5 Reasons Tuscany Should be at the Top of Your Travel Bucket List
Tuscany's stunning and diverse natural landscape, Renaissance art and architecture, and fascinating history and culture make it a top choice for anyone's bucket list. You'll find luxurious Tuscan villas for rent scattered throughout Italy's central region from the rugged Apennine Mountains to Elba's beaches by the Tyrrhenian Sea. Let the following five reasons convince you to put Tuscany at the top of your list for dream destinations.
1. Charming Villages
Of course, you'll want to visit top cities like Florence, Siena, and Pisa, but one of the best ways to explore the beauty and culture of Tuscany is by visiting its hidden gems. The region has 38 small towns designated as Bandiere Arancione, or Orange Flag destinations for their landscape conservation, cultural heritage, and quality accommodations such as luxury vacation villas.
Anghiari is a hilltop town in the province of Arezzo that springs into view all at once as you wind around a hairpin turn at the western entrance. You'll notice the lack of mass tourism to be impressed by the lush landscape of the Valtiberina region instead. Don't miss the medieval village of Barberino Val d'Elsa with its ancient walls and main street that connects the two gate towers, the Porta Fiorentina and Porta Romana.
2. History and Culture
The Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence is adorned with replicas of Piazzale Michelangelo sculptures along with the best panoramic views of the city. The 19th-century piazza is located on an elevated point providing incredible views of major architectural sites such as the Duomo and the Ponte Vecchio.
Around 90 minutes to the west lies the province of Pisa with its freestanding bell tower of the city's cathedral famous for its nearly four-degree lean. With construction beginning in 1173, its ancient history, extraordinary tilt, and renowned Piazza dei Miracoli make it one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Travel a couple of hours southeast of Pisa to experience the striking complex of the Cathedral of Siena housing important European monuments and the significant Crypt, the Baptistery, and the Museo dell'Opera, all part of the "Duomo Vecchio" (Old Cathedral), and the "Duomo Nuovo" (New Cathedral) reflecting over a millennium of Western history, art, and culture.
3. Famous Vineyards
The Tuscany region is famous for its wine-making heritage and the list of Tuscan wines is long from Chianti to Vernaccia. You're certain to enjoy them in restaurants and wine shops, but to fully experience the region's food and wine culture, a visit to one of its wineries is a must-do. Wander through picturesque vineyards or perhaps fly over them with a hot-air balloon tour. Since most have been family-owned for centuries, you'll see historic homes and learn the fascinating history of wine-making. You'll find wineries with amenities like museums, art galleries, shops, and rooftop bars pairing the wine with gourmet Italian dishes.
4. Hiking Trails
Lovers of nature and spectacular views will find dramatic landscapes full of trails for hiking at all skill levels in Tuscany. Head to the ski resort town of Abetone with trails and views to rival those in Colorado. In the village of Mammiano Basso, you can hike across a river via a 700-foot long and 115-foot high pedestrian suspension bridge. During the summer, take a lift to the ski resort's summit and hike or bike back down.
In Tuscany' towns, you can experience walks filled with history. Take an urban hike to the top of Forte Falcone on Elba Island. You can take a ferry from Livorno and hike from Via Della Regina. From the lookout points of the fortress watchtowers, you'll see the house where Napoleon Bonaparte stayed after his exile to Elba.
With over 250 miles of Tuscany coastline, you'll find seaside towns worthy of a visit any time of the year. The crowds disappear around mid-September when the Italian schools start again, affording you the opportunity to discover the charm of the beaches with new contours.
Visit the beach town of Viareggio in northern Tuscany to experience the Viareggio Carnival. In the weeks before Easter, the promenade is filled with a parade of papier-mâché floats. All the streets and houses are decorated, creating quite a colorful scene. In the offseason, you can stroll along a 3km seaside promenade.
The planet is filled with beautiful and exciting places, and adding one to your bucket list is a big decision. However, for spectacular beauty, a fascinating history, and a lively culture, a trip to Tuscany is unbeatable.
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