The Italian region of Tuscany has long been a cultural, religious, and nature hub for people traveling in Italy. Even the most unassuming of towns in Tuscany are filled with wonder, amazing food, and experiences that seem like they come straight out of a storybook. Whether you want to backpack through the region or rent a house in Tuscany and go on a series of different day tours, there is bound to be something in the area that will capture your heart and soul.
1. The Leaning Tower Of Pisa
Perhaps one of the most well known architectural feats in the world, The Leaning Tower Of Pisa is one of the first things that people generally think of when they think of Tuscany. This tower is over 700 years old, with the initial construction having started in 1173. This makes it one of the older buildings in the region, but there are also many older than the tower. While the tower has undergone a number of restoration efforts, it is still not open to the public inside the tower. Those who are allowed inside are often amazed to find that the entire tower is hollow, making it easy to shore it up from the inside.
One of the most popular things to do with the tower is to take a photo that looks like you are either being crushed by it or you are holding it up. However, there are also vendors who will take professional photos for you and who sell replicas of the tower.
2. The Walled Town Of Lucca
The name may be a tiny bit misleading, but the Renaissance-era walls of Lucca are still standing despite more than 5 centuries standing between their completion and the current day. The city has expanded around the walls, creating an old town that is seemingly frozen in time. Within the walls of the old town are multiple palaces, gardens, museums, and even an opera house. The majority of the old town region has managed to keep the classic charm that defines it, allowing visitors to effectively step back in time when they visit.
The most popular activities include panoramic views, visits to the homes of famous composers, pilgrimages to 300 year old churches, and a surprisingly modern summer festival that draws world renowned artists to the area. Much of the city can be reached on foot, while bicycles and bicycle taxis are also common.
3. The Reefs Of Livorno
With bright blue water, amazing species of fish and rocky outcroppings to explore, this area of Tuscany is often included in the best beaches in all of Italy. While the view above the water is impressive, most people find that snorkeling or scuba diving in Costiera di Calafuria is preferable as the region offers untold delights beneath the waters.
People who choose to stay above the water enjoy the fact that the beach has free entry, and that there are a number of different tide pools and other dwellings where sea life can be seen above water. When the sea is calm, swimming in this area can be enjoyable. However, anyone who wants to visit this area during the stormy season should avoid swimming in the water.
4. The Castello Dell’Impreratore In Prato
At almost 700 years old, the castle that was created for the King of Sicily known as Fredrick the Second is one of the more compelling historical buildings in this region. Construction on the castle was stopped after ten years due to the death of the king, leaving an unfinished building that is somehow more intriguing than the finished castles in the surrounding region. Current restoration work on ongoing, allowing visitors a chance to observe old world methods as they once were.
No visit to this castle is complete without climbing the stairs to the top of the walls and interconnecting walkways to look out over the city of Prato, much as a medieval king would have done.
5. The Best Art In The World In Florence
From the Florence Cathedral to the Uffizi Gallery, Florence is home to some of the most amazing pieces of Medieval, Renaissance, and even modern pieces of art. Often viewed as the birth place as the birth place of modern art, walking the streets of Florence is like walking with all of the old Italian masters. Homes of the great masters are often open for tours, modern art installations welcome discerning tourists to critique and appreciate them, and winding canals provide a perfect backdrop for one of the most romantic cities in the world.
Today, the most famous art shows, some fashion shows, and many different pieces of performance art take place in the city each and every day. You can visit Florence every week for several years and still never see everything that it has to offer. It’s no wonder that this booming city has almost 1.5 million people in the metropolitan area and sees up to 7 million tourists walk through the streets each and every year.
The Tuscany region of Italy offers something for everyone. Besides the places mentioned on this list, there are amazing wineries, some of the best Italian restaurants in the world, expansive markets, and so many other opportunities to enjoy Italian culture. Transit to and from the region is simple as well, making it a great area to explore, even if you are on a tight budget.
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