Tuscany is located in central Italy and stretches from the Apennines to the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Its landscape, artistic heritage and important cities, first of all Florence, make Tuscany an unquestioned protagonist of world tourism. In this region, nature has many different facets, starting from the coast that alternates long and sandy beaches, like the Versilia beach, with rocky cliffs and steep headlands. The islands of the Tuscan Archipelago, surrounded by Mediterranean vegetation, a crystal-clear sea and rich seabeds, are peerless.
You can admire sceneries of uncontaminated nature in the Apuane Alps and in several protected areas, like Orbetello lagoon, which houses many species of migrant birds, including pink egrets.
However, the most typical sceneries of the region are those that merge the beauty of nature with the millenary work of man. The amazing Gulf of Baratti and the sites of Vetulonia, Vulci and Pitigliano guard necropolis and vestiges of the Etruscan civilization, while Roselle and Cosa evoke memories of the Roman Age.
Medieval villages, historical towns, castles and defence systems, rural churches (the so-called “pievi”) and beautiful abbeys, like the one of Sant'Antimo, are scattered all over the territory and their profiles stand out in the landscapes of the Crete Senesi, Orcia Valley, Garfagnana, Chianti and the Maremma.
Finally, Tuscany is full of spas: Montecatini, Saturnia, Montepulciano, Monsummano and Bagno Vignoni, which offer relaxing holidays thanks to their thermal waters and well-equipped facilities for all types of treatment.
The provinces of the region are: Florence (regional capital), Arezzo, Grosseto, Livorno, Lucca, Massa Carrara, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato and Siena.
There are several amazing places in this region awarded by Unesco as World Heritage sites, starting from Florence.
Famous all over the world, the ancient Signoria of the Medici is the pre-eminent cradle of culture and art. It is a real open air museum that contains countless monuments, including the Duomo with Giotto's Tower Bell, Santa Maria Novella, Palazzo Vecchio and Uffizi Gallery with unique masterpieces.
However, the charm of Florence is also given by the Armo embankment, the picturesque Ponte Vecchio, and the workshops of artisans that liven up the lanes of the old town.
Another extraordinary destination is Siena, with its medieval town centre – included in the list of Unesco sites, too – that culminates with the peculiar Piazza del Campo, the theatre of the famous Palio.
Pisa gathers its main monuments in Piazza dei Miracoli, among which is the well-known leaning Tower, creating an incredibly valuable artistic area, protected by Unesco.
Pienza is the "ideal town" that was wanted and created by Pope Pius II following Renaissance standards. The spectacular arrangement of the spaces and the richness of the buildings make this town an artistic treasure, inscribed on Unesco's list.
San Gimignano stands out among the small towns of the region, a medieval town characterized by its towers and "tower buildings", recognized as a World Heritage site.
There are many other aspects in this region, and the Orcia Valley deserves to be mentioned as it is protected by Unesco for the beauty of its fields and landscapes that have inspired many Renaissance artists.
Tuscany offers a wide range of tourist proposals to satisfy all demands: “active” holidays, relaxing stays and special routes that combine nature, art and history. The coast, that alternates sandy beaches with rocky areas, and the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago offer the possibility of enjoying the sea among relax, physical activity and water sports: from sailing to windsurfing, from canoeing to scuba-diving in beautiful seabeds.
The best way to visit the coast and its green pinewoods is cycling. By night, you can certainly have fun in one of the many trendy venues and discoclubs of Viareggio, Forte dei Marmi, Porto Ercole and Porto Santo Stefano. Famous for its landscapes, Tuscany is the ideal place for a “green” holiday: from Garfagnana to the Maremma, from Casentino to Chianti, anywhere is a great place for hiking, riding a mountain bike or on horseback , while staying at a holiday farm.
The many protected areas reveal particular environments, like the steep heights of the Apuane Alps, Orbetello lagoon and the Maremma National Park, dominated by the Mediterranean scrub.
Special routes lead to the discovery of the mineral resources of the region: for instance, the Archeological and Mining Park of San Silvestro contains the millenary history of mining on these Metalliferous Hills with geological routes inside the mines, while you can visit the precious white marble quarries in the Apuane Alps.
Amid wonderful sceneries and medieval vestiges, via Francigena is an extremely charming and topical spiritual itinerary that still attracts tourists and devout people.
If you are looking for a relaxing stay, you can spend some time in one of the many spas of the region, each with different features, among which are Saturnia, Montecatini or Monsummano Terme, renowned for its detoxifying and skin treatments.
There are plenty of food-and-wine itineraries along the wine routes, which include stops at wineries and farms to taste quality wines and typical genuine and tasty products.
Tuscany has a rich calendar of cultural, religious and folk events: from the internationally famous Palio of Siena and Viareggio Carnival, to the Saracen Tournament in Arezzo, the “explosion of the cart” in Florence on Easter Sunday, and countless local festivals.
The origins of Tuscan food are rustic and folk, as we can see from its basic ingredients: bread, even stale bread, spelt, legumes and vegetables. Some typical appetizers are crostini (toasted bread) spread with a cream of chicken liver and spleen, panzanella salad, and sausages, including finocchiona, a fennel flavoured salami. The typical first course is soup, like the famous ribollita or bean soup, spelt soup, pici (a type of spaghetti from the area of Siena), or pappardelle with hare.
A famous fish dish is cacciucco soup, followed by mullets and the stockfish stew of Livorno.
Among meat dishes, the fiorentina steak (grilled T-bone steak) is the most popular; guinea-fowl meat, pork and game are very common, too.
The typical desserts are castagnaccio (chestnut cake), buccellato (anise cake) and cantucci.
Wine production is excellent for its variety and quality: Tuscany produces the finest wines in Italy, from Chianti to Montepulciano, Brunello di Montalcino, Vernaccia di San Gimignano and many more, up to Vin Santo, a sweet and liqueur-like wine to taste with cantucci.