Italy’s artistic contribution surpasses that of any other nation, whilst Tuscany’s bucolic scenery is home to more historical monuments than any other entire country on earth. For centuries Italy has attracted visitors in search of culture and romance and there are few countries that can rival its renowned Classical origins, its art, music, architecture, scenery, food and wine. As home to the Roman Empire, the Renaissance, the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican, its contribution to the arts surpasses that of any other nation.
Tuscany embodies much that Italy is famous for, possessing more historical monuments than any other country, let alone province, on earth. Its cities, Florence, Siena and Pisa, together with smaller towns and medieval villages like Lucca and San Gimignano, house some of the world’s finest artistic treasures. Combine this with the haunting beauty of the local countryside, an enviable climate, one of the world’s great cuisines, and you have all the ingredients for a superb holiday.
Florence defies description, arguably the finest city of the Renaissance and often described as the most beautiful city in Italy. Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian plus countless others, created many of the masterpieces now on display in the Uffizi, one of the world’s greatest galleries.
For marvellous views of Florence, take a ride with a local guide to the surrounding hills in a classic Fiat 500*. When the sun sets, the city’s remarkable buildings and medieval stone bridges come alive through tasteful illumination. During your 2-hour tour, your guide will share stories of the places you see and you’ll pause for some excellent gelato before returning to the city.
Then there is the city of Pisa, famous for its leaning tower, situated in a complex of ecclesiastical buildings, as remarkable today as they must have seemed to the medieval pilgrims on their way to Rome.
Next we visit San Gimignano one of the best preserved medieval villages you will find anywhere in Europe, famous for its immense stone towers, dramatically rising upwards, creating its unique skyline. Siena is the other great Tuscan city enclosed behind vast defensive walls, dominating the surrounding countryside like the fortress it is. The city is quite outstanding and has arguably the most gracious square, the Campo, in the world.
Tuscany and its classic countryside is the very essence of Italy. Gently undulating, biscuit coloured hillsides often covered with vineyards flow and disappear into the distance. Punctuated by isolated farmhouses, unchanged for centuries and studded by tall cypress trees, these wonderful landscapes yield a rich harvest of superb food and wine. Tuscan cuisine is simple, using the finest ingredients such as grilled succulent meats, fresh vegetables, the unique pecorino cheese, thick wholesome soups, a hint of olive oil and garlic, creating tasty, healthy menus. In Tuscany you have some of the world’s finest wines too, such as Brunello, Montepulciano and of course Chianti. Tuscany embodies the true characteristics of Italy and the Italians themselves. Stylish, always ready to help, justifiably proud of their heritage, vibrant, expressive and just – different!