The Italian region of Tuscany offers many attractions for a holiday. We bring you 11 reasons to visit, especially if you like cycling.
Tuscany is blessed with lovely weather all year round. It is hottest in the summer months of June, July and August but even in a UK winter the temperatures in this part of Italy can be mild. Perhaps the best months to visit are just before the high temperatures of summer, such as March, April and May and at the end of the summer in September, October and even November.
Tuscany is famed for its beautiful landscapes, including the rolling hills of Chianti, Montepulciano, Val d’Orcia and around Pisa and the foothills and mountains of the high-rise Apennines to the north of the region.
Sea & isles
Tuscany is famed for its beautiful stretch of Mediterranean Sea, extending along the full western fringes of the region. The white sandy beaches, clear waters, cliffs, islands and lagoons are a treat for holidaymakers.
Seven special islands
Legend has it that seven precious stones fell from Venus Tiara and created the seven islands of the Tuscan Archipelago, including the most famous isles of Elba and Giglio.
Tuscany is home to the famous cities of Florence, Pisa, Siena and Lucca. You can wander pretty streets and visit an array of eye-catching attractions, such as monuments, squares, towers and bridges, The historic centre of Florence and Siena, as well as Piazza dei Miracoli in Pisa, are all designated UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Pretty hill-top villages
There are so many picturesque hamlets and villages that sit atop hills or on the side of mountains that it’s hard to choose the best. Wherever you go, especially if you are cycling, you’ll come across one, two or half a dozen. They make lovely places to wander around and take in the views of the surrounding countryside.
Tuscan cuisine is simple, traditional and unique. Take the bread, for example, which is made with the simply but with the essential ingredient of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. You'll find it shaped in many different ways. Other dishes to try include cereal soups, ragout, cold cuts and rice pie. And don’t miss the delicious Tuscan cheeses, truffles and gelato.
Tuscany is fortunate to boast the ideal climate and conditions to produce some highly acclaimed wines. Choose from an array of gems including Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano primarily made with Sangiovese grape and white Vernaccia di San Gimignano made from the Vernaccia grape.
Dating back to Paleolithic times, through the Etruscan civilization in southern Tuscany and the Ligurians of the north, then through Roman times, Tuscany boasts an immense and fascinating history. You’ll see the remnants and signs of history in every settlement, churches, cathedrals, castles, forts, ruins and archaeological sites.
Tuscany is claimed as the birthplace of the Renaissance and is famed for painters such as as Giotto and Botticelli, sculptors Brunelleschi and Michelangelo, musician including Puccini and writers such as Dante Alighieri. It is difficult to miss this rich tapestry of artistic history in buildings, on streets and in museums and galleries.
For superb cycling
The smooth roads, rolling hills and fabulous scenery and sights make Tuscany a great destination for cyclists. Three favourites: