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Get to know Tuscany
Gorgeous scenery with rolling hills, vineyards, medieval villages, cities of extreme cultural wealth, art everywhere, unique flavors… It’s no mystery why Tuscany has been the set of so many movies and why it remains one of the preferred areas to spend long vacations in Italy. When you finally experience this region, you realize that it is exactly how you imagined it would be, or even better.
Florence, the capital of Tuscany and the cradle of the Renaissance, was where Dante and Botticelli were born and where other important Italian artists, such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Brunelleschi, Rafael, Giotto and Vasari, left their mark,. Many of these artists were beneficiaries of the Medici family’s patronage. This controversial and wealthy family governed the city, off and on, for 350 years. You can check all Alojamientos Hoteles y Casas Rurales en la Toscana
Florence is considered to be an open-air museum because just by walking through the streets of its historic center, a World Heritage Site, it’s possible to contemplate its splendor. The beautiful ensemble of the main cathedral’s square is formed by the Baptistery, the Bell Tower and the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, famous for its cupola, designed by Brunelleschi. Other noteworthy landmarks are the Piazza della Reppublica, the Piazza della Signoria and the Ponte Vecchio, as well as the Uffizi Gallery and the Gallery of the Academy of Florence, home to the original David by Michelangelo.
Siena is another important city in Tuscany, with a very-well preserved medieval historic center, declared a World Heritage Site. Its current state is not so different from how it appeared during the 17th and 18th centuries, with a Gothic flair that stands out in monuments like the Piazza del Campo and the Cathedral, whose museum is home to the famous Madonna painted by Duccio di Buoninsegna. Other places of interest are the Palazzo Pubblico with its Bell Tower, the Palazzo Salimbeni, the Palazzo Piccolomini and the Fortezza Medicea.
Pisa is known around the world for its leaning tower, which dates from the 17th century and is 58.36 meters high. However, the city is also home to many other interesting monuments. Go to the beautiful, walled Piazza dei Miracoli, declared a World Heritage Site, and see the Cathedral, the Baptistery and the Campo Santo, all works of medieval architecture. Lucca is another beautiful city in Tuscany, its medieval walls are in excellent condition. Inside the walls, its historic center allows you to travel back in time to the Middle Ages. Here we find the Piazza del Anfiteatro, the San Martino Cathedral, The San Michele in Foro Church, the Torre del Rosso and the Palazzo Guinigi.
Outside the big cities, the Tuscan region invites you to experience its landscapes of rolling hills, fields of wheat and vineyards. Stop in some of its small, charming villages, which can be found everywhere. In the province of Siena, San Gimignano will surprise you with its slender medieval towers, which offer great views of the Tuscan countryside and characterize the historic center, also declared a World Heritage Site.
Volterra is a village in the province of Pisa. It is a testimony to the distinct Etruscan, Roman, medieval and Renaissance periods in the region. It sits atop a hill, surrounded by an Etruscan wall and a very suggestive countryside. It is characterized by its narrow roads, its tower-houses, the Porta all’Arco, the remains of a necropolis, its Cathedral, the Piazza dei Priori and the homonymous palace, which is considered to be the most ancient public building in the region.
Other villages that are worth visiting in Tuscany are Montepulciano and its blend of medieval and Renaissance architecture, emphasized by the Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral, the town hall and the nearby sanctuary of the Madonna di San Biagio; Monterrigioni, with its nearly perfect circular wall and its fourteen towers; Pienza, the smallest Renaissance city in the world; Montefioralle, typical medieval town; and Montalcino, with its picturesque walls and its fortress, known as the Roca.
In Tuscany, many different cultural festivities are celebrated throughout the year, both religious and folkloric, that make for the perfect excuse to travel to the region and get to know its way of life and the customs of its inhabitants. Some of the best examples are the Carnival of Viareggio, the Scoppio del Carro or “Explosion of the Cart” on Easter Sunday in Florence, il Calcio in Costume (a type of soccer game played in medieval clothing) in Florence, the Palio in Siena and the Giostra del Saracino in Arezzo.
Tuscany’s characteristic countryside is represented by its rolling hills sprinkled with cypress tree, its fields of wheat and vineyards. Some beautiful examples are the Valley of Orcia, a wide valley in the province of Siena, with smooth and cultivated hills; and the Valley of Chianti and its long winemaking tradition. However, the Tuscan countryside, which stretches from the north of the Tyrrhenian Sea to the central Alps, is home to other natural wonders as well, not as well-known but very beautiful and varied, from beaches such as Versilia to islands such as Elba and Capraia, the Golfo di Baratti and the Laguna di Orbetello.
Tuscany’s cuisine is so exquisite because of its simplicity, quality and tradition. The main ingredients are bread, legumes, cheese, olive oil, herbs, meat, mushrooms and fruit. Being in Italy, pasta is often present at mealtime, but Tuscany offers many other dishes that are worth trying, like the crostini di fegatini (toast with liver), the ribollita (a soup of white beans, cabbage and tomato), papardelle (wide noodles), panzanella (soaked stale bread and tomato, onion, cucumber, basil, vineger, salt and pepper), the bistecca alla fiorentina and cacciucco (a fish soup typical of Livorno).
As for desserts, wonderful examples are the cantucci of Prato, which are cakes or cookies made of almonds that are consumed with vin santo; the castagnaccio or pattona, made with chestnut flour, pine nuts, walnuts, raisins, orange peel and rosemary; the biscottini of Prato; and the copate, a sweet nougat typical of Siena. To drink, there is nothing better than a good local wine from the region, such as Chianti, Brunello, the red wines from la Maremma or the “Super Tuscans”.
Beautiful scenery, cities with history, medieval villages, Renaissance architecture and artwork, traditional gastronomy…Tuscany is just as you imagine it. Come and discover it with the best boutique hotels