Tuscany Highlights: Florence

Tuscany Highlights

The hills of Tuscany beckon with beautiful vineyards on the slopes and medieval citadels at the tops. The idea of sipping a glass of Brunello di Montalcino or enjoying a gelato at one of the piazzas is very tempting. If you’re already in Italy, and looking to travel by rail, you can easily do so with sites like GoEuro and their train sections showing you easy and relatively cheap ways to link Rome, Florence, Pisa, and Lucca by public transport.

Florence

Pontevecchio bridge over the Arno

Image via Flickr by Anina2007

Ah, the birthplace of the Renaissance! If it’s art you’re after, Florence is the perfect destination. Get ready to be amazed by Michelangelo’s “David,” as well as the long lines to get inside the Uffizi Gallery. You’ll also love the plethora of Renaissance and medieval sculptures and paintings inside churches and museums and in the open air, like the Piazza della Signoria.

The Santa Maria dei Fiore cathedral, known as il Duomo, is one of Florence’s biggest attractions. It’s become a symbol of Florence, thanks to its impressive height, Brunelleschi-designed dome, and multicolored marble façade. Don’t miss the famous Baptistery Doors, which sculptor Ghiberti completed in the early 15th century to celebrate the end of the plague.

The other Florentine symbol par excellence is the Ponte Vecchio, which straddles the River Arno. Jewellers’ shops have lined the bridge since its construction in 1345.

Pisa

Image via Flickr by Anina2007

The highlight of Pisa is, without a doubt, the Campo dei Miracoli and its Leaning Tower. The Campo dei Miracoli religious buildings complex includes the Baptistery, the Campo Santo Cemetery, and the cathedral, with its gleaming white Carrara marble walls intricately inlaid with pink and green marble.

Like other popular Tuscan destinations, the Campo dei Miracoli can get crowded, especially in the summer months. You’ll have to be patient or choose to go early in the morning or in the late afternoon, when the setting sun bathes the white buildings in golden tones.

Take a stroll along the river Arno to the church of Santa Maria della Spina. “Spina” means thorn, as the purpose of this church was to house a Christian relic, a thorn from Christ’s crown of thorns.

Lucca

Lucca's cathedral

Image via Flickr by Anina2007

Lucca has remained a walled town since the 16th century, when its defensive ramparts were constructed. It’s very peaceful and quiet inside the walls, as you’ll find very few cars on the narrow lanes. Lucca’s ramparts and gardens are perfect for riding bikes, strolling, or taking a picnic. Lucca is also the birthplace of famous opera composer Giacomo Puccini, whose house became a museum.

Lucca’s fantastic 11th-century cathedral is dedicated to St. Martin. The asymmetrical and ornate façade dates back to the 13th century and includes reliefs portraying the seasonal activities of medieval times, called the Labours of the Months. The belfry, built in the 11th century for defensive purposes, abuts the façade.

This only scrapes the surface of the incredibly rich cultural, historical, and architectural heritage of Tuscany. One lifetime isn’t enough to see everything but this roundup is a good start.

 

Disclaimer: This post is a partnership with GoEuro. However, the opinions expressed here and the images are solely mine. 

About Ana O

Hi, I'm Ana. I'm originally from Argentina but I'm currently living in Dallas (USA) with my British husband. I'd like to share my experiences as an expat and as a traveller.

7 thoughts on “Tuscany Highlights

  1. Florence is so amazing! I have only been there for a few hours, but it was totally worth it! Going back next year for more. Thanks for this cool post! really useful!

  2. Awesome photos. you can not get real imagery unless you visit This great city. Florence is a brilliantly sentimental Renaissance city, with hundreds of years of wonderful engineering every step of the way, never neglecting to motivate. One thing you can’t miss is the complex of structures in the Piazza del Duomo, including the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore with its wonderful arch offering far reaching perspectives of the city, the Campanile Bell Tower, and the Baptistry of St John with its broadly luxurious cut bronze entryways. Obviously there are numerous historical centers and exhibitions. You can’t leave without seeing Michelangelo’s David in the Galleria dell’Academia. The San Lorenzo and Little Piggy markets are incredible for shopping and you can unwind in one of Florence’s many parks. Tuscany appreciates an exceptionally hot atmosphere, so for a break from city touring why not go to the shoreline at Viareggio, which is open in less than one and a half hours via auto or prepare. The Crocodile Water Park in Arezzo offers heaps of fun with slides and whirlpools.

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