7 of the Best Attractions in Tuscany
The rolling landscapes, the gorgeous capital city of Florence and the charming hilltop towns make Tuscany a region like no other. Channelling that perfect medium between a peaceful countryside escape and a lively hub of arts and culture, with parts of it running alongside a picturesque coastline; it isn’t hard to see why Tuscany is at the top of many travellers’ bucket lists!
The stunning views aren’t all that Tuscany has to offer either; there is also an abundance of activities and attractions to take part in that are perfect for the whole family. If you are looking for what to do when visiting this beautiful part of the world while staying in one of our apartments in Tuscany, then look no further. Here at Essential Italy, we’ve compiled a list of the best attractions, so all the hard work is done for you.
Pisa’s Leaning Tower
This iconic tower is famous throughout the world, and it’s not hard to see why. Towering around 56 metres above the cathedral that lies next to it, it is a spectacle not to be missed. The tower and its surroundings have started to sink, causing the tower to lean at a 3.9º angle, hence it’s infamous name. Thousands of tourists flock to Pisa every year to climb 294 steps to the top of the tower and marvel at its beauty. The buildings, including the tower and the cathedral, showcase a combination of artistic talents created in a gorgeous marble which would have made it one of Italy’s greatest landmarks, even if it wasn’t leaning.
Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, Siena
Finished in marble of reds, whites and greens and decorated with gorgeous ornate sculptures and windows, the Duomo di Siena is one of the finest churches in the Italian Gothic style. The exquisite architecture runs through into the interior with a ceiling of gold stars on a blue background, and the floor depicts a biblical scene out of mosaic marble tiles.
Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence
The famous square of Piazzale Michelangelo offers tourists breathtaking views across Florence. The famous dome by Brunelleschi, bridges crossing the river Arno and the rolling hills set behind the city make this a panoramic view like no other. A terrace built for these purposes in 1869 by Giuseppe Poggi houses the statue of David by Michelangelo. Now, the observation deck is home to a restaurant so you can enjoy delicious Italian cuisine while taking in the beautiful sights of Florence. We recommend visiting as the sun sets as the floodlights of the dome and tower complement the vivid sky perfectly.
Piazza del Duomo, Florence
Florence is famous for its contribution to the rebirthing of Italy, and Europe, out of the dark ages into modernity, known as the Renaissance. Throughout Florence, there are examples of this time of enlightenment, with the most concentrated prevalence being around Piazza del Duomo. As mentioned above, the Brunelleschi’s dome dominates the skyline. The Museo del Duomo showcases all of the memorabilia and treasures of this time, with works from Donatello and Michelangelo. Giotto’s marble bell tower rises above it which many tourists climb to the top. However, it’s not for the faint-hearted as you’d have to climb 414 steps in total!
Another attraction that showcases the Italian Renaissance is the Uffizi Gallery. Boasting an impressive collection of paintings from fantastic artists dating between the 14th and 16th centuries, it perfectly paints the picture of how Florence helped change the face of western art. It also illustrates the changes by showing artwork prior to the revolution, and every piece is shown in chronological order to highlight this.
Ponte Vecchio, Florence
The Ponte Vecchio is the oldest bridge in Florence and crosses the river Arno. Interestingly, it was the only bridge in Florence to cross the river Arno up until 1218, hence it’s name of ‘Old Bridge’. The feature that sets it apart from the rest are the shops which are built along the side of it. These shops are now occupied by jewellers, souvenir sellers and artwork dealers.
The beautiful island of Elba is situated 10km away from the port of Piombino and can be easily accessed by a short ferry trip. Elba is the third biggest island in Italy after Sicily and Sardinia and is famous for harbouring Napoleon in 1814 during his banishment. The island’s crystal-clear blue waters and golden sands make it a tourist must-see alongside its historical background, mild climate and exquisite scuba-diving spots.
Here at Essential Italy, we want to make sure that your stay in Tuscany matches the breathtaking views and historical attractions that Italy has to offer. For more inspiration, see our blog post on a beginner’s guide to visiting Tuscany.