Tuscany is a historic region in central Italy that stretches from the west coast to the Apennine Mountains. It also meanders through medieval towns, endless vineyards, and the beautiful cities of Pisa, Siena, and Florence. Defined by traffic jams, deadlines, and alarm clocks, Tuscany lures its visitors with the promise of a gentler and warmer way of living.
Tuscany changed the world forever about 600 years ago when political, cultural, and economic forces collided creating the Renaissance. In this era, education and art were highly prized. Although the world has since then changed, Tuscany’s values still hold firm and tourists can spend days or weeks to rediscover them slowly.
Florence, its capital city was at the epicenter of this Renaissance. For many years, families competed with the church and each other to commission the finest artworks and create the grandest buildings. The patronage of thinkers, artists, and writers bought the wealthy prestige, and geniuses such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo thrived under this system.
Other greats include Rafael and Botticelli and you can see some of the works in the Uffizi Gallery and Academia Gallery. With its ornate palaces, beautiful churches, and historic piazzas, Florence feels more like a living museum.
Florence is not the only Tuscany region that echoes with the footsteps of history. The province of Siena fiercely competed with Florence during the Renaissance. To lure wealthy families, it also commissioned many of its own works. Some medieval hill towns such as Montalcino and Monticchiello played a crucial role in the generations of power struggles. Visit these towns and sit high on its timeless ramparts which have changed little after about 1,000 years.
Pisa is widely known for its famous tower and it is a great place you can discover on foot. The hilltop town of Volterra is just some hours’ drive from this town. Since the days of the Romans, skilled craftsmen have been transforming luminous stone into pieces of art.
Perhaps the greatest Tuscany artworks are those created by Mother Nature. With its wildflower filled national parks, unspoiled beaches, and warm thermal springs, the natural beauty of Tuscany has been attracting visitors since the Romans days. Discover Tuscany coastline by heading west. Its ancient ports feel like they have been there forever.
A wilder part of Tuscany is a little further south. Here you can enjoy wildflowers, rolling hills, and an appreciation of the pleasures of life including wine. Follow your cravings to the sun wormed olive groves and winding roads to the Chianti vineyards. This area is widely known for its earthy style of wine.
Also famous for their wines are the beautiful towns of Arezzo and Cortona. Pair your wine with this city’s simple food and linger over cuisines created with cured meats, cheeses, and seasonal ingredients.