Tuscany is a large region in central Italy that is known for its beautiful landscape, rich history, and artistic legacy. With many popular destinations within the region, there are endless possibilities when it comes to deciding what to do. Spanning just under nine thousand square miles, the region offers everything from beach side waves to mountaintop views. Whether you want to experience deep rooted history first hand, gaze upon work done by world renowned artists, or just delight in eating the local food creations, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
History & Art
Florence, the capital of Tuscany, is by far the most well-known city in the region. It is considered to be the birthplace of the Renaissance so there is no shortage of beautiful art to be found. The Uffizi Gallery, Galleria dell’Accademia, Pitti Palace, and the Boboli Gardens are great places to begin your artistic tour. If museums don’t pique your interest, then explore the city by foot and you’ll be sure to catch some amazing architectural achievements. The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, better known as the Duomo, is the city’s most recognizable attraction. Piazzale Michelangelo is one of the most popular viewpoints in the city and is definitely worth the trek. Watching the sun set over the entire city is truly breathtaking.
Another famous city in Tuscany is Pisa. The city’s most renowned attractions, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, and the Baptistery, are all just steps from each other. Knock three things off your list with this one location. Siena is also a great city to visit in the Tuscany region. The city’s filled with reminders of its medieval heritage. Piazza del Campo is in the historic center of Siena and is a UNESCO world heritage site. Take a step back in time to one of Europe’s greatest medieval squares. Twice a year, on July 2nd and August 16th, a traditional medieval horse race takes place here called the Palio di Siena.
Food & Wine
Most regions in Italy claim strong individuality and Tuscany is no exception. This is due in large part to the world famous art previously mentioned, but also because of its food and drink culture. When visiting the Tuscany region there is a list of area-specific foods that you won’t want to miss out on. A lampredotto sandwich is a popular Florentine street food. Lampredotto is the fourth stomach of the cow that is then cooked in broth and then served with salsa verde or spicy sauce. A well-known winter dish is ribollita soup. This contains many different kinds of cabbage, beans, onions and carrots. Italians take their bread very seriously and there are noticeable differences in bread depending on which region you’re in. In Tuscany, the bread is always unsalted. No one likes wasting food, so when that bread becomes stale it is made into pappa al pomodoro. This is a thick bread-based soup with tomatoes, garlic, and basil.
Wine is a very important part of Italian culture as it is seen as a necessity to include with a meal. Tuscany is famous for its Chianti wine. Chianti wine is a red blend from the Chianti region of Tuscany that is made primarily with Sangiovese grapes. Chianti has eight sub-zones but can only be considered Chianti Classico if it is from the original historic boundaries. Chianti Classico is thought to be of a higher quality because it is made in smaller quantities from these distinct areas. Since wine should be enjoyed and properly paired with food, Chianti wine pairs well with tomato sauce. The high acid in the wine can cut through richer dishes which is why pizza or any tomato-based pasta sauces pair amazingly with this wine.
Tuscany has so much to offer that it truly is a great destination for all. From history to art to food, this experience will have you planning your next trip before you’re even home!
To learn more about what Tuscany and the rest of Italy has to offer, click on the link below.