"We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us."
    
        






 PROVINCES OF TUSCANY
(click on links for details)


Arezzo

Florence

Grosseto


Livorno

Lucca

Massa Carrara


Pisa

Pistoia

Prato

Siena


Destination Guides


FLORENCE



SIENA







PONTE VECCHIO - FLORENCE



VINEYARDS - CHIANTI 



DEVILS BRIDGE - LUCCA



SAN GIMIGNANO



PORTO AZZURRO



VAL D ORCIA



TALAMONE




REGION OF TUSCANY


Tuscany is located in central Italy and stretches from the Apennines to the Tyrrhenian Sea. 

Its landscape, artistic heritage and important cities, first of all Florence, make Tuscany an unquestioned protagonist of world tourism. In this region, nature has many different facets, starting from the coast that alternates long and sandy beaches, like the Versilia beach, with rocky cliffs and steep headlands. The islands of the Tuscan Archipelago, surrounded by Mediterranean vegetation, a crystal-clear sea and rich seabeds, are peerless. 

You can admire sceneries of uncontaminated nature in the Apuane Alps and in several protected areas, like Orbetello lagoon; which houses many species of migrant birds, including pink egrets. 

However, the most typical sceneries of the region are those that merge the beauty of nature with the millenary work of man. The amazing Gulf of Baratti and the sites of Vetulonia, Vulci and Pitigliano, guard necropolis and vestiges of the Etruscan civilization, while Roselle and Cosa evoke memories of the Roman Age. 

Medieval villages, historical towns, castles and defense systems, rural churches (the so-called “pievi”) and beautiful abbeys, like the one of Sant'Antimo, are scattered all over the territory and their profiles stand out in the landscapes of the Crete Senesi, Orcia Valley, Garfagnana, Chianti and the Maremma.


Finally, Tuscany is full of spas: Montecatini, Saturnia, Montepulciano, Monsummano and Bagno Vignoni, which offer relaxing holidays thanks to their thermal waters and well-equipped facilities for all types of treatment. 

The provinces of the region are: Florence (regional capital), Arezzo, Grosseto, Livorno, Lucca, Massa Carrara, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato and Siena. 


WHAT TO SEE

There are several amazing places in this region, including Florence, that have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Famous all over the world, the ancient Signoria of the Medici is the pre-eminent cradle of culture and art. It is an open-air museum that contains countless monuments, including the Duomo with Giotto’s Bell Tower, Santa Maria Novella, Palazzo Vecchio and Uffizi Gallery with its unique masterpieces.

However, the charm of Florence is also given by the Arno embankment, the picturesque Ponte Vecchio, and the workshops of artisans that liven up the lanes of the old town.

Another extraordinary destination is Siena with its medieval town center, included in the list of UNESCO sites, that culminates with the Piazza del Campo; the theatre of the famous Palio.

Pisa gathers its main monuments in Piazza dei Miracoli, among which is the well-known leaning Tower, creating an incredibly valuable artistic area, protected by UNESCO.

Pienza is the “ideal town” that was created by Pope Pius II following Renaissance standards. The spectacular arrangement of the spaces and the richness of the buildings make this town an artistic treasure, inscribed on UNESCO’s list.


San Gimignano stands out among the small towns of the region; a medieval town characterized by its towers and “tower buildings,” and recognized as a World Heritage site.

There are many other areas in this regi
on, including the Orcia Valley; protected by UNESCO for the beauty of its fields and landscapes that have inspired many Renaissance artists. 


WHAT TO DO

Tuscany offers much to satisfy tourists' needs and desires in beautiful areas that combine nature, art and history. The coast, that alternates between sandy beaches and rocky areas, and the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago, offer relaxation as well as physical activity, such as sailing, windsurfing, canoeing and scuba-diving in beautiful seabeds.

The best way to see the coast and its green pinewoods is by cycling. At night, you can have fun in one of the many trendy venues and discos of Viareggio, Forte dei Marmi, Porto Ercole and Porto Santo Stefano. Famous for its landscapes, Tuscany is the ideal place for a “green” holiday. Garfagnana to the Maremma and Casentino to Chianti. Both are great areas for hiking, riding a mountain bike or riding horseback while staying at a holiday farm.

The many protected areas
of Tuscany reveal special environments; like the steep heights of the Apuane Alps, Orbetello lagoon and Maremma National Park, dominated by the Mediterranean scrub.

Special routes lead to the discovery of the mineral resources of the region: The Archeological and Mining Park of San Silvestro contains the history of mining on the Metalliferous Hills with geological routes inside the mines. You can also visit the precious white marble quarries in the Apuane Alps.

Amid wonderful sceneries and medieval vestiges, via Francigena is an extremely charming and topical spiritual itinerary that still attracts tourists and devout people.

If you are looking for a relaxing stay, you can spend some time in one of the many diversified spas of the region, including Saturnia, Montecatini or Monsummano Terme, renowned for its detoxifying and skin treatments.

There are plenty of food and wine itineraries along the wine routes, which include stops at wineries and farms to taste quality wines and some of the regions traditional culinary delights.

Tuscany has a rich calendar of cultural, religious and folk events, including
the internationally famous Palio of Siena and Viareggio Carnival, to the Saracen Tournament in Arezzo, the “explosion of the cart” in Florence on Easter Sunday, and countless local festivals. 


WHAT TO TASTE

The origins of Tuscan food are rustic and folk, as we can see from its basic ingredients: bread, even stale bread, spelt, egumes and vegetables.

Some typical appetizers are crostini (toasted bread) spread with a cream of chicken liver, panzanella salad, and sausages, including finocchiona, a fennel flavored salami.

The typical first course is soup, like the famous ribollita or bean soup, spelt soup, pici (a type of spaghetti from the area of Siena), or pappardelle with hare.

A famous fish dish is cacciucco soup, followed by mullets and the stockfish stew of Livorno.

Among meat dishes, the fiorentina steak (grilled T-bone steak) is the most popular. Guinea-fowl meat, pork and game are very common as well.

The typical desserts are castagnaccio (chestnut cake), buccellato (anise cake) and cantucci
.

Wine production is excellent for its variety and quality: Tuscany produces the finest wines in Italy from Chianti to Montepulciano: Brunello di Montalcino, Vernaccia di San Gimignano and many more, including Vin Santo, a sweet and liqueur-like wine to taste with cantucci. 















FOR INFORMATION OR RESERVATIONS, CONTACT:


 Marilyn Clark
 Phone: (888) 339-1774 ext 11
 
marilyn@lighthousetravel.net



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