In an enchanting region like Tuscany the tourist routes are endless; however it is a good idea to decide to follow a thematic itinerary to explore the most important destinations under historical and artistic aspect. This is the meaning of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and this guide is an invitation to travel in Tuscany visiting all 7 stages honored with the prestigious award.
It would be recommended to book a long stay among the hills of Tuscany to enjoy all the attractions, visit museums, stroll through the streets of the villages, mostly medieval, meet those who see these wonders every day, and finally learn to recognize the uniqueness of each place, from the worldwide famous Florence to the “ideal city” of Pienza, from Siena elegance to the breathtaking views of Val d’Orcia.
Let you be surprised by the charm of Tuscany and go to the discovery all the World Heritage sites in the region.
Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance
The historic center of Florence was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1982 and is undoubtedly one of the most popular places due to the amazing beauty of its palaces, churches and masterpieces kept in the Accademia Gallery and in the Gallery Uffizi, only to name a few.
To get a full view of the historical center, go to Forte Belvedere or Piazzale Michelangelo: you will enjoy a truly incomparable panorama.
Pisa and the Square of Miracles
Did you know that Piazza del Duomo in Pisa is known as the Square of Miracles (Piazza dei Miracoli) thanks to Gabriele d’Annunzio, who defined it because of the wonderful monuments in this square?
Miracles in Pisa are the Duomo (a cathedral considered a work of art of the Romanesque architectural style), the Baptistry of St. John (Battistero di San Giovanni, the largest of its kind in Italy), the Monumental Cemetery (Camposanto monumentale, which is also an open-air museum) and the Tower of Pisa, better known as the Leaning Tower.
This is a symbol of Italy and its tilt is due to a failure of the ground below. Every detail of the square, also the arrangement of the monuments is the result of a specific project and the peculiarity of the Leaning Tower led to its application for the new 7 wonders of the world.
San Gimignano, the medieval village unaltered over the centuries
You may have heard of a “medieval Manhattan”: this isn’t a futuristic place but a town remained almost intact since the XIII century.
The 16 remaining towers of San Gimignano stand out and are an essential element of its history: today this town is an ideal destination for those who want to visit the most authentic attractions in Tuscany because it is located halfway between Florence and Siena.
Siena, the city of the Palio
The thrilling Palio of Siena, the history of its 17 districts, the peaceful landscape surrounding the city, the works of art preserved in churches and museums are the reasons that prompted UNESCO to declare it a World Heritage Site.
Begin your tour from Piazza del Campo, the characteristic square with the shell shape, and proceed along the streets of the city without haste.
A holiday in Tuscany cannot be said fulfilling if it doesn’t include a stop in Siena, a place where traditions are the heart of a genuine travel experience.
Pienza, the ideal Renaissance town
If perfection in the shape of a town existed, maybe Pienza could be the closest result. This village completely changed its urban style in 1462, thanks to the architectural project by Pope Pius II, native of Pienza.
In the historical center there are the Renaissance masterpieces created by the architect Bernardo Rossellino, the Cathedral, Palazzo Comunale, Palazzo Borgia and Palazzo Piccolomini.
Val d’Orcia, where the landscape is like a painting
The Val d’Orcia is near the border with Umbria and extends it from the hills south of Siena to Monte Amiata.
Among the towns that are part of the valley there is Pienza and the reason for the UNESCO award is due to the state of the landscape.
The amazing feature of this territory lies in influenced painters of the Senese school during the Renaissance; these artists created the icons that have inspired the way of thinking and living the landscape by its inhabitants.
Medici villas and gardens
The seventh UNESCO site is actually a series of rural buildings located in different places, as the Medici villas were recreational resorts belonged to the Medici family between the XV and XVII century. These villas have in common a refined style and the presence of delightful gardens.
The 14 villas chosen as World Heritage are:
Villa del Trebbio (in Scarperia e San Piero), Villa di Cafaggiolo (Barberino di Mugello), Villa di Careggi, Villa di Castello, Villa La Petraia, the Boboli Gardens and Villa di Poggio Imperiale (all in Florence) Villa Poggio a Caiano, Villa di Cerreto Guidi, Palazzo di Seravezza, Giardino di Pratolino (Vaglia), Villa La Magia (Quarrata), Villa di Artimino (Carmignano), Villa Medici in Fiesole (also called Belcanto).
Each of these places has its own history, customize your itinerary according to your preferences; Tuscany is a land of endless surprises.