To visit Tuscany, splendid region of central Italy famous for masterpieces of art and architecture that preserve its main cities like Florence, Pisa, Siena and Lucca, we recommend to use Pisa as a starting point, both for its strategic location, both for connections that guarantee with other cities.
Pisa is the main airport of Tuscany and is an important railway junction connecting the other major cities in a short time.
Pisa is the arrival point for all those who travel by plane, its airport is the largest in Tuscany and is the starting point of all the major low-cost airlines companies and very well connected with Pisa to Florence transfer.
Pisa also has an important railway station, is very well connected with major cities of Tuscany such as Florence(50 minutes by train) and Lucca (40 minutes by train) and the bus system allows the visit and Volterra San Gimignano.
Another means of transport that can be found in Pisa are the rental services with driver (CCN), are usually of Van 8 seats with driver like a Taxi but they are cheaper especially for journeys over 30 kilometers such as the transfer from Pisa to Florence.
Tuscany is also a major destination for cruises from the port of Livorno thanks to allow transfer and rental services with driver (CCN) to reach the main tourist destinations such Livorno to Pisa, Livorno to Florence and the Chianti.
Another excellence that attracts many tourists in Tuscany is wine, there are many wine tour Tuscany, you can enjoy tasting the best Tuscan wines such as Sassicaia wine and Tignanello wine tour going directly into winery and savoring the flavors that these wines can transmit paired with cheeses and good Italian food.
The city of Pisa is world famous for its Leaning Tower and the majestic Cathedral Square, where there are also the Baptistry, the Cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta, the Monumental Cemetery and the Museum of Sinopie (preparatory drawings present behind the frescoes in the monumental cemetery).
Pisa is a small city crossed by the Arno river which divides it into two parts, easily accessible from florence with Florence to Pisa excursion.
The historic streets along the river Arno and the old town still remain intact today its beauty.
The splendor of the historical buildings of the noble families of which overlook the river, defensive towers that were the most important houses, the many bell tower in the Romanesque style of Pisa up to the magnificence of the square of the Miracles and the Leaning Tower.
Worth seeing is also the Piazza dei Cavalieri with the tower of Count Ugolino also mentioned in Dante's Divine Comedy, the Caravan palace which is the seat of the Scuola Normale Superiore, founded by Napoleon, the Borgo Stretto street with its shops and colonnade of the Middle Ages and riversides with historical buildings and churches, the most famous is the church of Spina.
The church of Spina is the triumph of the Pisan Gothic style built entirely of marble, so called because it retained a plug that would be part of the crown worn by Jesus at his crucifixion and brought here in 1333, but kept the nineteenth century in the church of Santa Chiara .
What's near Pisa for those who love the sea and the good Tuscan cuisine is recommended to visit the new marina of Pisa, Marina di Pisa to dine on the harbor enjoying the sun in the sea sunset while enjoying a good glass of Tuscan red wine.
Or other destination to visit is the Certosa di Calci Monastery, also known as Certosa di Pisa, is a beautiful and large Carthusian monastery in baroque style with a large courtyard, the west wing of the convent now houses the Natural History Museum of the University of Pisa .
The museum houses one of the largest cetacean galleries in Europe, with whole whale skeletons and stuffed animals of large size, is located in the charming attic of the former monastery from which you have a clear view of the surrounding territory up to Pisa.
In Pisa there is also the mural "Tuttomondo" the famous artist Keith Haring, large about 180 square meters (10 meters high by 18 meters wide), it is the biggest murale in Europe and is also the last built before the artist's death and the only thought to be permanent. It was created by Keith Haring in 1989 on the outer wall of the rectory of the church of St. Anthony Abbot in Pisa, between Piazza S. Antonio and Piazza Vittorio Emanuele.
Visit all these beauties in one day is practically impossible, so we suggest you spend at least two days to visit the city of Pisa.
If you do not know then give up the fashion and shopping, the afternoon you can dedicate to walk in the street of the shopping, the Corso Italy street.
Conversely if you are nature lovers we recommend a visit to the natural park of San Rossore, easily reached in a few minutes from the city center, you can enjoy the unspoiled nature, go horseback riding in the park, go bird watching or bike rides or carriage the reserve.
For your evening great aperitifs await you in the locals of Piazza Garibaldi, Piazza della Berlina, Piazza Vettovaglie or square Gambacorti Chiara; Pisa is a city very much alive because it is home to three major universities, populated by many students who go out in the evening streets of the old town to find themselves, talk and drink with friends and joy.
You will have the chance to admire the riversides in the night version, the lights that illuminate the historic facades of the buildings create water effects and reflections in the Arno River.
We suggest you stay in a hotel or bed and breakfast in the center so you have a few minutes' walk is all the historical magnificence of the city that evening hangouts all concentrated in the center.
This way you will visit Pisa on foot and you will reach very smoothly and the railway station for the following days travel and to be comfortable at the departure.
The capital of Tuscany, the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance is accessible starting from Pisa Central Station stopping at Santa Maria Novella station;
This is the most practical way to go in Florence, because it is very fast (about 50 minutes) and you will avoid the loss of time of the Florentine traffic and problems for parking.
From here within a few minutes walk we are in the heart of Florence: Piazza della Signoria, dominated by Palazzo Vecchio, the seat of the magnificent fourteenth-century Medici government.
The whole Renaissance culture lives on in this plaza, there are famous works such as the Marzocco and Judith and the Oloferme Donatello and then the symbol of Florence: Michelangelo's David.
To visit this square and appreciate the beauty of a day would not be enough, next to David is a statue of Hercules and Caco of Bandinelli sculptor placed in front of the Uffizi Museum, which exhibits works by Piero della Francesca, Filippo Lippi, Mantegna, Botticelli , Raphael, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Rubens and Rembrandt.
Which are a must on a visit to the Uffizi are the rooms containing the Primavera and Birth of Venus by Botticelli or Michelangelo's Holy Family, priceless masterpieces.
Always in Piazza della Signoria you can admire the Fountain of Neptune and its beautiful horses.
Slips away quickly the day in Florence, between the narrow streets around Ponte Vecchio, between stores and shops where artisans worked gold.
For those who have already visited the city and wants to dedicate a day to a wine tour Florence we should visit the Chianti area, famous throughout the world for its beautiful scenery and the excellent red wine.
The ancient Etruscan town of Volterra is home alabaster, is easily accessible with the suburban bus service departing from Pisa or the services of rent with driver.
Perched on a hill, 545 meters above sea level, Volterra separates Val di Cecina from the Era Valley.
Its isolated position easily defensible, far from the sea and the main urban settlements and mineral resources in the area have favored over the centuries the growth of its strategic importance.
The city of Volterra is enclosed by the ancient city walls and you can distinguish the Etruscan walls from the medieval ones dating back to the thirteenth century.
The main gates to the historic center of the city are two of the Etruscan Porta Selci and Porta dell'Arco and two of the medieval period, Porta San Francesco and Porta Fiorentina.
Inside the walls remained intact the ancient village that is developed around the two main squares, the Piazza dei Priori, where in the past the political life of the city and Piazza San Giovanni, where in the past the religious life of the city.
Piazza dei Priori, dating from the early 1200s is the medieval heart of the city, in the square are the Palazzo dei prori which is one of the oldest municipal buildings of the Tuscan on the façade depicts the coat of arms of the Priori families that once lived there.
Another present building in the square is the Praetorian Palace, also in 1200 as the Palazzo dei Priori is being protected from Merlata Torre dei Podesta, on top of which stands the sculpture of a small boar, is named Torre del Porcellino.
In Piazza San Giovanni is the Cathedral, whose structure is put in the back of the Palazzo dei Priori.
It built in the Romanesque style with its facade decorated with a central rosette and crowned by a pediment.
Inside, among the many works of great interest we have the fresco by Benozzo Gozzoli in the oratory of the Virgin, which is the background to the fifteenth-century nativity scene, the painting depicting the Immaculate Conception, the Eternal Father, and Stories of the Virgin Nicolò Cercignani. In front of the Duomo is located the baptistery covered with white marble and green bands and a Romanesque portal.
On the highest point of the Volterra hill stands the fortress of the city, consisting of two interconnected buildings, the Old Fortress of 1343 and characterized by a female called the tower, and the New Fortress was built by Lorenzo de 'Medici on which stands a tallest tower called the Keep.
Lucca is an elegant and quiet town, nestled between the imposing walls that form a ring around the pedestrianized old town, can be visited easily in a day in quiet rhythm.
Lucca can be easily reached by train from Pisa Centrale or Pisa San Rossore, thanks to the rental services with driver or suburban bus.
Pisa and Lucca are within thirty minutes. The historic center of the city of Lucca has preserved its medieval appearance, thanks to the beautiful architecture of the Noble family mansions and rich, the many towers, the towers of the 100 churches that were present in Lucca in those years and the majestic Renaissance buildings.
Between the towers that are still present today to visit the highest it is definitely the Clock Tower with its 50 meters, and where you can still admire the hand-wound clock mechanism and the internal wooden staircase of 207 steps perfectly preserved.
La Torre Guinigi for the Holm trees that were born on its top, is one of the most representative monuments of the city.
Definitely worth visiting the numerous squares such as the Piazza of the Amphitheatre which is built on the ruins of the ancient Roman amphitheater, Piazza San Michele in the city center, Piazza San Martino with the Duomo, Piazza Napoleone and Piazza del Giglio where overlooking the theater.
For shopping lovers, a must is via Fillungo temple of clothing stores and jewelers. Advise you not abandoned Lucca before sunset, watching the sun go down from the walls is the right end of the tour to Lucca.
Siena is easily accessible from Empoli Station, a small town halfway between Pisa and Florence, if you use the train or from the Florence-Siena (well connected by the A1) if you are using the rent with driver: Florence to Siena.
The city, among the best for quality of life in Italy, Siena is known worldwide for its great artistic and historical center for its heritage that has been preserved intact from the Middle Ages to the present day, and also for the famous Palio (historic horse race) which takes place in the central Piazza del Campo, a real gem where space seems endless thanks to the shell-shaped.
At the center of Piazza del Campo it was opened in 1346 the fountain called Fonte Gaia, whose name means "joy" comes from large and spontaneous celebrations that people made during his inauguration.
The source is all decorated with a series of sculptural reliefs made by Jacopo Della Quercia, who are statr replaced by copies in the middle of the last century to preserve the original marble.
The whole city of Siena is built around the Piazza del Campo and was conceived as a work of art in the open air in harmony with the typical Tuscan hills landscape that circondano.
In the 1995 its historic center was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
In Siena it was born Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, founded in 1472 which is the oldest bank still in business in the world.
In Piazza del Campo there is the town hall of Siena finished building in 1342 by the Government of the Nine as their headquarters.
The facade has two orders of three-mullioned windows and windows is one of the greatest works in the Gothic style in all of Tuscany.
On the left side of the Siena Public Palace stands the Torre del Mangia, named after the nickname of "Mangiaguadagni" given to its first caretaker Giovanni Balducci, famous to enjoy the food and then squander his earnings.
The tower, finished building in 1348, is 102 meters high and is among the highest Italian towers.
The Cathedral of Siena is one of the most beautiful creations of Italian Gothic, the lower part of the facade is in Romanesque-Gothic style and is decorated with many statues built by Giovanni Pisano, the top instead was created by Giovanni di Cecco and is Gothic style.
The entire facade is topped by a high golden spire and its top is placed a statue of the Assumption.
The special feature of this facade over to blend architectural styles is the wealth of statues which is not common in the Italian Gothic style thus creating a sense of movement and plasticity.
More decentralized however, it is the beautiful Basilica of Santa Maria dei Servi, located on the hill overlooking the Valdimontone area.
Other places of worship are very attractive and striking the San Francisco church, the church of San Domenico and that of the Holy Spirit.
Very many are also historic villas: Villa Chigi, Villa Flora, Villa Gori, Sergardi villa and the Belcaro Castle are wonderful buildings surrounded by greenery on the outskirts of Siena.
SAN GIMIGNANDO AND CHIANTI
In the province of Siena, you can not dedicate one day of the trip to visit the beautiful city of San Gimignano, a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
San Gimignano is best known for the tall and majestic towers that guard and the famous Vernaccia di San Gimignano.
If Tuscany is the region of the Middle Ages, probably San Gimignano is the birthplace of the Middle Ages.
From any direction you arrive, San Gimignano is known very well up the hill, 334 meters high, with its many towers, it is said that in 1300 there were seventy, at least one for each wealthy family, so they could show, through the construction of a tower, its economic power, many are still visible in the body of the buildings.
Today San Gimignano has 14 towers that are visible for many kilometers away.
The reference model for the towers built between the middle of the twelfth and the thirteenth century is to Pisa type, called so for the large number of buildings, due to this type in the famous city of Pisa. In the mid-thirteenth century the towers are not built anymore, while you start to build the buildings are in accordance with the techniques and tastes of that period. It is precisely from the middle of this century that the major centers such as Florence, Pisa, Lucca and Siena, have certain architectural features and its different for each city.
In San Gimignano it is present an architecture that fuses the styles of the various Tuscan cities becoming so unique and original.
You enter the village from one of the two main doors, you will find yourself in a medieval atmosphere, despite the comings and goings of tourists from around the world.
A single road climbs towards the main square of San Gimignano and then go down towards the entry point on the opposite side of the country.
Along the way you will find many souvenir shops and typical products such as the famous Vernaccia di San Gimignano.
Definitely worth seeing are the splendid frescoes of the Duomo and the Church of Sant'Agostino and the Museum of the City Hall.
Something special is also along the route of the Museum of Torture with two locations, for discovering these medieval instruments of death and suffering. Easily accessible from Siena and with ample parking (recall that the entire historic center is pedestrianized area), San Gimignano is characterized by the presence of narrow streets and shops of craftsmen like jewelers and potters. Certainly the historical Piazza della Cisterna and Piazza del Duomo are places to see absolutely.
As well they deserve all eyes the palace of the People or the palace of the Podesta, the Church of St. Augustine and that of St. Peter, the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta with the wonderful frescoes of the cocoons, and really imposing walls.
The tour in the province of Siena can then take an afternoon trip in the Chianti a wide horse hills between Siena and Florence, dominated by Mount San Michele, the highest peak.
San Gimignano is in fact very close to the town of Castellina in Chianti which is just 30 kilometers.
Castellina in Chianti is a beautiful Etruscan village in the countryside famous for wine and for the many wine bars where you can taste local products accompanied by a good Chianti Classico glasses.
From Castellina then you can go back atraverso the Chiantigiana, a winding road that crosses the Chianti before touching the beautiful village of Panzano and then the village of Greve in Chianti, in the center the spectacular Piazza Matteotti, home of market town completely surrounded by an arcade.
The trip is a continuous succession of villages and towns perched on the hills of Tuscany such as Radda in Chianti, in Chianti Raiole set among green expanses, vineyards, farmhouses, farms and wine bars.
Chianti is especially synonymous with the wine, and the tuscany wine tour. The excellent Chianti produced by the Consorzio Chianti.
The production marks are well known: the Chianti Classico, montespertoli chianti, Chianti Montalbano, the hills of Siena, Arezzo hills. Behind these wonderful wines but there is a geographic area that is surrounded by greenery and vineyards of the Tuscan hills with dozens of small villages set between them.
Arezzo is a city of art and culture with ancient history located in the eastern part of Tuscany, the ancient Etruria, is situated on a hill at the top of the Town Hall, the ancient fortress and the Cathedral.
Still it retains much of the medieval walls that surrounded it and the big portals to the city.
The stunning Cathedral is the example of the Gothic style projected skyward for a raised position where it is placed and its high bell tower.
At the center of the church is the main altar and behind it is the Ark of San Donato, extraordinary work entirely of marble.
It was built in memory of San Donato bishop and martyr who died in Arezzo in 363 and patron of the city.
The marble urn is supported by twelve pillars ending in Gothic spiers and pinnacles, the realization of which was attended by artists from Siena, Florence and Arezzo during the fourteenth century.
The lower end is by Agostino di Giovanni and Agnolo di Ventura (first half of the fourteenth century), while most of the higher-end, with the great marble altarpiece, painted an even time, depicting the center the Madonna and Child, is of John Francesco and Betto di Francesco, who worked in the second half of the fourteenth century.
The back of the ark, supported by six Corinthian columns, is decorated with scenes from the life of San Donato.
The surroundings of Arezzo consist of three valleys that flow a few kilometers from Arezzo Ponte Buriano very impressive landscape where there is a Romanesque of the thirteenth century bridge over the Arno.
The best-known countries are Pieve Santo Stefano, Sansepolcro, birthplace of Piero della Francesca and Citta di Castello in Umbria.
Arezzo are mainly cultivated the vine for wine, olives, cereals and the famous orchards of the Val di Chiana.
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What to see in Pisa
One of the most famous tower in the world but much more
Please start reading Things to do in Pisa: The main attractions in Pisa and in the surrounding area
Pisa Miracles' Square
The leaning tower of Pisa is "just" one of a majestic and evocative context, set in one of the most beautiful historical scenarios in the world: the Pisa Miracles' Square (World Heritage site).
In the extraordinary context of Square of Miracles in Pisa, near the leaning tower and Baptistery..the Pisa Cathedral
The Pisa Baptistery, devoted to St. John the Baptist, stands in front of the west facade of the Cathedral.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa, one of the most famous and visited Tower in the world.
Monumental Cemetery of Pisa
The Monumental Cemetery of Pisa, In the miracle's square of Pisa, near the leaning tower, the Cathedral and the Baptistery.