Region Tuscany in Italy: photos and description, history, sights and interesting facts
There are many works of art that tell about Italy. “Under the sun of Tuscany” is a famous film, after watching which you want to immediately quit all your business and go on vacation here. And for good reason, because this region is very popular among tourists. Here you can see the picturesque landscapes and architectural monuments of different eras, and swim in the sea. But Tuscany is a large region, covering several cities at once. We will talk about what is necessary to see here in this article.
A little more about the region
Tourists adore this resort, very positively speaking about the time spent in this place. At the same time, they praise not only local sights, but also the beaches of Tuscany (Italy).The region has access to the Tyrrhenian Sea, although the coastline is not very flat here, but if you want you can find a place to swim. However, a beach holiday is not the main thing in Tuscany. First of all, the region is famous for its architectural landmarks, historical monuments, picturesque nature. Tuscany is the birthplace of many famous Italians, such as Leonardo da Vinci or Michelangelo. On its territory there are several large cities that are worth seeing. For example, Florence, Pisa, Siena and others.
In addition, this region has a fairly advantageous location. It is located in the central part of the country, just north of Rome. It is equally convenient to get here not only from the capital, but from Milan, another major tourist city. Also during the high season, several flights from Moscow arrive directly to Pisa several times a week.
Tuscany is a mountainous area, so most of it is occupied by hills, which are located huge vineyards. Ecotourists and wine lovers should definitely make time for a tour of these places. Travelers recommend coming here in late spring or early autumn, when the heat subsides in order to comfortably explore local cities.However, if you want to combine sightseeing in Tuscany (Italy) with a vacation at sea, then July and August will be the best time.
History of Tuscany
Most of the attractions here are connected with history. Therefore, it is worth paying attention to her. The region of Tuscany in Italy has a rich history. The first mentions of the people who lived here belong to the era of the Lower Paleolithic. Until the 1st century AD, the Etruscans lived in its territory, in whose honor, according to historians, the region got its name. Then they were captured by the Romans, who founded the most famous cities of Tuscany: Florence, Pisa, Siena and Lucca. They dominated these lands until the V century, and after they were driven out by the barbarian tribes. Local culture was plundered, but the region continued to grow. For example, the Lombards settled in Lucca and made it their capital.
In the Middle Ages, Tuscany was not a single state. Several formations were located on its territory. For example, Florence, Lucca and Pisa were independent settlements. Often they even fought among themselves. In Florence, banking developed particularly rapidly, thanks in large part to the famous Medici rulers.They sponsored the construction of many architectural monuments of the city, and also supported the financially famous Leonardo da Vinci. Gradually, the Medici managed to capture the border cities, forming the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
The last representative of this genus died in the XVIII century, after which the region came under the authority of the Hapsburgs. Napoleon, after capturing Tuscany, gave the title to his sister Elise, but she did not rule long. The region joined the united Italy only in the middle of the XIX century. In 1865, Florence became the capital of the country. Only in 1871 she was transferred to Rome.
Holidays in Tuscany
In fact, Tuscany is a unique region, resting in which tourists can combine several leisure options at once. But most of the time, of course, stands out for sightseeing. Tuscany in Italy is considered the largest region by the number of monuments that are protected by UNESCO. Moreover, more than half of all Italian heritage sites are located here. Of course, first of all you need to visit Florence, Pisa, Siena and Lucca. If you have time, you can pay attention to small picturesque villages and cities, for example, Monteriggioni or San Gimignano.
You can combine sightseeing with shopping. It is developed here, perhaps, better than many resorts in Italy. In each, even a small town there are several large shopping centers, which have boutiques of famous European and world brands. But tourists especially love to go to local sales. They are held here in July and the end of January. Also everywhere in Tuscany you can find small shops, including supermarkets and souvenir shops. Fans of exploring the gastronomic customs of the countries of the world should definitely visit local restaurants, taverns and cafes, as well as open markets where real olive oil is sold.
Tourists prefer to spend a significant part of their holidays relaxing on the sea. Tuscany in Italy offers its guests several first-class resorts, and its coastline extends for 320 km. At the same time there are very few places for budget holidays. Living even in a cheap three-star hotel will cost tourists a substantial amount. Of course, lovers of clean sea and soft sandy beaches should go to Elba Island. He received the greatest popularity due to the development of diving centers.
Of course, among the cities of Tuscany in Italy, the leading position in popularity is occupied by the famous Florence. It is from her that many begin to see the region. And not in vain, because there really are a lot of attractions, the largest of which we will describe below. The city was founded back in the year 59 by Caesar himself, but reached its peak only in the XV century. Most of the architectural monuments are concentrated in the old part of Florence. Some of them belong to the times of the Renaissance, which originated in this city. The historic center is located on the north bank of the Arno River and is fully included in the World Heritage Fund. Here, guests should pay attention to the Duomo Square and the Cathedral, together with the Campanile of Juneno. Or just wander through the local narrow streets that have managed to preserve their historical appearance. And in local museums you can see many masterpieces created by Italians. Here, by the way, the most expensive and respectable restaurants, shops and hotels are open.
You should definitely visit the famous Medici quarter, where the chapel, built by Michelangelo, is located.The basilica, built in the 4th century, attracts the attention of tourists. Almost all members of the Medici family are buried on the territory of this quarter, as well as the monastery and the Central Market. It is worth looking at the famous Ponte Vecchio - the only bridge in the city that survived after World War II. In Florence, there are also countless temples, each of which has a special artistic value. Tourists can enjoy not only their external decoration, but also the interior, for example, to see the numerous frescoes of famous Italian authors.
Among the attractions of Tuscany (Italy) is to separately distinguish the cathedral, which is the face not only of Florence, but also the entire region as a whole. Its full name is Santa Maria del Fiore. Its construction was delayed for a century and a half, and six eminent architects were responsible for its creation. It began to be erected on the site of the old city church, which by the beginning of the 13th century had begun to collapse. Its first stone was laid in 1296, and construction was completed only in 1434.At the time of its opening, the cathedral was the largest in all of Europe - at the same time it can accommodate up to 30,000 visitors.
The temple is built in the shape of a Latin cross. Its length is 153 meters, and its width is 90 meters. The amazing appearance of the cathedral was created thanks to a unique lining, made of several types of marble. The dome is made of orange brick, more than 4 million blocks were involved in its creation. The interior of the cathedral is distinguished by its modesty and simplicity. It is worth paying attention to the watches, which were created in 1443 and are still in progress, as well as the bas-relief of Giotto and the busts of famous Italians. The campanile of Giotto and the baptistery of San Giovanni were built almost next to the cathedral.
The most famous museum complex, not only in Florence, but throughout Tuscany (Italy) is the Uffizi Gallery. It is located in the central part of the city and is located in a three-story building, which adjoins the eponymous palace. The gallery itself consists of two parallel horseshoe-shaped structures. It was built in 1581, and even then many people considered it one of the most beautiful buildings in Europe. In addition, the gallery is considered the most visited museum in all of Italy.For example, in 2013 there were more than 1, 8 million guests.
The gallery covers an area of more than 13,000 square meters. m. On its territory is a huge collection, most of which is occupied by masterpieces created by the Italians. For example, visitors can see paintings created by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Sandro Botticelli. Of the masterpieces of the last artist is to highlight the painting "The Birth of Venus", which is one of the main exhibits of the gallery. For the convenience of visitors, its halls are arranged in chronological order and cover the history of Italian art from the 13th to the 18th century. There are 50 of them, so it will take more than one day to inspect all the monuments from tourists.
The next picturesque city of Tuscany in Italy, a favorite of tourists, is Siena, which is sometimes called the wine capital of the region. As in Florence, its central part is included in the UNESCO heritage list, because most of the buildings here have survived from the Middle Ages in its original form. The highlight of the city is not only local wine, but also the famous Palio races, which are held in July and August. Interestingly, all competitions are held on the main street of the city, which for this purpose is specifically covered with an impressive layer of earth.
There is in Siena and its own Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, which by its appearance resembles the Milan Duomo. Outside, it is decorated with multicolored marble and numerous busts and sculptures. Inside, tourists can admire the frescoes created by Renaissance artists. In Siena, you should also look at the Palace of the Commune, the Glutton Tower, the National Pinakothek and numerous churches and museums.
The small town of Monterdzhioni, of course, cannot be called a full-fledged Tuscan resort (Italy), but it is a significant landmark of the region. See here stands on a huge ancient castle, built in the XIII century to protect Siena from its neighbors. Gradually, a real city appeared inside the fortress, the exterior of which has been preserved to this day. You can see here not only the majestic towers, but also the Renaissance palaces, as well as the ancient church of St. Mary. By the way, this castle is the most recognizable landmark of Tuscany (Italy), because it was in it that famous historical films were shot, for example, “Gladiator”.
Traveling around Tuscany (Italy), tourists often drive into another small town - San Gimignano. First of all, it is worth looking at the medieval "skyscrapers". So the locals call the ancient stone towers, which glorified the city. There were 72 of them in total, but only 14 of them survived in their original state. San Gimignano can be viewed in just a few hours.
The small and gloomy city of Volterra is another place worth visiting while on holiday in Tuscany (Italy). This is one of the oldest settlements in the region, the oldest archaeological finds here belong to the Iron Age. The city is famous for its walls, built in the IV century BC. It can also be seen in a couple of hours, but you shouldn’t exclude it from your tour.
In the west of the region is Pisa - another famous city in the country, known primarily for its unique leaning tower. And although there are not so many other ancient sights here, it is still worth a visit, especially for young people. The fact is that Pisa is considered a student city, more than half of the inhabitants live here because of their studies.Therefore, there is open a huge number of night bars and clubs for every taste.
But, of course, every traveler dreams of visiting the famous Square of Miracles, where the leaning tower is located. It was built in 1360, while leaning to the side of the building began during construction. Now scientists note that her fall has stopped. Of the attractions is also worth highlighting the cathedral, built in the XI century. According to legend, the prophet Peter once stepped in this place on the coast of Tuscany (Italy). Of the less famous places, visit the local ancient cemetery. Do not leave without attention and the University of Pisa, which is considered one of the oldest educational institutions in Europe.
This city often completes the tourist route to Tuscany (Italy). Lucca attracts tourists primarily for its churches. This small town has managed to preserve its unchanged medieval look, which will undoubtedly please history lovers. Most of the religious buildings built here in the era of Trecento, as they call in Italy the XIV century. In their reviews, tourists recommend coming to the city in the spring, because at that time flowers bloom everywhere in Lucca. It is sometimes even called the romantic capital of Tuscany.In addition to the churches, among which St. Martin stands out in particular, erected in the 6th century, you can also inspect the local walls. They are perfectly preserved and completely gird the city, enclosing it in a ring. Their length exceeds 4 km. The city also has a lot of restaurants offering old Italian cuisine that will delight gourmet tourists.
Tourists often like to combine sightseeing with a vacation at sea. In Tuscany, for this purpose, all the conditions. For budget accommodation is best to choose one of the smaller resorts of the local Riviera. But the most popular is Elba Island. This is the third largest island in all of Italy. In this case, you can reach it in just one hour by ferry, which departs from the coast at least several times a day. First of all, Elba is famous for its beaches. There are a great many here, and there are sandy and pebbled areas on the island. In addition, due to the location, there are beaches with pink sand and black pebbles. The water near the island is very clean, and the wildlife of the sea is rich, so many diving centers are open along the coast.
The capital of the island is a small coastal town of Portoferraio, which is home to only 35,000 people. You can combine a beach holiday here with a tour of local monuments. For example, visit the island’s oldest fort, Volterraio Castle. The city also built a cathedral in honor of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, the Church of Mercy. The Elbe was the last refuge of Napoleon, so there are plenty of museums dedicated to his life. You can complete the tour of the island by inspecting the ruins of the fortress walls built during the rule of the Medici dynasty.
Holiday Reviews in Tuscany, Italy
Many tourists after returning from vacation tend to share their impressions. Most of them liked Tuscany very much, and they would gladly come back here because, in their opinion, one week is not enough to explore all the cities and sights of this area. Tourists call this region a very picturesque place, noting that they even remember the journey between cities for a long time. Largely due to the nature of Tuscany, which impresses with its magnificence. Experienced travelers recommend that people who come here for the first time purchase a sightseeing tour in order to have time to see the maximum of beautiful places in a short time.They positively estimate the local cuisine, clean beaches, as well as the developed infrastructure of even small towns.
In the reviews of Tuscany (Italy), tourists, as a rule, do not describe negative aspects. They only note that the journey is an expensive pleasure, because there are practically no budget hotels here. They also did not like the fact that there were not enough parking places in the center of large cities. In addition, almost everywhere they are charged an hourly rate, which also hits the wallet a lot.