Renowned for its beautiful landscapes, amazing historic cities and fine art, Tuscany (or Toscana) is an Italian region in central Italy bordering the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west, Umbria and Marche to the east, Lazio in the south east and Emilia Romagna in the north, with Liguaria in the north west.
There are ten provinces in Tuscany including Arezzo, Florence (Firenze), Lucca, Pisa and Siena, and there are currently six UNESCO protected sites in Tuscany including the historical centres of Florence, Siena, San Gimignano and Pienza. Pisa Cathedral is also UNESCO protected.
Florence is the capital of Tuscany and the perfect starting point for exploring this stunning region. Siena and Pisa must follow on your tour of Tuscany, combined with rambling and bike tours through the countryside.
The closest beach resort to Florence in Tuscany is Viareggio, with its wide sandy beaches along the Tyrrhenian Coast. Viareggio Beach stretches for miles and is clean with a super choice of restaurants and shops.
The elegant Tuscan sea side town of Forte dei Marmi boasts wide well established beaches and an upmarket town centre where you can wander around the exclusive boutiques and enjoy fine dining. The film The English Patient was filmed along the coast of Forte dei Marmi.
If you are travelling into the Tuscan countryside, the best way to travel is by hiring a car. As Tuscany is mainly hilly, the roads can be narrow but the rewards from exploring the many fascinating villages and towns, is worth the journey. Travelling between the cities like Pisa, Florence and Siena in Tuscany is easily done by train, and for trips out of Florence, there are many bus and coach services.
Experience the artistic treasures of Florence in Tuscany and visit the Cathedral (duomo), the Uffizi, Bargello and the Galleria dell’Accademia home of Michelangelo’s David; the art galleries in the churches of Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce are a must, as is the Pitti Palace in Florence.
Famous for its leaning bell tower, Pisa is located on the right bank of the Arno River mouth in Tuscany . The Leaning Tower of Pisa can be found in Pisa’s Piazza dei Miracoli or Square of Miracles and is also where the magnificent Cathedral, Baptistry and Camposanto can be found.
Built on three hills and surrounded by ancient walls, Siena boasts fine examples of well preserved Gothic architecture. Traffic is limited in the centre of Siena so visitors can stroll through the magnificent streets and shell shaped Piazza del Campo at leisure enjoying the stunning sites and architecture.
The ancient town of Montecatini in Tuscany is famous for the fabulous thermal baths which were first built in the 1700s, and it is said that the baths can cure many diseases including liver and stomach complaints, rheumatism and hearing problems.
The ancient wall surrounding Tuscany’s old city of Lucca is now used as a pedestrian promenade. Old Lucca is a stunning array of winding streets and characterful buildings.
Whether your looking to experience the glorious beaches, explore the beautiful towns and cities, or relax in the picturesque countryside, Tuscany will offer every visitor a thousand memories to take home.
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Other recommended destinations:
Provence and French Riviera holidays offer the combination of lush rural retreats with chic beach breaks in quaint farm villages and sun-tinged coastal resorts.