Synonymous with relaxation and old world charm, Tuscany is a must see for anyone who enjoys the simpler things in life while traveling. Often confused as referring to any part of the Italian countryside, Tuscany lies in the centre-west part of Italy and is only one of many regions that make Italy seem more like a quilt of culture and history rather than one unified place.
While most people will travel to Tuscany in the form of a visit to Florence or Pisa, getting out and seeing what most consider to be true Tuscany is something that is not to be missed. Make no mistake, Florence and Pisa are fabulous destinations but they are only two parts of what makes Tuscany great. The official tourism website for Tuscany has many great suggestions for a holiday in the region with a breakdown of the different towns, points of interest and cultural details, but if you’re looking for a few of our Tuscan gems, look no further than our list below.
Anyone looking for a traditional walled city should set their sights for Lucca, as it boasts one of the best preserved walls in the whole country. A city best seen on foot or by bicycle, Lucca’s historic city centre, towers and gardens have been inspiring travellers for generations. Maybe it’s in Lucca that you find your perfect little Tuscan villa you’ve been dreaming about for so long? There are many to choose from depending on your tastes and budget and you can find more info here.
Set up as a pretty little renaissance town in every sense of the word, Pienza boasts great scenery and a peaceful feeling to it. Known for it’s pecorino cheese, visitors will also be drawn for the Piccolomini Palace and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Val D’Orcia.
Known as the city of beautiful towers, San Gimignano is famous for its 14 towers that have survived since medieval times. The result is a fantastic skyline in this walled city on a hill that can be enjoyed simply from the countryside.
Anyone who is a fan of the book Under the Tuscan Sun by Francis Mayes will want to head to Cortona, as it serves as the inspiration for the story and its easy to see why upon arrival. Surrounded by walls that are around three thousand years old and possessing brilliant history and architecture, Cortona is very popular among ex-pats and world travellers alike.
For many people, a visit to Siena is just as much a part of the Italian experience as almost any other part. Famous for it’s unique shaped Piazza del Campo and summer horse race, Siena, along with Lucca, are viewed as the essential Tuscan towns. With many museums, beautiful cathedrals and great overall feel, you’ll be forgiven if you never want to leave.