Tuscany pictures: a selection of charming places and monuments
Tuscany is a region of special charm and full of breathtaking places to visit.
Its variety and the heterogeneity of the views and monuments it offers makes it particularly difficult to choose and recommend what is truly unmissable.
Some foreigners will prefer to explore the natural landscapes, others will want to lose themselves in the streets of perched villages, others will still seek out the majestic Gothic-Medieval and Renaissance monuments that embellish the verdant region.
Therefore, tourists should only be partially influenced by those who know the area better and are its ambassadors.
Although certainly valid, only one’s personal taste and the emotions look into the experience are able to guide the planning of one’s Tuscan holidays.
The images below try to capture the essence of many of the main attractions that the region offers, in order to allow the view, the most important sense for man, to help us trace our own path.
DUOMO DI SIENA
The Duomo of Siena is a place of worship built according to the taste of the romantic-Gothic current.
It is a powerful structure whose splendor is evident from its main façade.
However, what is mainly distinctive about this monument are the indoor parts. In fact, there are preserved several artistic works and the ceilings are richly decorated.
PALIO DI SIENA
The Palio di Siena is an unmissable event which can be attended only twice a year in the homonymous city.
It is held in Piazza del Campo and formed into an equestrian carousel, that is a particular competition on the horseback of medieval origin, between the different ‘Contrade’ (Siena districts).
TORRE DEL MANGIA E PALAZZO PUBBLICO (SIENA)
The Palazzo Pubblico and the Torre del Mangia overlooks on Piazza del Campo.
The first one is probably considered the greatest examples of civil Gothic architecture, although it was completed, as we can see it today, only in 1680.
La Torre del Mangia, on the other hand, is a building of great elegance. It was completed in 1347 with the mission of marking the hours for the entire Tuscan city.
BASILICA SAN DOMENICO (SIENA)
The Basilica of San Domenico is a building that rises from the boundaries of the city of Siena and that is part of the itinerary to discover the history of Saint Catherine.
Other recommended stops for those who want to take this path of great spiritual and historical value are:
The sanctuary and the house of Santa Caterina, Fontebranda and the baptistery of San Giovanni.
SAN GALGANO (SIENA)
There are mainly two attractions that make San Galgano a popular destination for tourists and all those who looking for beautiful places: the huge abbey with no roof and the hermitage of Monte Siepi, where the legendary sword in the rock is kept.
ABBAZIA DI S. ANIMO (SIENA)
The abbey of Sant’Animo is located in the province of Siena and has a special charm.
In reality, the church has no particular ornaments and decorations, but its majestic and austere structure recalls the medieval period in a disarming manner.
The atmosphere is further enriched during the ceremonies, because they are still today accompanied by the famous Gregorian chants.
Bagno Vignoni is a spa town located in the province of Siena, in the Val D’orcia.
It has both free spas and wellness centers and can be particularly interesting from a naturalistic point of view, in particular for the surrounding area.
CAVE DI CARRARA
Carrara, thanks to its numerous quarries, represents one of the main centers of marble extraction.
There are a lot of panoramic itineraries that allow the exploration of these structures that are located halfway between natural and artificial landscapes.
CASTELLO DEL BOCCALE (LIVORNO)
The enchanting Boccale castle was built in Livorno at the behest of the De Medici.
Initially, the building had to be purely functional and represent a sighting tower.
Now the castle is like a nest on the Tuscan cliff and a particularly interesting stage, especially for couples, thanks to its romantic view and the coves adjacent to it.
TERRAZZA MASCAGNI (LIVORNO)
Elegant and refined, the Terrazza Mascagni is a unique viewpoint located on the Livorno coast.
It was built in the twenties of the twentieth century and the chessboard floor recalls the themes of metaphysical abstraction, so much in vogue at those times.
Castiglioncello, nicknamed “the pearl of the Tyrrhenian”, is a small town built on a pretty cliff of the coast.
For its beauty, it has often been an inspiration for artists, particularly the Macchiaioli.
Moreover, it is possible to visit the famous Torre Medicea.
FONTANA DEL NETTUNO (FIRENZE)
n Piazza della Signoria, in the center of Florence, lies the fascinating Fountain of Neptune.
The monument was built by Bartolomeo Ammannati and Giambologna in the mid-1500s.
The fountain shows the God of the sea on a chariot drawn by four horses. The work is further enriched by the statues of three young tritons and by four other figures representing Doride, Teti and two sea gods.
BASILICA DI SANTA CROCE (FIRENZE)
The Basilica of Santa Croce is an immense Franciscan structure, whose construction was commissioned in 1294.
Its grandeur (it has 16 chapels) and its external splendor, however, cannot compete with the treasures that enrich its interior.
In fact, the church is the burial place of the great Michelangelo, Rossini, Macchiavelli and Galileo Galilei.
Furthermore, the basilica houses the frescoes and other works by Gaddi, Giotto, and Donatello.
CATTEDRALE DI SANTA MARIA DEL FIORE (FIRENZE)
The cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, also known as the Duomo of Florence, was built in 1367. Only the dome is of later construction and it is a work of Brunelleschi.
The exterior of the structure is decorated with a mix of pink, white and green marbles. The interior, in contrast, is less sumptuous at first sight, but full of interesting details.
Moreover, next to the cathedral, it is possible to admire Giotto’s Tower and the Chapel of San Giovanni.
GALLERIA DEGLI UFFIZI (FIRENZE)
The Uffizi Gallery is a museum complex that houses both statues and paintings.
The art gallery is particularly known for its decorations and for the surprising density of works it conceals.
Among these we cite:
- La Primavera, Botticelli
- La Nascita di Venere, Botticelli
- La Madonna col Bambino e angeli, Lippi
- La Venere di Urbino, Tiziano
- … and many others accomplished by Tuscan artists such as Giotto and Michelangelo
GIARDINO DI BOBOLI (FIRENZE)
The Boboli garden is located near Palazzo Pitti, in Florence, and was initially edited by the De Medici.
This green space, of great historical value, is comparable to an outdoor museum.
In fact, inside we can find various decorative statues, fountains and the Kaffehouse, an ancient architectural jewel designed specifically to combine coffee with the charming place.
PALAZZO PITTI (FIRENZE)
Palazzo Pitti is a huge and magnificent collection of museums. It was commissioned by the Pitti family but was mainly used by the De Medici.
Its complex contains:
- The Palatine Gallery
- The Royal Apartments
- The Gallery of Modern Art
- The Silver Museum
- The Fashion and Costume Museum
- The Porcelain Museum
- The Boboli Gardens
PONTE VECCHIO (FIRENZE)
The Ponte Vecchio is probably the most iconic monument of Florence and is also the oldest crossing of the Arno.
It was built in 1345, but its elegant and picturesque appearance is owed to Giorgio Vasari, who made the Vasari Corridor in 1565.
Currently, the bridge is occupied mainly by goldsmiths and jewelers and it is considered a perfect destination for shopping.
PALAZZO VECCHIO (FIRENZE)
Palazzo Vecchio was the political symbol of the Medici and, now, of Florence.
In fact, the structure houses the headquarters of the town hall of the city.
However, the building is also a beautiful museum and every room is rich in history and has its own artistic heritage.
Moreover, there are many secrets and mysteries concerning the building and some of these have not yet been resolved.
ISOLA DEL GIGLIO
The Isola del Giglio is a particularly relaxing and evocative destination.
In fact, it is surrounded by turquoise waters and contains enchanting beaches, caves, and cliffs.
Inside we can find the charming Lighthouse of the Lovers and an ancient castle, both immersed in the wild nature that adorns the island
Elba is the largest of the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago.
This place is a particularly popular seaside tourist destination. Above all, for the extreme beauty of its natural landscapes and for the lively villages it hides.
CATTEDRALE DI SAN ZENO (PISTOIA)
The splendid cathedral of San Zeno is located in Piazza Duomo in Pistoia.
The structure was built according to the Romanesque style and is accompanied by a bell tower and a baptistery.
The relics of St. Zeno are kept in the crypt of the church and in the naves it is possible to admire frescoes made between the 13th and the 16th century.
Probably the most famous and most visited village in Tuscany is San Gimignano.
The town is perched between the Chianti hills and is surrounded by thirteenth-century walls.
Moreover, in the 90s it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO to be an enchanting example of architectural and landscape complex.
The tower is the distinctive symbol of the village. However, of the 72 medieval towers erected in Sam Gimignano, today we can only admire 13 of them.
CHIESA DI SAN MICHELE IN FORO (LUCCA)
Lucca is frequently nicknamed the city of 100 churches.
Among these, the Church of San Michele in Foro is the oldest and most impressive. In fact, the current building was commissioned in 1070 by Pope Alexander II.
The Basilica has a predominantly Romanesque style.
Its high facade is embellished with many sculptures and columns. Furthermore, at the top, there is a huge marble statue that portrays the archangel Michael defeating the dragon.
Massa Marittima preserves one of the most seductive urban-architectural complexes of the entire region.
In its main square, a simply magical place, overlooks the Cathedral of San Cebone.
Exploring the area of Massa Marittima may not only mean art and history. In fact, many interesting excursion activities start from the town, such as trekking and horse riding.
Montecatini Terme is a green oasis, renowned primarily for the therapeutic properties of its waters, which makes it particularly regenerating.
Furthermore, these have led to the construction of numerous spas in its surroundings.
However, the village is also fascinating for its artistic-architectural and naturalistic value. For example, in its vicinity, it is situated the beautiful Grotta Moana.
Montepulciano rises between the Val D’Orcia and Valdichiana.
The beautiful Renaissance village is the place of origin of the famous Vino Nobile, one of the most appreciated Tuscan products in the world.
In addition to its enogastronomic notoriety, the historic center of the verdant small town is particularly stimulating, adorned and enriched by the Duomo and the temple of the Madonna di San Biagio.
In Val d’Orcia, near the town of Pienza, lies Monticchiello, an ancient village of Etruscan origin.
The town has almost entirely preserved its authenticity and medieval austerity. This was a very recognizable and prominent feature compared to the other villages of Pienza, all Renaissance.
In addition, Monticchiello is protected by a robust city wall and inside is localized the Torre del Cassero.
PIAZZA DEI MIRACOLI (PISA)
Piazza dei Miracoli has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The unusual quality of the monumental masterpieces that it houses makes it one of the most beautiful squares in the world.
In fact, the Duomo, the Tower of Pisa, the Baptistery and the monumental Camposanto overlooks the area. Furthermore, the spectacular places combine the Pisan Romanesque and the early Christian style.
ANFITEATRO ETRUSCO A VOLTERRA
The Volterra Amphitheater was unearthed in the mid-twentieth century. It is located near the town of Vallebuona and is probably very ancient: it seems to date back to the end of the 1st century BC.
The Roman theater is part of an ancient Romanesque complex, of which it was possible to recover even the baths.
Volterra consists of a complex of 4 villages enclosed within thirteenth-century walls.
The predominant style is the medieval one. In fact, the town has managed to preserve its historical authenticity and allows one to experience an experience beyond the present time.
In addition, there are many museums in Volterra (Pinacoteca, the Museum of Sacred Art, or the Ecomuseum of Alabaster) that contribute to making the city famous also for the artistic testimonies that it is possible to discover inside.
BELVEDERE DI PITIGLIANO
In the heart of Pitigliano, outside the Palazzo Orsini, the “windows” are positioned.
From the viewpoint offered by these constructions it is possible to admire two different landscape of the surrounding Maremma landscape:
- to the north the valleys of Prochio and the mass of Monte Amiata
- to the south the Meleta valley and the remains of the ancient Etruscan necropolis
Pitigliano is located in the Tuscan Maremma.
Visiting this village is particularly recommended for lovers of urban architectural landscapes.
Pitigiano is in fact a harmonious and fairy town. It houses many historic buildings such as the majestic Palazzo Orsini, the ancient accommodation of the Orsini family.
Populonia is one of the ancient Etruscan city-states and is located atop a hill, among those that form the Gulf of Baratti.
At the present inhabited center, the remains of the Etruscan and Roman passage are visible, which have marked it. Also of great importance are the medieval walls, originally built for defense against pirates, as well as the Rocca.
CATTEDRALE DI SANTA MARIA ASSUNTA E SAN GENESIO (SAN MINIATO)
The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and San Genesio was built in the 12th century.
The Church appears bare outside: the facade was decorated with only ceramic basins. Despite this, the originality and elegance of the building are evident.
On the contrary, the interior has a Neo-Renaissance base, further enriched by ornaments from the Baroque period
Sorano dates back to the Etruscan era and is perched on a natural cliff.
The walls that surround it had a defensive function and were even fortified with ramparts.
From the folkloristic village it is possible to visit the Vie Cave, which are intriguing passages carved into the rock, and the archaeological park of Città del Tufo.
GIARDINO DEI TAROCCHI (CAPALBIO)
In the outskirts of Capalbio, in the extreme south of Tuscany, it is possible to explore a truly unusual and enchanting garden: the Tarot Garden.
This space was designed by the visionary Niki de Saint de Phalle in the second half of the last century. The artist’s spectacular sculptures represent the 22 Major Arcana of the Tarot cards and are decorated with colored glass, mirrors, and ceramics.
LA VERNA – SANTUARIO DI SAN FRANCESCO
La Verna is a Franciscan sanctuary nestled in the Casentino area on the top of Monte Penna.
It is said that St. Francis received the stigmata in this structure, during a long period of meditation.
The religious place is surrounded by uncontaminated woods characterized by an equally spiritual atmosphere, named for this the Foreste Sacre, absolutely to visit.
Orbetello rises on narrow strips of land and is surrounded by the lagoon, from which the city itself took its name.
The main sources of livelihood of the town have always been the fish farm and fishing, facilitated by the low tide that characterizes the lagoon waters.
Inside the town, it is possible to admire the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, while, in its surroundings, it is particularly interesting to admire the lovely port of Talamone.
In the heart of Val d’Orcia you can explore and discover the cheerful town of Pienza.
Defined by Pascoli as “a city born of a thought of love and a dream of beauty”, the area is perfectly preserved in its original beauty.
In 1996 Pienza (together with Monticchiello), as part of the Val D’Orcia, was recognized as a World Heritage Site.
The Mugello International Circuit is 5,245 meters long and features 15 curves. The circuit is owned by Ferrari and is located north of Florence.
The plant hosts motomondiale races, which are always fun and spectacular. For this reason, when you are organizing the itinerary of the Tuscan tour, it can be interesting to study the competition calendar
LAGO DI VAGLI E IL PAESE FANTASMA
Below the surface of Lake Vagli, in the Garfagnana, lies the ghost town of Fabbriche di Careggine.
From the surface, it is possible to see some elements of the town, which emerges entirely only on the rare occasion when the dam is emptied. During these moments Fabbriche appears preserved in its entirety, with its houses, bridges, and churches.
VALLI DEL CHIANTI
Between Florence and Siena, nature becomes enveloping and soft. The Chianti hills are verdant and decorated with frequent vines responsible for the production of Chianti Classico wine.
The area is probably considered the heart of Tuscany and is further enriched by the enchanting castles and the pretty villages that surround it. Among these we mention Gaiole, Castellina, Radda and San Casciano.
The Val d’Orcia extends between hills and gullies and is adorned above all by its cypress trees.
On the heights stand several monumental villages, built mainly in the Renaissance style.
In this area, Brunello and other famous Tuscan wines are produced. Other aspects that characterize the zone are the different thermal springs and the strong gastronomic culture, which aims especially at the enhancement of truffles.
The Crete Senesi are characterized by a typically lunar landscape, and are located in the south-western area of the region.
The lunar term is consistent with the greyish streaks and shades of the clay hills, protagonists of the landscape.
This” locus amoenus” is a true Italian landscape heritage because of it recalls the nuances and atmosphere of the desert, an environment very far from our territory.
The Maremma is a wetland, a very long coastline very differentiated within it and able to offer a multiplicity of panoramas and experiences.
It extends from Follonica to Monte Argentario.
In the area, you can decide whether to rest on the beach or, instead, participate in intriguing excursions by boat or by trekking.
LAGO DI GRAMOLAZZO
The lake of Gramolazzo allows you to have a beautiful skyline of the most beautiful peaks of the Apuan Alps.
The basin is well equipped and its waters are green and turquoise.
The area, from the naturalistic point of view, is of great beauty and the mountains seem almost to protect the lake.
PARCO NATURALE DELLA CECINA
n Marina di Cecina we can find the Tomboli di Cecina Nature Reserve.
The town crops up among long dunes stretch and its surroundings are covered by thick vegetation that wants, in some way, to represent a form of defense of the cultivated areas compared to the sea winds.
In addition, a specific fauna is protected in the reserve: wild rabbits, foxes, weasels, porcupines, roe deer, and badgers.
TERME DI SATURNIA
Saturnia is home to the most famous thermal spring in Tuscany. Here, in fact, it is possible to use the beneficial water for free at the magical Cascate del Mulino.
The structure of this wellness area is extremely suggestive. In fact, this consists of many small natural pools, similar to flower petals, with a clayey bottom.
The village of Saturnia, on the other hand, was built near an Etruscan necropolis and is known for its liveliness and enjoyment.
CASCATA DI DIBORRATO
On the Colle Val d’Elsa and, more precisely, in the upper Val d’Elsa river park, we find the Diborrato waterfalls, characterized by the clear turquoise color of the water.
These can be reached through a stimulating and intriguing itinerary on the banks of the Elsa river, between catwalks and Tibetan bridges.
The largest of the falls is 10 meters high and behind it lies the Bear Cave. In addition, the water of this special waterfall ends up in a sort of a deep and very wide well.
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