Located in central Italy, Tuscany is rich in history and traditions, and is characterized by a breathtaking landscape of rolling green hills. Although is mostly known for its capital, Florence, the region has several other beautiful cities that every travel lover should visit at least once in her/his life.
Some of those cities are actually quite famous for their artistic and historical treasures, such as Pisa that is universally-known for its Leaning Tower. But others are definitely less-famous abroad, yet equally fascinating. Each of those places has their unique atmosphere and their own ancient traditions, carefully preserved over the centuries.
So, if you’ve already visited Florence and you want to discover something new in the surrounding region, here’s a list – made by ItalyXP - of the 5 (+1) cities you must visit if you’re in Tuscany!
Among the cities of Tuscany, Pisa is without any doubt one of the most famous abroad: its most important monument – the so-called Leaning Tower of Pisa – is one of the major symbols of Italy around the world, and there are thousands of tourists that every year crowd the historic centre of Pisa, just to climb the tower, or to take a picture with it.
The history of Pisa is ancient, but the moment of maximum splendor of the city coincided with the flourishing of the Maritime Republic: an historic period when the city became one of the largest merchant centers in Italy, exerting its influence over the Mediterranean Sea. Today, Pisa is a lively city, house of several important universities, museums and places of interest.
Among the most beautiful areas of the city is the Piazza dei Miracoli (which means “the square of miracles”), where you can find the main attractions of Pisa: the Cathedral, a majestic architectural masterpiece that houses several important artistic treasures in its interior; the imposing Baptistery; the Monumental Cemetery, where are buried the illustrious personalities of Pisa; and obviously, the célèbre Leaning Tower.
In the intentions of its designers, the Leaning Tower had to be the bell tower of the nearby Cathedral: but a ground subsidence, which occurred in the early stages of the project, has sealed the fate (and fame) of the tower for eternity. Despite the numerous attempts to resettle it to its original position, the tower is still leaning, preserving its unique charm.
If you wish to visit this monument (and climb it!) as well as many other attractions in the historic centre, you shouldn’t miss a tour of Pisa, with skip-the-line tickets: almost a prerequisite, if you’re going to Italy!
With its ancient history, its many attractions and its ancient traditions, Siena is of the most interesting places to visit in Tuscany and a must for all travelers.
Its origins dates back to Roman times, but the city has experienced a great development during the Middle Ages, to the point that for years has waged a bitter struggle against Florence for the dominance of Tuscany. Today, the historic centre of Siena, although not very vast, it boasts an incredible number of monuments and places of interest, and it was declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
One of the most important monuments is the Cathedral of Siena: built in Gothic style, is characterized by a charming façade and sumptuous and richly decorated interior. A place not to be missed during your tour of Siena!
Another must-see of Siena, however, is the magnificent Piazza del Campo: not only because is the main square of the city, but is also home to the world-famous Palio di Siena, one of the most famous events in Italy, in which the various districts of the city will compete in a horse race. The atmosphere of this beloved event pervades the city and its inhabitants throughout the year, and you can eXPerience it with a tour of the Palio.
Siena is a magical city, where ancient traditions, architectural treasures and good food enhance together to offer you the ideal travel destination!
Arezzo is a city of ancient origin: it was an important Etruscan and Roman centre, becoming later a very powerful feud during the Middle Ages. Nestled in the rolling hills of Tuscany, the city offers an authentic atmosphere from the past, as well as the distinctive hospitality of its inhabitants, artistic treasures and culinary traditions.
The artistic and architectural works by Giorgio Vasari and Piero Della Francesca adorn the entire city and the influence of these artists is very recognizable in the historical centre: the portico of Piazza Grande, the frescoes in the Basilica of Saint Francis, and the Cathedral of San Donato. Another attraction of the city, which attracts visitors from all over the world, is the “Great Crucifix” (more than three meters tall) created by Cimabue, located in the Church of San Domenico.
Most of those attractions were immortalized by the cinematographic masterpiece "Life is Beautiful" (La Vita è Bella), by Roberto Benigni, who filmed a lot of the movie scenes in Arezzo. We suggest visiting those attractions with a guided tour of Arezzo, through which you will learn a lot about art and history, but you will also visit the main movie locations of “La Vita è Bella”, winner of the “David di Donatello” Award and three Academy Awards.
Twice a year, in Arezzo is held an important event called the “Giostra del Saracino”, a former competition in medieval costumes in which the knights of the four city-districts must hit the shield of the “puppet” with a spear, avoiding getting hit in turn by it. Attending this event will give you the opportunity to breathe the medieval atmosphere of Tuscany.
Lucca is a city rich in history, traditions and culture. Its historic centre, perfectly preserved in its ancient urban structure, is still witness of the rich past of this city. Inside the walls that surround the heart of the Lucca, is an intricate maze of narrow streets, picturesque squares, ancient towers and the so-called “hundred churches”.
Lucca, in fact, is known among the cities of Tuscany because it has a high number of basilicas, churches and places of worship dating back to various different eras. Walking through the streets of downtown, you can admire the remains of the Roman amphitheater, the beautiful Piazza Napoleone and some of the former defensive towers, such as the “Guinigi Tower” - adorned atop a roof garden - and the “Tower of the Hours”, which marks the time in the city with its large clock since 1390.
Among the traditions of Lucca, we must mention that every third weekend of the month is held one of Italy's most famous Antiques Markets: over 300 vendors of furniture, ancient objects and vintage jewelry gather around the Duomo of San Martino and the nearby streets, attracting visitors from all over the world.
The lovely city of Lucca and its attractions are definitely best to be visited with a guided tour that will also give you the opportunity to eXPerience a wine tasting session, to taste the delicious local products of the city.
Livorno is a city inextricably linked to the sea, which is an integral part of the daily life, of the local dishes and of the customs of its inhabitants. Its waterfront is the ideal route for a pleasant walk through natural and architectural wonders. Walking along Viale Italia, the main historic street in Livorno, one can observe the alternation between majestic palaces and bathing facilities used since 1800 by the nobles and royal families.
From the Terrazza Mascagni, which can be found walking along the seafront, you can admire a breathtaking view of the sea and the islands of the Tuscan archipelago; further, from here you can access the Aquarium, which has recently been renovated and is home to over 300 different species of marine animals and plants.
The city was founded by the Medici family in 1606, and by them was fortified through the construction of the Old Fortress, nowadays used throughout the year to host cultural performances and culinary events.
Livorno upheld over the centuries communities of people linked to religious cults different from each other. In addition to Catholic churches, related in particular to the Marian cult, there are in fact numerous places of worship of different communities: Jewish, Greek, Armenian, Dutch-Germanic and more. It is worth visiting the Church of Santissima Annunziata of the United Greeks, one of the oldest monuments in the city, but also the old English cemetery, the Cathedral and the Church of the Armenians with its beautiful baroque façade.
Livorno has the most important port in Tuscany, which is an important stop for thousands of tourists that travel by cruise-ship: from the port of Livorno you can easily get a transfer to the centre of Florence or to the Florence Airport, to reach your destination in total comfort.
Famous for its delicious pecorino (sheep's milk cheese), Pienza is located in the very heart of the Val d’Orcia, a particularly green region of Tuscany, whose impressive landscape of rolling hills and avenues of cypresses has inspired many Renaissance painters.
Known to the world as “The Ideal Renaissance Town”, Pienza was the birthplace of Pope Pius II, who devoted his life to rebuild the historic centre: his idea was to transform his hometown in a spiritual place where inhabitants could live in harmony with art and nature.
And if you walk through its charming streets and squares, passing in front of the magnificent Duomo (redesigned under orders from the Pope to look more Gothic) and admiring the views at every corner, you will have no doubts that the Pope’s dream has been splendidly realized.
Not far from the village of Montalcino, Pienza is also a great strategic point for an amazing tour of the Val d’Orcia and its wonders.