If, as Mark Twain had said, “The Creator made Italy from designs by Michelangelo”, then it comes as no surprise that among the most romantic of Italian regions is the painter’s very own Tuscany.
The rolling hills, the rich perfume of olives: these are just a few of the sensory pleasures to be encountered amidst the sweeping vistas of the region. For many, the locale’s rich history and sensual implications have become more than mere ticklish fancy. It’s love, it’s ardour and it’s captured the minds and hearts of artists, epicures and intellectuals.
The ten provinces of Tuscany—Arezzo, Florence, Grosseto, Livorno, Lucca, Massa and Carrara, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato, Siena—all capture an elusive yet distinct essence, one that truly speaks of the region’s noble history and opulence. Though each province carries with it its own soul and speciality, the comprehensive accomplishments of each make up the Tuscany we hold dear. Here, art and architecture inspired by the Etruscans, the Romans and Renaissance men are in open display, an ode to the brilliant minds of past Tuscan dwellers. Among them is the dome of the Santa Maria del Fiore, an artwork by Filippo Brunelleschi that remains as significant today as it did in the 15th century.
Yet, manmade beauty is not the only diamond in this crown of jewels, as nature has gifted the region with a bountiful terroir, one that has piqued the imaginations of travellers around the world. There are the undulating hills alongside fruitful vineyards. Forests teem with olive trees and mysterious cypresses. Meanwhile, beaches run along for miles, shaping the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Here are found some of the most beautiful coasts in the Mediterranean, famed for crystal clear waters and a tranquil ambience that is much sought after.
Florence, a bustling yet romantic town, welcomes visitors with artisanal shops and free-spirited piazzas. Restaurants, bookstores and stalls brim with fresh flowers and wares, all to greet the weary wanderer. In Siena, an inscription above the Porto Camollia beckons with words that can be said of the entire region: Cor magis tibi Sena pandit (“Siena opens up to you a heart that is greater”).