Five Beautiful, Cultural Towns in Tuscany
For lovers of destinations that are steeped in history and full of culturally rich, aesthetically beautiful towns and cities, Tuscany is never far from the top of the travel bucket list. The ancient human settlements in the region, located in the north west of Italy, are nestled amidst beautiful rolling countryside and are famous throughout the entire world for their character and beauty. Whether you’re planning on exploring the region on a budget or you’re looking for rental villas in Tuscany, good background knowledge regarding the many charming towns and villages that the area boasts is essential to ensure you get the most out of your trip.
Understanding the significance of Tuscany’s location is the key to understanding just how culturally and artistically significant the area is, and why this is so.It goes without saying that the history of Italy has been extremely significant in wider European and world history, with Rome having been for many years the most powerful state in the ancient world and with the Roman Catholic Church having been one of the most powerful institutions in the world for most of modern history. With Italy having played a key role in the development of Western art, culture and politics since antiquity, it isn’t hard to discern why Tuscany – situated at the heart of the northern Italian passages to Rome from the rest of Western Europe –has such an eclectic and vibrant cultural scene.
From ancient Roman relics to the artistic wonders of the Italian Renaissance, the towns of Tuscany contain some of the most beautiful and culturally enriching sights and experiences for travellers looking to experience Western Europe at its historic and charming best.Below are five towns that you won’t want to miss.
It seems natural to start the list with the city that everybody thinks of when it comes to Tuscany. There’s a reason that Florence is so famous, and for its status as one of the most – if not the most –significant of Western Europe’s unofficial cultural capitals. As the cradle of the Renaissance, it is a city of explosive and almost unparalleled historical importance, and has been home to some of history’s most significant artists and polymaths – a city whose past residents include Michelangelo, Botticelli, Dante Alighieri and Leonardo da Vinci himself needs not to be modest when it comes to boasting to the world of its cultural heritage.
The famous Gothic cathedral, with a dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, towers over the city, and other sites of architectural significance include the Accademia Gallery which features Michelangelo’s Davidand Giambologna’sfamous depiction the rape of the Sabine women, perhaps the most disturbing of all the founding myths of Rome.
Effortlessly charming and romantic, and with sophistication, character and beauty exuding from every cobbled street and every boutique shop façade, it may be a cliché to describe Florence as the most beautiful and elegant city in the world – but it’s a cliché that the city most definitely deserves.
Another obvious choice but a city which absolutely needs to be mentioned, Siena is arguably the most beautiful and impressive Medieval city in all of Italy.Walking the ancient streets, visitors often comment that the entire city feels like a huge museum, with history and architectural novelty at every turn.
Colourful and vibrant, Siena’s streets are lined with artisan shops and eateries, and dotted with renowned Gothic buildings and monuments. A place where history truly feels alive, Siena is one of the most iconic places in Tuscany, and is worth a visit even if you’re only in the region for a few days.
Pisa is often overlooked by travellers searching for the most beautiful and culturally rich locations in Tuscany, with many associating the town simply with casual, day-tripping tourists eager to capture novelty photographs with a tower that needs no introduction!
But there’s much more to Pisa than the leaning tower: as a city with an economy that has long been fuelled by education, its elite university draws students from across Italy – resulting in a thriving café culture and a range of bars with great vibes. With Roman style buildings, Gothic churches and Renaissance piazzas, Pisa offers a relaxed and authentic Tuscan experience.
Historically-minded travellers will perhaps associate the charming walled city of Lucca with the famous and significant conference that occurred there in the year 56 BC, between the members of the triumvirate of Julius Caesar, Crassus and Pompey ‘The Great’ – the three most powerful men in the crumbling Roman Republic.In the many centuries since, Lucca has remained a significant location in the culture and history of Tuscany.
Encircled by the best preserved Renaissance era walls in Tuscany, Lucca’s cobbled streets and bustling piazzas are as walkable and accessible as they are charming. The cathedral dominates the skyline, and its stunning Gothic architecture never fails to captivate visitors.
A much smaller and more compact settlement, Monteriggioni offers an entirely unique experience. Enclosed by large medieval walls, the fortified village inside has changed little since the Middle Ages – so passing through the gates really does feel like stepping back in time. Unlike any museum, Monteriggioni allows visitors to be truly immersed in an ancient world, and to feel the atmosphere and see the sights almost as they would have been many centuries ago.
For history lovers and anyone searching for a novel and unique experience – and incredible photographs – to share with friends and family, Monteriggioni is a must-see.