Tuscany is one of the most fascinating regions in central Italy. Tuscany is known for its landscapes, history, churches, museums, beautiful architecture, and artistic legacy. It is a land full of rolling hills dotted with medieval hilltop towns. From the thermal hot springs of Saturnia to the renaissance city of Florence. Tuscany is a place that needs to be experienced. So here are the top best places to visit in Tuscany.
The first best place to visit in Tuscany is Florence. This is the iconic city in all of Italy. I have to say that Florence is the best place to visit in Italy. It is considered to be the birth of the Renaissance. It was the most important political, cultural, and economic city in Europe and the world during that time.
The history of this city is endless and without its influence, our world would probably be very different today. One thing that makes Florence magical is that almost the entire city center is made up of medieval buildings which really transports you back in time.
One of the most impressive sites in Florence is the Duomo Di Milano. When you look at it, you just can’t believe how big it is. It was completed in 1436. It just amazes me that they were able to engineer such a big dome so long ago.
The Ponte Vecchio Bridge is another historic sight. It is where the famous poet Dante encountered his love Beatrice and also was the only bridge on the Arno River that wasn’t destroyed in WW2.
The Palazzo Vecchio is another sight you must see when you are in Florence. To get the best view of Florence, I would recommend you go to the Piazzale Michelangelo. Here you will be able to get panoramic views of all the city. There are so many good things about Florence. You are going to fall in love with this enchanting city.
2 San Gimignano
San Gimignano is located about an hour’s drive from Florence. San Gimignano is a beautiful medieval city settled upon a hill. One of the best cities in Tuscany is San Gimignano.
San Gimignano is an incredible medieval city perched upon a hill. The best feature of the city is the beautiful medieval watchtowers. Currently, there are only 14 watchtowers still standing. But during its peak time, there were over 72 towers. And the highest being 230 feet tall. The towers were designed as a result of competing families who wanted to build the tallest and most grand tower. You can also say it was the Manhattan of the Middle Ages. It was so fun to walk through the city, you literally feel like you are going back in time.
San Gimignano growing as a city, until 1348 when the plague of Black Death struck the town, which resulted in killing over half the population. San Gimignano’s medieval vibe has been untouched throughout time and it has become one of the most popular medieval locations in all of Italy.
Another best place to visit in Tuscany is Siena. It is located about a 40-minute drive from San Gimignano. It is built upon three hills with its central feature being The Piazza del Campo. This is a public square that was once a Roman forum and it was rebuilt in the 13th century. If you look closely, you can see it made in 9 sections which represent the council of Nine.
The impressive Torre Del Mangia overlooks the plaza. It is over 87 meters high and takes 500 steps to reach the top. Twice a year the square hosts the wild Palio di Siena Horse race around the edge of the piazza.
Another one of the best features of the city is The Duomo Di Siena. It is a visually stunning church that was completed all the way back in 1246. The interior will blow your mind with its black and white pillars and endless artwork. I must say you are going to fall in love with this beautiful medieval city.
If you are still in Siena & San Gimignano then you must visit this beautiful place. This is right between Siena & San Gimignano is the small town of Monteriggioni. It is one of the best medieval walled fortresses you can ever see in your lifetime. It was built in 1219 by the people of Siena to act as a front line in the wars against Florence.
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Pisa is another must-visit place and a very famous town in Italy. This place is located about an hour’s drive from Florence. Pisa is a well-known attraction worldwide for the leaning tower. The tower is over 55 meters tall and has a tilt of approx 4 degrees.
The tower was completed in 1372. The lean is caused by an unstable foundation and it’s been a problem since it is been constructed. It is definitely a wonder of the world that you must witness at least once in your life.
6 Val D’Orcia
Another best place to visit in Tuscany is the Val D’orcia. When you think of Tuscany, this is what you will probably imagine. Lush rolling hills, perfectly aligned cypress trees, and those picturesque hilltop towns, this is easily one of the most scenic parts of Tuscany. Val D’orcia starts in the hills of south Siena and extends to Monte Amiata.
If you are in Val D’Orcia then the must-visit place is Pienza. This place is located about an hour’s drive from Siena. Pienza is a picture-perfect town built upon a hill. The town was first mentioned in the 9th century, but during the 15th century, the entire village was rebuilt to be a renaissance town to serve as a retreat from Rome.
This town was one of the first villages to implement urban planning, granting the nickname of “The Touchstone of Renaissance Urbanism”. Personally, I just love how the city overlooks all of the surrounding landscapes. One really cool place right below the city is where the iconic shot of Gladiator was filmed.
The next place to visit in Tuscany is just a 20-minute drive from Pienza. The town of Montepulciano. This town is built high atop a limestone ridge. This medieval renaissance town is sure to take you back in time. From 1390 to the mid16th century, Montepulciano enjoyed a prosperous period as architects built luxurious homes and renaissance buildings.
Today it is one of the most popular towns in the region. This is where part of the movie Twilight New Moon was filmed. If you love to taste wine, Montepulciano is home to some of Italy’s best red wines. The town is just so impressive. This is such a best place to visit in Tuscany.
9 Saturnia Hot Springs
Another best place to visit in Tuscany is the Saturnia Hot Spring. This place is located about a three-hour drive from Florence. These are some of the coolest-looking hot springs you can ever see in your life. The water is a milky blue color as it drains down mineral terraces. The water is warm at 37°C all year round because of the thermal activity of a nearby volcano.
The Romans used to bath here to experience the hot springs’ healing effects. Today they are free to visit all year round and one of Tuscany’s most beautiful attractions.
This is the place where a lot of tourists visit every year. If you want to avoid the crowds, I would recommend coming to the hot springs super early in the morning or during spring or autumn. This is such a cool spot you must visit if you are in Tuscany.
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Pitigliano is located about a 30-minute drive from Saturnia. Pitigliano is this historic city perched upon a volcanic rock. It is believed that the area around Pitigliano was inhabited during Etruscan times. In the 1600s the town started to grow a large Jewish presence as some Jews fled from persecution in Rome, giving it the nickname Little Jerusalem. Today Pitigliano is a quaint town. Personally, I just love how it was built upon the cliffs. This is such an incredible-looking town.
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If you are in Pitigliano then just ten minutes away is another interesting village called Sorano. This place is similar to Pitigliano. Sorano is built upon a volcanic rock. Due to its strategic position, it was frequently attacked during medieval times. As a result, it became one of the most well-fortified villages in Southern Tuscany. When you go there today you will feel like you are back in time as you explore this alluring village.
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So, these are the top 11 best places to visit in Tuscany. Tuscany is such a fascinating region. Let me know what is your favorite place in Tuscany in the comments below.
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