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Tuscany Travel Guide – Holidays in Italy

Tuscany is one of the places in Italy that seems to be the favorite of filmmakers in the country and in Hollywood as well. Some of the notable films that have been shot here include Under the Tuscan Sun (2003), Life is Beautiful (1997), Tea with Mussolini (1999), and even the psychological thriller Hannibal (2001), starring Anthony Hopkins. Not only is Tuscany one of the favorite shooting locations for movies, but it is also one of the favorite locales of novelists and writers. It is even constantly mentioned in popular movie lines.

Tuscan Architecture | Tour Italy Now

The popularity of this region and the constant exposure it gets via these many mediums has made it one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the world. Not only that, it is also a region that is steeped in history, a grand art repository, and an architectural treasure trove. If you are contemplating taking a trip to Italy, you should definitely consider Tuscany as one of your chosen destinations.

Where to Go and What to See

Tuscany, which is located in the northwestern part of the country, has a lot for you to visit and to see. From famous cities and landmarks, to out-of-the-way towns and hamlets, this region has it all. Here are some of the favorites that tourists visit here:

Florence – Probably the most popular tourist destination in Tuscany, Florence is both a Metropolitan City and the capital city of the area that was once called the Province of Florence. It is also the capital city of Tuscany and is a city steeped in history, fashion, arts, culture, and cuisine. If you are into all of these things, or even just a few of them, coming to Florence on your trip to Italy is a must.

Some of the most popular sights in Florence include the Duomo (Santa Maria del Fiore), Piazza della Repubblica, Santa Croce Church, and Boboli Gardens. You should not miss visiting the Basilica di San Lorenzo, Galleria dell’Accademia, and the Uffizi Gallery (where masterpieces by some of the greatest artists of all time like Botticelli, Michelangelo, and Da Vinci can be found) when you are in this city.

Pisa – Yes, no trip to Tuscany is complete without having your picture taken beside the second most popular tower in the world (next to the Eiffel Tower in popularity), which is the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Aside from this tilted tower that was completed in 1372, Pisa also has a lot to offer tourists. It is also a hub for history, arts, culture, and cuisine. If you are into festivals, Pisa has a long list that you can also enjoy attending, depending on what time of the year you come to visit.

Some of the other notable tourist magnets in this part of Tuscany include the Pisa Cathedral, Knight’s Square, Palazzo della Carovana, and the National Museum of San Matteo.

Cortona – While not as popular as the first two aforementioned locales of Tuscany, Cortona has a rather unique claim to fame that makes it one of the favorites of tourists. Located in the Province of Arezzo, this hilltop comune is where the movie Under the Tuscan Sun was filmed. It has been said that the release of the book (published in 1996), and consequently the film (released in 2003), boosted the tourism in the area and even spurred the creation of a festival here, which is Tuscan Sun Festival, a lifestyle and musical festival that began in 2003.

What to Do

While it is a given that you visit all of the popular tourist sights and destinations in Tuscany (who would want to miss that photo-op with the leaning tower anyway), there is more to this region than just sightseeing. What you can do here that is somewhat out-of-the-ordinary however will depend on what time of the year you visit.

Palio di Siena – If you come here at the start of July or middle of August, you can head to Siena for the Palio di Siena. This historic bareback horse race takes you back in time with its medieval setting and the rather traditional appeal of the event itself.

Cinque Terre in Tuscany | Tour Italy Now

Beaches and Cliff Towns – Want to go to the beach while you are here? Head on down to the place called Cinque Terre, located northwest of Pisa, and southwest of Genoa. This seaside locality is composed of five villages that hug the cliffs overlooking the Ligurian Sea. It is one of the quaintest and laid-back areas of Tuscany, having been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Park, helping it keep its old-world charm.

Cooking Classes and Wine Tasting – If you want to learn how to cook Tuscan favorites, head on down to Castello del Trebbio, which is located near the town of Pontassieve. Here you can rent out entire villas and apartments and learn how to cook with their cooking classes. You can also choose to go to Chianti for a bottle or two of their best wines, and even go on winery tours that feature wine tasting in this part of Tuscany.

These are just some of the things you can see and do in Tuscany. You can visit this region with one of the many escorted tours that Tour Italy Now has for you, or you can customize a special tour of your own to see everything you want to see in this region at your own pace and with your preferences in mind.