Few parts of the world are more complete than Tuscany. A bastion of rich culture and history, the Italian region is equally well-known for its idyllic landscapes. With some of the most beautiful buildings, impressive museums and beautiful views in the world, there is an no shortage of amazing things to do in Tuscany, whatever one’s interests.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
One of Italy’s most iconic buildings (and there are many!), the Leaning Tower of Pisa is also one of the world’s most recognisable landmarks. Due to a weak foundation, the Leaning Tower of Pisa appears at a slanted angle. This structural flaw has formed the main basis of the building’s identity, making it one of the most unique towers in the world. While it is known mostly for this, there is also no denying the tower’s beauty and craftsmanship. Built over nearly 200 years, the Leaning Tower of Pisa was completed towards the end of the 14th Century in 1372 and remains intact, a definitive icon of Romanesque architecture. The tower is one of the country’s most unmissable sites, for both the classic photo opportunity and more importantly, to marvel at one of the most bizarre and impressive structures in the world.
Another of Florence’s iconic buildings, the Palazzo Vecchio is a spectacular building and the centrepiece of the city’s mains quare the Piazza della Singoria. The building is one of the city’s most beautiful, known for it illustrious interior design and the vast collection of art and decorations housed within it. The Salone Dei Cinquecento is the building’s most beautiful chamber, known for its expansive frescoes. It is impossible not to be taken aback by the craftsmanship and beauty of the building, even in a city where these qualities are commonplace.
The city of Florence is rightfully considered to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. The birthplace of the Renaissance, the city is crammed with rich cultural and historical sites. The Florence Cathedral however has to be the most impressive out of what truly is an embarrassment of riches. Completed in 1436 after over 100 years of construction, the cathedral is one of the most iconic in Italy and is considered a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. The building is known for its distinctive dome and its lavish interiors. The building epitomises the depth of cultural and historical richness in the city.
An important relic of Medieval FLorence, the Ponte Vechio is an arch bridge dating back to the 10th Century. Crossing the city’s Arno River, the Ponte Vecchio is an astouning feat of engineering, notably being the only bridge to survive the German retreat during the Second World War. Adorned with several shops selling local crafts, the bridge is a major cultural site in Florence, a testament to the city’s resilience amidst centuries of change.
As one of the art capitals of the world, Florence is home to an abundance of top-quality museums. Chief amongst them is undoubtedly the Uffizi Gallery, one of the premier art museums in the world. Averaging around 2 million visitors a year, the museum boasts one of the world’s richest and most extensive art collections. Its main area of specialisation and interest is the Renaissance, and contains a number of masterpieces from Leonardo da Vinci, Michalangelo, Raphael and Caravaggio, amongst others. It is not limited to this however, boasting pieces from Dutch Old Masters as well. The museum is an embarrassment of riches and an absolutely essential destination.
Another museum, another immense collection of art. The Galleria dell’Academia is the country’s second-most visited museum, drawing 1.5 million visitors per year. More specialised than the Uffizi, the museum hones its attention to the great works of the Italian Renaissance. The gallery is best known for being the home to Michelangelo’s ‘David’, the world’s most famous sculpture. While this accounts for much of its popularity, the museum’s extensive collection of sculptures and paintings is also worth paying attention to.
Piazza del Campo
Moving onto the city of Siena, the Piazza del Campo is one of the world’s most famous and spectacular Medieval squares. Enormous in scale, the square is home to the famous Fonte Gaia (“Fountain of the World”). It is well-known for hosting the Palio di Siena, a famous horse race which occurs twice a year. This race is a sight to behold and well-worth watching, however even if one doesn’t travel to Siena during this time, the square is still an impressive sight worth seeking out.
Il Giardino dei Tarocchi
While many visit Florence for its grandiose old buildings, this more recent addition to the city’s cultural landscape is definitely worth visiting. A sculpture park featuring the works of French sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle, the garden is based around the figures of Tarot Cards. The art work is bizarre and eye-catching. The garden is well worth a visit, contrasting with the city’s inherent classicism.
One of Italy’s most magnificent churches and one of Tuscany’s most iconic landmarks, the Siena Cathedral was consecrated in 1215 and took around 150 years to complete. The Cathedral combines a number of different architectural styles, most notably Classical, Gothic and Romanesque. The cathedral is known for its intricately detailed design, evident in both its interior and exterior. Notable features include its hexagonal dome, mosaic floor and the immense collection of valuable art, including Donatello’s ‘The Feast of Herod.’ Without a doubt one of Italy’s most beautiful buildings.
A short boat journey from the Tuscan village of Piombino, Elba is one of the most gorgeous islands in the Meditarranean. Perhaps best known as the place where French Emperor Napoleon spent his final years in exile, Elba is an incredibly picturesque place, replete with long beaches, beautiful buildings and spectacular cliffs. Also known for its top quality cycling trails, Elba is one of the Medittareaneans best hidden gems