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.
Can’t decide where to stay in Central Tuscany? Browse through some of the places below for further inspiration.
Castagnoli is a small, stone village located on the road between Gaiole in Chianti and Monteluco. It is dominated by a medieval fortress which has a picturesque courtyard. From the fortress and other areas around the village there are incredible views of the Chianti, making the village worth a stop on any tour through the Chianti.Read more
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.
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.comRead more
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.Read more
Colle di Val d'ElsaRead more
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.Read more
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.
Lecchi in Chianti
Lecchi in Chianti is a quaint, stone village in the heart of the Chianti, about halfway between Radda in Chianti and Gaiole in Chianti. The village has origins that date back to the medieval period, several characteristics from the period such as it's narrow alleys, can be seen and provides the village with a lovely ancient atmosphere.Read more
Loro CiuffennaRead more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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
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.Read more
Ponte a Bozzone
Ponte a Bozzone is a small village located a few kilometres from Siena, on the main road through the Chianti to Gaiole in Chianti. Although the village is not big it has a few amenties.Read more
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.Read more
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.
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.Read more
San Donato in PoggioRead more
San Gimignano, known fondly as 'Medieval Manhattan', is an incredible town that conserves all of its medieval charm. Famous for its many towers, it has wonderful squares, narrow stone streets and plenty of romantic corners to explore. From various points there are excellent views of the river Elsa valley. This is one of the Tuscan towns that must not be missed on any trip to the region.Read more
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.Read more
San MiniatoRead more
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.Read more
Volpaia is a medieval village and castle on a hill top on the border between the provinces of Siena and Florence, a few kilometres from Radda in Chianti. It is mostly still intact and can be considered one of the Chianti jewels, a village that must be visited for its medieval charm and character.Read more
Volterra is one of the finest and lesser known hilltop towns tucked away in the heart of Tuscany only a short distance from Florence 72 kms, Siena 50 kms,Pisa 64 kms,S.Gimignano 29 kms.
Idyllically set amidst an evocative landscape of soft rolling hills and lush woodland abruptly defined by barren ,deep clay walled chasms, gullies and ravines, Volterra, 545 metres above sea level, dominates and divides the Cecina and Era valleys.
Volterra is a town of Etruscan origins and is famous for it's Etruscan style craft works in alabaster.
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