Top 10 things to do in Tuscany
Fri Feb 2017
Time spent exploring the vast cultural offerings of Tuscany will be time well spent. The region is known for its breath-taking views and incredible scenery, as well as collections of art and sculpture housed in the many museums and religious buildings. This list of ten things to do in Tuscany include world-renowned galleries and gardens, as well as culinary experiences unique to this region of Italy, which are not to be missed.
- 1. Piazzale Michelangelo
A lookout with incredible views across Florence, on a clear day you can see for miles. This nineteenth century piazza boasts unquestionably the best panoramic view of Florence. The square is filled with replicas of Michelangelo's sculptures, but the views are the real draws for visitors.
- 2. Duomo - Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore
Designed by Arnolfo di Cambio at the end of the thirteenth century, the Cathedral's recognisable dome has become the quintessential symbol of Florence.Santa Maria del Fiore is the world’s third largest church (after St. Peter's Basillica in Rome and St. Paul's in London) and when it was completed in the fifteenth century, was the largest church in Europe. The numerous different styles of architecture and design featured in the building demonstrate the changing tastes over the time between the start of its construction, and its completion.
- 3. Uffizi Gallery
The Uffizi Gallery is a well-regarded art museum located next to the Piazza della Signoria in central Florence. One of the great museums of the world, the Uffizi is home to a breath-taking collection of Italian Renaissance art, featuring works by such masters as Botticelli, da Vinci, Michelangelo and Titian.
- 4. Le mura di Lucca
The scenic pedestrian walkway is built on top of a wall completely surrounding the city. Nearby you can find the botanical gardens of Lucca. The current collection has around two hundred different species of plants, including early-flowering azaleas, rhododendrons, and camellias. In 1920 the City of Lucca acquired the Orto Botanico property, and was made into what is now the public garden. The garden's pieces for decoration include a series of large ceramic medallions depicting important occurrences in the history of the botanical garden, such as changes of leadership and the planting of the prized Lebanon cedar.
- 5. Biblioteca Piccolomini
Situated inside the Cathedral of Siena, the number of decorative elements make thePiccolomini Library an extremely impressive monument in many ways. When visiting the Cathedral, you cannot help but fall in love with the Piccolomini Library. It is unique, in part due to the Pinturicchio’s frescoes, created in the first decade of the sixteenth century, showing the life of the humanist Enea Silvio Piccolomini. Other impressive features include the Ginori floor, the original high tiles of cobalt blue with the golden crescent and the group of the Three Graces made out of marble.
- 6. Torre di Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is the freestanding bell tower belonging to the cathedral in the city of Pisa, known all over the world for its accidental tilt. The leaning tower of Pisa is situated in the Piazza dei Miracoli, north of the city centre. Despite the leaning tower being famed as the main attraction, it is just one part of the Cathedral complex at Piazza dei Miracoli, (Miracle Square).The Leaning Tower is the third oldest building on Piazza dei Miracoli, as the Baptistry and Cathedral were built prior to it.
- 7. Try an authentic world famous Florentine steak accompanied by the local regional wine, Chianti
Visit one of the many authentically decorated steak restaurants in central Florence. Famous world over for their ginormous T-bone steaks, Florence hosts an abundance of restaurants, both specifically for steak, and featuring steak on the menu. Perhaps enjoy your meat with a glass of the local red wine, Chianti, traditionally served in a bottle encased in a straw basket known as a fiasco.
- 8. Boboli Gardens
There is plenty of space for relaxation and exploring in some of Florence's largest and most beautiful gardens, which are situated behind the massive Pitti Palace. Not simply a garden, the Boboli gardens are one of the most well-renowned open-air museums in Florence. The park is home to centuries-old oak trees, sculptures, fountains, and offers peaceful shelter from the warm Florentine summer sun.
- 9. Palazzo Pitti
The Palazzo Pitti, or the Pitti Palace (as it is sometime known in English), is a large, mainly Renaissance, palace in Florence. It is situated on the south side of the River Arno, just a short distance from the Ponte Vecchio. Both the palace and the gardens are home to various important galleries such as the Palatine Gallery, the Museum of Modern Art, the Silver Museum, the Costume Gallery, and the Museum of Carriages.
- 10. Accademia Gallery
The gigantic estate of the Accademia Galleries is located in the famous centre of the Scuola Grande of Santa Maria della Carità, one of the most ancient lay fraternal orders in Florence. The gallery is home to Michelangelo's celebrated sculpture David. The church of Santa Maria and the monastery of the Canonici Lateranensi, built by Andrea Palladio, are key parts of the Accademia gallery.
Tuscany is home to many well-known and some less well-known attractions. This list highlights just ten of the many ways to spend time in this region. Whether you are interested in art, scenery, architecture or Italian dining, Tuscany will not fail to impress.