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Tuscany Travel Guide

About Tuscany

When you dream of Italy, whether you realize it or not, you often visualize the rolling hills and roads lined with cypress trees of Tuscany.

The central region in Italy is about 9,000 square miles and encompasses many famous destinations, including the region's capital, Florence. Some of the region's top places to visit are recognized World Heritage sites, including the entire historical centers ofFlorence, Siena, San Gimignano and Pienza as well as the Square of Miracles in Pisa with its Leaning Tower and the entire valley in southern Tuscany known as the Val d'Orcia. In addition to these wonders, visitors should not miss the walled town of Lucca nor the medieval hilltop village of Volterra.

Tuscany is rich in culture, history and arts. All are intertwined: Tuscany, and Florence in particular, were the birthplace of the Renaissance. Tuscany is the birthplace of greats such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli and Donatello in the arts, Dante Alighieri, Boccaccio and Petrarch in literature, Puccini, Guido d'Arezzo (invented modern musical notation) and today's present day tenor Andrea Bocelli in music. Everywhere you visit, from Piazza del Duomo and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, to the Duomo andCivic Palace in Siena, you will be able to see the lasting landmarks and masterpieces this period in history has left for us to marvel at today.

While most of the postcards from Tuscany show soft, rolling hills, the region is also distinguished for the variety in its landscape including its coastal seaside beaches and towns, its mountains and the many valleys with stunning hilltop towns on every gentle peak in between. The magnificent island of Elba offers clear, blue waters and reefs that remind one of other destinations across the globe.

An essential part of your visit will include enjoying the delicious food and wines produced in Tuscany. The region brings life to the finest Italian red wines, including Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and numerous modern-day "Super Tuscans". Enjoy your wine with great Tuscan specialties: a plate of tagliatelle with white truffles from San Miniato or pici with Pecorino di Pienza cheese sauce, a fine Florentine steak of locally-bred Chianina beef or a panzanella bread salad with a drizzle of high-quality Tuscan extra virgin olive oil.

Tuscany's two international airports, in Pisa (PSA) and Florence (FLR), connect the region to the rest of Europe and the world. From there, you can easily move around the region using the excellent rail system, although some areas - including Chianti and Val d'Orcia - are better explored with your own means of transportation. The port city of Livorno (Leghorn) welcomes hundreds of cruise ship travelers every day.

Tuscany is beautiful year-round, with generally mild temperatures. The warmest months are July and August, and January and February the coldest. Only the highest peaks get enough snow to attract skiers. The best months for visiting are from March to June and from September through early November.

Tuscany offers great treasures for all. Whether you're on your first visit or returning again to enjoy a longer vacation, you will marvel at the magnificent masterpieces this region has inspired in all who have visited and lived here over the course of centuries.

Information provided by: Discover Tuscany Photography (right) provided by: Nelson Carvalheiro

Tuscany Experts

Area Tips

Gloria Casina Di Rosa

Tuscany is one of the most popular destinations in Italy and yet, most people identify it with one relatively small area usually portrayed in calendars and ads. In fact, Tuscany covers a much larger area which extends from the Italian Riviera up north to the plains of the Maremma in the south, and from the Apennines to the coast. For this reason, the region has enough to keep any type of traveller occupied for weeks at a time.

The cities

Some of the...
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Area Tips

Alexandra Korey

"Tuscany is so varied you can relax along the turquoise Tyrrhenian sea in the summer or ski on the Appenine mountain range in the winter. We’ve got those famous rolling hills and cypress trees (Chianti area), but also some pretty awesome rocky hiking paths (Elba Island). While nature is a treat for the eyes, the region is home to famous art cities Florence and Pisa, as well as smaller towns with a good cultural offering like Lucca, Siena and Arezzo.

If you love a...
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Area Tips

Georgette Jupe

"Florence is a city for gluttons of art, history and cuisine. Everywhere you turn, you can’t help but bump into a cute café bar, artisan shop or traditional restaurant. The trick is to discover the ‘finds’ according to neighborhood. The best areas for foodies are most definitely near piazza sant’ambrogio and the oltrarno ‘other side of the river’. Florence has also undergone a number of changes in the past few years, opening up more cool eateries with a design edg...
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Food

Nelson Carvalheiro

"Tuscany is always better in harvest season, when the summer crowds are gone and the rolling hilly landscape acquires a maroon hue amongst the luscious green vines and cypress trees. Among my favorite places are Montepulciano and Montalcino, which are exceptionally good Brunello wine regions."

Area Tips

Jacob Coblenz

"Tuscany, or Toscana in Italian, is a region in central Italy north of Rome that covers almost 9,000 square miles. The capital of the region is the ancient and romantic city of Florence. Tuscany is known for its great history, art, shopping, architecture, nightlife and of course food and wine. The climate in this area of Italy is very mild. April and May in addition to October and November are the best times to visit Florence weather-wise. Mainly sunny days with a few rainy o...
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Food

Jacob Coblenz

"From street food to fine dining the cuisine of Tuscany is world class. Appertivo is a meal of Tuscany not known by most. Included in the price of your drink are usually 10-12 dishes that are unlimited and buffet style. A great value and a fantastic way to start an evening in Florence. Legendary sandwich shops are found in every neighborhood, and some like the famous L’Antico Vinaio (Via de Neri 64, Florence) offer a honor wine bar that make them a great value with sandwiche...
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Neighborhoods

Jacob Coblenz

"The city center districts where museums and monuments are found have a high concentration of tourists. The apartments surrounding the Santa Croce Church and Duomo often house international students as well as native Florentines. Outlying neighborhoods like the Santa Maria Novella and Santo Spirito area are less touristy housing mainly Italians. Fiesole, a close by rural slice of life, has an unbeatable view of Florence from the hills. Visitors to this area often ride the bus ...
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Arts & Music

Jacob Coblenz

"Florence has so many museums that it is impossible to visit them all in one day. One of the most well-known pieces of art in the world, The Statue of David, is housed in Florence’s Gallery of the Academy. The Uffizi Gallery in Florence might have a long line so get tickets in advance. For a true art experience walk above the crowds in the Corridoio Vasariano, where the Medicis waltzed from Pitti Palace to the Office across the Ponte Vecchio. The millions of tourists that tr...
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Nightlife

Jacob Coblenz

"Florence is the central hub for nightlife in Tuscany. Ranging from beer gardens to 3 story night clubs, the city has an endless amount of opportunities to party. If you are looking for a nice cold beer then Beer House Club (Corso dei Tintori 34/R) is a must visit. Paying 10 euro will get you 5 different beers served by experts in the craft. Nurse the perfect Negroni at the Westin Excelsior’s rooftop bar, which is enjoyed by tourists, and Florentines alike with a sweeping 36...
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Arts & Music

Francesca Volpe

"Italy is the “cradle of art” and Tuscany fully deserves this reputation, Florence especially. Its “Uffizi” gallery, with stunning paintings from the most prominent Renaissance artists, is one of the most important museums worldwide. “Galleria dell’Accademia” with the David by Michelangelo, “Palazzo Pitti” and its “Boboli garden”, “Galleria Palatina”, “Galleria d’arte moderna”, “Galleria del Costume”, are just some of the more prominent muse...
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Shopping

Francesca Volpe

"In a globalized era of homogenization, preserving and boosting the environmental, culinary, handicraft excellences and peculiarities of a territory becomes a primary mission. You can contribute to this goal by shopping “locally and sustainable”. If you wish to buy delicious organic pasta made with ancient varieties of grain the right place is the smallest shop “A terra bio” in the village of Gambassi Terme: everything is family-run and wonderfully tasty! To flavor you...
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Neighborhoods

Francesca Volpe

"Listing all the worth seeing and staying places in Tuscany is impossible. Some of them don’t even need to be mentioned they are so famous (Florence, Siena, Pisa, Lucca), some others are not so well known but likewise beautiful: the tiny village of San Vivaldo, with its “Jerusalem in Tuscany”; San Gimignano, with the famous towers; Volterra, a melting pot of Etruscan, Roman and medieval art and history; Certaldo, with its ancient upper part and the international festiva...
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Food

Francesca Volpe

"The most typical dishes of Tuscany derive from the peasant tradition, so they are simple and tasty. Among the vegetarian ones, “bruschetta al pomodoro”, “panzanella”, “ribollita”, “pappa al pomodoro”, “pici cacio e pepe”, “fagioli all’uccelletto”, “baccelli e pecorino” are delicious musts. If you are a meat lover, ask for “crostini con i fegatini”, “melone e prosciutto”, “bistecca alla fiorentina”, “fagioli con le cotiche”, “tri...
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Area Tips

Francesca Volpe

"I believe that the geographical location of Tuscany, in the centre of Italy, somehow influences and mirrors its general stance: mild, lovely climate, far away from the rainy excesses of the North and the extreme heat of the South; relaxed yet dynamic atmosphere, something in between the frenzy of daily-life in the North and the slowed down time of the South; a peculiar sense of dignity characterising its inhabitants who, once overcome their looking at "you-no-from-my-area" as...
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