Located in central Italy, from the Apennines along the Tyrrhenian coast, Tuscany is the undisputed leader in world tourism. Its scenery, artistic heritage and important towns – first among them Florence – make this region unique.
In Tuscany nature appears in many different forms, from the coast, that alternates long sandy beaches, such as the Versilian, to rocky cliffs and steep promontories.
There are also the incomparable islands of the Tuscan Archipelago, surrounded by Mediterranean vegetation, a crystalline sea and rich depths. Landscapes of unspoiled nature can be admired from the Apuan Alps as well as in a number of protected areas, such as Orbetello’s lagoon, hosting many species of migratory birds, including pink herons.
However, the most characteristic landscapes of Tuscany are those that merge the beauty of nature with the presence of man.
The gorgeous Gulf of Baratti and the sites of Vetulonia and Pitigliano guard Etruscan necropolis and signs of this civilization, while Roselle and Cosa evoke memories of the Roman period.
Moreover, medieval villages, towns rich in history, castles and defense systems, rural churches -the so-called “parish churches”- and evocative abbeys, such as Sant’Antimo abbey, are located throughout the territory. Their profiles stand out in the landscapes of the Crete Senesi, Val d’Orcia, Garfagnana, Chianti and Maremma.
The sources of wellbeing are endless: Montecatini, Saturnia, Montepulciano, Monsummano and Bagno Vignoni, all of which offer relaxing holidays, thanks to their hot springs and treatment centers.
Many region’s “excellences” have been recognized by Unesco as a World Heritage Site, starting from the city of Florence.
Famous throughout the world, Florence, the ancient Medici signoria, is universally known as the cradle of culture and art: a real open air museum which keeps countless monuments, including the Cathedral with Giotto’s Bell Tower, Santa Maria Novella, Palazzo Vecchio, the Uffizi Gallery with unique masterpieces in the world.
However, Florence’s charm is also related to Lungarno, to the characteristic Ponte Vecchio, and to the artisan shops that enliven the streets of the city center.
Another extraordinary destination is Siena, with its medieval center, which is recorded among the Unesco sites as well, and which culminates with the peculiar Piazza del Campo, the theater of the famous Palio.
Pisa gathers its principal monuments into Piazza dei Miracoli, including the most famous leaning Tower, thus creating an artistic space of immense value, protected by Unesco.
Pienza is the “ideal city”, which was wanted and created by the pope Pio II on the basis of Renaissance standards. The spectacular arrangement of the spaces and the richness of the buildings make it an art treasure, which is included in the Unesco’s list.
San Giminiano stands out among the small towns of the region. It is a medieval village characterized by its towers and tower-houses, Unesco world heritage.
The unique aspects of Tuscany are countless, though Val d’Orcia, which is also protected by Unesco, deserves a special mention for the beauty of its countryside and its landscapes that have inspired many Renaissance artists. Last, of course, the land of Chianti, which is not praised enough, with its incomparable landscapes, mother of an ancient rural civilization that still continues the mostly appreciated production of prized wines, which make is glory worldwide.