Tuscany is known by many names, but perhaps the most famous is “The Heart of the Renaissance.” Almost synonymous with picturesque hills nestled against a golden sky, the name “Tuscany” itself brings up universal feelings of joy, created by the beauty of the region’s unparalleled natural landscapes, the rich wonder of its long history, and intriguing magnetism of its vibrant culture. Characterized by the wealth of art, architecture, and culinary delights to be found within the region’s borders, Tuscany’s culture has captured the hearts of millions through the centuries.
Tuscany’s ability to seamlessly, and somewhat magically, fuse the present and the past is mesmerizing. A walk through one of the region’s cities feels like a stroll through an ancient storybook, with architectural wonders that are still intact and almost perfectly preserved from centuries gone by. It’s easy to get a sense of what it might have been like to live in the days of the Middle Ages, Roman times, or Etruscan Ages. Captured in nearly every aspect of Tuscany’s culture is the value of the past and how it has shaped the region, the country, and the world.
Art is an integral part of Italian culture in general, but it has flourished in a major way throughout Tuscany’s long history, solidifying Tuscany as a hotspot for artists the world over. Historically, art became such an essential aspect of the Tuscan culture due to the presence of rich, noble families throughout Tuscany’s major cities. The Medici family in Florence, the Gherardesca family in Pisa, and the Piccolomini family in Sienna were influential in cultivating a culture that valued high quality art. In addition, the scenic views created by Tuscany’s landscape served as inspiration for up and coming artists throughout history.
Both Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci, two of the world’s most well-renowned and celebrated artists of all time, were born and raised in the region of Tuscany. Michelangelo, born in Arezzo, had a deep bond with Tuscany and its natural beauty which influenced his art. Those in Florence can experience this beauty firsthand and also see Michelangelo’s famed statue of David, which is preserved in the Galleria dell’Accademia. Leonardo Da Vinci, born in the small town of Vinci (hence his name, which literally translates to “from Vinci”), created possibly the most well-known pieces of art ever created- the enigmatic Mona Lisa and iconic Last Supper fresco. In addition to these greats, workshops held throughout the Renaissance, known as “Botteghe” were held, giving life to some amazing painters such as Piero Della Francesca, Giotto, and Cimabue. With artists of this caliber calling Tuscany home, it is no wonder why artists to this day consider Tuscany to be a place of artistic magic.
Throughout Tuscany’s history, many well-known styles of art were formed. It was Tuscany in which Giovanni Fattori created “Macchiaioli”, a style of painting that would take over the region and set the tone of impressionist art in the coming centuries.
Museums throughout Tuscany house art pieces that have influenced painters for centuries, and the region’s stunning landscape views remind modern day travelers where all the great artists received their inspiration. The best of art in Tuscany can be seen in the Museo del Bargello. Located in Florence, this National Museum is one of the oldest buildings in Florence. It houses some of the best sculptures of the Florentine school. Artists such as Michelangelo, Cellini, and Donatello are featured here.
Tuscany boasts an extraordinary collection of architectural wonders. From buildings so well preserved they look as if they were transported directly from the past, to landmarks that highlight important cultural events and traditions, to seven UNESCO designated World Heritage Sites, the architecture housed throughout the region of Tuscany is nothing short of magnificent.
A keen facet of Tuscany’s culture architecturally is the abundance of Medieval structures offered and the level of quality in which they are preserved. The Medieval influence can be experienced in locales such as San Gimignano, Lucca, or Monteriggioni. In San Gimignano, a series of ancient towers stand in such a way that they are reflective of modern day skylines, yet their architecture is so indicative of the world in which they first stood. In Lucca and Monteriggioni, defensive walls of Medieval castles still stand, allowing people to walk the same walls that ancient guardians would stand on to protect the castles’ perimeters.
Other iconic architectural masterpieces such as the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, realized by famous Florentine architect Brunelleschi, and the Torre del Mangia and the Cathedral of Saint Mary of Assumption, both located in Siena, truly capture the essence of iconic Tuscan architecture.
Food & Wine
With lands that are rich and fertile, a climate that is mild and tempered, and a culture that values simple pleasures in life, the culinary culture in Tuscany is a key component to the region’s identity. Characterized by the use of simplistic yet flavorful ingredients, Tuscan cuisine is both elegant and rustic, often comprised of elements that were harvested straight from the land. Hearty pasta dishes, fresh produce, local fish and meat, and high-quality olive oil crafted from locally grown olives all combine to create a culinary experience that is truly Tuscan.
To pair with the many delectable dishes, Tuscans serve top notch wines created by the region’s experienced and seasoned wine makers. Home to Chianti and Montalcino, two of the world’s most highly regarded wine regions, Tuscany’s culture is heavily influenced by their sprawling wineries and the top shelf wines that are created there.
Science, Literature, Music, & More
As a location that is so heavily defined by its ability to inspire and stimulate, it is no question as to why so many great scientific, artistic, and creative figures of history got their start in Tuscany. The father of modern science, Galileo Galilei, was born right in Pisa. Antonio Meucci, an inventor who created the telephone with Alexander Graham Bell, hailed from Florence. Dante Alighieri, the masterful author, was said to have taken great inspiration from Tuscany’s landscape to create his masterpiece the Divine Comedy. Giacomo Puccini, who composed some of history’s most important operas, such as La Boheme, La Turandot, and Madama Butterfly was also Tuscan born. Roberto Benigni, Oscar-winning filmmaker, was born in Manciano La Misericordia, and filmed “La Vita e’ Bella” in Tuscan cities such as Arezzo, Castiglion Fiorentino, and Cortona. With the many historic and famous creators who call Tuscany home, it’s clear that there really is something magical about the region that cultivates such wondrous creativity.
No matter where one chooses to take an Italian vacation in Tuscany, there are rich cultural traditions and sights to take in. A hub for cultural activity, Tuscany is a rare jewel in which the Renaissance is very much still thriving.
The team at Trips2Italy did a wonderful job planning our trip 5 years ago for our honeymoon and did another great job for our trip earlier this month.
Emily was so quick to answer our questions and planned the perfect trip. When we had some weather related travel issues, Ana got us moving as did the Milan office.
Our hotel was the best we've stayed in so far and all the plans/tours were such fun.
We truly couldn't have planned a better trip ourselves and we will continue encouraging others to use Trips2Italy.
My husband & I recently returned from the Tuscany/Cinque Terre escorted tour. We had an incredibly wonderful trip!
The itinerary was well planned and included the best that Tuscany & Cinque Terre have to offer. We really enjoyed the classy wine-tasting experiences & the boat ride to Cinque Terre.
In addition to the escorted tour, Trips2Italy assisted us with customization of our own itinerary. We could not be more pleased with Emily at Trips2Italy. Her communication was excellent, including prompt responses to emails and well-researched answers to questions. She organized a terrific trip for us!
During an overseas trip, we have huge peace of mind in knowing that there will be assistance available in case of a problem situation. Trips2Italy gets top marks for this. Due to a minor glitch, we had occasion to call the Trips2Italy 24 hour Emergency Assistance number. Tommaso immediately answered the phone, took care of the issue and followed up with us to assure that all was proceeding smoothly. Emily and Tommaso, thank you for our amazing trip to Italy!!
First of all, THANK YOU for the most incredible trip we have ever taken! I cant say enough great things about the locations you picked out, the hotel rooms, and even the fine details of what kinds of views our rooms had. We also really appreciated the small touches like the Champagne and treats at each of our hotel spots. No small detail was gone un-noticed. It truly made the world of a difference in our experience!
We absolutely loved Italy!!
Lake Como is hands-down our favorite. We hope to return there again someday. Possibly for an Anniversary trip? 🙂 We hope to spend more time in Como, but also explore some of the other sides of the lake when we return.
We loved the Itinerary. For never going to Italy before, it's hard to know what we would like/dislike, but I think Andrew and I are on mutual agreement that we could have done without Milan. While we appreciate the history, I think we could have stuck to just Florence and Rome for the "city" vibe of our trip. We absolutely loved Lake Como (Like I said) and all of our experiences in Tuscany. I wish we would have done more food tours, similar to the ones we did in Rome, but again, thats not something we could have known without going through the experience. It was cool to eat like a local, and go off the beaten path of tourist spots. We could have also skipped the Vatican. Although it's a one-in-a-lifetime thing to see, we aren't particularly religious people, so the significance of it was sort of lost on us. It was great to see the sistine chapel while we were there though. That, I would recommend.
We stuck to your planned itinerary for the entire trip, which was exceptional. We do not feel like we "missed out" on anything in Italy. With that being said, the schedule was so jam packed that we really didn't have a lot of leisure time to wander the streets, with the exception of 1 day in Como, 1 day in Siena, and our last day in Sorrento. While we feel like we got the most "bang for the buck" with our itinerary, I think we both under-estimated how jam-packed our schedules would be and I think we both agreed that we would have toned down the tours a bit if we were to do it all over again. Again, with that being said, we learned a lot in each place we went and having a guided tour did help us make the most of the time we had in each city, because it showed us what to spend our time on and what to skip. So, I suppose its a catch-22. We certainly feel like we had an incredible experience and each day we learned something more and more valuable to take back and share with our friends and family.
We have a few more friends getting married soon and considering planning their honeymoon. I have already recommended you to one of our couple friends. I cant imagine NOT going through a planner like you for such a trip, and we wished you did trips like this for other countries too!
Thank you again for all of the time, effort, details and special touches you put to making our Honeymoon simply incredible. Your Italy is certainly beautiful, and we feel that you helped us experience it in the best way possible.
Thank you again!!
Kate & Andrew S.