Tuscany is one of the regions with the densest concentration of UNESCO Heritage Sites in the world. There are seven of them! A unique collection of beauty!
Are you ready to visit them all?
1 – Florence, historic centre (Unesco World Heritage since 1982)The entire historical center of Florence, a treasure chest of works of art and architecture, has been declared a World Heritage Site. From Piazza Duomo, with the Cathedral and the other monuments, to Piazza Signoria, with Palazzo Vecchio and the Loggia dei Lanzi, as well as the Ponte Vecchio, the churches, palaces and museums. Then there are the small streets where you can still breath in the Middle Ages, the craft shops that live on in the popular district of the Oltrarno, the testimonies of some of the greatest artists in the history (Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, Giotto, etc.).
Florence is worth visiting carefully and slowly, but you don’t have much time, then here’s an itinerary to visit the city in a day.
2 – Pisa, Piazza del Duomo (since 1987)Better known as the Square of Miracles, this is the heart of Pisa and it has one of the most amazing concentration of beauty in the world. Here you will find the famous Leaning Tower as well as the beautiful cathedral, the baptistery and the monumental cemetery. A must-see, during the day or at night, when the white marble shines against the dark sky.
And since you’re in Pisa, here are the 10 things you HAVE to do!
3 – San Gimignano, historic centre (since 1990)This little charming town is a medieval jewel known and loved around the world. Wandering around its streets and looking up at its 15 towers (San Gimignano used to boast 72 towers, which is why the town is also known as the “Manhattan of the Middle Ages”!) is like entering a time machine.
Here is a short history of San Gimignano and a list of things to see.
4 – Siena, historic centre (since 1995)We could go on and on talking about the beauty of Siena, one of the most famous Italian cities and a place every tourist aims to visit during a trip to Tuscany. No coincidence that UNESCO has awarded its entire historical center as a World Heritage Site!
Here you can download a one-day itinerary by Around Tuscany, with a selection of monuments, churches and buildings, and useful tips.
5 – Pienza, historic centre (since 1996)The small town of Pienza represents the first application of humanist urban planning concepts and it was an example for many other Italian and European cities. Therefore the entire village is considered to be the ideal Renaissance town. If this were not enough, it is located in the Val d’Orcia area, another World Heritage Site!
Here are a few more reasons to visit Pienza.
6 – Val d’Orcia (since 2004)A landscape that has become the iconic image of Tuscany, with its distinctive beauty, the curvy hills with fortified settlements on top, cypress trees and vineyards, and colors that change according to the season. An image that exemplifies the beauty of well-managed Renaissance agricultural landscapes and that made the Val d’Orcia territory the first rural area to be honored with the UNESCO award.
Here is what we suggest you must see (and taste!).
7 – Medici Villas and two pleasure Gardens (since 2013)
The last Tuscan treasure to be recognized as a World Heritage Site are the twelve Medici villas and two pleasure gardens (Boboli Gardens and Pratolino Park-Villa Demidoff, both commissioned by the Medici family).
The Medici Family, lords of Florence from 1434, then Grand Dukes of Tuscany from 1569, ruled this territory almost continuously until 1737. The constellation of the Medici Villas that they’ve left behind is a network of rural buildings, farms and hunting lodges, and an outstanding expression of the Renaissance and Baroque periods.
All of them have something that will make your visit worthwhile and here is the map to find them.
THE INFOGRAPHIC OF THE UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE PROPERTIES OF TUSCANY CAN BE DOWNLOADED HERE (pdf)