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Tuscany is one of those holiday destinations, which you only have to mention and everyone around you swoons. Think rolling green countryside, fields of vineyards and olive groves, elegant cities filled with Renaissance art and Gothic architecture, and a stunning coastline. Tuscany sits in the western central part of Italy’s boot, lying just above the Lazio region and Rome.
There is a wide range of places to stay in Tuscany, from cozy bed and breakfasts to charming agritourism, from cheap hostels to luxurious villas, sleek modern apartments and budget guesthouses. You can also choose between independent hotels and well-known chains, depending on where you choose to base yourself. Whether you’re looking for a country retreat, a beach holiday or a city break, you’re sure to find an area of Tuscany that suits.
One of Tuscany’s undisputed highlights is the Renaissance city of Florence, home to such treasures as Michelangelo’s David, the magnificent Il Duomo cathedral, the Uffizi Gallery and the Palazzo Vecchio. It’s a truly elegant city where terracotta vistas sit side by side with Renaissance beauty and grand piazzas. It’s also famous for its Florentine T-bone steak, fashion outlets and outdoor leather markets.
Another celebrated Tuscan sight not to miss is the charming town of Pisa and its famous Leaning Tower, not far from the coast. Construction on the tower began in 1173 and it currently leans at approximately 3.99 degrees. Like Pisa, the city of Siena is another favourite Tuscan destination. The UNESCO World Heritage city is well known for its Medieval centre and magnificent Gothic architecture. Sights to look out for include the Duomo, one of the finest examples of Italian Gothic cathedrals, and the celebrated Museo Civico, whose walls are festooned with brightly coloured frescoes.
Tuscany, like many parts of Italy, is known for its delicious cuisine. Think less of the typical pizza, lasagne and spaghetti and instead try Florentine T-bone steak, tomato soup with crispy bread, cold bread salad and Tuscan bean stew. One of the best places to try many of these dishes is Tuscany’s Chianti region, an area famous for its picturesque vineyards and rolling hills of olive groves. Chianti is also one of the most celebrated wine regions in the world and sits between the historic cities of Siena and Florence.
Tuscany is not all about fine cities and countryside, however, it’s also a great destination for a beach break. You can find some of the best beaches around Maremma, the Migliarino-San Rossore and the resort of Castiglione della Pescaia. Think rocky sheltered coves, hidden sandy beaches and warm turquoise waters. The rugged island of Monte Argentario, a small peninsula lying about 100 miles south of Florence, also has some of the region’s best sandy beaches. With all this to discover and more, it’s no wonder that Tuscany is one of Italy’s most famous regions and a favourite among holidaymakers around the world.