The tranquil Italian region of Tuscany remains one of the most beautiful parts of the country and is renowned throughout the world for its history and artistic supremacy. Home to approximately 3.7 million people, Tuscany is situated in the North West of Italy and runs alongside the Tyrrhenian Sea, which is part of the warm Mediterranean Sea. Whilst some tourists in the area use Tuscany as a base to visit the beautiful Apennine mountain range, its real draw is found in its cultural heritage.
Did you know that Tuscany’s roots can be traced back into the Bronze Age, from which evidence remains of the cattle-herding Apennine culture? Moreover, the Villanovan culture of the Iron Age also lefts its impression on the region. However, it was not until the Etruscan period that Tuscany first developed the platform for that which exists today. Leaving behind a legacy of infrastructure and artistic gems, the Etruscans were eventually absorbed into the Roman Empire. One glorious example of Etruscan artistry can be found in the Chimera of Arezzo, which is a famous bronze statue dated at around 400 BC.
The Romans established the major cities in Tuscany, including Florence and Pisa. Roman architecture, from sewers and aqeducts to various building, remain a source of interest for tourists in Tuscany today and universities around the globe still offer courses on this. Nevertheless, the region’s presiding architecture and cultural heritage emerged from the Medieval period, the Renaissance and Modern Era.
One of the most recognised buildings in the world can be found in Tuscany. The ‘Leaning Tower of Pisa’ (sometimes jokingly referred to as the leaning tower of pizza!) was built from around 1173 but took more than 100 years to construct. Nowadays, the tower, having been stabilized for obvious safety reasons, leans for some 3.9 metres from a perfectly vertical position – a must-see for all visitors to Tuscany.
Furthermore, tourists are drawn to the capital city of Tuscany, Florence, for its exquisite Renaissance architecture, which includes Florence Cathedral, Palazzo Pitti and Palazzo Vecchio and fantastic musuems. The Uffizi, for instance, has superb collections ranging from Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo to Raphael and Rembrandt.
Tuscany is also popular among tourists for its fine weather and gorgeous scenery. The mild winters are coupled with hot summers, whilst notable physical attractions include the Arno River and Apennine mountains. Cycling is a popular activity in the area, as too are cooking classes and wine tours. The night life, restaurants, cafés and bars in and around the cities of Tuscany are among the finest in Italy outside of Rome. Nevertheless, visitors to Tuscany will most likely be in search of a historical and cultural experience – which it offers in excess.
Getting to Tuscany is relatively straightforward. Although making the journey from Rome to Tuscany may seem like quite a trek, but tourists will have plenty to do and see along the way. Both car and train routes from Rome will allow tourists to enjoy the beautiful Italian countryside. In fact, in need not be a trek – airports in Florence and Pisa make short work of the journey from Rome.