Do you want to visit Tuscany but don’t know what to see? What follows is a guide to guide tourists through the countless historical and naturalistic attractions that this region has.
Experiences in Florence (Tuscany)
Let’s start with Florence, the capital of Tuscany
Florence Cathedral and Giotto’s Bell Tower
The visit of the city can only start from Santa Maria del Fiore, the Duomo of Florence, the heart and symbol of the city. Every day, thousands of tourists and passers-by flock to this small area between the majestic Brunelleschi Cathedral, Giotto’s Bell Tower which stands on the side, and the Baptistery.
Baptistery of San Giovanni
Built in honor of San Giovanni, patron saint of the city, the Florentine Baptistery stands in front of the wide facade of the Duomo of Florence, in the homonymous square, and represents part of the original religious nucleus of Florence. Built on an octagonal plan, the baptistery presents the classic “Romantico fiorentino” covering in white Carrara marble and Prato green.
This long rectangular square, bordered by large stone benches, is one of the most popular Florentine meeting points: both for the numerous bars and restaurants that crowd the surrounding streets, and for the proximity to the national library, or for the frequent demonstrations – among the most celebrated costume football – held annually.
Piazza della Signoria and Loggia dei Lanzi
The central element of Florence’s most famous square, Piazza della Signoria, is the fourteenth-century Palazzo Vecchio, the seat of civil and administrative power in the city. The view is dominated by the ancient sculptures in marble or pietra serena, like that of Marzocco by Donatello, the mighty lion resting on the emblem with the Florentine lily; or the Fountain of Neptune.
The Loggia dei Lanzi, built at the end of the fourteenth century, housed the ancient public assemblies. Today it collects numerous marble sculptures, with the exception of Benvenuto Cellini’s bronze masterpiece: the Perseus, dating back to 1554, which with an athletic gesture triumphantly exposes the decapitated head of Medusa.
With its international reputation, Ponte Vecchio is one of the symbols of historic Florence. Allowing the passage over the waters of the Arno, where the river narrows, the bridge joins the historical center of the city with the east zone that the Florentines commonly call “Diladdarno”: leaving Piazza delle Signoria and the Uffizi Gallery behind you arrive quickly at Palazzo Pitti and at the Boboli Gardens.
A particularity of the bridge are the artisan shops – once butcher’s shops, today refined goldsmith shops – that line the road but stop at the center of the bridge to make room for two large panoramic terraces.
Private park of the residential building of Palazzo Pitti, the Boboli Gardens connects the famous palace of Florence with the Forte Belvedere. Dear example of Italian garden, 45,000 square meters wide, the park houses statues, various residences and museums, and presents an architectural-landscape structure that makes it unique in the world. The garden also includes the Museo degli Argenti, the Galleria del Costume and the Porcelain Museum.
The Uffizi Museum in Florence – whose name derives from the ancient “offices” of the administrative apparatus of the city – collects works from the private collection of the Medici family. It is one of the most famous and visited museums in the world, open to the public since 1591!
Inside are preserved works of inestimable value, such as the fifteenth-century paintings by Botticelli such as the Primavera and the Birth of Venus. There are also the masterpieces of Cimabue, Giotto, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Tiziano, Goya and many others.
San Miniato al Monte
On the top of the city of Florence stands the church of San Miniato, on Mons Florentinus. A steep staircase will take you to one of the most fascinating churches in all of Florence. The façade, with the typical geometries of white marble and green serpentine of Prato, recalls once again the Romanesque-Florentine art. The interior of the church is unusual, with the presbytery and the choir on a platform raised above the crypt, which is accessed via two side staircases.
What to do In Siena
It is Siena, land of the Palio, of the homonymous color, of good wine and of the attractions that, once visited, remain irremediably in the heart. Here are the main things to see in Siena absolutely.
Piazza del Campo
Piazza del Campo, the hub of the city’s economic and social life since the 14th century, is home to the famous Palio, held twice a year in the Tuscan town. Admirable from above (rising to the top of the Torre del Mangia, located in the imposing Palazzo Pubblico, overlooking the square), the square boasts a natural slope that feeds its charm.
One of the most majestic buildings for civilian use in our nation. Inside this structure houses the Civic Museum, with works of rare beauty such as the frescoes by Lorenzetti; next to the Palace (site of today’s Municipal Administration) we find the very high Torre del Mangia, from which, having overcome the shock of the 88 meters high, we will be able to admire Siena in all its timeless beauty.
Simply a masterpiece. The exterior of the suggestive Siena Cathedral will delight you with its view, and then visit the sumptuous interiors. The floors, which tell a story with their evocative impressed images; the Piccolomini Library, the chapel of the same name, the Pulpit built by Nicola Pisano, one of the many great artists who, together with Michelangelo and Pinturicchio, have made the Duomo a jewel of Sienese art and more.
Santa Maria della Scala Museum Complex
Originally it was a hospital facility, designed to support poor, pilgrims and abandoned children. Today Santa Maria della Scala, located on the Via Francigena a few steps from the Duomo of Siena, is one of the most important and impressive museum complexes in the city, capable of satisfying every kind of tourist, with its vast range of exhibitions ranging from archeology to contemporary art.
What to do In Livorno
Livorno is a multicultural and multi-ethnic city, animated by people from all over the world and rich in monuments and attractions. Here is what is worth seeing in Livorno according to us!
The Old Fortress
Speaking of what to see in Livorno we certainly could not start from the Old Fortress. Today it is possible to reach it via a concrete pier, but in the past it was only accessible via a system of floating barges.
The New Fortress
The New Fortress is located on an islet carved out of the canal, in the full center of Livorno: today it houses a wonderful park and a space that is often used for events and weddings.
Piazza della Repubblica is one of the main squares of Livorno and is one of the must-see attractions among the top attractions of the city. It is located very close to the New Fortress, and is an integral part of the neighborhood called Venezia Nuova, one of the best preserved in Livorno.
To fully enjoy the breeze coming from the sea, the Terrazza Mascagni is the perfect place! It is a very large square overlooking the crystal clear waters of the sea, with benches, gazebos and flower beds: the perfect place to relax after a day spent visiting Livorno!
What to do in Pisa
Pisa is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in Tuscany and throughout Italy. Founded, according to legend, by the Achaean warriors after the Trojan war, Pisa is an ancient city that actually dates back to at least the Etruscan period. Let’s see what the main attractions of Pisa are.
Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta
The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta is one of the greatest Romanesque artistic expressions that you will find in Pisa. Built by the architect Buscheto in 1064 in the center of Campo dei Miracoli, the cathedral blends classic, Norman, Byzantine, early Christian and Arab elements. The exterior is richly decorated with multicolored marbles, mosaics and bronze objects, while the interior is characterized by the particular alternation of white and black marble, gray marble columns and coffered ceiling.
Tower of Pisa
The Tower of Pisa is the symbol of the city. It is the bell tower of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta from there not far away. Built in 1173 on a sandy bottom, the Tower immediately began to hang, perhaps also because of the shallow foundations (only 3 meters). Over the centuries there have been several attempts to stop the increasing slope of the tower, which today was signed at 4 meters thanks to the latest invention of 1998: remove the ground on the north side to create a counter-balance and fix steel rods and lead counterweights that reach 900 tons.
The Camposanto Monumentale is located near the Campo dei Miracoli and is a place rich in history. The current arrangement of the Camposanto comes directly from the nineteenth century, a period in which the burials were moved indoors. Further restoration work began in 1945 after the bombings of the Second World War, but to date they have not yet been completed.
Borgo Stretto is one of the most typical and ancient districts of Pisa. It is located a short distance from the Lungarno and is rich in historic buildings. Here you can see the Casino dei Nobili, dating back to the eighteenth century, but also medieval markets under the arcades that still today line the streets that open into small squares.
Top experiences in Arezzo
Among the cities not to be missed there is certainly Arezzo with its atmosphere, its history and its medieval old town: a mix of art, fun and relaxation from which you will be able to get involved completely.
The oldest square in Arezzo was the set of some scenes from the Oscar-winning film “La Vita è Bella” by Roberto Benigni, which made his extraordinary architectural harmony known to the world. To make it one of the most beautiful squares in Italy, palaces, towers and churches from various eras contribute, including the elegant 16th century Vasari loggia.
Cathedral of San Donato
The works for the construction of the imposing cathedral, begun at the end of the 14th century, lasted three centuries. The Gothic-style interior is illuminated by the stained-glass windows of Guillaume de Marcillat and contains numerous valuable works, including the Magdalene by Piero della Francesca and the high altar to which Giovanni Pisano would have contributed.
Basilica of San Francesco
If you are a fan of sacred art you should not miss a visit to this 13th century church, one of the oldest buildings in Arezzo. The façade is unadorned and unfinished, but the interior is a real marvel: the walls are covered with splendid frescoes, among which the cycle of the Legend of the True Cross by Piero della Francesca, considered one of the great masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance art.
Passeggio del Prato Park
Between the Cathedral and the Medici Fortress, easily reachable on foot from Piazza Grande, it is the ideal place for a break or a walk in the countryside, while remaining in the city center. It is divided into two distinct parts: on one side a large circular flowerbed, on the other a shady grove of trees and plants, in the middle stands the imposing monument to Francesco Petrarca.
What to do in Massa Carrara
As soon as you arrive in Carrara, you immediately perceive the white aura that the white marble slabs, present everywhere, give to this city. Here are the main activities of this beautiful province.
These are unique places in the world, scenarios that are difficult to imagine otherwise and that will remain forever etched in your mind. in reality, the quarries on the surface are only a part of the total: for environmental, logistic and historical reasons, many of them are located inside the mountain, excavated starting from narrow tunnels that over time have expanded to become true and their own marble cathedrals.
Colonnata rises on the slopes of the Apuan Alps. It is part of the municipality of Carrara, in the Province of Massa Carrara, and today it is inhabited by about 300 people. Waiting for you, in this small corner of the ancient world, are narrow streets lined with a vortex of stairways, underpasses and high stone walls that are so enveloping, that at times it seems you can’t breathe. In the small square, flooded with sunlight, a colorful peacock walks its elegant tail. Three children chase after a ball waiting for the late lunch. It seems that in this place, time has stopped: everything smells of ancient and intense flavors.
Although the main activity of Colonnata is related to the extraction of marble, this village is known worldwide for a gastronomic product with a protected geographical indication (PGI): the Lardo di Colonnata. It is an excellent salami obtained from pork meat, seasoned and preserved with garlic, pepper, rosemary and cinnamon and then left to mature for about 6 months in typical marble tubs. Almost every family here produces its own bacon and proudly displays its traditions.
Carrara is often associated only with marble. Little is known about its historic center and the beautiful streets that cut the city into delicate portions of wonder, such as the Cathedral of Carrara or Piazza Alberica, historical place for the city, with disarming beauty. The soft colors compensate for the white, at the center stands the monument dedicated to Maria Beatrice d’Este. It is a sixteenth-century square, ardently wanted by the Lord of Carrara, Alberico Malaspina.
Pistoia has been elected capital of culture 2017. The Tuscan city offers numerous places of interest that are a must for anyone visiting the city. We see the most important places that must absolutely be visited.
Cathedral of San Zeno
The Cathedral of Pistoia dates back to the 10th century and is named after San Zeno, bishop of 300 AD The statue of the saint is located on the roof of the Cathedral next to that of the patron saint of the city of San Jacopo. The two figures of the saints are historically linked, in fact it seems that it was precisely the bishop Zeno who obtained an important relic of San Jacopo for the city of Pistoia, to which the city was devoted, coming from Santiago de Compostela.
Baptistery of San Giovanni in Corte
The Baptistery has undergone several restorations over the centuries and entering into it has the impression of a solemn environment. The visitor’s attention is inevitably captured by the splendid baptismal font created by Lanfranco di Como and positioned at the center of the octagon. The Baptistery today no longer has a liturgical function, but occasionally hosts cultural events.
The Tuscan city not only offers attractions on the surface, but also in its basements. Those who pass through Pistoia cannot but visit the underground streets that host numerous surprises. This is a walkway that not everyone knows, an excursion that I strongly recommend you do when you happen to be in the area. The organized route brings to light the true story that has given life to this village since its foundation.
San Giovanni Fuorcivitas
The church of San Giovanni Fuorcivitas is located outside the original nucleus of the city of Pistoia, which in the Middle Ages corresponded to the first city walls. Many believe that at first the site was occupied by a church built by the Lombards, who once converted to Catholicism wanted to show their faith by dedicating a new place of worship to the holy apostle. At the beginning of the 12th century, however, a new building was built. Work was begun that lasted until the 14th century due to subsequent enlargements, bringing San Giovanni to its present appearance.
This post is also available in: Italian