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Tuscan holidays have it all

17th July 2013 Print

Holidaymakers are positively spoiled for choice these days when they’re deciding where to jet off to and Tuscany is popular destination among discerning travellers. This Italian region boats golden beaches, medieval hilltop fortresses, dramatic mountain ranges, thick forests and fascinating towns and cities.

Then there is the food and drink to enjoy. From juicy figs hanging off tree branches to rich, flavour-packed local dishes like caciucco, a Livornese fish stew, and pici con ragù di cinghiale, a plate of hand-rolled pasta with wild-boar sauce, there is an abundance of culinary delights on offer. Of course, no Italian feast is complete without some wine on the table and three of the country’s best come from Tuscany. Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Vernaccia di San Gimignano are all well worth a try. By bagging up bargain holidays, visitors can ensure they have extra cash left over to sample these tasty beverages.

As well as exploring the incredible countryside and coastline, visitors to the region can take in the delights of Tuscan town and city life. There are plenty of cultural hotspots to check out, and Florence, Siena, Pisa and Lucca are among the best.  

Florence’s Renaissance architecture is a wonder to behold and highlights include Giotto’s Campanile, Brunelleschi’s dome and the Basilica di Santa Croce. Meanwhile, art lovers can check out works created by greats including Michelangelo, Leonardo, Donatello, Giotto, the Lippis, Masaccio, Botticelli and Pontormo in galleries such as the Uffizi, Pitti and Accademia. Then there are the many shops to explore and visitors can refuel in trattorias or high-end restaurants.

Meanwhile, Florence’s great rival Siena is equally magnificent but completely different in appearance because its architectural heritage is largely Gothic. Its Duomo Nuovo is truly awe-inspiring and is certainly worth a look. The interior of the building continues the black-and-white-stripe theme of its outside walls and it also contains blue vaults decorated with gold stars.

Best known for its Leaning Tower, Pisa boasts a vibrant town centre and affordable cafe and bar scene. When visitors are tired of exploring its Romanesque buildings, Renaissance piazzas and Gothic churches, they can sit down, enjoy a drink and a bite to eat and soak up the atmosphere. Lucca is just as charming and is perfect for exploring on foot. However, anyone with a car can head to the hills east of the city, which are home to historic villas and magnificent views.

Flights are available to Florence’s Peretola Airport and the Pisa International Airport Galilei. Meanwhile, it’s also possible to fly into airports located further away and make the drive to Tuscany. For example, some people choose Milan Malpensa as their transport hub.