Tuscany, a region on the west coast of Italy, is one of the most well known tourist destinations in a country that is in itself a famous travel destination. Lying on the Tyrrhenian Sea, local and foreign travelers will never run out of reasons to visit Tuscany. Some of the most notable reasons include an enchanting beach trip to Viareggio, the Renaissance art of Florence, and the scrumptious Tuscan food and wines.
Known locally as Toscana, this enthralling region is accessible to travelers through the main airports found in Florence and Pisa, while most international flights usually go through Rome and Milan. From the airport, visitors can simply rent a car and embark on a three hour drive to get to Tuscany.
It is very easy to spend a few days, a week or even a month in Tuscany. There are simply so many destinations to explore and a lot of attractions to see. If traveling on a tight budget or timeline, it is a good thing to consider these Top 10 Must See Places in Tuscany to jump start your Tuscan adventure:
Florence – Florence is one of the top places in Tuscany. The city has something for everyone, especially those who would love to know more about the rich and colorful heritage of the region. Some of the most well loved destinations here include the Museo Galileo on Piazza dei Giudici, the Leonardo Da Vinci Museum at the Castello dei Conti Guidi, the best Renaissance art collection in the world found at the Uffizi Gallery, and Michelangelo’s masterpiece, David, housed in the Galleria dell’Accademia delle Bella.
Siena – Although this charming city is most well known for the vibrant Il Palio race horse that takes place on July 2 and August 16 each year, there are also many interesting places to see in this medieval Tuscan city. Among the attractions tourist must make sure to visit are the uniquely shaped Piazza del Campo at the city center, the 800-year-old Siena City Hall of Palazzo Pubblico, and the Piccolomini Palace on the Piazza del Campo, which was built in 1459. One must also make sure to visit the Italian Romanesque Siena cathedral, the Duomo.
Pisa – Pisa is best known for the Leaning Tower of Pisa, known locally as Torre Pendente. Little do most people know, the Leaning Tower is just part of a bigger and spectacular Pisa attraction, the Piazza dei Miracoli or the Field of Miracles. This attraction is included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list and includes the city’s most famous attractions, including the Cathedral of Pisa, the Battistero or the Baptistry, the Monumental Cemetery, and the Museo del Opera del Duomo.
Luca – Visitors love to visit this city for the remnants of Ancient Roman architecture. One of the best places to start exploring this old and beautiful city are the defensive walls that were designed by Leonardo Da Vinci. Other attractions worth everyone’s visit are the ancient clock tower of Torre delle Ore, the city’s largest square of Piazza Napoleone that now houses the government building, and the remains of an old Roman home found at Domus Romana. It is also a must that you pay the Roman amphitheater a visit, just at the main entrance of Piazza Scarpellini. While there, guests must also make sure to partake in the Puccini Festival concerts that take place every night at the Piazza San Giovanni.
Montepulciano – One of the most interesting places to see in Montepulciano is the Piazza Grande and the medieval Palazzo Comunale, as well as the Palazzo de’ Nobili-Tarugi and Contucci Palace. It will prove to be a worthwhile experience to walk to the Renaissance church of San Biagio and partake in the many wine tasting activities held in the Cantinas or in the basement of the Contucci Palace. To get a glimpse of Etruscan artifacts, as well as della Robbia ceramic alterpieces, one must make sure to visit the Civic Museum on Via Ricci. Anyone will also enjoy a trip to the 15th century villa of La Foce.
Arezzo – As with the other Tuscan city, Arezzo also has numerous duomos or cathedrals, and some of the most notable ones to see are the Arezzo Cathedral, the churches of San Francesco, Santa Maria della Pieve and Santa Maria delle Grazie. The city also has numerous museums that are sure to pique anyone’s interest, starting with the House Museum of Ivan Bruschi, Museo del Duomo and Museo Statale d’Arte Medievale e Moderna. Another interesting place to see is the most beautiful square in Arezzo, the Piazza Grande.
San Gimignano – This town is mostly known for its great medieval art and the beautiful towers. It is a very interesting city to visit in Tuscany especially if you happen to be vacationing in the nearby cities of Florence or Siena. To learn about the colorful Middle Ages history and architecture of Tuscany, make sure to drop by San Gimignano 1300. It will also be a worthwhile experience to see the tallest tower of the city, Torre Grossa, one of the 14 remaining towers in the city. And when one goes hungry discovering the many charms of this ancient city, make sure to stop by one of the many restaurants, starting with Trattoria Chiribiri, for inexpensive homemade Tuscan pastas and desserts.
Chianni – This little attractive Tuscan village is the place to go for a spectacular view of the Tuscan countryside. Chianni is not a top Tuscan destination, but the 13th century Sanctuario della Madonna del Carmine, and its many stunning churches, starting with the main on Pieve di San Donato in Pizza della Chiesa, as well as the crypt below it, are worth anyone’s time and visit.
Pienza – This beautiful Renaissance town situated in the Orcia Valley of southern Tuscany, is included in the UNESCO World Heritage site and is also the birthplace of Pope Pius II. Pienza is mostly known for the unforgettable view of the valley, as well as for its famous pecorino cheese.
Montecatini Terme – This place is situated in the heart of Tuscany and is well known for the historic thermal spa of Terme Tettuccio, the various pleasurable spa treatments, and the century old cable railway that runs through the city towards the magnificent view of the hills in Montecatini Alto.