Tuscany is one of the most famous regions of Italy. Millions of visitors come to explore and experience all the best things that the region has to offer. It has played an important role in the history of Italy and its influence spread across greater Europe. Known for its incredible wines and delicious food, most of the Tuscan experience can’t be shared in photos. Honestly, the best part of Tuscany is the many sips of wine and the dance of flavours that takes place on your tastebuds. Two of the most important senses are left behind, unable to climb into your luggage and travel home with you. It is in food and memories. For the parts that could be captured, my trusty Nikon was always ready.
If you’re looking to build an itinerary for a trip to Tuscany, this is not the place. As the title suggests, this is just a taste of Tuscany. It turns out, four days in Tuscany was not long enough, especially with Florence stealing half the spotlight and most of the itinerary. After spending a few weeks in the north of Italy, taking in the sights at a slow pace, it was time to hop on the train and head south. Traveling down the skinny boot-shaped country, my train traveled at extreme speeds as I crossed the Apennine Mountains heading south. Once on the other side, I began to explore right away.
There were several incredible things I missed (or saved for next time) such as the leaning tower of Pisa or the hometown of Leonardo Da Vinci. After spending two days in Florence, I traveled by train and spent one day in Prato and another in Siena. Today we will stay focused on the latter two.
What makes Tuscany so amazing?
Tuscany is known for rolling hills and wineries sprinkled across the countryside. With only 4 days to sample Tuscany -with two of those were spent in Florence – I had to make some hard choices when deciding where to explore. I spent a little bit of time in Prato, exploring local markets and incredible hilltop restaurants but the highlight of Tuscany was Sienna. Siena was one of the most photo-worthy cities I’ve been to anywhere around the world.
Sienna was thought to be founded in the time of the Romans, dating back over 2400 years, well into the BCE. The city really came into its own in the 12th century, when most of the modern monuments began to show up. The Cathedral was build during this time, finished in 1380. Today, the historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The city is famous for the two towers that made up the religious and civic centers of the city, and they had a proud history of balancing the two. One stood for the church and the other for the state. These two symbols were meant to be equal. They are both still prominent landmarks today.
The main square, Piazza del Campo, was the centerpiece of the public life in Siena. This is also where they hold an annual horse race. It was a beautiful day when we visited, and the blue skies were littered with clouds that went on forever. The view from above was spectacular. Certainly one of the most unforgettable places in Italy.
Where is Tuscany and how do you get there?
Tuscany is one of the 22 regions that make up modern-day Italy. There are simply too many things to do and see in the region, from famous leaning towers to picturesque vineyards set alongside rolling hills. There were a lot of things on my list that did not make it off the to-do list. This turned out to be a good thing because it means I have lots to go back to next time.
Tuscany is a world-renowned destination because of the wine, food, and culture that has been carefully developed over hundreds of years. Tuscany is centered around the historic center of Florence, there are several incredible towns in the area that have incredible architecture and still have a lingering element of historic importance.
Florence is the cultural capital of the region, and today is a modern city surrounding the bustling old city core. With trains and busses going everywhere from Florence, it’s easy to visit the surrounding towns. Looking back, Sienna was an excellent choice for a full-day trip to really soak in the city, but there should have been another 2-3 days allocated to Tuscany. Next time, I think I will spend a full week. There is no need to rush.