Tuscany is perhaps the world’s most beloved Italian region. Its landscape is characterised by gentle hills covered with olive groves and vineyards and spotted with beautiful ancient hamlets. To fully experience this fantastic region and enjoy it at its best, here is a list of the top 10 things to do in Tuscany.
Attend the Palio of Siena
The Palio, is one of the most spectacular horse races in the world, taking place twice a year, on July 2nd and on August 16th.
The event, dating back from the XVI century, is involving the various Sienese “contrade”, or areas in which Siena is divided, that challenge in a fast and dangerous competition in the heart of the city in Piazza del Campo.
Visit the Uffizi Museum
The Uffizi museum is one of the greatest art galleries of Italy and certainly one of the highlights of a visit to Florence. The masterpieces of exceptional artistic value are countless; including works from Giotto, Masaccio, Piero Della Francesca, Cimabue, Tiepolo, Canaletto, Botticelli and many, many more.
Get ready to find long queues: busiest times are mornings and weekends and it’s advisable to book tickets online in advance.
No matter how huge and exhausting this museum can be: it will be worth it.
Follow the Chianti Classico Itinerary
If you are travelling in Tuscany, you should not miss the chance to taste some Chianti, the region trademark wine. The best way to do it is to follow the winding Via Chiantigiana road, from Florence to Siena. The area concentrates a large number of farms and wine cellars many. Most of them can be visited for free and will offer tastings. They are marked by roadside signs indicating “Degustazione” or “Wine Tasting”.
Climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa
Seeing the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and climbing its spiral staircase of almost 300 steps up to the top, is something you will never regret.
The structure was built as a freestanding bell tower for the cathedral in Pisa and started to lean during construction because the foundation was built on soft ground that had difficulty supporting the weight. Recent works have finally fixed and stabilized the leaning.
Once back on the piazza, don’t forget to take the mandatory picture of holding the tower up!
Visit Monte Argentario
Mount Argentario is a promontory reaching a height of around 700 metres above the sea and connected to the coast by three strips of land, forming two lagoons. The view from the top opens a breathtaking landscape of clear waters and green hills.
The untouched coastline offers beautiful coves, mainly rocky. There are two main towns, the elegant tourist destinations Porto Santo Stefano and Porto Ercole.
Attend Viareggio Carnival
Viareggio, a renowned seaside town of Versilia is particularly famous for his annual Carnival celebrations lasting for a four weeks period. The event was conceived in 1873 by group of wealthy young men but the benefit of the anonymous masquerade was then cleverly used by the locals to protest against excessive taxation. Since then, the event has grown into a huge celebration with enormous and elaborate floats planned for the whole year prior to the carnival.
Taste the Livornese Caciucco
Caciucco is the classic Livornese fish stew. The dish originated with fishermen; they would sell the best of their catch and use what was left over and unwanted at the end of the day for dinner.
The recipe includes a wide variety of Mediterranean fish and shellfish. Crusty bread at the bottom and a sprinkle of the delicious Tuscan olive oil on top makes it one of the most amazing local preparations.
Cycle the city walls of Lucca
Lucca is probably the best kept secret of Tuscany. Its 4 kilometer medieval ring of walls is perfect for a delightful bike ride especially at sunset. As you make your way around them, you will get a sense of the scale of the city and enjoy the views of the surrounding Tuscan hills. This city, mostly untouched by war, has also a beautifully preserved architecture dating from Roman, Medieval and Renaissance times developing around the old narrow streets full of nice restaurants and cafés.
Dive into the clear waters of Isola d’Elba
Isola d’Elba is a gorgeous island characterised by breathtaking landscapes, lush vegetation, uncontaminated beaches and pristine waters. The island is one of the most famous diving destinations in Italy with plenty of interesting spots due to the presence of a varied and colourful marine fauna, beautiful caves and impressive shipwrecks lost in the dark-blue waters.
Discover the unspoilt beauty of the Parco Naturale della Maremma
The Parco Naturale della Maremma is a big natural reserve laying in the southern part of Tuscany and going from Principina a Mare to Talamone.
It covers a large part of the Grosseto coastline and stretches inland into thick forests of chestnuts and sprawling green fields. The area is full of wild animals including wild boars, deers, red foxes and turtles. Following one of the several footpaths of the park is the best way to discover the untouched nature of this area.