It is not unusual for people to think of and even fantasize about destinations they have never been to but would like to visit. In Europe, Rome sits high on many travellers to-do lists, but that is probably because they have never heard the stories or seen the pictures of the wonders of Tuscany.
Many people are not sure what to expect of Tuscany, and often upon arrival, it is easy to be confused. How long should I say in Tuscany? Which areas should I visit? And most importantly, which accommodation option should I opt for in Tuscany?
Like many other regions in Italy, Tuscany bears a significant cultural and historical heritage. The various cities within this region are a blend of beautiful landscapes and tradition. If you want to see a corner of the world where time seems to have stopped, visit Tuscany. Experience first hand the medieval villages, rolling hills, olive groves and vineyards, that put this small region of Italy on the map.
Are you headed to Tuscany as a first-timer? You must make the most of your time but it will only be worthwhile if you consider the following factors.
How long will you stay in Tuscany?
This is a hard question to ask, as not one answer is applicable to all. The fact is that we are all different, in terms of how we choose to travel and discover new places. Will your stay in Tuscany be more fruitful if you manage to visit as many towns and villages as possible? Or are you the type of traveller that enjoys slow travel?
In Tuscany, there is not only much to see, but a lot to learn about the different destinations. The big cities such as Florence, Pisa, Lucca and San Gimignano, have an array of beautiful buildings and sights to take in. That said, do not pass on visiting the lesser- known and smaller villages.
When is the best time to visit Tuscany?
The attractions in Tuscany are open all year round but like many other places in the world, every season has its own spectacle. Visits during the summer (June to September) are characterised by hot temperatures and a high number of tourists. While the hot weather is not for everyone, there are also those who enjoy Tuscany in the cooler months, when crowds are smaller.
Places to visit in Tuscany
Being a first-timer is both awkward and exciting. On one hand, there is the confusion that comes with being in a new environment, and on the other, there is the fascination of seeing things you have never seen before. If you want to visit every exciting destination in and around Tuscany, it might take you months to get through all of them. Here are a few that every first-timer must plan to tour whether or not you will be able to come back again.
This medieval city is renowned for being the city of magnificent towers, a title which has earned its place as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Even at the busiest times of the year, visitors can still break free from the crowds to explore the small cobbled streets. Try to imagine a backdrop with a bright blue sky, with San Gimignano in front towering with its medieval towers and buildings. An interesting fact about San Gimignano is that there were originally 72 towers in the 14th century, but only 14 are left standing today. Many of these towers in their glory days served as residential houses, a popular practice during the middle ages.
This modern- day gem is a must for anyone visiting Tuscany. If you are interested in world history, you might have heard about a place also known as the “City of Alabaster” in Italy. Alabaster is a soft translucent stone that resembles marble, and Volterra has always been famous in Tuscany for the mining and processing of this unique stone.
Volterra is not only pleasant to look at, but also to learn about. Are you interested in the Eutruscans? A visit to the Etruscan tombs or Guarnacci Museum will provide answers to any questions you might have. Those who are interested in learning more about how the city acquired the title as “City of Alabaster” should pay a visit to the Ecomuseum of Alabaster.
When you compare Volterra to other areas in Tuscany there is no doubt to the fact that it is less quiet and relatively less touristy. As you walk the city and enjoy the air of medieval charm, remember to pay a visit to the Roman Theatre.
The open-air attractions of ancient sculptures, tombs and cathedrals all over Florence, make Florence the cradle of Renaissance. Visitors who have some extra time to spend in Italy should consider allocating more time to the beauty of Florence. Art lovers should make their first stopover at the Uffizi Museum. You have probably heard of Da Vinci, Botticelli, Titian and Michelangelo but this is where those names come to life. The world’s oldest gallery is located here and houses some of the most unique and beautiful pieces of art in the world.
Another tourist attraction you must see while in Florence is the Cathedral (Il Duomo di Firenze) which has a bell tower and a baptistery. There is a reason this destination is a UNESCO World Heritage Site – a lot of artists made their contribution to make it the spectacle it is. The dome of the cathedral is the work of Brunelleschi, while the bell tower, on the other hand, was constructed by Giotti. The Boboli Garden in the centre of Florence, as well as the Pitti Palace are other Florence attractions you should not dare miss. Everybody finds time to visit the original David of Michelangelo in Academia; you should too.
With so many things to do and see, you need assurance that your accommodation needs have been taken care of. Tuscany Now & More are your sure bet in this industry. With over 30 years in the villa rental service, they have collected worthy properties all over Italy. Each of the Tuscany houses is carefully inspected, sometimes even renovated to upgrade them to standards that world-class tourists appreciate.
You may have travelled to many places in the world and spent plenty of time in hotels, but we can guarantee that the experience and service you will obtain as a Tuscany Now & More client is beyond any of these expectations.