Top Places to See in Tuscany

By: Stephen Morgan

The Tuscany region of west northwest Italy or "Chianti shire" as it is sometimes described is one of those in areas where it is extremely hard to put together a top 10 of any form of tourism highlights.

Where on earth would you start? Possibly, Florence I suppose.

Situated in the heart of Tuscany, Florence has so many architectural delights and treasures that it would be very easy to spend not just one holiday but a lifetime appreciating the delights of Florence. The Uffizi for one has to be or almost at the top of the list. The former offices of the ruling Medici family (now there's a name to take seriously) the Uffizi houses a veritable cornucopia (treasure trove to the uninitiated) of Renaissance masters that it is difficult to take all of them in.

Next on your whistle stop tour of Florence I guess would be the Duomo. It is very easy and understandable to be dumbstruck when you first view the Duomo. Why? Well for starters there is the central dome designed by Brunelleschi added to which the slender Bell tower designed by Giotto plus Ghiberti's gates, Michelangelo's Pieta all topped off in red white and green marble. All run of the mill stuff basically.

Then it is a quick sprint to the Pitti Palace to get a real idea of how the Medici family lived. The Pitti Palace house a collection of paintings that would rival those housed in the Uffizi. Boy were the Medici family into artwork. I know this is a massive understatement and probably sounds like heresy but boy could this family collect paintings. The Pitti Palace has an amazing collection of porcelain, carriages, modern art and formal gardens.

Moving away from Florence and as we head towards Siena is the fairytale town off San Gimighano. Here you would be hard-pressed not to believe that you have actually walked on to a historic film sent with a fairytale town, stone towers, churches covered in frescoes and all surrounded by a breathtaking network of patchwork fields and terraced vineyards.

Next on the list of Tuscany's greatest hits is Pisa, proof if ever there was needed that God does indeed have a sense of humour. Home of the world-famous leaning Tower, Pisa has more to it than just vertically challenged architecture.

Off the Florence and Pisa, Siena has to be the next stop on our whistle stop tour and he yet again you are confronted with a giant of a cathedral, the Duomo (yes I know another one) again packed to the rafters with confidence, frescoes, and sculptures. Oh and lest you forget, Bernini's Chapel.

Lastly it is time for a little liquid refreshment and of course no still in Tuscany would be complete without a glass of the wine that is synonymous with the entire area and of course by this I mean a glass of Chianti. However, let us not forget that Chianti the wine is named after Chianti the town a true Tuscan idyll and not to be missed.

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