Tuscany, that little region in central Italy that holds so much ambiance and romantic vibrance. Travel Agent Magazine (yes, there is such a thing) recently featured an article about Tuscany with this description, "Tuscany is, as they say, timeless. The region serves as the picture perfect backdrop for an authentic Italian experience, with its stunning landscapes, historic landmarks, extraordinarily rich heritage and culinary sanctuaries." This is one of the best descriptions of Tuscany I think I have ever read. Does Tuscany live up to the hype? In a word, absolutely.
The rolling hills of Tuscany offer amazing views while cruising through the countryside. The experience is reminiscent of stepping into a dream of being surrounded by pure bliss. Tuscany offers everything from romantic walks with your loved one hand in hand across the gentle terrain to days exploring celebrated works of art and gardens all while having exquisite wine and memorable dishes prepared to your personal taste.
One of my favorite towns in Tuscany is Lucca, situated just slightly north of Pisa, which was once home to Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi, sister to the famous Frenchman Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon named Elisa "Grand Duchess of Tuscany" and with that she made Lucca her home in 1806 with the purchase of Villa Reale di Marlia. Elisa invested heavily in her newly acquired villa and the surrounding areas, including Lucca, benefited. A visit to Villa Reale di Marlia offers a myriad of charming opportunities to reconnect with nature and yourself amongst the paths, walkways and gardens that together encompass a mindful beauty rooted between past and present. This is just one of the many gems found in Tuscany.
Florence, Italy is considered by many to be the epicenter of Italian art and culture. The architecture of the Duomo, Florence's Cathedral, attracts millions of visitors to the frescos by Giorgio Vasari that adorn the ceiling. One has to stand in awe at the sheer magnitude of the dome itself. Florence also holds works of art by all the greats: Leonardo Di Vinci, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael and more. Here is where you will see Michelangelo's David , arguably the most significant sculpture in history. Giorgio Vasari is quoted as saying, "Anyone who has seen Michelangelo’s David has no need to see anything else by another sculptor, living or dead." The awe and beauty of David cannot be overstated. Michelangelo said, " I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." This is just one of the many works of art that makes Florence an art lover's dream! These Renaissance and High Renaissance artist's influence spread like wildfire across Italy and the region pushing the boundaries of art to a new level that is still appreciated today.
Pisa, recognized mainly for the Leaning Tower of Pisa, located in the western most portion of Tuscany, sits on one end of the Arno River. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is the main attraction in the "Square of Miracles," which also contains the Pisa Baptistery of St. John, the Piazza dei Miracle, the Camposanto Monumental, and the Opera della Primaziale P isano. The Botanical Garden of Pisa, which also houses a botanical school sits just minutes away from the Square of Miracles. The Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri is a church centrally located in Pisa that was designed by Giorgio Vasari (of Florence Duomo fame) and David Fortini and holds works by Donatello. One of the best outdoor restaurants is located about 3 minutes by foot from the Square of Miracles and is a great place to admire the view while enjoying authentic Italian fare.
This is a small taste of all that Tuscany has to offer. There is nothing like seeing the hills of Tuscany in person while feeling full relaxation take over as you sip your first glass of wine. Where do you want to visit next? What is your next must see location? We would love to hear from you! Call or email us for more information on how we can help you plan your next adventure!