Tuscany almost needs no introduction: warm and gorgeous landscapes, exquisite food and wine unlike any other offered in Italy, and a culture rich in art and history. Let Europe Express lead you across this beautiful terrain as you experience Tuscany!
The most famous landmark in the Tuscan region, the Leaning Tower of Pisa took nearly two centuries to complete construction. The tower had already begun to tilt when construction was completed in 1372, and it continued to tilt until efforts were made in 1993 to stabilize the tower. Now it leans 3.9 degrees off vertical, but is still stable for visitors to climb the stairs. There is a limit of 40 people to go into the tower at a time, and bags must be left at the luggage desk. Children under 8 are not allowed, and children between 8 and 12 must hold the hand of an adult.
If you want to see the best collection of Renaissance art in the world, look no further than Uffizi Gallery. This museum is home to some of the greatest Renaissance art in history, including Boticelli, Giotto, Cimabue, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Raffaello. It was originally built for Cosimo I de’Medici to house the Florentine magistrate offices, hence the name uffizi, meaning “offices”, and took from 1560 to 1581 before it was completed. Cosimo’s successor, Francesco I, commissioned the upper floors to be modified to house the Medici family’s expansive art collection. The museum has been undergoing renovations to expand the exhibition space so many of the works that are usually kept in storage can be put on display.
Chianti is the region where the grapes, who get their namesake from the region, are produced to create the scarlet-colored Chianti wine. Chianti is considered the premier winemaking region of Italy. Many of the local vineyards can be visited without an advance reservation, but you’ll want to check in advance to be sure. If you’re lucky enough to visit on the last Sunday in May, many of the local wineries will open their doors for the festival of Cantine Aperte. Besides wine, Chianti offers a breath of fresh air away from the crowded Tuscan cities of Florence and Siena, a chance to explore the breathtaking countryside and some of the smaller towns.
The birthplace of one of the most famous Catholic saints, St. Francis, Assisi has an ethereal beauty that draws visitors in every year. A small medieval town, Assisi is an ideal place to meander along the cobblestone streets and medieval homes. Most of the streets lead to the basilica of St. Francis, still a place of worship for many of the locals. Take an audio tour of the basilica and discover its history. The walls and ceilings of the upper portion of the church are embellished with frescoes from the school of Giotto, and the lower sanctuary is the final resting place of St. Francis himself.
Near the Uffizi Gallery is the Museo Galileo, a science museum named after the inspiring scientist born in Pisa. Some of the items on display include astronomical and mathematical instruments, including telescopes, exquisitely painted globes, barometers, watches, and clocks, as well as two of Galileo’s fingers and one of his teeth. The collection was gathered by the Medici family, starting with Cosimo I all the way until the Lorraine dynasty. There are plenty of interactive exhibits as well, where you can learn firsthand how the instruments work and why.
If you’re interested in a glimpse into the mind of one of the greatest geniuses the world has ever known, then you’ll want to visit the Leonardo da Vinci Museum. Many of the machines da Vinci designed during his life have been built to scale, and many of them are interactive. You can push and pull levers and discover how da Vinci designed them to be used. There are machines of war, machines utilizing mechanics and hydraulics, and even machines that were designed to fly. The museum is open everyday, excluding Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Once a Roman marketplace, Piazza del Campo is a sloping piazza in the center of Siena. Since the mid-12th century, the Piazza has been the social center of the city, and it’s pie-shaped designed represents the 9 council members at the time of its construction. The Fonte Gaia, the fountain constructed in the 14th century, is located in the upper section of the Piazza, and has reconstructed panels due to weathering of the originals. Locals and visitors alike love to picnic in the relaxing atmosphere of the Piazza, and its a popular spot to enjoy pre-dinner drinks and cocktails.
Travel Through Gorgeous Tuscany With Europe Express
Rome, Tuscany, Florence: three of Italy’s most popular destinations combined for one amazing holiday. Start your vacation in Rome, and spend four days among the ancient ruins. You then travel by rail to Florence where you will pick up your car rental and make your way to the rolling hills of Tuscany. You will have three days to explore the region full of sunflowers. Then drive yourself back to Florence you will return car and explore the many museums and galleries housing famous art in this renowned city.
Experience the very best of Rome and Florence – in style. This 6-night package will teach you the ins and outs of Italian gastronomy and winemaking. Relax in comfort with first-class train travel, private transfers and deluxe hotel accommodations. Enjoy a cooking lesson & grocery tour, wine tasting in Chianti, and special evenings in Rome and Tuscany. See local food markets, the ancient Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, St. Peter’s Basilica, Florence’s dazzling Duomo and the picture-perfect Ponte Vecchio on your Italian culinary adventure!
Those who spend a day or a lifetime under the Tuscan Sun are inspired. Be it a writer, poet or painter, all that come to this timeless and beautiful region are filled with the richness of its land, soothed by the pleasure of its bounty and warmed by the hospitality of its people. Here is where the past and present come together. Its rolling hills are still fertile grounds for vineyard and olive groves. Hill towns look down upon this lush countryside, many encircled by ancient walls and cypress trees. Their majestic palace remains and medieval town halls are gathering places for locals and visitors alike. Come be inspired yourself with this six night package including airfare and car rental or extend your stay under the Tuscan Sun.
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