Tuscany is one of the most beautiful regions in Europe. There are an abundance of unique and historical towns and villages to explore all around the area. Unfortunately, many people visiting this area tend to stick to the two most well known cities, Florence and Pisa. Although these cities are breathtakingly beautiful, there are so many other places to explore, far away from the huge crowds of tourists.
If you have extra time while visiting one of these cities, or just fancy exploring an equally as beautiful but much calmer region of Tuscany – check out these 5 underrated places you NEED to visit.
Lucca really is one of Tuscany’s true hidden gems. This historical medieval town is located around 30 minutes away from Pisa. One of the few traditional Tuscan towns not located on a hill top, Lucca is completely encircled on all sides by spectacular Renaissance walls. Traditional buildings, Churches, Piazzas, cobbled streets, shops and restaurants all line the inside of the walls. As no cars can access the centre, it is a wonderfully peaceful area to explore on foot.
There are many wonderful sights to see here. However, for the best panoramic views of the town, head up the Torre Guinigi tower. This Romanesque-Gothic tower dates back to the 1300s, when wealthy families were building bell towers as status symbols. The tower offers spectacular views of Lucca and the surrounding countryside. One thing that makes this tower truly stand out is the oak trees which are planted at the top.
Piazza dell’Anfiteatro – a perfectly circular Piazza situated right in the heart of Lucca, is another must visit. Built on a former amphitheatre, this Piazza is brimming with wonderful cafes and restaurants.
Siena is a beautiful and historic city located in the heart of Tuscany. This UNESCO world heritage site is famed for being Italy’s best-preserved medieval town.
Situated on top of three hills, this walled city is famous for it’s wonderful medieval brick buildings – which remain almost unchanged since they were built in the 16th century! The central Piazza, Piazza del Campo, is one of Europe’s most spectacular medieval squares. This Piazza is home to the widely known Palio horse race! You can also check out the Gothic town hall – Palazza Pubblico and Tuscany’s tallest tower Torre del Mangia, which offers magnificent panoramic views.
Siena is essentially an huge open-air museum full of Gothic architecture and medieval art. There are also an array of quirky boutiques, pastry shops and wonderful traditional restaurants. An essential stop on any Tuscan adventure!
#3 San Gimignano
San Gimingnano is a small medieval town located around 1 hour away from Florence – a perfect place for a day trip! This historical town is know as the ‘City of Beautiful Towers’, as it boasts 14 medieval towers which overlook the picturesque town and countryside. These towers create a truly distinctive skyline which is visible as you approach the town, so a photo stop is a must!
This hill top town, encircled by 13th-century walls, is so well preserved, you will feel like you’ve taken a trip back in time! Piazza della Cisterna, is the centre of the town. Here you can marvel at the wonderful medieval houses or visit some of the delicious local cafes. Surrounding the square are the thousand year old towers. Torre Grossa, is the tallest and most popular tower to climb in San Gimignano. For a few euros you can climb the tower and take in the truly mesmerising views from the summit.
Medieval Pitigliano is like something out of a fairytale. Perched on a cliff carved from a volcanic rock called tufa, it is completely surrounded by gorges on three sides, with a fort located to the east. So make sure to explore the many twisting staircases, cobbled alleys, graceful arches and fantastically preserved architecture. It truly is a distinctive and unmissable town!
What makes this town really stand out is it’s large Jewish history. Known as ‘Little Jerusalem’, there has been a Jewish community thriving here since the mid-1600s. It became an important refuge centre for many Jews who fled from Rome. Although the Jewish population has largely declined the history still lives on here. So why not explore the many Jewish monuments including the Pitigliano synagogue and test out some authentic Jewish-flavoured cuisine!
The Tuscan walled hill town of Montepulciano is famed for its vino nobile red wine and its Renaissance architecture. It is the largest hill town in southern Tuscany, reaching up to 600 metres! Similar to many Tuscan towns, it’s historic centre remains virtually untouched, with no major building works taking place since 1580!
The town is bursting with beautiful medieval Renaissance buildings, churches, piazzas and spectacular views, including the many vineyards which line the landscape. Montepulciano has been producing wine in cellars under the Renaissance palazzi for over 1,200 years! A great place to visit if you’re a wine lover!
The main street of Corso is the perfect place to explore the town, it twists it’s way through the many wonderful Piazzas and Renaissance churches. Piazza Grande is the main square. This Piazza is full of 15th century buildings such as the town hall, clock tower and Duomo – all must see’s! There are also many cute cafes, restaurants and wine tasting shops!5 Underrated Places You NEED To Visit In Tuscany Click To Tweet