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Road Trip! My Favorite Hot Spots and Places to Visit in Tuscany

Arno River Florence Tuscany Italy Favorite Hot Spots Places Visit Tuscany Delectable Destinations Culinary ToursMy Favorite Hot Spots Places Visit Tuscany: My 2012 itinerary for Tuscany is complete and I am eager to find new clients to fill the last remaining precious spots. This trip of a lifetime is one that resonates with my clients each and every time.  For many, it isn’t their first time to the Tuscany region, but rather, a new way to experience it. Whether you have been to Tuscany a dozen times, or if a Delectable Destination vacation to Tuscany is your first time to the region, the culinary experience we offer is truly like none other. But beyond the walls of our exclusive Italian cooking journeys, there is still so much to see and do.  Upon every corner, is a new adventure waiting.

Here are some of my favorite hot spots and places to visit in Tuscany.

Florence

Whether your passion is culture and art, food and wine, architecture, or gourmet cooking—Florence offers it all.  It’s one of the most spectacular places in Tuscany and definitely, one of the most influential cities in the world offering endless Renaissance wonders and beauty.  My 2012 itinerary for Tuscany starts and ends here. The famous Il Duomo, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, as well as the Campanile Bell Tower, are all must-sees.  In addition, The Baptistery of John the Baptist, the famous bridge known as Ponte Vecchio, and the Galleria dell’Academia where you will find Michelangelo’s David, are sure bets.  Every corner in Florence is marked with outstanding shopping, alluring cafes and bistros, and endless sites for every taste. Among all this, added one, or a variety of Florence culinary lessons to your list while visiting here, is a must!

Cortona Favorite Hot Spots Places Visit Tuscany Delectable Destinations Culinary ToursCortona

If you have read the book, or seen the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun, you will understand why this small, countryside hill town made it on my list. This famous Tuscan town is surrounded by Etruscan walls dating thousands of years back and offers layers upon layers of magnificent architecture and beauty.  Some of the most romantic villas and B & Bs can be found here, each with their own unforgettable view of the Tuscan landscape.  Cortona is original and unique and it is a place that will echo in your memory forever.

Siena

Siena is a popular destination in Tuscany. It has one of the most famous piazzas (Piazza del Campo) in the region, and offers a classic medieval experience.  Though the village is small, it offers enough to keep tourists occupied for an entire day including a glorious mix of museums, cafes, cathedrals, and events. Their summer horse race, Il Palio, is a world-famous attraction brining scores of interested travelers to this magnificent hillside town.

local farmers market Tuscany Italy Favorite Hot Spots Places Visit Tuscany Delectable Destinations Culinary ToursChianti

Visiting Chianti is always a must and this area of Tuscany will always hold a piece of my heart. I could spend days driving and walking around the beautiful hills and villages of the Chianti region, sipping local wines and taking in the local experience. This area offers some of the most unique wine tastings and gourmet cooking classes in Tuscany, and the eclectic and unique collection of large and small farmhouses that dot the landscape are usually the hosting sites. Every time I travel to this region, Chianti is always one of my most favorite places to visit in Tuscany.

Val D’Orcia

This small area in the heart of Tuscany is known for it’s breathtaking scenery, endless landscapes and excellent wines. It is home to many villages that are also a part of my favorite visits, including Montepulciano. Most travelers think of Chianti when they refer to wine regions of Tuscany, but the Val D’Orcia is the hidden gem.  Many farms and wineries can be found throughout this region, making it the perfect excursion or stop when traveling between towns.

San Gimignano Tuscany Italy Favorite Hot Spots Places Visit Tuscany Delectable Destinations Culinary ToursSan Gimignano

The last time I visited here, I stayed in an old monastery that was turned into a B & B.  The views from my window showed the beautiful, walled town known as San Gimignano. This classic, antiquated town, known as the City of Beautiful Towers, can be seen from far away and offers ancient history and rich local culture. Rarely crowded, it’s a fun day to spend here just to stroll the steep, hilly, cobblestone streets.  Lined with cheese and meat shops, wine stores, family owned bistros and old historical sites, it truly is a marvel tucked neatly away in the sprawling countryside.

Pisa

When travelers think of Pisa, they think of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and rightly so. This monumental labor of love took more than a century to build and is visited by thousands of travelers from all over the world. It has a very unique history, similar to other famous monuments in the world that are irreplaceable.  But beyond the fields that lead visitors to this exceptional historical site, Pisa also offers a distinct medieval center that includes a beautiful Duomo, cathedral, sprawling gardens, and more. The homes of Lord Byron and Shelley aren’t too far away either, making this day trip more than just a come and go adventure to the Tower.

Beaches of Tuscany

Tuscany is not only known for its spectacular countryside, it is also home to some of the most famous beaches in the world.  A visit to Versilia on the northern end will provide summer night life, wide beaches, clean waters, and a plethora of beach side rentals to choose from; while the Livorno region in the south offers popular boardwalks and a magnificent display of reef enveloped beaches. From the north to the south, the beaches of Tuscany are a unique getaway from the rolling hills of the countryside, making Tuscany a place on the map that satisfies all tastes.

There is so much more to see and do in Tuscany than what I have depicted here; I could write about this region for days, never truly providing my readers with a complete fill of what this amazing region has to offer.  Whether you are traveling to Tuscany for the first time, or the twentieth time, I welcome you to experience it with Delectable Destinations. Our 2012 itinerary for Tuscany is ready…and waiting for you.

Carol Ketelson is the owner and operator of Delectable Destinations LLC. Dedicated to planning, co-ordinating and curating customized group tours to hand-picked destinations. As an experienced travel planner, Carol’s customized itineraries, specialized tours and off-the-beaten-path experiences create memorable journeys for her small groups of singles, couples, divorced, widowed and solo travelers seeking exceptional trips into the culture and cuisine of destinations around the world. Spring and Fall bookings invite travelers to taste delectable local cuisine, culturally rich traditions and mesmerizing sights. For over 10 years, Carol’s tours have captured the true essence of Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast, Puglia, Spain, Ireland and India.

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