Tuscany is widely popular for its wine and vineyards all over the world. It is not only a paradise for wine lovers but also serves as a perfect destination for those who love ancient art, architecture, and food.
Florence was my first and base destination in Tuscany, Italy. Since I was traveling from Switzerland to Florence by train, which took around 6 hours, I decided to rest on the day of arrival. I was staying at the Archie Rossi Hostel, which was a 5 minutes walk from Santa Maria Novella railway station. The hostel was big, had paintings on its walls, some old sculptures, and old books to read. Resting on Sunday and taking a small walk in evening made me ready and excited enough for the coming days expedition.
The best way to discover Florence is on foot. While walking across the streets you can see old buildings with beautiful windows, narrow lanes full of small shops, pizzerias, and shopping streets showcasing all international fashion brands. It is an experience in itself to walk on unknown streets and explore an unknown city.
My first destination was Piazza Del Duomo. It is an ancient chapel having extra ordinary carvings on its walls and a bell tower. It costs around 18 euros to enter and climb the Duomo. There is a long queue for the entrance ticket, therefore it is advisable to buy tickets online. There are around 400 steep steps to climb the Duomo.
Art lovers paradise
Next big attractions are Uffizi art gallery and Academia gallery. These two galleries are widely popular and hosts most famous work of Michaelangelo. Photographs are not allowed inside. If you are fond of seeing sculptures then Accademia gallery is your bet. Do buy tickets beforehand, as there is always a long queue in all the seasons.
The art and sculptures of Florence are so popular that the city has replicas of the famous sculptures exhibited at Piazza Della Signoria. There is a fountain around the replica of most famous sculpture called David, made by Michaelangelo. This place is a must visit in case you are not able to visit the gallaries.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
The world’s heritage building and considered as seven wonders of medieval world. It is a bell tower well known for its unintended tilt and still standing tall since so many years. It is breathtakingly beautiful.
It is an hour long train ride from Florence to Pisa. From Pisa centrale you can catch a bus that is available frequently and drops directly at tower of Pisa.
Chianti is the most popular village and has acres of vineyards. It has lush green landscapes and small villages.
There are many day tours available for Chainti, Sienna, and San Gimignano. I booked a half day tour to Chianti wine tasting using getyourguide.com.
There was an air-conditioned bus which picked our tour group from rail station. It was an hour long bus ride to reach country side. The guided tour was available in English and Spanish languages. They explained about various types wine, how it is made and stored, followed by wine tasting (with cheese, it’s heaven). I met lovely people from different parts of the world in our group tour.
While coming back we stopped at a small village call Verrazzano. It was a pleasant evening and breeze was so refreshing. To my surprise, there was a vending machine pouring different types of wine.
We are talking about Italy and not mentioning food is a crime. Haha! Well, in every part of world Italian food has made its mark. Florence has many pizzerias and restaurants offering various delicacies. Not just Italian, but there are wide options for Asian and Mediterranean food too.
The food and wine served in Italy will make your soul happy. You can manage to have good food even without spending big bucks.
One more benefit of visiting Tuscany is it is close to the coastline of Italy, called Cinque Terre. Those you love to explore coastal villages facing Sea, can day trip to Cinque Terre. It takes 3.5 hours train ride from Florence. Read more about Cinque Terre here.
Not just Tuscany has architecture and art, it also has beautiful landscapes, close to coastline, and definitely a food paradise. What else can you ask for a perfect holiday?
So here are some reasons why Tuscany should be a part of your Italy itinerary. I will come up with more blogs. Till then Ciao 🙂