06 Jul The best places to visit in Tuscany, Italy
Tuscany is one of the classic Mediterranean destinations. It is Italian refinement personified, where the essence of the Mediterranean surrounds you and your senses. When you think of Tuscany you probably imagine rural olive groves to walk through, small town piazzas to drink coffee in, bountiful renaissance art & architecture to admire and beautiful coastlines to bath and swim in. Tuscany is all these things, but it’s also a land of contrast, where you can eat ribollita soup made from stale bread, whilst sitting outside boutique shops. But before you read on, just a quick reminder to buy holidays insurance for Italy before you travel, such as a policy from Coverontrip Holidays Insurance (well, it would be remiss of us not to mention it ;))
Where to go in Tuscany?
The capital of Tuscany, Florence, is also its most popular tourist destination. It’s of course a must visit destination, but Tuscany doesn’t end with Florence, as this is just the start. Siena, Pisa, Luca and Arezzo are all must visit towns and even some smaller towns and villages should find their way onto your itinerary as well, such as San Gimignano, Cortona and Voltera. Here are some of the best places to go when you visit Tuscany:
As we say, this is a must-see destination, not just within Tuscany, but within the whole of Italy. Florence is the birthplace of the Renaissance and your senses will be immediately awakened by the stunningly elegant architecture upon your arrival into the city. The city has barely changed since the 15th and 16th centuries, which is why the city centre is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Alongside the chapels, churches and basilicas are art museums containing some of the most important collections of Renaissance art anywhere in the world, including works by Michelangelo and Botticcelli. As well as being the cradle of the renaissance, Florence is also the birth place of the fashion industry in Italy, with powerhouses such as Guccio Gucci and Roberto Cavalli first starting here and to this day Florence is one of the fashion capitals.
Sienna is easily one of the most beautiful small cities in Italy. In the centre of Siena is the Piazza del Campo, which is one of the largest medieval squares in the world. This is where the famous Palio Horse Race takes place each year, on 2nd July and 16th August and if you’re going to be travelling to Florence during either of these dates we strongly recommend visiting. The food and wine in Siena is also world class, with many local sausages, cheeses and Chianti that has to be tried.
Home to perhaps the most famous building in the world, Pisa has more to offer visitors than a building with shoddy foundations. The cathedral and baptistery are both beautiful examples of renaissance architecture. And the Piazza dei Cavalieri (Knight’s Square) is also well worth a visit, as is a stroll along the Arno River, ideally during sunset. For food, make sure you try some of the local cured ham before you leave town.
Just to the north of Pisa is the charming walled city of Lucca. It’s perfectly located for a day trip from Florence, but it’s also an ideal town for a short stay. Within the walls of this small city you’ll find cobbled streets and romantic piazzas packed full with pavement cafes and restaurants. This is also the home of legendary opera composer Giacomo Puccini, and the house he was born in is now a popular tourist attraction. Once you’ve finished exploring and have worked up an appetite, how about the tortelli lucchese (bright yellow pasta stuffed with local seasoned meat) or the zuppa di farro alla lucchese (borlotti bean and farro soup), two deliciously rustic dishes that’ll leave you coming back for more.
Located high atop a hill in southern Tuscany, the town of Montepulciano offers spectacular views across the Val d’Orcia and Val di Chiana valleys that surround it. One of the best attractions near here is the thermal baths of Montecatini, as well as many charming towns and villages in the surrounding valleys.
And remember, if you’re travelling to Tuscany or anywhere else in Italy; don’t forget to buy holidays insurance before you travel. With Coverontrip holidays insurance, we provide cover for a wide range of eventualities, including emergency medical, dental, cancellation, baggage & money, plus lots more. Our holidays insurance to Italy starts at just £5.74 for 3 days, based on a 25 year old, so get a quote today and enjoy Tuscany worry free!