Towns, sights, art and culture in Tuscany
Agriturismo Villa La Rogaia
Florence, Cortona, Arezzo, Siena
The cities and hill towns of Tuscany are landmarks of European culture. Towns such as Siena, Arezzo, Cortona, Montepulciano and Florence offer the flair of the Italian way of life, sightseeing and cultural highlights from the Roman age to renaissance, from medieval to contemporary art, from Piero della Francesca to Niki de Saint Phalle.
Sights in Tuscany
Ancient Cortona’s chief beauties are its views, picture-perfect medieval streets and a handful of small churches and museums that contain treasures out of all proportion to the town’s modest size. Discover the paintings by Fra Angelico and Luca Signorelli who was born at Cortona in the Museo Diocesano. Or join the locals in the cool of the evening (from 6 to 8 p.m.) as they take their customary passeggiata down the main street. Do a lap or two yourself then choose an outdoor table, sip an aperitivo and watch the passing fashion parade.
Everyone knows Arezzo by now. Oscar winning movie La vita è bella by Roberto Benigni took this pretty Italian town to Hollywood fame. Arezzo has a centre of seductive medieval and Renaissance charm. A famous antique market takes place on the piazza with shady arcades every first weekend of the month. The market is great fun also if you did not bring a thick wallet and a furniture van. Chief lure in Arezzo is Piero della Francesca’s cycle of The Story of the True Cross in the church of San Francesco. It has been recently restored and shines with new splendour.
To many Siena counts among the most beautiful cities in the world. Have a cappuccino at the Campo (main square), crafted like a sloping scallop shell, and enjoy some of the world’s best people-watching. Wander through the streets with elaborate gothic palazzos of white marble and pink Siena brick. The hole place emanates a serene elegance not easily to be found elsewhere. One could spend weeks visiting museums and churches. If you did not bring so much time do not miss the Maestà (Virgin Mary in Majesty) by Duccioat the dome museum: Gothic transcendency on the gentle human features of a Sienese young woman. And stepping out of the museum you might just meet this face in the streets of Siena.
World-famous Florence offers awide selection of art treasures. Florence is something like the "Renaissance in a nut shell" - a town crammed with art and architecture from this important period of art history. After havong seen the "musts" like Uffizi galleries, Duomo, Baptistery and Ponte Vecchio, we suggest to simply stroll through the streets with their impressive Renaissance palaces. Have a coffee facing Michelangelo's "David" on the Piazza della Signoria at the "Rivoire" coffee shop. Or just walk leisurely along the Arno river as the Florentine of all ages do. Enjoy the magnificent view of Florence from the Piazzale Michelangelo and from the church of San Miniato. For more tips about the lesser known sights in Florence please visit our Blog.
Montepulciano is one of Tuscany’s loftiest towns, looking down over peerless pastoral countryside to the hill towns of nearby Umbria. It is known for its robust red wine, the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Visit the wine cellars along the main street which are partly from Etruscan times and taste this delicious wine together with Pecorino cheese from Pienza. On a rainy day have a piece of cake amidst the art-nouveau splendour of Caffe Poliziano and enjoy the still beautiful view over the endless rolling hills lying at the window.
We have only included some of our personal tips and recommendations which we do not claim to be complete. If you would like to know more about sightseeing in towns and cities of Umbria and Tuscany please check our link pages or travel guides.
These pages with tips for your vacation in Umbria and Tuscany are being updated regularly. Come back to see what’s new !