Travelers around the world (including myself) dream of visiting Tuscany’s rolling hills, Renaissance cities, and quiet villages—and for good reason.
Tuscany is a dream.
In Florence, three hours north of Rome, an impressive Duomo stands high among Renaissance-era towers, overlooking the sprawling city between the hills. White buildings with their red tile roofs squeeze themselves between restaurants, shops, and the galleries that house some of Italy’s finest art.
The renowned Uffizi Gallery, itself a 16th century palace, displays works by just about every Renaissance master you can think of, including Botticelli’s painting, The Birth of Venus. Art buffs will also want to visit the Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze to see Michelangelo’s famous statue of David, among other classics.
While Florence might be Tuscany’s most famous city, it’s far from being the region’s only attraction. The city of Siena, in the center of Tuscany, retains its medieval roots and gives a gothic alternative to the soaring Renaissance architecture of Florence; the nearby Chianti wine region offers the world-class wines and postcard-worthy views that Tuscany is known for.
It’s best to rent a car to make the drive along Tuscany’s winding country roads — from the streets of Florence down through the hills of Siena, and past quiet parishes on your way to the vineyards and olive groves of Chianti.
To the west, you’ll find the city of Pisa and its famous tower. It is fun to make a pitstop here to take a cheesy travel picture posing with this famous structure.
Although not as popular as the Amalfi Coast or Capri, Tuscany’s southern coast offers its own serene beaches along the calm waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Visit Monte Argentario, a small promontory in the southernmost corner of Tuscany, for secluded beaches, or turn to the island of Elba—home to Napoleon during his exile—for white sand beaches and a rugged, cliff-lined coast
There are so many other narrowed cobbled street towns in Tuscany worth visiting: Volterra, San Gimignano, Monteriggioni and Montepulciano.
Tuscany enjoys gorgeous weather from April-June and September-October, but if you visit in the spring or fall you can also expect larger crowds and higher prices. August and July are the hottest times of year to visit for travelers, but also the quietest—in August, most residents drive to the coast to escape the city heat.
With charming villages, rolling mountains and blue sea in each direction, it is exactly as beautiful as the postcards depict. If you need more reason to inspire you to visit Tuscany, then these photos should do the trick.
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