Defined as the beating heart of Italy, Tuscany encapsulates all that has come to make the country so pronounced historically and culturally.
Discover – The Soul of Italy
Situated on the Tyrrhenian coast, and close enough to Milan, the region acts a beacon for tourists seeking that quintessentially Italian experience. Florence, the region’s capital, is often times the main port of call for many first-time visitors, and while smaller in size than Rome or Milan, packs enough culture and gastronomy to warrant a visit if not the whole trip. Considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, a visit to the Tuscan capital provides ample mix of museum and architecture to satisfy even the most hardened art critic.
Worth mentioning in a city already replete with attractions is the Galleria dell’ Accademia, home to the statue of David and arguably one of Italy’s biggest icons. Michelangelo’s magnum opus acts as one of the defining pieces of Renaissance art within the city. Brunelleschi’s Dome, the city’s defining landmark and a marvel of architecture, allows the more athletic traveler to climb the 463 steps necessary to get one of the best views of Florence.
A visit to the city would also not be complete without visiting the Ponte Vecchio, a covered bridge spanning the river Arno. Having been altered and rebuilt numerous times, the bridge stands testament to Florentine history and the strong ties to commerce that have historically made the city a medieval power.
One of the symbol of Tuscany is the Leaning Tower of Pisa. This medieval masterpiece is the gateway to breathtaking rural landscapes. In Terre di Pisa you can discover the genuine Tuscany with the fresh spontaneity of the locals. Beyond Pisa and the marvellous scenery of the Miracles’ Square you can’t miss Volterra, town of the Etruscans and the alabaster stone, or San Miniato, the “slow food and white truffle” town along the medieval Pilgrim Road to Rome.
Outside of Florence, the city of Siena plays host to the Palio, a semi-annual horse race with a history dating to the 17th century. Watching the race surrounded by thousands of revelers acts as a once in a lifetime experience. The race attracts thousands of locals and tourists alike, hoping to catch a glimpse of the winning champion supporting the colors his chosen contrade or local neighborhood.
The town of San Gimignano, with its numerous medieval towers, acts as a great cultural excursion while also being small enough to provide ample countryside to explore. The city’s gothic architecture and its hilltop location, help provide it with one of the most distinct skylines in Italy, resembling something more akin to a 21st century metropolis.
Visit – The zenith of Italian Wine Making
Often seen as the zenith of wine production in Italy, viniculture has played an instrumental role in helping to shape the region’s economy and history.
Among the numerous appellation laying claim to the area, the Chianti region truly stands out. A DOCG designated area, it has become one of Italy’s most acclaimed areas in producing award winning wine. Montepulciano, another Tuscan DOCG region, has reached an almost reverential status regarding its quality.
If you want to travel between nobility and great red wines, the best place to visit is Bolgheri region, where you can find beautiful wineries, local products and relax in the relais.
Taste – T-Bone Steak, Italian Style
Sharing an eponymous relationship with that of its wine counterpart, Tuscan food has come to represent the second half of the symbiotic relationship that defines the soul of the region. The Bistecca alla Fiorentina, made from the Chianina cows of the region, is widely regarded as one of the highest quality meats in Italy. The Cinghiale Bianco restaurant in Florence, specialize in the dish and is a must try for anyone looking to get their steak fix while in Italy.
Those looking for a more vegetarian option can try the Pappa al Pomodoro, a traditional Tuscan soup comprised of local bread, tomatoes and basil. Its simplicity belies the dishes intense flavors.
Flagship food appellations
Wine-related activities in the region
- Wine and food pairing
- Wine Tasting