and efficient way to get between Tuscany’s main towns and the places in-between.
There are endless possibilities of things to do and explore once you step on the magnificent region of Tuscany. First of all:
- Step back in history and learn about the most important facts of the area.
- Pleasure your senses with the taste of the local wine
- Discover the artistic treasures of Tuscany during the day trips
- Explore the charming villages such as: Florence, Siena, Pisa and Lucca
Points of interest in Tuscany
Piazza del Duomo and Renaissance
If you visit Italy, you need to visit the heart and soul of the Renaissance. Florence is the place where it all began. This city – its humanist thinkers, painters, sculptors, craftsmen, architects, and the aristocracy whose patronage supported and nurtured the artistic genius and gave it the freedom to create – pulled Italy and subsequently Europe out of the Dark Ages and into the age of enlightenment. Everywhere you look, you’ll find the very best examples of this exciting rebirth, but the highest single concentration is in and around Piazza del Duomo. Dominating the skyline is Brunelleschi’s great dome. Rising beside it is Giotto’s marble-faced tower. Below is the baptistery with Ghiberti’s masterpieces, the incomparable bronze doors of the Gates of Paradise.
Pisa’s Leaning Tower and Campo dei Miracoli
One of the Italy’s great landmark is the famed Torre Pendente – Leaning Tower – stands askew beside the duomo (cathedral) and baptistery in an open space known as the Campo dei Miracoli, the field of miracles. The buildings are indeed a miraculous combination of artistic talents, and the delicate marble arcades of Pisa’s 12th-century.
Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in Siena
In your Tuscany vacation you need to visit the one of the most magnificent Italy’s cathedral. Sienna’s magnificent cathedral is a work of art inside and out. One of the finest works of Italian Gothic, Santa Maria Assunta has a stunning façade created by Giovanni Pisano with patterns of white, green and red marble, decorated with sculptures,
“Old Bridge” in Italian – is the most famous bridge in Florence and undoubtedly one of the city’s most illustrious landmarks. It is an incredibly breathtaking sight when seen from afar, and even more so when you walk across it!
Piazzale Michelangiolo and San Miniato in Florence
On your list of things to see in Tuscany you must include a magical sunset in the iconic Piazzale Michelangiolo, where you can find the Michelangelo’s statue of David. We recommend you to visit the lovely church of San Miniato, a little higher up behind the piazzale. Behind its striking striped façade of green and white marble is a Tuscan Romanesque interior of mosaics, inlaid marble floors, painted wood, frescoes, and glazed terra cotta. The highlight, however, is in the Sacristy, whose walls are covered in 14th-century painted wood panels.
The largest of the islands off Tuscany, Elba is a 10-kilometer ferry trip from the mainland port of Piombino. Its mild climate, scenic beauty, historical attractions, and excellent scuba diving off its cliff-lined coast have made it increasingly popular with tourists. Its past reflects that of many other Mediterranean islands, with periods of control by Pisa, Genoa, Lucca, Spain and, after his defeat in 1814 by Napoleon, who was granted full sovereign rights over the island. Reminders of him are everywhere — Piazza Napoleone, Via Napoleone, his official residence of Villa dei Molini in the main town of Portoferraio, and his summer retreat of Villa Napoleone on the slopes of the wooded Monte San Martino.
Medici Villas and Gardens
The birth of the Italian Renaissance, during the 14th and 15th century is a result of the contribution of great artists, starting with Dante and Giotto. Under the patronage of the Medici, an extraordinary blossoming of intellect and culture developed in Florence like: Brunelleschi, Donatello, Alberti, Ghiberti, Masaccio, Paolo Uccello, Botticelli, Piero della Francesca, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.
If the Renaissance gave us Michelangelo or da Vinci, then the Medici themselves gave us the Renaissance! The Medici family, also known as the House of Medici, emigrated to Florence from the Tuscan hillside sometime during the 12th century. Through banking and commerce, this family soon rose to become one of the wealthiest families in Italy. However, it wasn’t until the 15th century that the Medici began turning their wealth into political capital, making themselves the unofficial, yet undisputed, rulers of Florence.
The unique setting of the House of Medici can be explored during an organized tour, which offers you the possibility of walking through the state apartments and to get a flavor of the Medici life style and times.
Palazzo Vecchio offers Roman ruins, a Medieval fortress and amazing Renaissance chambers and paintings. If you are an art and history lover, you need to visit the symbol of civil power in Florence. Construction on the solid fortress began in 1299 above the ruins of the destroyed Uberti Ghibelline towers, testimony of the final victory of the Guelph faction.
Lucca’s Centro Storico (Historic Center)
Lucca is located in northern Tuscany in the historic Garfagnana territory. Not only Lucca’s fascinating town centre is worth a visit: its surroundings offer relaxing journeys, ancient legends, and natural wonders just waiting to be discovered.
Festivals and Events
Pistoia Blues Festival. The music festival, with artists of international renown, returns to vibrate the old town for over 3 weeks. The festival is in its 38th year and is organised by the city of Pistoia, the Tuscany Region and the Association Bluesin.
Carnival of Viareggio. Is an event annually held in the Tuscan city of Viareggio. Its main characteristic is given by the parade of floats and masks, usually made of paper-pulp, depicting caricatures of popular people, such as politicians, showmen and sportsmen; the parade is held on the Viareggio avenue located alongside the local beach. When? February or March (according to Easter) Where? Viareggio avenue.
Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. Music has always played a fundamental role in Florence. Today the centre of Florentine music is the Florence Opera House – the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino – which organises one of the oldest and most prestigious European festivals through the realisation of annual concert, opera and dance seasons of international calibre. When? May and June, Where? Teatro Comunale Via Solferino 15 – 50123 Firenze.
Siena Palio. The Palio is the most important event in Siena, The Palio horse race takes place twice a year, one the 2nd of July (Palio of Provenzano, in honor of the Madonna of Provenzano) and on August 16th (Palio of the Assumption, in honor of the Virgin Mary’s Assumption).
During this special occasion, the main square in Siena, the Piazza del Campo, is prepared for the race as the ring around the square is covered with tuff clay. When? July 2 and August 16 every year. Where? Siena.