In the heart of Italy lies the beautiful region of Tuscany, home to a handful of cities and towns, showcasing the world’s most recognisable Renaissance art, Romanesque and Gothic architecture, and historical buildings. If you can’t decide which city to visit, why not take a tour around Tuscany and stop by each to discover their unique attributes?
Here we’ve recommended one attraction to visit in each city in Tuscany, to make sure you get the best experience during your tour.
Pisa is famous for its Torre Pendente (Leaning Tower of Pisa) in Piazza Dei Miracoli. This unique bell tower tilts 5.5 degrees, so when visiting you may notice the lean is much more significant in person than in photos. It tilts because the soil beneath it weakened during construction, however, stabilisers have been put in place so visitors can walk up it and see if they feel the angle.
Also in Piazza Dei Miracoli is a medieval, Roman Catholic cathedral that showcases Romanesque architecture. It features cream marble outer walls, three 16th-century bronze doors on its façade and a 24-carat gold, wooden ceiling. You won’t know where to look first.
Another stunning monument in Piazza Dei Miracoli is the circular baptistery that manifests Gothic architecture on its dome-shaped roof and Romanesque architecture on the lower half. When inside, you can climb to the Upper Gallery and listen to the spectacular acoustics.
If you’re a serious lover of Renaissance art, the Uffizi Gallery is perfect for you. Here you can browse paintings, sculptures and architecture that dates all the way back to the 13th century and progresses through to the 17th.
The many corridors of art in this U-shaped museum are organised into chronological order. This means you’ll start by looking at many elegant Gothic style paintings, created by the likes of Giotto and Cimabue, before moving onto the Renaissance artworks in halls eight and nine.
In halls 10 to 14, you’ll stop in awe at the sight of the Allegory of Spring and Birth of Venus, both painted by Sandro Botticelli himself. The halls were refurbished during 2016 to let in soft light and, therefore, compliment these two masterpieces. Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci’s best works are displayed in halls 35 to 66, so make sure you don’t miss them.
The Guinigi Tower in Lucca is a 45-metre-tall tower house, built from red bricks. The city of Lucca used to display 250 tower houses, but only nine remain today, one being the Torre Guinigi. It features several ancient Holm oaks on its roof, which are said to date back to the 17th century.
This 14th-century structure was originally built by silk merchants who wanted to show the wealth and power of the Guinigi family. It was used for its defensive position because it provided a perfect lookout point during the war. It was refurbished during the 1980s and is now open to visitors who wish to see its charming architecture and quirky rooftop garden.
You will be wowed by its unique combination of Romanesque and Gothic style architecture, as well as its multi-layered structure inside. Once you’ve climbed up 200 stairs, you’ll be rewarded with a magnificent view over the city. You’ll see other tower houses, the town centre and the city walls.
This Romanesque cathedral was built during the 11th century and has brightly coloured frescoes painted onto its ceiling and walls. When entering, you’ll be astounded by the intricacy and detail included in the drawings, which depict scenes from both the Old and New Testament. These stories are in chronological order down the left-hand side and up the right.
You may notice the Santa Fina Chapel on the right-hand side, near the main altar. This Renaissance chapel displays even more frescoes, however, the scenes here are of the life of Saint Fina, who was born in San Gimignano. She is largely respected by the people of this small Tuscan town, due to her strong faith.
If you have some spare time, why not pop into the Museum of Sacred Art next door? It displays remarkable paintings, 14th-century wooden sculptures, and homemade textiles and silverware, both exhibiting exquisite craftsmanship through their intricate details.
The social centre of Siena, IL Campo, is a sloping plaza where both locals and tourists can relax in the various cafés and enjoy a cup of coffee. This piazza was established in the 12th century when the Council of Nine claimed it. Since then, it has been divided up into nine different sections to represent each member.
This square was built on a previous Roman marketplace but is now home to Palazzo Pubblico, Siena’s city hall, which houses the Civic Museum. Here you can learn about the history of the city, as well as its political history. The tower is also attached to this building and tourists are encouraged to walk up and see the splendid view of the city.
The beautiful Fonte Gaia fountain is also within the IL Campo complex. 15th-century marble sculptures are included in its combined Renaissance and Gothic design. The sculptures around the edges include motifs regarding the Garden of Eden and Creation of Adam.
If you would like to visit one of these cities in Tuscany, or all five, call us on 0800 021 3237 or, contact us via our website. Alternatively, come in and speak to our team in the Woodbridge and Ipswich travel agents.
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