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Central Tuscany

Central Tuscany is an area within Tuscany with some charming towns and cities and a very distinctive landscape. As you enter this region, you will quickly notice the hills of central Tuscany, which give the area a distinctly alpine feel. This part of Italy is home to the mountains that run through the centre of Tuscany.

Just on the other side of the mountains lies Casentino National Park in the province of Arezzo, it’s an area of outstanding natural beauty that’s ideal for all kinds of outdoor adventures such as cycling and hiking. Be sure to make your way up one of the peaks to watch the sunrise and take in stunning 360 degree views of the surrounding area.

In terms of city and towns, Arezzo is an inland city that’s not to be missed. It has a monthly antique market that attracts antique dealers from all around Italy, and is famous for its jewellery production. Although the city is flat, it is engulfed by the hills and mountains, which makes for a beautiful backdrop.

Cortona also lies within central Tuscany, it’s a really lovely town that’s known its impressive Duomo Cathedral and for being the setting of the book and film ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’.

Those who enjoy shopping will want to pay a visit to Valdichiana shopping centre in central Tuscany, here you can take advantage of outlet shopping and grab some bargains.

The area of Val di Chiana is the only place you will find the Chianina cow. The Chianina beef is named after the valley that the cow comes from, it’s made into Bistecca alla Fiorentina, a well-known local delicious T-bone steak dish that’s served almost rare.

Central Tuscany

Can’t decide where to stay in Central Tuscany? Browse through some of the places below for further inspiration.

Greve in Chianti

Greve is considered the most typical of the towns in the Chianti Classico area. It is located half way between Florence and Siena. Unlike the majority of Chianti towns, Greve is located on the floor of a valley in half-way along the Chiantigiana road that runs from Florence to Siena. The old part of the village was built around the monastery of San Francesco and the triangular market square. The area surrounding Greve is well known for its beauty while the town offers the noteworthy 19th century Matteotti Square, the beautiful loggias and the smaller Santa Croce Square.
Greve in Chianti prides itself on its Slow Status.

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Panzano

Panzano  is a small and charming Tuscan hilltop town located in the heart of the Chianti Classico area about halfway between Florence and Siena. It still has some of it medieval characteristics although most of the town was damaged during the numerous battle between Florence and Siena.  Now it is a pretty town to visit with fantastic views due to it's position.
The toursit office website has plenty of useful information www.panzanoinchianti.it

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Castellina in Chianti

Castellina in Chianti is one of the main Chianti market towns, located on a high ridge overlooking the Elsa river valley. From the town there is an incredible view of the valley and countryside.

It's history dates back to the Etruscan period while it's present day name, Castellina in Chianti dei Trebbiesi, in honor of a nearby noble family, is tied to the civil history of Florence and the religious history of Fiesole.

It has a 14th- 15th century character with a number of religious structures, including the parocchial church of San Salvatore. It is one of the 'must see' towns of the Chianti.

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Castagnoli

Castagnoli, south of Gaiole in Chianti, is a small, stone-built village surmounted by a medieval fortress. Known as the Rocca di Castagnoli, this stark fortress was besieged by the Sienese in 1478. This is Chianti castle country, with Castagnoli surveying Castello di Meleto, a medieval outpost which is now centred on a wine estate, even if the castle itself is also open for visits. From both the Rocca and the village extend views of spindly cypresses, olive groves, olives and vineyards. Rocca di Castagnoli wines are worth sampling before you set off to explore grander Chianti Classico estates. The countryside from Castagnoli south to Siena and east to Arezzo is higher, wilder and wetter. The wooded peaks are green and fresh with the scents of thyme, rosemary and pine. Deep chestnut woods provide ideal cover for wild boar, which often end up on your plate, paired by the local wines.

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Radda in Chianti

Radda in Chianti is one of the 5 main towns of the Chianti. It's a pretty hill top town located in the heart of the Chianti, and still has its medieval characteristics and a fantastic view.
The town is a must visit on the list of any tourist in the Chianti area, offering plenty to see and do. In the summer it can get busy during the day.

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Gaiole in Chianti

Gaiole in Chianti is one of the five main Chianti towns. It's a lovely market town not overly crowded and filled with charm and character. Definitely worth a stop to visit.

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Lecchi in Chianti

South of Radda, Lecchi in Chianti lies at the foot of a hill surmounted by the tumbledown castle of Monteluco. The quaint hamlet is lined along the main road which rises upto Ama. With its distinctive stone houses and dignified church, this backwater looks much as it did in medieval times. It was then an area of great estates linked to landowners such as the Ricasoli wine barons. Crowning the hill is Monteluco castle, which dates back to 1176. The castle was a Sienese bastion but battered in attacks in the 15th and 16th centuries. The fortifications feature a ruined hilltop fort surveying the Massellone valley, backed by a limestone watchtower below. Local walks link Lecchi to the lovely hamlet of San Sano, complete with home-cooking in a quiet inn. Trails through vineyards fan out from Lecchi, including a walk to Localita Molinaccio for a summer swim in river pools.

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Castelnuovo Berardenga

Castelnuovo Berardenga is a pretty stone town which has Roman and Etruscan origins. It's municipal territory is partly in the Chianti and partly in the beautiful Crete Senese. The town is well positioned as a base for those wishing to visit Siena, the Chianti and the Southern Tuscan areas of the Val d'Orcia and Crete Senese. Within the area of Castelnuovo Berardenga there is a host of beautiful churches and chapels to visit and admire. Castelnuovo Berardenga is a 'Slow Town', www.citta-slow.com

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San Gusme

A small, well restored, medieval village still partly surrounded by it's original wall. It is located only a few kilometres from Castelnuovo Berardenga and has a fantastic view of the Chianti out of one of the two gates. The village is a jewel of the Chianti and worth a visit, preferably over lunch so that you can enjoy a meal in one of it's restaurants.

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Arezzo

Situated mid-way between Florence and Perugia, Arezzo has not sold its soul to tourism. The city
abounds in monuments but tourism is mostly muted in this underrated city. In a real sense, Arezzo is a hidden gem as it has built its fortune on jewellery. Arezzo was a major town in the Etruscan federation, thanks to its strategic position on a hill at the meeting point of three valleys. Today, it’s one of Tuscany’s wealthiest cities, as witnessed by the proliferation of jewellers, goldsmiths and an¬tique shops. The lopsided main square is a magnet for celebrations and strolls, as is the neighbouring Corso Italia. Culturally, the city belongs to Piero della Francecsa, the artist who has most left his mark on Arezzo. Medieval monuments cluster together in the northern part of Arezzo, including the Duomo, sheltered by the encircling walls of the 16th-century Fortezza, now a park with fine views.

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Cortona

Cortona’s appeal lies in its lofty setting, splendid views and medieval mood. Set close to the Umbrian border, 30 km south of Arezzo, Cortona is one of the most delightful hill towns in Tuscany. It was founded by the Etruscans, colonised by the Romans, and, after its sale to the Florentines in 1409, thrived under the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Cortona is perched majestically on a ridge of Monte Sant’Egidio, dominating the Val di Chiana. The approach road winds through terraced olive groves and vineyards, past villas, farms and monasteries.

Cortona is a tourism hotspot so its over-popularity is a given. The city’s slow burn was accelerated after the town found fame in Under the Tuscan Sun, a book which led to a film and a summer festival. Even so, once beyond the main squares, the crowds thin out. Luckily, there are enough quaint inns to restore any grumpy spirits.

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Monteriggioni

Monteriggioni is a completely walled medieval village on the top of a hill, between Siena and Florence. It's original charm and character are completely conserved. The village which was used in the video game 'Assassin's Creed', is definitely worth a visit. It has a large square  and a couple of pretty streets in which to pass a relaxing morning or afternoon. The village is located along the famous francigena walk and makes a great base to start or end a walk along the route.

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Montevarchi

Montevarchi is one of the biggest commercial centres of the Valdarno valley. It's a large town which is made up of mostly modern buildings however has a lovely medieval, central square. It's wealth of amenities and location on the edge of the Chianti makes it perfect to service the needs of tourists as they head into the Chianti hills.

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Cavriglia

Cavriglia is located on the top of a hill above the valdarno, on the edge of the Chianti. It's a quiet town, unknown to tourists but offers a good selection of services  and activities. Cavriglia has origins in the Etruscan times, but it was largely developed in the Roman era. This can be seen by the Pieve di San Giovanni Battista. It was an important point along the roman road that connected the Valdarno valley to the valley of Greve in Chianti. During the medieval period the Montaio Castello was the main stronghold of the area. It got completely destroyed during the fights between the Guelfi and Ghibellini in 1252, but was rebuilt and used as a defence point of the Florence area. In the early 1800s the various, small hamlets that make up the area around Cavriglia were united to create the Cavriglia municipality.

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Pianella

Pianella is a small village that is part of the municipality of Castelnuovo Berardenga. It's a rather modern village but only 15km from Siena and on the edge of the Chianti. It's a perfect village to be near on any self-catering holiday as has all necessities.

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Poggibonsi

Although not the prettiest of the Tuscan towns, Poggibonsi a small historical centre which is nice to walk around if in the town for lunch or to do some shopping. This is a working town with many small industries around it which provide it with a wide range of amenities making it the perfect town to visit for a first stop when stocking up for a self-catering holiday.

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Rapolano Terme

Rapolano Terme is a town which has a small historical centre and an extensive modern zone thanks to its development as a an important spa town and the local travertine activity. There are two large spa establishments which offer not only wellness centres but also beautiful pool areas with thermal water. The town is located on the edge of the area of Tuscany known as the Crete Senese which has characteristic clay hills.

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San Gimignano

San Gimignano, bristling with ancient towers, is often dubbed the `medieval Manhattan.’  The skyline has scarcely changed since the Middle Ages - yet the famous towers do, indeed, resemble miniature skyscrapers. San Gimignano’s towers were built in the 12th and 13th centuries by the magnati, or nobles, during the Guelf-Ghibelline conflicts. These windowless towers protected the wealthiest families in times of strife: families could retreat into the many rooms inside for months at a time. As well as defending the city, the towers served as status symbols: the higher the tower, the richer and more powerful its owner. Given its spectacular setting, San Gimignano is one of the most touristy towns in Tuscany but manages to rise above the masses. Come for its medieval mood but try and linger after the tour buses have left town. Reward yourself with a toast to medieval glory – in local Vernaccia wine, of course.

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Siena

This compact, pink-tinged city is a delight to discover on foot, from the shell-shaped Campo to the galleries full of soft-eyed Sienese madonnas. Siena is a Gothic city built on a human scale, and is effortlessly civilized and at ease with itself. Where monumental Florence has large squares and masculine statues, Siena has hidden gardens and moody wells. Siena has also made a virtue of conservatism; stringent medieval building regulations protect the fabric of the city.

In keeping with Sienese mystique, the city’s origins are shrouded in myths of wolves and martyred saints. The ancient republic flourished from 1147 until 1529, and shortly afterwards, Siena became part of the Tuscan dukedom. Change is anathema to the Sienese and the citizens are never more themselves than when celebrating the legendary Palio horse race. Still today, Siena’s tumultuous history as arch-rivals of Florence resonates in the souls of the Sienese, particularly during the Palio.

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Vagliagli

Vagliagli is a pretty, little village on the edge of the Chianti. Its name means the 'Valley of Garlic' and in the village coat of arms there is a hand holding several cloves of garlic. It has a position with great views over the Chianti, and if you head up the hill to the cemetry (on the scenic road towards Castellina in Chianti) there are incredible views of the Val d'Elsa.

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Volterra

Many Tuscan towns are authentically medieval, as is Volterra. Today’s city is delightful, less touristy than San Gimignano, Cortona or Pienza but arguably just as beguiling. Even so, it’s an authentic medieval city with an Etruscan sensibility. Perched on a majestic, windswept ridge overlooking the Sienese hills, Volterra commands its setting and remains the most Etruscan of Tuscan cities. Between the 8th and 4th centuries BC, Etruria Propria flourished as a confederation of 12 city-states in Central Italy. Enigmatic Volterra began as the Etruscan city-state of Velathri but became the important Roman municipality of Volterra in the 4th century BC. Scrape the surface of Volterra and discover the Etruscan spirit beneath. Expect temple walls recycled into Roman buildings and ancient epigraphs encrusted in Renaissance palaces. Walking round the defensive fortifications reveals views of this multi-layered medieval town, with its Roman and Etruscan walls, and the wide sweep of countryside below.

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Experience an official tuscany tour with

Livorno Full-Day Shore Excursion: Cinque Terre and Pisa Shared small Group

Enjoy the Cinque Terre region with the best views from the water, and a stop in Pisa to see the famous sites. Your guide will drive you to Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza and Monterosso. Enjoy a wine tasting of the famous wine "Sciacchetrà," a typical DOC wine from Cinque Terre vineyards. The driver will be waiting in Monterosso, to pick you up and drive back to Pisa, where you will stop in "Miracle Field", the most famous square with the "Leaning Tower," the Duomo and the Baptistery. The vehicle used is a Mercedes van which can hold up to 8 passengers for a full-day shared excursion.

from 155,77 US Dollar

Tuscany Winery Tour and Sightseeing

Tuscan wine region with a historical overview, for a maximum of 8 people in a small group tour from Florence. The tour includes a visit and walk through a small hilltop town in the scenic Tuscan countryside with immaculate views, a visit to a non commercial tuscan wine estate to visit the cellars and have wines/oil tasting, lunch at one organic farm where to sample other 4 types of wines along with tuscan specialties as home made pasta, cheeses, fresh vegetables, farm to table products.

from 166,15 US Dollar

Pisa all inclusive: Baptistery, Cathedral and Leaning Tower guided tour

Discover the Miracle Square with this amazing tour. Learn about the Cathedral, Baptistery, the famous Leaning Tower and visit all the monuments inside! Select the ticket with entrance to the Leaning Tower and take the opportunity to climb the tower.

from 30 US Dollar

Daytrip: pickup Florence dropoff Rome with Orvieto Tour option

Private Day Trip with pick-up from your accommodation in Florence with 3 hours stop in Orvieto town (if selected) and drop-off to your accommodation in Rome.
You’ll have an english-speaking private driver and comfortable full air-conditioned minivan for the day.

Worry-Free and Safe Private Day Trip Experience, operated only with:
- Expert Professional English-Speaking Drivers
- Selected local Expert Licensed Tour Guides (when booked)
- Welcoming comfortable and fully air-conditioned last model Mercedes or other similar private vehicles

from 138,46 US Dollar
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