One of the most beautiful regions in central Italy

Categories: Mediterranean region Tuscany Italy Toskana

Tuscany is one of the most beautiful regions in central Italy, extending as a triangle from the Apennines to the Tyrrhenian Sea. It begins in the north at Massa in Carrara and extends over 328 km along the coast to Lazio and reaches in the east approximately below San Marino. The varied landscapes of the region consist of coastlines with miles of fine sandy beaches and shady pine forests at the edge, wild and romantic nature with high mountain ranges and rugged rocks in the north. Central Tuscany is dominated by an idyllic cultivated landscape with gently rolling hills on which chestnut woods, holm oaks and pine trees alternate with olive groves, colourful flower meadows and well-tended vineyards.
Tuscany - Picturesque views© gentelmenit / Fotolia

Almost on every hill there are medieval walled villages, stately country houses and castles and imposing abbeys. White gravel roads wind their way up between the hills, alternating between tall slender cypresses and round trees. Hardly any other region combines beautiful picturesque landscapes, culture and art like Tuscany. In addition to lively coastal towns with beautiful sandy beaches and sports facilities, picturesque islands off the coast and interesting places in the heart of the province, there are art-historical and historic cities such as the capital Florence, Siena, Pisa and Arezzo, which offer a large number of important sights.

Connoisseurs will find in Tuscany excellent wines, such as the world famous Chianti, Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino or Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, first class olive oil and Tuscan specialities with seafood, game, mushrooms, truffles, chestnuts, regional vegetables, salami, ham and pecorino cheese. For relaxation with wellness and spa, there are the thermal baths in Montecatini and Chianciano and hot springs in Rapolano Terme, San Casciano Bagni, Bagni San Filippo and Bagni di Petriolo.

Major cities and sights
Florence, the capital of Tuscany, is considered the 'cradle of the Renaissance', where an abundance of art treasures are juxtaposed with magnificent monuments in Gothic and Renaissance style. Worth visiting are the Uffizi Gallery, Michelangelo's David, Santa Croce and the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Flore with its magnificent dome and free-standing tower, the Florentine gardens and over 100 palaces such as Palazzo Vecchio and Pitti.

Siena captivates with the shell-shaped Piazza del Campo in the heart of the city, which is lined with Gothic palazzi and feudal houses of wealthy families and is considered a meeting place with cafés, restaurants and the Fonte Gaia fountain. The Palazzo Publico, home of the Museo Civico, is worth a visit. Pisa is world-famous for its Leaning Tower with the Piazza del Miracoli in front of it, the Piazza of Wonders and the old town, which has numerous magnificent buildings. Important in the lively university city is the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, which dates back to 1064.
Tuscany - Florence in the evening light© sborisov / Fotolia

Arezzo lies on a hill in the east of Tuscany and is surrounded by wide valleys. The historic centre includes Renaissance frescoes, the Medici Fortress and the imposing Piazza Grande with the Cathedral. During the Etruscan period the city was the seat of government, today it is famous for its gold jewellery San Gimignano is a medieval town surrounded by enormous fortified walls. Between densely packed historical houses with narrow streets and churches decorated with frescoes, several high towers of the genders rise steeply up to the sky. They were once considered a status symbol of noble families.

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