BEST Small Hotels in Tuscany
Reasons to visit Tuscany
Tuscany was at the heart of the Renaissance, the huge flowering of art, culture and science that brought us out of the medieval world and into the modern. It’s little wonder then that Tuscany has become the go-to destination for people with a taste for history and beauty.There are cities that set the heart trembling, like Florence, Pisa and Siena, but also fascinating villages like San Gimignano (and many, many others).
If Tuscany is the heart of the Renaissance, then Florence is the heart of Tuscany. This is the city where you can view the real statue of David by Michelangelo, gaze at the remarkable Ponte Vecchio bridge over the River Arno and visit signature places like the Uffizi Museum, the Accademia and the Palazzo della Signoria. There is so much to see that it would be easy to spend a week in Florence.
There are other structures in the world that lean more than the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but we doubt whether there are any as architecturally beautiful. The tower is captivating of course, but Pisa offers plenty more. And when you’re all cultured out, stop off in the sunshine for a gelato, or the Pisa speciality cecina.
Siena is most famous for the palio, the crazy horse race around the piazza that is celebrated every summer. At other times the piazza is yet another architectural gem to be admired. For the more energetic, a climb of over 500 steps will reward you with wonderful views over Siena and the surrounding countryside.
And countryside is another key to enjoying a visit to Tuscany. The rolling hills just seem to go on and on, entrancing walkers, cyclists and more sedentary visitors alike. This quintessential image of Tuscany is almost inevitably led through a little avenue of cypress trees to yet another characterful hilltop village. The fields here are the source for Italian olive oil and many of the great Italian wines.
The Etruscan coast is a scene of powerful colours and intense light illuminating the beautiful and varied beaches. This is an ideal destination for lovers of outdoor activities of every sort. Just off the coast the islands of the Tuscan archipelago are the key to more sun, more sea, more beaches and plenty more history too. Napoleon was famously exiled on Elba but don’t stop at that when you come to explore the island.