What to visit in Tuscany: the best places to see

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Aina Martin
@ainamartin
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Tuscany is considered the cradle of the Italian Renaissance. It is a region full of places to visit and discover. Art, culture and traditions combined with a landscape of rolling hills, vineyards and charming villages make Tuscany one of the most beautiful and popular Italian destinations.

Here, especially during the Renaissance, there was never a lack of painters able to capture and show the essence and beauty of its landscape. Few places in the world can boast such dense concentration of masterpieces like Tuscany, rich in works of geniuses such as Giotto, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Dante, Machiavelli and many others.



Florence, Siena, Pisa are just the most striking examples of a thriving region and its art, and then San Gimignano, Volterra, Lucca and Pienza. The region offers unforgettable experiences to all who visit it.

It is impossible to make a list of all the destinations to visit in Tuscany, but we can list some of the most important cities and places to see.

What to see in Tuscany: unmissable destinations

Firenze

Duomo di Firenze - Image from Pixabay

Let's start with Firenze, a city with a unique historic center, which looks like an open-air museum, and undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places to visit in Tuscany. Do not miss its exceptional monuments, including Piazza del Duomo, located in the heart of the city and with three spectacular buildings like the Cathedral, Campanile and the Baptistery.

Also not to be missed is Santa Maria Novella, Piazza della Signoria with its il Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza Santa Croce, the museums of the Uffizi Gallery and Galleria dell'Accademia, both of the most important in the world.



To finish a tour of the city, nothing better than to cross the magnificent Ponte Vecchio and reach Piazzale Michelangelo to see the sunset over Florence.

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Siena

Siena, Toscana - Image from Pixabay

Little Siena is another essential destination to visit in Tuscany. It is a city with an enormous cultural and architectural heritage, known above all for the Palio, an ancient competition in the form of an equestrian joust of medieval origin, held in Piazza del Campo on 2 July and 16 August.

Don't miss the big one too Torre del Mangia over 100 meters high, the Palazzo Pubblico, the fountain of Gaia, together with the Duomo, built entirely of white and dark green marble, which is worth visiting just to see the impressive Piccolomini Library.

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Pisa

Pisa, Tuscany - Photo from Istock

Pisa, although everyone remembers it for its leaning tower, it has many other attractions that place it among the best places to visit in Tuscany. You can start right from the Piazza dei Miracoli where, in addition to enjoying the incredible views you get climbing to the top of the Tower, you can also admire other wonders such as the Cathedral, the Baptistery and the Monumental Cemetery.

Do not miss to visit its historic center, passing by Piazza dei Cavalieri with its magnificent Palace of the Caravan. Finally, nothing better than a walk along the banks of the Arno where the beautiful is located Church of Santa Maria della Spina.


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Pienza

Pienza, surrounded by the typically Tuscan landscapes of the Val d'Orcia, is one of the most beautiful villages to visit in Tuscany. In the XNUMXth century, this medieval city became one of the most important artistic centers of the Val d'Orcia, created by Pope Pius II, according to the aesthetic canons of the Renaissance.


The architectural design of the historic center and the richness of its buildings make it a artistic treasure also protected by UNESCO.

Entering through its medieval gate of Porta Prato it is possible to cross the entire city along via Corso Rossellino, where the most important churches, palaces and squares are located, until you reach the other entrance, It leads to the Ciglio.

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San Gimignano

San Gimignano, Tuscany - Photo from Istock

San Gimignano, known as "The city of a thousand towers", is a small medieval town dating back to the eighth century and one of the most important places to see in Tuscany. Situated on the top of a hill, between Siena and Florence, this city is one of the icons of the region, thanks to the 14 stone towers that are still preserved of the 72 it had in medieval times.

Among the essential places to see in San Gimignano, there are the Torre Grossa 54 meters high, with a magnificent view of the surroundings, the Duomo e Piazza della Cisterna.
If you come from Volterra by car you can stop before reaching San Gimignano in one of the natural panoramic points, to get the best views of the city and its towers.


The best way to explore Tuscany is rent a car in Siena or Florence, to take a circular route and have the freedom to stop wherever and whenever you want.

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Lucca

Lucca, Tuscany - Photo from Istock

Known for its imposing Renaissance walls and the medieval center enclosed between them, Lucca is one of the best destinations to visit in Tuscany. Within the city there are beautiful churches and gardens. In his historic center, a World Heritage Site, the oval-shaped Piazza Anfiteatro stands out, built on the remains of the ancient Roman amphitheater, which determined its shape.


To see the Cathedral of San Martino which houses many historical treasures, such as Tintoretto's Last Supper, the Pfanner Palace and its beautiful baroque gardens, the church of San Michele in Foro, the Guinigi Tower, the Torre delle Ore and the Basilica of San Frediano with a golden mosaic on its facade.

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Val d'Orcia

Val d'Orcia, Tuscany -

The Val d'Orcia, located south of Siena on the border with Umbria, is a true paradise where the landscapes of Tuscany reach their maximum splendor. Hills with medieval stone villages, large houses reached by a cypress road, fields of vineyards, wheat and sunflowers, everything forms a palette of colors that leaves you speechless.

Don't miss a visit to these villages: Montepulciano, with its splendid palaces and ancient Renaissance residences of noblemen of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Vignoni bathroom, a small medieval town formerly known for its thermal springs, e Castiglione d'Orcia, with its imposing Rocca di Tentennano.

The best way to explore this rolling landscape is rent a car in order to stop freely to take pictures or simply contemplate the landscape, or participate in a organized tour.

Other destinations to visit in Tuscany

Tuscany is all to be seen. For those who have more time, you could also visit:

  • the Chianti Valley,
  • the free baths of San Filippo,
  • Sorano,
  • Pitigliano,
  • Terme di Saturnia,
  • Volterra,
  • Livorno,
  • Meadow,
  • Pistoia,
  • Grosseto,….

Sites registered as a World Heritage Site

  • Florence, historic center (registered in 1982);
  • the historic center of San Gimignano (1990);
  • Siena, historic center (1995);
  • the historic center of Pienza (1996);
  • the square of the Cathedral of Pisa (1997);
  • the Basilica of San Francesco in Assisi (2000);
  • the landscape of the Val d'Orcia (2004);
  • Medici villas and gardens in Tuscany (2013).

How and when to visit Tuscany?

Tuscany is easily accessible. Indeed, the region has two international airports, one in Florence and the other in Pisa and low-cost airlines such as Easyjet, Ryanair and Vueling serve it very well.

To visit Tuscany, the best way of traveling is by car. Thus it will also be possible to visit the Tuscan countryside which is not always served by public transport.

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The best time to visit the region is from May to September but April and October can also be excellent months suitable for touring all of Tuscany.

You might also like:

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  • Where to go in Tuscany: cities, spas, beaches, seaside and mountain resorts
  • Where to stay in Tuscany: best places and areas to sleep
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