Tuscany is a hilly, scenic region in central Italy, known for its history, art, beautiful scenery, robust cuisine and, of course, wine.
Tuscany is undeniably one of the greatest wine-producing regions in the world. In addition to sampling the ubiquitous Chianti, don't leave the region without tasting the exquisite Brunello di Montalcino or the more moderately priced Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
Be sure to spend some time in Florence, Tuscany's capital city. The birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence is rich with history, art and architecture. The massive Duomo, in the center of the city, is one of the largest cathedrals in the world.
The medieval towers of San Gimignano, in the hills 25 mi/40 km southwest of Florence, are this Tuscan town's primary attraction. Of the 14 remaining towers (there were once more than 70), Torre Grossa is the only one accessible to tourists. The view from the top is spectacular.
The picturesque 12th-century town of Siena, 43 mi/70 km south of Florence, is also worth a visit. Be sure to see Giovanni Pisano's Gothic cathedral and the world-famous frescoes at Palazzo Pubblico. The 400-step climb up the Torre del Mangia rewards the hardy with breathtaking views of the town and Tuscan hills. Siena's world-famous Palio horse race takes place in the Piazza del Campo in July and August.
Charming Arezzo is famous for its churches and their works of art. Located 52 mi/85 km southeast of Florence, the town also has several fine museums and a monthly antiques fair—the oldest in Italy—in Piazza Grande.
The Leaning Tower is, of course, the main attraction in Pisa, located 40 mi/65 km west of Florence near the Tyrrhenian coast. The compact, medieval city is easy to walk around. Be sure to visit its other attractions, which include a second leaning tower at the Church of San Michele degli Scalzi. Nearby Lucca is also worth a visit to walk around the walled city's ramparts.
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