ITALYDiscover Italy • Tuscany

Discover Magical Tuscany

Tuscany (Toscana) is a region on Italy's west coast, on the Tyrrhenian sea. Tuscany has two very diverse faces - the art cities such as Florence, Siena, Lucca and Pisa on one hand, and the countryside on the other. The small towns, villages, castles, villas and vineyards of Tuscany make a welcome change from the traffic and noise of some of the larger Tuscan cities.

Magical Journeys to Tuscany

Popular Destinations: FlorenceLuccaPisaSiena… and more

• Florence

Destination Florence, Tuscany

The best-known site and crowning architectural jewel of Florence is the domed cathedral of the city, Santa Maria del Fiore, known as The Duomo. The magnificent dome was built by Filippo Brunelleschi. The nearby Campanile tower and the Baptistery are also highlights …

• Lucca

Destination Lucca, Tuscany

The walls encircling the old town of Lucca remain intact, even as the city expanded and modernized, unusual for cities in the region. Once the walls lost their military importance, they became a pedestrian promenade, the Passeggiata delle Mura Urbane, a street atop the walls linking the bastions. …

• Pisa

Destination Pisa, Tuscany

Pisa lies at the junction of two rivers, the Arno and the Serchio. The origin of the name, Pisa, is a mystery. While the origin of the city had remained unknown for centuries, the Pelasgi, the Greeks, the Etruscans, and the Ligurians had variously been proposed as founders of the city …

• Siena

Destination Siena, Tuscany

Siena, like other Tuscan hill towns, was first settled in the time of the Etruscans when it was inhabited by a tribe called the Saina. The Etruscans were an advanced people who changed the face of central Italy through their use of irrigation to reclaim the land …

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» Basilica di San Francesco

Basilica di San Francesco, Tuscany

The town of Assisi in Umbria is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in Europe, thanks to the saint who was born - and is buried - there. When Saint Francis, founder of the Franciscan Order, died in 1226, plans for a basilica dedicated to him were begun. Construction of the Basilica di San Francesco started in 1228, and the basilica was consecrated in 1253. It is actually a complex of two churches, an upper and lower, built into a hillside. The interiors of both churches were frescoed by artists of the era whose names are familiar to us today - including Giotto and Cimabue …

» Forte dei Marmi

Forte dei Marmi, Tuscany

Sitting seaside off the coast of Tuscany, the village of Forte dei Marmi has been a popular coastal holiday spot for hundreds of years. Tourism began here in the 18th century when wealthy families would travel from inland Tuscany for the cooler air of the beach here. Some built villas by the sea that still remain today. Translated the name means 'fort of marbles,' after the large fort built to protect from coastal attacks, which rises up above the middle of town. There are wide expanses of sandy beach alongside forests of pinewood and the Apuane Alps …

» Isola del Giglio (Giglio Island)

Isola del Giglio (Giglio Island), Tuscany

Located at the southern end of the Tuscan Islands archipelago, Isola del Giglio (Giglio Island) has long attracted visitors - mainly Romans - to its beaches, coves and hiking trails. The 9-square-mile (24-square-kilometer) granite island, the second largest in the archipelago, boasts only three towns. Ferries coming from the mainland arrive at Giglio Porto, while the walled village of Giglio Castello sits at the island's highest point. On the far western end of the island, Giglio Campese is the most modern of the three. Much of Giglio Island's appeal comes from its rusticity and sense of isolation …

» Montalcino

Montalcino, Tuscany

The pretty Tuscan hill town of Montalcino is about 25 miles southeast of Siena, and perhaps best known for its exceptional Brunello di Montalcino wine. The founding of Montalcino is closely associated with the nearby Abbey of Sant'Antimo - the monks likely established a church on this hill in the 9th century as they were establishing their monastery. The medieval walls (dating from the 13th century) still surround part of the city, and the 14th century fortress still occupies the summit of the hill. Many of the buildings in Montalcino date from the 13th-14th centuries …

» Montepulciano

Montepulciano, Tuscany

Trekking in Tuscany doesn't get much better than the journey to Montepulciano, a hilltop town of red-brick buildings and cypress tree sthat overlooks the Tuscan countryside from an altitude of nearly 2,000 feet. While the hike to the top will have your legs burning, your reward is the opportunity to sip a glass of violet-scented Vino Nobile while gazing out over Val d'Orcia. The appeal of this Tuscan hill town goes beyond the wine and the views. Enticing medieval alleyways lead past Renaissance palaces, sunny squares and old churches …

» Monteriggioni

Monteriggioni, Tuscany

The perfectly preserved village of Monteriggioni is almost a Tuscan cliché - it's medieval, it's walled and it stands on a hill coated by olive groves and vines. The fortified village was constructed in 1213 and formed the northernmost bastion of the Republic of Siena's territory, often finding itself in the front line in the battle for power between Siena and its arch rival, the city of Florence. Its early 13th-century walls incorporate 14 towers and are all but intact; they are a joy to walk around and neatly enclose a couple of little cobbled piazzas, a delightful collection of higgledy-piggledy churches and Renaissance townhouses …

» Perugia

Perugia, Umbria

Perugia is the capital of Umbria, often called the 'Green Heart of Italy,' and the region that lies next to Tuscany. Umbria is no longer the 'undiscovered' gem that it might have been decades ago, but it still sees far less tourist traffic than its more famous neighbor - although that doesn't mean you won't find Perugia packed to the gills during its annual chocolate festival. Perugia is a university city, with one large university and a smaller one catering to foreign students. The student population gives the city a more youthful feel …

» Perugia

Piazza Grande, Arezzo, Tuscany

The oldest square in the Tuscan city of Arezzo has the appropriate name of Piazza Grande, or Great Square. Dating back to the Medieval era, the piazza was once the site of the city's main market. Today, it plays host to the monthly antiques market that is one of the largest in Italy. It's also where the annual Joust of the Saracen is held. Notable buildings surrounding the Piazza Grande include the 14th-century Fraternita dei Laici palazzo, a loggia designed by Giogio Vasari, a 13th-century Episcopal Palace …

» Pienza

Pienza, Tuscany

UNESCO-listed Pienza was little more than a sleepy hamlet until the reign of Pope Pius II in the first half of the fifteenth century. Pienza, then called Corsignano, was the pope's home town, and he enlisted the help of architect Bernardo Rossellino to transform the village into an ideal Renaissance town. The reconstruction began in 1459 and only lasted four years, but the result has put Pienza on the radar of many a traveler to Tuscany. The town's historic center offers excellent examples of Renaissance architecture, particularly the cathedral …

» Sanctuary of Montesenario

Sanctuary of Montesenario, Tuscany

Perched high on a hilltop overlooking the lush Mugello valley, the magnificent Sanctuary of Montesenario is among Tuscany's most important religious complexes and offers a tranquil retreat from nearby Florence, surrounded by the Montesenario Nature Reserve. Founded in 1233 by a group of noble Florentines known as the 'Seven Holy Founders', the monastery became an important place of pilgrimage during the 15th century and is still inhabited by a number of monks today. The Baroque style Church of our Lady of Sorrows is among the main attractions …

» San Gimignano

San Gimignano, Tuscany

San Gimignano is famous for its towers. As you approach this small, walled town, the fourteen towers dating from the 13th century - there were once seventy-two - demand your attention; if you were an attacking warrior in the middle ages they would definitely have made you think twice about attacking this hilltop town. Perhaps this is why the charming town has survived in such good shape, even though the plague wiped out so much of its wealthy population in 1348 it was forced to surrender to the rule of nearby Florence …

» Santa Margherita Sanctuary (Basilica di Santa Margherita)

Santa Margherita Sanctuary (Basilica di Santa Margherita), Tuscany

Saint Margaret - Margherita in Italian - was a 13th century Franciscan penitent who died in Cortona, where they erected a church dedicated to her. The church was completed only seven years after Santa Margherita died. The Basilica di Santa Margherita, also known as the Sanctuary of Santa Margherita, was rebuilt in the 19th century after having undergone some serious modifications in the 18th century. The church we see today bears no resemblance to the original 14th century structure, though some features on the interior were preserved …

» Val D'Orcia

Val D'Orcia, Tuscany

The Renaissance period was born in the hills of Italy, and nowhere is this more evident than at Val D'Orcia, an architectural wonderland and UNESCO World Heritage Site in the countryside of Tuscany. Here, the low-lying chalk planes and rolling hills have inspired many an artist to cover canvases with depictions of rural Italian life. Travelers can explore the quiet tons, like Pienza and Radicofani, and sip incredible wines in the cafes of Montalcino. Whether it's wandering the hills in search of a true taste of Italy, or traversing the planes with a camera …

» Villa Artimino

Villa Artimino, Tuscany

In 1596, Ferdinando I de' Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, commissioned famous Italian architect architect Bernardo Buontalenti to build a hunting villa, which quickly became the court and estate of the Grand Duke and Duchess. Today, Villa Artimino is one of twelve villas and two gardens collectively granted UNESCO World Heritage status. This particular villa has the unusual nickname of the villa of 100 chimneys. Since Ferdenando I suffered from gout, numerous fireplaces were incorporated into the villa's design, and their chimneys are visible from miles away …

ITALYDiscover Italy • Tuscany

Tuscany Tours & Travel
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Magical Journeys to Italy

Tuscany was a popular tourist destination long before its admittedly beautiful sun was written about in a best-selling book. From the capital of Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, to a long stretch of coastline that's often overlooked by foreigners, Tuscany has a little bit of something for everyone - and some of Italy's best gelato besides …

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Magical Journeys to ItalyTuscany Hotels
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Magical Journeys to Italy

Tuscany (Toscana) is one of the 20 Regions of Italy. The capital is Florence, and it has about 3.6 million inhabitants. Known for its landscapes and its artistic legacy, Tuscany is considered by some to be the most beautiful region in Italy …

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