The classic landscapes of Tuscany have long held an irresistable attraction for holidaymakers. Made famous by the Renaissance artists, the landscape provides a stunning backdrop to your stay. Visitors are spoilt for choice in terms of Tuscany tourist attractions to visit and Tuscany sights to see, whether it’s the Duomo and Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the leaning tower in Pisa or the Campo in Siena. Tuscany even offers some great seaside resorts and is also wonderful walking country too.
Undoubtedly the best known and most visited city in Tuscany is Florence. With its stunning architecture and incredible sights, and a host of Florence attractions, from the Duomo to the Uffizi, and from the Palazzo Pitti to the Ponte Vecchio, it’s a city full of wonderful art and architecture and beautiful gardens. There are an incredible amount of things to do in Florence during a visit. Please refer to our Florence holiday guide for more information.
You must make a point of visiting Siena during your stay too. The cityscape is easily one of the most recognisable Tuscany sights, with it’s black and white striped Duomo and huge piazza, home to the famous Siena Palio. This must surely be the most famous of all the wonderful Italian festivals. Held twice a year (with both events during the Summer months), jockeys ride bareback around the Campo. The event does have its critics, among them animal rights supporters who are appalled by the brutality of the sport and the danger presented to the horses who take part. However, it is an amazing spectacle and, dependent on your views, you may want to make a point of witnessing the historic event if you’re in Tuscany whilst it’s on. The city will of course get incredibly busy though – to get a decent view you’d need to be in position by early to mid afternoon, and the race itself doesn’t start until 7 p.m. or 7.45 p.m. For more details take a look at the offical website of Siena – www.comune.siena.it.
Of course, there are Tuscany tourist attractions to see in Siena whatever time of year you choose to visit. The Campo forms the heart of the old city, with most of the main streets leading off this. The South side of the Campo is also home to the Palazzo Pubblico with it’s enormous belltower. A large part of the palace has turned into the Museo Civico, full of wonderful works of art from past centuries. There are further museums to visit in the Piazza del Duomo in Siena including the Museo dell’ Opera del Duomo, home to Siena’s greatest work of art – Duccio’s Maesta – as well as a number of other remarkable works. wwww.operaduomo.siena.it. The Duomo itself is a stunning building, a masterpiece of the Romanesque and Gothic periods. The black and white exterior of the building is echoed within the church in a series of 56 marble panels forming a stunning pavement. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t get a chance to see this though – the flooring is protected for most of the year, and is only open to visitors for around a month each summer.
You’ll also need a couple of hours in Siena just to enjoy wandering around the streets of the city, exploring the narrow alleyways, and watching the world go by at one of the many cafes. If you’re in the city during the early evening, do as the locals do and enjoy a passeggiata from Piazza Matteotti to the Campo. If you’re staying for a meal, try heading away from the Campo for the best value food.
The next city on your list of places to visit in Tuscany is Pisa. With the airport there home to cheap airlines such as Easyjet, Pisa is a popular arrival point into Italy. If you do land there, it’s worth considering extending your holiday by a night and enjoying an evening in the city before heading to your main destination. The main Tuscany tourist attractions in Pisa are, of course, well known. The leaning tower of Pisa is known world wide but is just one of the attractions to be enjoyed in the Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles), the others being the Duomo, Baptistery and Camposanto. Head out a short way from this main tourist area and you’ll find a much different city. www.pisaunicaterra.it/en/
Near to Pisa is Lucca, smaller in size than the other Tuscan cities, but one of the richest. Surrounded by the old city walls, the city has a much more intimate feel and is a lovely place to spend an afternoon, exploring it’s museums, churches or streets. It’s well worth a visit.
Smaller in scale again is San Gimignano, one of Tuscany’s most famous villages. It’s stunning skyline of towers captures the very essence of what people think about when they think of Tuscany. It does get extremely busy as it is popular with tourists but it’s a must-see destination for any Tuscan holiday. Make a point of visiting the interior of the Collegiata which is stunning, filled with beautiful frescoes. Also worth seeing are Museo Civico and Pinacoteca. And finally build up an appetite by climbing the Torre Grossa, the only one of the towers you’re able to go up. You’ll be richly rewarded at the top by stunning views of the Val d’Elsa.
Finally, furthest south on your tour of Toscana is the city of Arezzo and town of Cortona. Again, a visit to Tuscany wouldn’t be complete without a trip to both places.
Of course, the landscape surrounding all these places is stunning. Visitors can gain immense enjoyment simply from driving across it’s rural hills and enjoying the Tuscany sights en route.
And don’t forget as well that the region is bordered by the sea. Forte dei Marmi is certainly the seaside resort most popular with the Italians who head out of Florence to spend the summer at the coast. As a base to stay, the town certainly provides a good option for those with children who want to combine the excitement and fun of a beach holiday with the chance to see some of the cultural sights of the region. It’s also a fun day trip if you want to escape the heat inland during the peak Summer months. There are plenty of other Tuscan beaches as you head further south too, many within a 90 minute drive of Florence.