Tuscany guide: discover the best of Tuscany

Browse our Tuscany guide. Explore the best of Tuscany, Italy, Driving and walking tours. Take in the arts and culture from Florence, Siena, Arezzo and Pisa.
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Tuscany guide
FlorenceFlorence keeps an exceptional artistic heritage which is a marvellous evidence of its aged culture. Cimabue and Giotto, the fathers of Italian painting, lived in Florence as well as Arnolfo and Andrea Pisano, renewers of architecture and sculpture; Brunelleschi, Donatello and Masaccio forefathers of the Renaissance, Ghiberti and the Della Robbias , Filippo Lippi and Angelico ; Botticelli , Paolo Uccello and the universal genius of Leonardo and Michelangelo . Their works, together with those of many other generations of artists up to the artists of our century, are gathered in the several museums of the town : the Uffizzi, the most selected gallery in the world, the Palatina gallery with the paintings of the "Golden Ages" . The Bargello Tower with the sculptures of the Renaissance, the museum of San Marco with Angelico's works, the Academy, the chapels of the Medicis , Buonarroti' s house with the sculptures of Michelangelo , the following museums: Bardini , Horne, Stibbert, Romano, Corsini, The Gallery of Modern Art, The museum of " Opera del Duomo",the museum of Silverware and the museum of "Precious" Stones. Great monuments are the landmarks florentine artistic culture: the Baptistry with its mosaics; the Cathedral with its sculptures, the medieval churches with bands of frescoes; public as well as private palaces: Palazzo Vecchio, Palazzo Pitti, Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Palazzo Davanzati; monasteries, cloisters, refectories; the "Certosa". In the archeological museum you will find plenty of documents of Etruscan civilization.

Where, When, How.
The best overall advice, especially if you only have a week or two, is to concentrate on one or two Tuscany provinces or parts of the Tuscany region, allowing at least two full days for major towns such as Florence, Siena or Lucca. Unless you want to dedicate your holiday to, say, wine tourism or art and architecture, Tuscany invites you to be eclectic. In other words, mix it up while you're here.

Blessedly compact, Chianti has hardly a hillside without something enriching - culturally, aesthetically or gastronomically. Snuggled into the hills between Florence and Siena, Chianti is dottled with delightful villages and medieval castles and graced with a combination of sun, soil and slopes that has enabled farmers to produce some of Italy's best red wine and olive oil for thousands of years.

SienaSiena or the town with the best quality in life. The first town Concil in Europe which decided to close the streets of the centre to traffic in 1996. Siena is an international centre of culture, with a University aged 750 and great Istitutions as the Chigiana Music Accademy, the University for Foreigners, "The Accademia dei Fisiocratici"," The accedemia degli Intronati". This is the town where any single "stone" has remained unchanged over the centuries, the atmosphere is unique for everything bear witness to ancient past which is still alive in the celebrations for "Palio" taking place every year with renewed enthusiasm.

ArezzoA charming hilly town in the east of Tuscany, Arezzo boasts ancient origins. It was one of the greatest etruscan "Lucumonie" succesively it became a Roman town having a strategic position. It was an important centre for economic activities and for its oustanding monuments , such as the Amphitheatre with numerous ruins. Famous for its foundries and the artistic manufactures of red-painted vases (the so called coral vases) which spread all over the Roman world. In the Middle Age, Arezzo was a free city-state where the Ghibellina supporters often prevail in an atmosphere of friction with nearby Florence. After the rout of Campaldino (1289) its fortunes were low and apart from a brief period under the Tartari, it definetely yielded to Florentine domination (1384) and became part of Medicean Granducato. Arezzo is set on a hill above the plain made up of the floods from Arno river. In the upper part of the town you can find the Cathedral, the Town Hall, the Medici Fortress, from which the main streets branch off towards the lower part as far as the gates. The upper part of the town maintains its medieval aspect even if we can find later architectonic monuments.

Pisa Pisa, famous all over the world for its Leaning Tower which dominates and exalts the magnificence of Piazza del Duomo, boasts a millenary history which mostly developed at the time of the Maritime Republics. Pisa is a real jewel- case with its roman and gothic churches, its squares and palaces that give splendour to the old streets and to the quarters winding along the Arno. It is one of the most important university towns thanks to its several and different faculties and the well- known "Scuola Normale" in Cavalieri Square. Sightseeing Pisa you will not only discover art, history, culture but natural environments too such as Migliarino Park, San Rossore, the Coast, Monte Pisano; all of them offer a charming scenery to the traveller.

Lucca among the "State Towns" of Tuscany, is the only town which could maintain its indipendence till 1847. It is the true evidence of the loving care of the nobles from Lucca who protected the freedom of the "Civitas" with its intact Walls as a platform (XVI-XVII Cent.), having a perimeter of Km. 4250 with 10 bastions, and the terraces partly preserved. In the medieval town surronded by walls, artistic and historic monuments stand out, as the Roman Amphiteatre, The Basilica of San Frediano, The Square and the Church of St. Michele , The Cathedral of St. Martino with the "Holy face" and the Tomb of "Ilaria del Carretto" engraved by "Jacopo della Quercia", the Guinigi Tower, Fillungo Road, the Ducale Palace in Napoleon square, last evidences of the Principato of Lucca.

Set under the Appenine mountains, Pistoia is a tourist mixture of history, art, folk traditions, monuments, nature and gastronomic specialities. Among the famous towns in Tuscany, Pistoia shows original claracteristics and it is really worth sighseeing it.
It has been defined as a "minor art centre" where the adjective minor does not aim at diminishing its importance but it means that the tourist can visit the town even in a short time

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