Once home to Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, and Michelangelo, the breathtaking region of Tuscany extends from the sparkling Tyrrhenian Sea to the snow-capped Apennine Mountains. This valley cradles some of the most enlightening and incredible experiences Italy and Europe have to offer–whether your passion is good food, breathtaking views, or fine wine, you’ll find something to inspire you under the Tuscan sun.
There is a lot to see and do in Tuscany, the difficulty is really where to start. Certainly most should start with Florence, and continue on to Siena and Pisa. The cities of Arezzo, Cortona, San Gimignano and Lucca are all a very worthwhile use of your travel time. One of the beauties of the region is that it is dynamic and ever changing which begs one to return again and again.
The busiest tourist season is typically during late spring (around April to May) to the beginning of fall (around September). It’s no surprise that Tuscany is such a popular destination in Italy: Renaissance-era buildings and farm homes dot the vineyard-lined hillsides, and some of the world’s best Italian food and wine are to be found here.
One of the most amazing areas of Tuscany is the coastal city of Viareggio, which hugs the crystal clear waters of the Tyrrhenian. Founded during the 12th century, this little piece of Tuscany is credited with the production of some of the world’s most beautiful yachts. The city’s love of boats and access to the water keep its seaports overwhelmed by boats of all shapes and sizes, making this a seafarer’s paradise. The area is also home to one of the highlights of any trip to Italy – Carnivale. This tradition, which occurs during February and March, is a European favorite. The entire town embraces it, offering themed menus at restaurants while the larger-than-life papier-mâché floats dominate the streets to the delight of spectators. Wine flows freely during this festival as a matter of course—literary travelers will remember that Edgar Allen Poe’s “Cask of Amontillado” took place during Carnivale in Italy.
Visit Lucca. Lucca is a Tuscan town dating from 180BC. Founded by the Romans, there’s a 1900 year old amphitheater to explore and a sixteenth century brick wall that encloses the city center. Travelers frequently enjoy walking along the 2.5 mile historic wall.
In the medieval microcosm of Siena, wine connoisseurs (or those who would like to be) can enroll in the Tuscan Wine School, a two-hour crash course that teaches wine basics like tasting, reading labels and recognizing native grapes while sampling the area’s best-known wine – Chianti.
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Florence is the capital of the region of Tuscany boasting a population of about 366,500. It is one of Italy’s most precious gems. Florence is home to some of the most incredible historical structures and sites in the world. The list ranges from Michelangelo’s David, to the Bell tower of Giotto, to the Piazza del Duomo, to the Ponte Vecchio. Of course, you can’t forget to visit the legendary Leaning Tower of Pisa. The town of Pisa is approximately 50 miles from Florence and is easily reached by train.There is no shortage of things to do in Florence: from the world-class dining, to exquisite historical monuments, to shopping some of the most legendary designers in fashion – it’s no wonder Florence is one of Italy’s top destinations.
The region of Tuscany truly is in a league of its own. It is the essence of all things majestic in Italy. The scenic coast, along with the historical wonder of cities like Florence, allows travelers can experience the culture of Italy like they’d never believe. Tuscany should be on the top of everyone’s ‘to-see’ list, it is sure not to disappoint!
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