Tuscany, starting from the era of the Grand Tour, when the wealthiest European young men set off on long-lasting journeys has been one of the most visited regions in the mainland. There is no inappropriate time to visit Tuscany but there is a thousand reasons to come over. So what to see and what to do when in Tuscany? Warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea and sun-caressed beaches, verdant parks, alluring mountains, cities savouring of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, world-famous museums and works of art, villages that are still undiscovered for tourists, cypress-dotted hills, centenarian olive orchards and meticulously maintained vineyards, delicious food prepared with love, traditional feasts, classical music and contemporary art festivals – even the most fastidious tourists will find here something special and yet unknown.
Florence – is one of the most beautiful and most visited cities in the world – presenting every visitor with gorgeous performance under the open sky: the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore surprising with its beauty and size, the palace of Palazzo Vecchio, the Ponte Vecchio Bridge shining with gold, sumptuous marble sculptures in the squares. The smell of fresh pizza and espresso floats in streets, inviting to stop by the tiny taverns. And just next door, the most expensive street is rustling with its luxurious fabrics and its world famous prêt-à-porter designers, located in the historic building.
Just a few kilometres outside of the city, toward the south, your eyes will catch a view of verdant Tuscan hills with its charming undulating surface that makes you fall in love and never forget this land. At the tops of the hills, cypresses come in sight, silently resting and protecting the peace of small medieval villages that are breathing with the medieval spirit, together with vineyards, stretching over the valleys, and San Giovese grapes that give birth to the red and worldwide famous Chianti Classico wine. Winemakers are so compassionate here – as if you are their best friends, you will be seated at the table and offered all the best.
Volterra and San Gimignano will not leave anyone indifferent and the spirits of the long time disappeared Etruscans are still wandering around this place in the evenings. You will find abandoned monasteries and a sword embedded in a rock near Siena, proud of its deep basketball traditions – which are difficult to cherish in a country that is considered a land of footballers by nature – and even more deep-rooted history of Palio di Siena. Here, in the Gothic ruins the world’s most famous operas are performed in summer.
Tuscany is also a perfect place for those who are longing for the sea. The Mediterranean coast, extending for more than three hundred kilometres, offers both sand beaches and steep rocky cliffs, and those who dislike sunbathing on the beach all day long, will find here many interesting and unusual places to visit. Could there be anything better than having a glass of delicious wine with a smell of fruits and tasting fresh-caught fish in a small cosy restaurant on the beach on a warm summer evening? And those who wish to run away from civilisation will find escape near the Tuscan coast – Napoleon’s island of Elba, tiny Giglio and Capraia or maybe even Montecristo Island.
In the north of Tuscany, you will find the Alpi Apuan Mountains, stretching into the sky. There is a variety of trekking trails and also quarries of the most famous and most expensive marble in the world. Even Michelangelo used to go there to choose marble lumps for his glorious sculptures. And those even more curious can visit quarries, fortresses located in mountains, stalactite caves and the Devil’s Bridge.
Finally – classical music, jazz, pop, culture nights, poetry readings (can there be anything more impressive than Roberto Benigni interpreting Dante’s ‘Hell’ in the open air?), food fairs, wine tastings in the streets, carnivals and festivals of the saints, ancient horse racing, antique football, trip on a steam train through the mountains and many other extraordinary adventures and experiences.
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