Have you been to Tuscany? If not, see why you should add this gorgeous Italian region to your European travel plans.
Known for its deep history, stunning landscapes and rich culture, Tuscany in central Italy is one of Europe’s real gems. Epitomising the Italian Renaissance, this region oozes with incredible places. If you ever needed an example of why Italy is a beautiful country, Tuscany is it. With so much to see, do and explore, we’re going to take a journey through this amazing place and what makes it the perfect destination for your next holiday.
While technically located in central Italy, Tuscany stretches up a large part of the of Italy’s western coast, allowing you to gain access to it’s beautiful waters with ease. Its capital Florence needs no introduction. One of Europe’s great art cities, you can find works from Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Caravaggio in the world-famous Uffizi gallery. Art however is just one of the many things this city offers. A culinary feast can be found across the city’s restaurants, as well as enough culture for anyone to immerse themselves in.
There are plenty of other towns and cities to explore too, including Pisa (where of course you’ll find the Leaning Tower), Lucca, Siena and San Gimignano, with its skyline of medieval towers. Maybe take a trip to some of its vineyards in Chianti and Montalcino for some world-class wine tasting.
While Tuscany has plenty to see, outside of the region there are some other fantastic destinations in relatively easy reach. To the north you will find Genoa and Bologna, over to the west is San Marino and to the south, the country’s capital Rome.
The food is great, period. This section really could be written about any city in Italy. For those of you interested in experiencing local cuisine, Tuscany won’t leave you disappointed. Whether you are in the regional capital Florence or in smaller towns to the North, or even by the coast, there are a host of restaurants tucked away down cobbled streets that offer incredible Italian dishes.
The people of Tuscany take massive pride in making sure all their food is local and seasonal, as well as being sustainable throughout. If you take the time to explore and look around, you can find some of the best food Italy has to offer in this area.
Family-run traditional pasta factories offer artisan pasta cut by hand, a staple of this region’s palate. Indulge in other local delicacies like Bistecca alla Fiorentina (chargrilled T-bone steak), Panzella (bread salad) and Pappa al Pomodoro (a tomato-based soup made with local bread).
Tuscany is known for many things, chief among which is its stunning landscapes. Italy as a country is beautiful, and if anything, this region is the cherry on top of a delicious cake. Virtually anywhere you can find incredible views and photo opportunities, but there are definitely some that stand out.
Parco Nazionale delle Foreste Casentinesi in northeast Tuscany is one of Italy’s best national parks. The dense woodland is broken up by winding rivers cutting through the undergrowth, providing a magical setting. Head to the coast towards another national park, Parco Nazionale dell’Arcipelago Toscano. Europe’s largest marine-protected area, Elba island is truly at its heart.
These are just two of the many, many landscapes and naturally beautiful areas in this region that make it what it is: stunningly pretty.
Getting there and Getting around
Hopefully what you’ve read about Tuscany so far has inspired you to consider it as your next holiday destination. With so much on offer, from the food and drink, to the culture, beautiful landscapes and historical cities, the region has endless amounts to offer. The next step then is thinking about how you are going to get there.
Italy being part of mainland Europe makes driving there from other European countries easier than you might think. Of course, most people choose air travel. Pisa is the main Tuscan airport, as Florence’s Peretola airport has no capacity for intercontinental flights. Pisa airport is served by most airlines, including British Airways and easyJet.
Once there, direct trains to Florence from Pisa Aerporto train station run every 2 hours, with the journey itself taking just under an hour.
The train is in fact one of the best ways of getting around Tuscany. The services are reasonably fast between the main cities and towns in the region. The one exception is Siena, which has a lot of slow branch lines, making the journey much longer. The bus might be better here.
While the bus and train are both viable options, arguably the best way to get around and see the best parts of Tuscany is by car. If you want to explore the more rural areas of the region, a car is really the only way you can do it. But think of this as positive rather than a negative, as travel by car lets you get closer to the action and explore much more of this fantastic place.
Tuscany really speaks for itself. Stunning landscapes, amazing food and immersive culture, Tuscany truly is an Italian gem.
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