A Road Trip through Tuscany – The 7 Most Special Cities & Towns

1. The capital of Tuscany; Florence

Florence – the beautiful capital of Tuscany – is one of our favorite cities. The city is known for its impressive architecture, such as the cathedral the Duomo, the iconic bridge the Ponte Vecchio and the influences of famous artists including: Michelangelo, Botticelli and Donatello. It is therefore one of the art cities of the world.

But Florence has much more to offer, such as delicious Italian cuisine, royal palaces and gardens, spectacular viewpoints, sculptures and atmospheric squares. Are you planning a trip to Florence soon? Check out all our tips about how to spend a multi-day trip to Florence.

2. The tower city, San Gimignano

San Gimignano is one of the best preserved medieval towns in Italy. No wonder it is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. San Gimignano is known as the tower city; From afar you can already see 14 – of the original 72 – towers rising above the town. The missing towers were destroyed during wars between the 12th and 14th centuries. The (residential) towers used to be a status symbol. Noble families showed their prestige with the height of the tower. To get to know everything about San Gimignano and go to all the highlights, towers and museums you can get the San Gimignano pass.

Within the town walls there is a cozy and authentic atmosphere. The square Piazza della Cisterna, named after the water well, is the heart of San Gimignano. Pick a spot at one of the many terraces and eat the most delicious ice creams at Dondoli. You can choose from many special flavors, such as Limoncello! Tip: Walk into one of the narrow side streets every now and then. From here you can spot jaw dropping viewpoints over the rolling hills of Tuscany.

3. Historic Siena

With its special architecture, basilica, Gothic cathedral, palaces, statues and squares, Siena is a real must-see during your road trip through Tuscany. A popular sight in Siena is the shell-shaped square Piazza del Campo. It is the connector of all main streets and there is a warm atmosphere. Admire the Fonte Gaia fountain and see imposing important buildings such as the City Hall. Twice a year the spectacular Palio di Siena horse race is organized here. The square gets transformed into a horse racing track and the different districts of Siena compete against each other!

4. Popular Pisa

Pisa is very touristy and that is mainly because everyone wants to admire eye-catcher number 1, the leaning bell tower of Pisa. The tower is on the square Piazza dei Miracoli that means the Square of Miracles and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Buy your tickets here in advance. There are even more impressive buildings on this square, such as the largest Baptistery in Italy, Cathedral of Santa Maria and the cemetery Camposanto. Besides the special architecture, Pisa also has one of the oldest botanical gardens of Europe, there are plenty of shops to look around and you can take a lovely walk along the river Arno.

Combine Pisa with a trip to the beautiful surroundings. In 20 minutes you drive to Lake Puccini, where you enjoy the peace and beautiful lake.

5. Cozy Lucca

Lucca is surrounded by a city wall that has remained completely intact. The oldest parts even date from the 2nd century BC! Within the city walls, there are many churches that will impress you: the San Michele in Foro, San Giusto and Chiesa di Santa Maria Forisportam. But the most notable sight is the round square: Piazza dell’Anfiteatro. This square is built on the ruins of a Roman amphitheater. Now it is full of cozy terraces; where you can fully enjoy the Italian hospitality. Lucca is also a perfect shopping city. There are lots of well-known international clothing chains and local Italian boutiques.

6. Undiscovered Arezzo

Arezzo has a beautiful historic center. The nice thing about Arezzo is that the city is not very touristy, so you can explore the city in peace and experience the local life! Admire the Romanesque and Gothic architecture on a city walk or visit its cathedral and museum. And walk through the atmospheric streets towards the sloping square Piazza Grande, which impresses you with the surrounding old buildings. Take a seat on one of the terraces where you can have a delicious lunch. Full of energy again? End the day with a walk through the city park, where you can reminisce about all the impressions of the city.

7. Hill town Volterra

Volterra is located on the top of a hill and is surrounded by a city wall. Be surprised by the culture, the panoramic views of Tuscany and the impressive city gates. There are plenty things to do; visit the Roman theatre, cathedral, one of the museums or art studios. In the heart of the city center you will find one of the oldest town halls in Tuscany; Palazzo dei Priori, built in 1208. See the ancient halls from the inside or climb the bell tower to see Volterra from above.

How to Spend a Multi-Day Trip in Florence

Duomo Florence Italy

Admire the Duomo

The 15th-century old “Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore”, called the Duomo, is the symbol of Florence and is by far the most remarkable building in the city. It took at least 176 years to build, but the result is majestic. The cathedral is 114.5 meters high and therefore towers far above all buildings. From various viewpoints, this is the building that dominates the view.

The cathedral attracts all the attention, not only with its greatness, but also with its special construction. The Duomo is characterized by the large red stone dome on top, which you can spot from almost every street. You can admire the Duomo from the inside for free, if you do, go early to avoid waiting in a long line.

Danique’s sister took us to a friend who has a roof terrace right in the center of Florence. From here we had a perfect view of the Duomo. During sunset, the sky turned bright pink, orange and yellow. So magical!

Stroll over the iconic Ponte Vecchio 

The Ponte Vecchio is a medieval bridge known today for the established jewelers *bling, bling*. Early in the morning the shutters open and a lot of craft is sold here all day long. Numerous houses have been built on the bridge, which makes the bridge a unique eye-catcher of the city. A fun fact; The Ponte Vecchio has two floors. The top floor was once used to guide the wealthy Medici family to other palaces without having to walk through the crowds.

Climb to the Piazzale Michelangelo viewpoint

Do you want a beautiful view of the city? Then go to Piazzale Michelangelo. You can walk there in 30 minutes from the center. Pay attention! Prepare well because you have to climb quite a few stairs to get there. Piazzale Michelangelo is a large square with a viewpoint over Florence. From this point you can spot all the highlights, the hilly green surroundings and the special architecture. The square itself is also beautiful. In the center is a copy of Michelangelo’s most famous statue “David”.

Visit the magical Roman Church; San Miniato al Monte

The viewpoint Piazzale Michelangelo is very touristy, so we recommend you to walk 5 minutes further up to the church San Miniato al Monte. From here you have an even wider view of the city and you can enjoy the view in peace, without the crowds of tourists. The Romanesque church from the 11th century is impressive, also from the inside. On a sunny day, the rays of light shine in. Before visiting the church, check the opening times, because the church often closes for a few hours in the afternoon.

Browse the special squares

Get lost through all the typical Italian alleys. Most streets lead you to impressive squares. Such as:

Piazza del Duomo

Piazza del Duomo is the most touristic square of Florence, which is not surprising considering that there are a number of must-sees here, including the Duomo. Right in front of the Duomo is the Baptistery, which is particularly notable for its large bronze doors. And right next to the Duomo is the beautiful Giotto’s bell tower. If you climb up here you have a nice view over the city and the famous dome.

Piazza della Signoria

Immediately noticeable on Piazza della Signoria is the former palace “Palazzo Vecchio”, which today serves as the town hall and museum. Furthermore, the square is a true open-air museum. You will find many statues, including a copy of Michelangelo’s world famous statue “David” and a large fountain with a huge statue of Neptune, surrounded by river gods. To see the real “David” and other beautiful statues and paintings you can go to Galleria dell’Accademia. Here you can buy your tickets in advance.

Piazza di Santa Croce

The basilica di Santa Croce in the center of Piazza di Santa Croce is known as the most beautiful Gothic basilica in Italy. The special thing is that many Italian greats have found their final resting place here, such as Michelangelo and Galileo. The front of the church is very impressive. Would you like to enjoy this view for longer? Then take a seat on the terrace of Note di Vino. You are in the 1st row and have a direct view of the square and the basilica. They have the tastiest sandwiches and delicious limoncello cocktails. Cheers!

Piazza della Santissima Annunziata

We have already visited Florence several times, but we had not discovered Piazza della Santissima Annunziata before. The square is located just outside the city center, but it is certainly worth a visit. When we were in Florence, there was a special public artwork. The wolves of the artist Liu Ruowang symbolize nature’s response to humans, which causes damage to nature and disturbs its balance.

Enjoy nature in the Boboli Gardens

Florence is best known for its beautiful art, architecture and squares. So there is little greenery in the city. Still, there are some gardens to visit. We really like the variety, to be able to relax in nature after a walk through the city. So we went to the Boboli Gardens. At that time, the entrance costs €16. We thought that was quite pricey, but it is well worth it! In the gardens you will find fountains, sculptures and viewpoints over the city. It’s huge, so you can spend a big part of your day here.

Taste the culinary highlights

In Florence you certainly don’t have to worry about the food and the wines. There are so many good restaurants that you can hardly choose where to eat. We had the best dinner at Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco. Here we ate a vegetarian spaghetti with burrata, basil and tomato sauce; in short, a taste explosion. For dessert, you have to taste an Italian ice cream. Tip: at Venchi you can eat delicious ice cream and the shop itself is also special; the wall is a chocolate waterfall!

Take an evening stroll through the illuminated city

If you are staying in Florence for several days, an evening stroll through the city is recommended. First watch the beautiful sunset overlooking the Ponte Vecchio. Is it getting darker? Then all buildings and highlights are beautifully lit. It gives a mysterious look and you see the city in a completely different way. Often there are many buskers in the evening, giving you the ultimate Italian vibes.

6 Things To Do in Rome in 3 Days

Rome colosseum

1. Visit the Pantheon

Waking up in Rome was so impressive. Our hotel was perfectly located and every morning when we opened the shutters on the window of our hotel room we looked out over the Pantheon! The Pantheon is one of the best preserved Roman buildings in the world. This church, which first served as a temple, was rebuilt in AD 125 and was dedicated to all gods. You can visit the Pantheon for free. When you enter you will see beautiful statues and a gigantic dome. In the center of the dome is an opening through which rays of light enter the building.

Pantheon roof

2. Toss a coin at the Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain impressed us a lot, because the fountain was much bigger than we thought. We walked through some narrow alleys and suddenly found ourselves in front of the enormous fountain. The Trevi Fountain is without doubt the most visited highlight of Rome, so there are almost always a lot of tourists. So we went back early in the morning to enjoy this gem in peace. It turns out that you are returning to Rome if you turn your back to the fountain and toss a coin into the water with your right hand over your left shoulder. So definitely give it a try, because you want come back to Rome!

Rome trefi fountain

3. Admire one of the Seven Wonders of the World; The Colosseum

Most of us will immediately associate Rome with the Colosseum; one of the Seven Wonders of the World and the largest amphitheater in Italy! Where 50.000 visitors enjoyed watching various bloody battles that were held here. These fights were between gladiators (slaves, prisoners, death row inmates), but also between (exotic) animals, free citizens and between humans and animals. The fight usually didn’t end until one of the participants was killed.

The Colosseum was built around AD 70 by order of the Roman Emperor Vespasianus. Ten years later, the opening of the Colosseum was celebrated with hundred days of entertainment and spectacle.

The Colosseum has endured a lot and is still being restored. It was partially destroyed by earthquakes and fires. Some parts are also missing, because components were used for the construction of churches, houses and palaces. Today, you can visit the Colosseum for performances, tours and exhibitions. With an entrance ticket you can enter the Colosseum, inside you see the tribunes and the underground areas, where gladiators prepared for their fight and where the (exotic) animals were kept. It’s bizarre to imagine what has happened here, in nearly 2000 years of history.

Rome Colosseum

4. Go back in time by visiting Forum Romanum

The Roman Forum was the vibrant political, legal and religious center of the Roman Empire. Unfortunately, earthquakes and looting have left only remains ruins, such as triumphal arches, parts of temples and the market halls. But it is still impressive to see! If you walk up the hill, you can see the ruins from above. Tip: You can buy cheaper combination tickets online for the Roman Forum and the Colosseum.

Roman Forum

5. Stroll over the impressive St. Peter’s Square

Vatican City, the smallest independent state in the world, is not far from the center of Rome and the St. Peter’s Square is worth a visit. This square will leave you speechless and is surrounded by columns. On the square you can admire fountains, an Egyptian obelisk and one of the largest churches in the world; the Catholic St. Peter’s Basilica. The Pope gives his speeches from this church. At that moment the large round square fills up with thousands of people who want to attend his speech.

St. Peter's basilica

6. Be amazed by the immense Victor Emmanuel II Monument

In the middle of the Piazza Venezia square is the immense marble Victor Emmanuel II monument. This monument was built in tribute to the first king of Italy and the unification of the country. In the center is a statue of King Victor Emmanuel II. The monument stands out for the high impressive colonnade and statues.

Rome monument
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