Known for its picturesque landscapes with rolling hills and winding roads lined with cypress trees, Tuscany is undoubtedly one of the best-known places to visit in Italy among foreign travelers. The region of Tuscany is home to some of the most romantic cities and idyllic hill towns bristling with medieval towers, flowing green landscapes of low hills, and fields of sunflowers. Florence, the capital city of the Tuscan region, is considered the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. Just wandering the cobblestoned streets of Siena, visiting the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa and Piazza dei Miracoli for their unique architecture, and the scenic vineyards of Chianti are some of the top things to do in Tuscany. Also, Tuscany is a great destination for foodies and wine lovers. It’s no wonder everyone wants to visit Tuscany due to its many tourist attractions, villages to visit, and things to do in the Tuscan countryside, but here, you’ll find some of the most beautiful places you won’t want to miss during your Italy tour.
The capital city of the Tuscan region in Italy, Florence is renowned as one of the best historical cities in the world and among the most popular places to visit in Italy. Considered the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, Florence is a veritable chocolate box of treats for the cultural vulture as this Italian city is credited with propagating many artists, inventors, writers, scientists, and explorers as well as inventing opera and the florin currency, which lifted Europe from the Dark Ages. Situated lies on the banks of the Arno River, surrounded by gently rolling hills, the city is home to a large number of museums, stunning churches, and internationally esteemed art galleries. Some of the top Florence tourist places include Santa Maria del Fiore, the Ufizzi Gallery, Ponte Vecchio, and the Piazza Della Signoria, the main square, which is home to beautiful buildings and world-famous sculptures like Cellini’s Perseus with the Head of Medusa, Ammannati’s Fountain of Neptune, and Michelangelo’s Statue of David.
Surrounded by rolling hills and farmlands, Siena is one of the most popular and picturesque places to visit in Tuscany. Founded by the Etruscans over two millennia ago, the city is full of architectural marvels and its city center has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is known for its impressive Piazza del Campo, which is lined by pretty palaces, townhouses, and an imposing 100-meter-high historic tower Torre del Mangia. Absolutely worth seeing is Duomo, the impressive cathedral of Siena, which is one of the most beautiful and important buildings in the city. Built out of black and white marble, the Romanesque cathedral exhibits exquisite art and architecture, with fantastic frescoes, and stunning sculptures. Siena is also famous for the Palio di Siena horse race, held twice a year, on July 2nd and August 16th.
Known for its iconic Leaning Tower, Pisa is a beautiful city in the Tuscany region of Italy, among the top places to visit in Europe. It is one of the best Tuscany tourist places dotted with grand Gothic churches, interesting museums, botanical gardens, refined Renaissance piazzas, and beautiful Romanesque buildings. The main attraction here is the Torre Pendente – Leaning Tower which stands beside the cathedral and baptistery in an open space known as the Campo dei Miracoli. No trip to Pisa is complete without climbing to the top of the tower that offers a picturesque view of the city. The city also hosts great bars and cafes that line its piazzas, while a packed schedule of parties, cultural events, and small festivals takes place throughout the year. Besides, don’t forget to try the local delicacy, a chickpea flour bread called Cecina.
Blessed with awe-inspiring views in every direction, Cortona is a beautiful hilltop town located in the Province of Arezzo, in Tuscany. It is the main cultural and artistic center of the Val di Chiana after Arezzo. Once a part of the Etruscan League, Cortona is home to many spectacular medieval buildings and Renaissance architecture. This hill town was become famous by Francis Mayes in her book “Under the Tuscan Sun”. If you want to know about the town’s rich history, heritage, and culture, then make a visit to the fabulous Diocesan Museum and the Museum of the Etruscan Academy which are home to interesting exhibitions, impressive artworks, and age-old artifacts. Numerous archaeological sites can also be found around town including city fortifications and stretches of Roman roads. Hidden away among its ancient cobbled streets are elegant piazzas for visitors to explore, with centuries-old churches and palaces dotted here and there.
Also known as the “City of Hundred Churches”, Lucca is another popular site in Tuscany known for its ancient architecture and striking historic sights. The main highlight is its delightful Duomo which features an immense bell tower and has a highly decorated façade that provides fabulous views of the city. Piazza dell’Anfiteatro is another attraction located at the heart of the city. It was once the Roman Amphitheatre and is now a public square surrounded by picturesque pastel-colored houses and cafes. Torre Guinigi, Torre delle Ore, Guinigi Tower, San Michele in Foro and the Museum of Villa Mansi are the other places to visit in Lucca. Don’t forget to visit the home of the famous opera composer Giacomo Puccini, which is a popular museum in Lucca. If you want to munch authentic regional dishes like tortelli lucchese or zuppa di farro all lucchese, head towards one of the Lucca’s excellent restaurants, such as Buralli or La Buca di Sant’Antonio.
Sandwiched between Florence and Siena, Chianti is a mountainous area and one of the most beautiful wine regions of Tuscany. Famed around the world for its fantastic red wines, this region is blessed with serene scenery, fertile vineyards, rolling hills and low-lying mountains. Often called the “heart of Tuscany”, the best way to explore this region is by car as this allows you to stop at some of the smaller charming villages like Greve, Panzano and Radda. Visit one of Chianti’s many vineyards and sample some of the first class produce they make and even have a tour of their vineyards. If you are a wine lover, then don’t miss this place while in Tuscany as part of Italy Tour Packages.
Bordering the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Maremma is a hidden gem and a large coastal area located in southern Tuscany. Endowed with significant natural and environmental resources, the Maremma is a region where ancient traditions have survived, and Tuscan culture is preserved. Stretches between the province of Livorno and Grosseto, Maremma is blessed with blue sea, long beaches, black rock, hills covered with woods, marshes and flat lands, green hills and natural thermal baths that is frequented by number of tourists during Tuscany Trip.
One of the most visited tourist attractions of Tuscany, San Gimignano is a classic medieval walled hill town known for its 14 medieval towers and its ancient city walls. Also known as the City of Beautiful Towers, this small town is situated on a hill between vineyards and green fields and its historic center is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While in San Gimignano, one can stroll along the narrow streets, climb one of the towers for sweeping views of the Tuscan region, or enjoy a glass of the local white Vernaccia wine in one of bustling wine bars. Apart from the splendid domineering towers and the central piazza, Gimignano also houses several interesting museums including the Museo Estrusco and the Museo Archeologico. If you love eating ice cream, then don’t forget to taste here as this town is home to one of the best ice cream parlors in Tuscany-the award winning Gelateria Dondoli that has been crowned as the ice cream world champion several times.
If you’re looking for a truly unforgettable experience, consider staying in one of the area’s many agriturismo, where you can enjoy a taste of the traditional Tuscan lifestyle, then the beautiful valley of Val d’Orica is the perfect place for you. Extending from the hills south of Siena to the looming lava dome of Mount Amiata, Val d’Orcia is certainly one of the most beautiful landscapes in Italy where you can find breathtakingly beautiful hilly landscapes, romantic farms, picturesque cypress alleys, and medieval villages like in a picture book. The attraction of the valley is the UNESCO World Heritage town of Pienza, the birthplace and summer home of Enea Silvio Piccolomini, who later became Pope Pius II. Radicofani and Montalcino are the other medieval towns you can visit here.
Tuscan Archipelago & Elba Island
The Tuscan Archipelago is a chain of islands between the Ligurian Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea that contains seven major islands such as Capraia, Elba, Giannutri, Giglio, Gorgona, Montecristo, and Pianosa. Elba is the largest among the Tuscan islands and the third-largest island in Italy, among the top cultural destinations in Europe. Its mild climate, scenic beauty, historical attractions, and excellent scuba diving off its cliff-lined coast have made it popular with tourists. Stroll along the beautiful beaches with golden sands that are perfect for sunbathing and relaxing, visit amazing sites such as the Heritage Iron Mine and the Villa San Martino which was Napoleon’s second residence and enjoy the local cuisine in one of the top restaurants that offer sublime Italian cuisine and homegrown Elban wine are some of the top things to do in Elba Island. Along the island’s coastline are lots of lovely towns and villages for you to explore, where you can delve into Elba’s rich cultural heritage and cuisine.
Saturnia Hot Spring
Located in the Southern Tuscany, the Saturnia thermal hot springs are one of Italy’s best-kept secrets and an absolute must visit place in Tuscany. Bubbling out of the earth for 3,000 years, the thermal hot springs here is a collection of silk blue water springs on different levels that are heated by the nearby volcano. The picturesque waterfall Cascate del Mulino with its turquoise pools is unique here and forms a very special backdrop in nature. Here you can bathe comfortably in the natural sinter pools of the healthy Sulphur spring and enjoy a unique ambience. If you really want a private experience, visit the spring before 7 AM.
Santhi is an avid traveler and primary contributor to the blogs at Trawell.in. She has explored most of the states in India and gained vast knowledge on tourist destinations in India and abroad. She also contributes content to other travel websites.