Welcome in Tuscany!
We invite you to come and experience in any time of the year our beloved region: Tuscany. With its artistic heritage, its beautiful views…it has gone through more than 2000 years of history…from the beginning it has been lived by the Etruscans to the great roman civilization, from the Middle age to the Renaissance with the most famous artists, writers and scientists of the past, just to name a few: Galileo Galilei, Giotto, Piero della Francesca, Leonardo da Vinci, Lorenzo il Magnifico, Michelangelo, Benvenuto Cellini, Boccaccio and Dante Alighieri. That’s why Tuscany preserves an unique cultural, historical, artistic and literary heritage envied all over the world.
There are many good reasons for choosing to visit this region. Some people decide to spend their holidays in Tuscany to appreciate the extraordinary artistic and cultural offer, while others prefer a holiday in close contact with nature to enjoy its beautiful landscapes! And for those who love good food & wine, Tuscany is the right place to taste the simple and genuine dishes and the local wines.
On the other hand, walkers choose the mountain paths while bikers the “go up and down” hills characteristic of the Tuscan hills (just remember that the famous L’Eroica was born here in Gaiole in Chianti and each year it brings us back to those old days so far from nowadays life); and the lovers of the sea prefer the Tuscan coast and islands. And do not forget the many foreign students coming to Tuscany to learn the Italian culture and language.
Where do we start from? Definitely we want to introduce you Florence, Siena and Pisa , the major destinations of Tuscany, but there are other famous cities of art like Arezzo, Cortona, San Gimignano, Volterra and Lucca... a simple holiday is not enough to discover all of them!
Tuscany is a medium sized region, which can be easily crossed in a few hours. The difficulty in moving from one place to another depends of course on the destination. In fact, it’s quite easy to move to the bigger cities, but it’s not so easy to reach the smaller villages which can be reached only by car or by local buses whose timing are often not really convenient…Do not expect public transport like subways, typical of big towns! We are in a “slow” land, where everything goes slow and the environment is respected…so just enjoy a peaceful holiday without so much stress..
Apart from the main roads and highways crossing Tuscany (like the A1, A11, A12), most of the roads are state or province roads, usually with only one lane for each direction. The hilly landscapes of Tuscany are very attractive to travel by car, but require a careful and not certainly rushed guidance due to the various ups and downs and all the curves of the roads. It can also happen to come across wild animals like porcupines, foxes, wild boars and roe deer – really suggestive, but be careful! They can suddenly cross the road especially by night! They are nor dangerous as they do not attack you but be careful not to destroy your car!!
Let’s have a look at the different means of transportations:
In Tuscany there are 2 main airports: Pisa e Firenze. The one in Pisa also has its railway station (and Pisa central railway is just 2km away) and can be easily reached even by bus. The other is located at the doorstep of Florence and it’s currently undergoing expansion in order to admit more airlines.
If you want to visit the main cities of Tuscany, train is surely a real comfortable way of travelling! Railway stations are located near the centers of towns which can be reached without worrying about car parking! Florence railway station, Santa Maria Novella, is along the HS railway Roma-Milano (passing from Bologna) and has 2 more connections: one towards Livorno (passing by Pisa and Empoli) and another towards Viareggio, passing from Prato, Pistoia and Lucca.
A line connects Florence to Siena passing by Empoli (where sometimes you have to change trains ), while another one goes towards Faenza in Emilia Romagna, passing by the Mugello and the Apennines.
Along the Tuscan coast the railway goes from South to North connecting Orbetello in Maremma, Livorno, Pisa, Viareggio and Massa in Versilia. Do not forget that some Tuscan towns are situated in a hilly position and the train station is therefore located outside - at the bottom of the hill – like for example in Cortona, Volterra or even Siena, where the train station is a bit outside the center of town (but can reached by bus in 10 minutes).
Visit Tuscany with your own car grant you the maximum flexibility! The main road of the region are quite comfortable to drive even thou often busy, mainly in high season an during Italian holidays. In particular the traffic around Florence, on the highway between Florence and Siena is usually intense.
Visit Tuscany by bicycle has become fairly a common practice! In recent year several companies have been offering tours by bicycle - taking care of everything from delivery of the bike, to the organization of meals and accommodations along the way. A good physical condition is required considering that a great part of Tuscany is hilly! Tell us your needs and budget! We can provide you with a personal itinerary leaving from your holiday accommodation, we will bring you bikes, helmets and a map..and let’s go! In case you prefer to be driven by an expert guide…we can also offer you this possibility!! For info and reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org
What to see
Tuscany is a region really full of interesting things to see: famous buildings, monuments, beautiful squares, museums, old churches, but also natural treasures and beauty.
There are so many beautiful places to visit that it can be hard to decide what to see, especially when you have just a few days.
Therefore we have decided to suggest you some places or things worth to be visited during your stay in Tuscany, trying to highlight the less known treasures – but no less fascinating. You will also find hereafter the links to our section of holiday homes in that area so that you can immediately choose your accommodation in Tuscany!! Our holiday homes in Tuscany!
Chianti is one of the region’s most well-known area appreciated by visitors from all over the world. It’s said that among the 10 most popular words i the world there’s just Chianti (like: pasta, pizza, espresso, lasagne). From a geographical point of view the borders of the Chianti region are not clearly defined, however the area can be considered between the provinces of Siena and Florence. Sometimes we use to divide the Chianti into “fiorentino” and “senese”, but this is mainly referred to the wine production. Chianti offers to its visitors a series of unique landscapes, characterized by rolling green hills, vast areas of vineyards and olive groves, small villages typical small churches and stone farmhouses. The landscapes of Chianti are so beautiful and special that they are often photographed and reproduced on postcards and calendars and distributed worldwide. Our holiday homes in Chianti area.
Firenze and its unique treasures are waiting for you! Starting from the Middle age Florence has been an important cultural, commercial, economic and financial centre. In the modern age it was the capital of the Granducato di Toscana with the 2 noble families: the Medici and the Lorena. It was also the capital of Italy from 1865 to 1871, after the unity of the country (1861). Important university centre and UNESCO world heritage site, Florence has always been considered the birth place or Renaissance and is worldwide known as one of the cradles of art and architecture, and renowned as one of the most beautiful cities in the world thanks to its numerous monuments and museums. Florence with its museums, its palaces, its churches houses one of the most important artistic treasures in the world. Among the most popular places of worship and art of the city there are certainly the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Baptistery, the Uffizi, the Bargello and the Galleria dell' Accademia. The churches of Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce are real art galleries as well as the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana which i san exceptional expression of the architectural genius of Michelangelo. We suggest you to take some time to visit the various important collections preserved in Palazzo Pitti. And when you’ll feel tired of visiting museums and art galleries, you can stroll through the beautiful streets of the city centre until you reach the river Arno: just linger on the famous Ponte Vecchio and go to the Boboli gardens or maybe on the hill of Piazzale Michelangelo to enjoy an incredible view of Florence. Our holiday-homes in the Florentine area.
Situated in the heart of Tuscany and surrounded by hills, Siena is considered one of the most beautiful medieval town of Italy. In the middle of the town there is the famous Piazza del Campo, with its particular shell-shape, where the well-known horse race Palio di Siena takes place twice per year (in July and August) which dates back to the XVII century. The Piazza del Campo is dominated by the red Palazzo Pubblico and its tower, called Torre del Mangia. The Palazzo Pubblico, as well as the Cathedral were built during the so called “Governo dei Nove” – a golden age of economy and culture for Siena. The Palazzo Pubblico is still the town hall of Siena and houses the offices of the city – as the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. From the court yard of the Palazzo Pubblico you go to the Museo Civico and to the Torre del Mangia, climbed the 500 steps you can enjoy a wonderful view of the city. According to the legend, Siena was founded by Senio, a son of Remus, and in the city you can still find lots of statues of the mythical Romolus amnd Remus suckled by the she-wolf. In the Museo Civico you can admire some of the finest paintings of the Sienese school. The Concistoty Hall offers one the most beautiful works of Domenico Beccafumi, who frescoed the ceilings depicting the “Circle of the public virtues”. In the Mappamondo Hall and in the Peace Hall (or Sala dei Nove) there are real masterpieces: the great Maestà and the equestrian portrait of Guidoriccio da Fogliano all'assedio di Montemassi by Simone Martini and the Allegories of the Good and Bad Government by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, considered one of the major painting cycles of the Middle Age. Our holiday homes around Siena.
Medieval castles, rolling hills, ancient hamlets, typical farms, isolated farmhouses, cypresses, extensive vineyards, olive groves and wheat fields…these are just some of the elements which make up the fantastic and harmonious landscapes of the Orcia valley! Crossed by the river Orcia, from which the valley takes its name, this beautiful region in southern Tuscany passes along the provinces of Siena and Grosseto. The entire area is now a protected park and has been recognized as UNESCO world heritage site since 2004. The leader of the Val d' Orcia is surely an unspoiled and wonderful nature, with ever changing colours according to the different seasons. There are few other places that impress tourists so deeply! It’s a land with an almost surreal and suspended atmosphere, which gave rise to the most valuable and appreciated Italian wines: Brunello di Montalcino, Nobile di Montepulciano, Rosso Orcia, and other fabulous DOCG wines. The beautiful landscape of the Val d'Orcia have inspired many Renaissance painters. You can admire and discover villages like Pienza, a true Renaissance monument designed by Pio II, the great humanist Pope; San Quirico d’Orcia, of Etruscan origins, situated along the Via Francigena; Montepulciano, on the border between the Valdichiana and the Val d’Orcia, with its old city center which has retained the charm of its origins. And then Castiglion d'Orcia with its fortress, Abbadia S. Salvatore and its ancient Benedictine abbey, Radicofani which stands on a hill overlooking the valley, with its imposing watchtower. And of course Montalcino, dominated bt the fortress dating back to the XIV century, which offers an unique view. Here it’s a must to stop for a glass of Brunello. Our holiday homes in the Orcia Valley.
San Gimignano, a small fortified town halfway between Siena and Florence, is worldwide famous for its architecture and for its beautiful towers which make its profile certainly unique. In the most flourishing time, the wealthy families of San Gimignano arrived to build 72 towers as symbol of their wealth and power. Of these, 14 remain today which help to make the city atmosphere even more fascinating. Walking through the its streets brings you back in time while its breathtaking views leave you speechless. Declared UNESCO World Heritage site in 1990, San Gimignano iso ne of the small pearl in the province of Siena and offers excellent local products like saffron and the white wine Vernaccia di San Gimignano. Our holiday homes in San Gimignano.
Another fascinating and enchanting town is Lucca! Thanks to its location, you can decide either to stay here before heading out to explore the region or to organize a full-day trip to visit it all! Lucca is famous for its defensive walls built during the Renaissance and remain incredibly intact (we suggest you a walk along the medieval walls) while other cities in Tuscany have seen their walls destroyed in the past. Lucca is situated in the plain at the foot of the Alps Apuane where Michelangelo stocked up the marble for its works, but at the same time it’s just half an hour from the Tuscan coast. Easy to reach both by car and by train from Pisa or from Florence, it’s perfect for those traveling by public transport. The train station is located just outside the walls and you enter the town under the Balcony of San Colombano which leads directly on the back side of the Cathedral of Lucca, in the heart of the small town surrounded by walls. Our holiday homes in Lucca.
Arezzo and Cortona
Arezzo is an Etruscan town situated at the foot of the Apennines, between the fertile valley of the rivers Arno and Tiber, amidst the Casentino and the Val di Chiana. Important goldsmith centre where litteraure, art, architecture and history blend perfectly. Although overshadowed by Florence, which is about 70km far away, Arezzo has nothing to envy to Florence. It’s the birthplace of Francesco Petrarca, one of the most important Italian poets, known for his major work, Il Canzoniere, where he sang his love to Laura. Arezzo is a medieval town as it’s expressed in its 2 main monuments – the Cathedral and the Medici Fortress. There are many places of historical and artistic interest: the Cathedral or Church of San Donato, the medieval church of San Domenico, the parish Church of Santa Maria and the Basilica di San Francesco. Continuing then with the secular buildings like that of the Fraternità, which mixes together Gothic and Renaissance architecture, to the birthplace of Petrarca and even the Palazzo dei Priori. Nerve centre of the city is Piazza Grande, situated on the hilly part of the town. Here every year there is the famous Giostra del Saracino, a folkloric and distinctive compelling, with the participation of the representatives of the districts of the town, who wear magnificent medieval costumes.
Cortona: situated 500m asl, it dominates the entire Val di Chiana and the view stretches to the horizon to find the peaks of Mount Amiata. Cortona is completely surrounded by walls which are an interesting feature of the landscape as well as an important archeological monument. The medieval buildings and the narrow streets give the town an evocative atmosphere. The Basilica di Santa Margherita and the Santuario Francescano delle Celle invite tourists to discover Cortona from high, offering a path of art and faith just a few steps from the old city centre. Our holiday homes in Arezzo and Cortona.