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The Little Black Book of Florence & Tuscany (Travel Guide) Reviews

The Little Black Book of Florence & Tuscany (Travel Guide)

With user-friendly maps and insider tips, this travel guidebook takes you to the best Florence and Tuscany have to offer.

Here’s what to see and do, and where to eat, drink, shop, and stay—including a city guide to Florence and itineraries for the rolling hills and medieval towns beyond!

”Top Picks” direct you to not-to-be-missed attractions. 256 pages, plus 8 maps, including a Florence bus map.

Writer, translator, and world traveler Vesna Neskow has written four othe

List Price: $ 5.95


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Lonely Planet Tuscany & Umbria (Regional Guide)

Lonely Planet Tuscany & Umbria (Regional Guide)

  • ISBN13: 9781741792317
  • Condition: New
  • Notes: BRAND NEW FROM PUBLISHER! BUY WITH CONFIDENCE, Over one million books sold! 98% Positive feedback. Compare our books, prices and service to the competition. 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed

Nobody knows Tuscany & Umbria like Lonely Planet. Whether you’re hunting for the perfect rural retreat, the tastiest truffle pasta or the most scenic hilltop village, this 6th edition is the ultimate companion to one of Italy’s richest cultural regions.

In This Guide:

Tailor-Make the perfect trip with our hand-picked recommendations and inspiring itineraries
Immerse Yourself: local tips and insights get you to the heart of the region
Detailed Maps and driving tours make indep

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Blue Guide Tuscany (Fifth Edition) (Blue Guides)

Blue Guide Tuscany (Fifth Edition) (Blue Guides)

  • ISBN13: 9781905131266
  • Condition: New
  • Notes: BRAND NEW FROM PUBLISHER! BUY WITH CONFIDENCE, Over one million books sold! 98% Positive feedback. Compare our books, prices and service to the competition. 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed

With its capital city of Florence and a host of gorgeous medieval cities set in rolling hills, Tuscany is considered by many to be the cultural heart of Italy. In classic Blue Guide style, this new edition covers Florence and other major cities—among them Siena, Pisa, Lucca, Cortona, and Arezzo. Ideal for the Florence-based visitor making day trips to the surroundings or a tour of the whole of Tuscany. Full color with maps, photographs, architectural details, and floor plans

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Travel Guide To Tuscany

Not far from Siena, and only 50 kilometers or so south of Florence in the heart of Tuscan Italy, you will find the medieval precursors of skyscrapers in this gem of a walled hilltop city overooking the Elsa valley.

Actually, the numerous tall stone towers are only around 50 meters high, and of the 70 or more originally built by the weathy residents in the 14th century, only about 14 remain. But in their context, they stand out impressively and create a unique architectural curiosity with a peaceful ambience, both as landmarks to view from a distance and to walk around or explore up close.

Inside many of these vertical embellishments to the skyline, which are often extensions of a church, are preserved treasures of early Renaissance art. The main ones to visit are the Collegiata, which was originally a cathedral, and Sant Agostino, where you will stumble delightedly upon frescoes and early paintings by a range of Italy’s most famous artists. There is also an official Town Gallery in the former Palacio Comunale off the main Piazza Cisterna, where by following in Dante’s footsteps through his Hall, you may view works by Lippi, Pinturicchio, and Pier Francesco Fiorentino to name but a few. From here, you can also access the largest tower, or Torre Grosso.

There is not a great deal else to do except enjoy walking around the narrow cobbled lanes, soaking up the pervasive sense of history and culture, and investigating some of these hidden charms. But you may well wish to taste some of the local produce, and especially the now-famous Vernaccia white wine, which goes down a treat with fish and seafood cooked up in the romantic and intimate local eateries. Try, for instance, the Antica Taverna up by the San Matteo Gate, or Dulcisinfundo in Via degli Innocenti near the center, which also has live jazz music and panoramic views. A good way to combine all these pastimes and gastronomic delights is to sign up for a guided wine-tasting tour, taking in lunch outside the city followed by a walking tour of the main squares and a limousine home.

Finally, you may well want to rest and relax at the end of a long day, or stay overnight as a break in your journey from Florence to Rome as the ancient pilgrims did, and there are a number of good accommodation options for you to choose from, including rooms in villa-hotels, apartments in the historical centre, or bed and breakfast in farmhouses nearby, most of which retain the original fetaures of old buildings but completely refurbished to a high standard inside. For example, try Busini Rossi Carla, with its wonderfully restored rooms and apartments located in a back alley right in the center, or Il Girasole, a family-run farmhouse just 5kms away with a view back towards the city towers, where you can enjoy the local produce and wine, and which even comes complete with a swimming pool.

All in all, San Gimignano is an essential if brief part of a tour of Tuscany, where you should not fear to tread (as it was the setting for E. M. Forster’s novel of that name in 1905) and will not forget easily – not only for its strange and imposing towers, but because it is steeped in the history of poets and artists, their patrons and religious leaders from the time of our civilization’s re-birth

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Surrounded by a double wall that dates back to medieval times and amid the gentle undulating hills of Tuscany, is the town of San Gimignano, with its striking 15 towers that were built by competing aristocratic families. The towers were considered to be of great prestige and also provided a means of defense. Competition to construct the tallest tower became increasingly fierce until a special decree curtailed the mindless indulgence of the local aristocracy. The town’s prosperity came to a sudden end and in 1348, the plague killed thousands of its inhabitants. Located next to the cathedral, the Palazzo Comunale contains numerous works of art. Since it was built at the end of the 13th century, it has been extended many times. Frescos adorned with several of the town’s historic symbols decorate the walls of a tranquil inner courtyard. The 14th century was a prosperous time for many of the townsfolk. At a height of 54 metres, even today, the Communal Palace’s Torre Grossa rises above each one of the town’s further towers. For several centuries, San Gimignano’s towers have been a prominent part of the town’s noble silhouette amid the captivating landscape of Tuscany.
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The Ultimate Tuscan Home Decorating Guide

The Ultimate Tuscan Home Decorating Guide
Turn any room in your home into a Tuscan dream escape! Easy, step by step tips and instructions utilizing up-to-date products and design techniques. Quality home decorating that is easy on your budget.
The Ultimate Tuscan Home Decorating Guide

Travel Guide to Florence –
Earn 50% commission on this digital travel guide to Florence, Italy. Includes E-Guide with info on sightseeing, where to stay and where to eat a travel photo book of Florence and Tuscany.
Travel Guide to Florence –

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Online Travel Guide Tuscany

There are many reasonably priced flights to Italy, generally to the larger international airports in Milan or Rome. From there it is easy to take the train or rent a car to get to Tuscany.

If you live in Europe, it is easy enough to travel overland to Tuscany but there are also good deals with low-cost air companies, such as Ryan Air (to Pisa). Depending on whether you want to visit other areas in Italy, you should also consider traveling by train as it is very convenient. Read below for further details on the various ways to get to Tuscany and start your wonderful holiday in this beautiful region!

Where to start with Tuscany though? We have the ‘art cities’ of Florence, Pisa and Siena – the galleries and museums, devotional buildings and architecture of Florence (Firenze) alone could swallow your entire vacation in Tuscany. Another week would just about deal with Pisa and its Campo dei Miracoli around the Leaning Tower and Baptistery. There is lesser known Lucca, a perfect medieval city within its unbreached /html/lucca_-medieval walls. But let’s take a few other highlights without which no tour of Tuscany is complete.

Siena is a superb medieval city, which depopulated a few hundred years ago due to the Black Death and never quite filled up again. Indeed parts of this opulent and stylish town, around the stunning black-and-white marble Duomo, retain a semi-rural air. Cobbled streets spiral toward the central ‘Campo’ site of the twice yearly Palio horse race. There are dozens of little hill towns south and west of Siena, with San Gimignano (the city of towers) being best known. Montepulciano, and Pienza are joys, but also see lesser-explored Pitigliano, Massa Marittima and Volterra.

Between Florence and Siena we have , superb wine country of course and a popular retreat for British and American expats. The main towns of ‘Chiantishire’ are Greve in Chianti and Radda in Chianti. See too the medieval cloth town of Prato, with the Castello Imperator and a fine Pisan-Romanesque Duomo. Another undiscovered gem is Pistoia, with a well preserved medieval core. Heading towards the coast we have Pisa, Lucca and then the coastline of the Versilian Riviera. The most famous of the resorts is Viareggio, a fashionable resort in Victorian times, and still a fun seaside town, with great gelaterie, restaurants, beaches (though you will have to pay) and the huge February carnival. Livorno (or Leghorn as Brits dubbed it) is often dismissed as a bombed and uninspiringly rebuilt port town, but there is a lovely old town of canals and humpback bridges, a ‘little Venice’ indeed. Offshore we have the isle of Elba, once home to a defeated Napoleon.

The southern Tuscan coast becomes the Maremma, once a malaria-ridden backwater but now home to the famed Maremma cattle and the ‘butteri’, cowboys who tend them. The countryside rises to the hills of Monte Argentario and the rather lovely and very ancient town of Orbetello. South of Siena we come to the remarkable San Gimignano, a little town that became a powerful republic, albeit briefly. The soaring towers are monuments to the pride and hubris of the warring families of the town. Volterra is something quite other – built remote and striking on a high plateau, DH Lawrence wrote that it ‘gets all the wind and sees all the world … an inland island’. Thence on to Massa Marittima, an important mining town since pre-Roman (Etruscan) times. And south of Siena spreads the countryside of the Crete Senese … which is probably that Tuscan countryside that most of us first-time visitors picture in our minds.

We can’t leave southern Tuscany without visiting the Abbazia dei San Galgano, one of Italy’s most stunning Gothic buildings, and the Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore, with its superb Renaissance frescoes. On to Montepulciano, at 600 metres above the sea it’s the highest hill town in Tuscany. Then to Pienza, a Renaissance new town created from scratch by Pius II in 1459. Another lovely hill town nearby is Montalcino – wine buffs will know the name.


-Sonali Subhash

Online Travel Guide Tuscany

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First timer’s guide to Tuscany

Tuscany is a region in Italy with the regional capital Florence. It is majorly rural area, covered with vineyards, olive groves and forests. There are mountains and valleys and sea on one side.

The best time to visit Tuscany is May, September and October, ie during the spring season. During the summers, without rain, Tuscany becomes too hot and humid. In winters, the days might be pleasant, but nights become extremely cold. The most hot and humid month in Tuscany is July, hence better not to travel in the month.

Traveling to Tuscany is easier by air. There are international flights upto Milan or Rome, and there are cabs for hire from there to reach any destination in Tuscany. Tuscany is approximately three hours drive from Milan or Rome. Florence, Pisa and Grosseto have rail stations, so you can reach the area by train as well.

Suites are available at very reasonable cost in most of the Tuscany hotels. Cortona hotels come highly recommended. If you do not want to stay in a hotel, you can make your Tuscany vacations memorable by opting to stay in a farmhouse as well. Staying in a farmhouse gives you an opportunity to live life the Tuscany way- helping with the chores of the farmhouse, enjoying home cooked food and seeing places as well.

When in Tuscany there are a lot of things to do. Every town in Tuscany has a cathedral. Every one of them is very beautiful that you cannot miss even one of them. The leaning tower of Pisa is a symbol of Italy known worldwide. In Florence, there is David, Michelangelo’s masterpiece. The best art collection of renaissance may be seen in Uffizi gallery. There are several castles spread around in Tuscany as well. You can pay a visit to them and experience several hundreds of years in the past. There are vineyards and areas which are famous for their wines. It is worthwhile paying a visit to the vineyard and tasting some of the best wines in the world. You may spend some time relaxing at the beach and if interested in marine biology, visit the marine parks. If interested in cooking, there are cooking classes offered of the Tuscany cuisine. And if your intention of the vacation is of leisure, then there are health spas. If you are the adventurous type, there are games as well. Windsurfing, paragliding, mountain biking and trekking are all offered under professional guidance.

Visiting Tuscany at least once is absolutely necessary. It is a vacation you are never going to forget. Holidays in Tuscany is where the time stands still and you feel rejuvenated inside out.

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The farm house Il Cafaggio at Valdottavo in Tuscany, near Lucca, Italy

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a short guide to the most charming region in Italy

As one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe, Tuscany attracts more and
more visitors each year. Like other popular tourist regions, Tuscany, too, offers a wide
range of attractions, many sights and different landscapes. This diversity makes Tuscany
a holiday area for every taste and an ideal destination for the most different kinds of
holidays to opt for such as individual holidays, group vacations, family trips and couple

First of all, it is the mild climate throughout the year and the beautiful and picturesque
landscape of Tuscany which fascinates many travellers. The rich flora and fauna includes
pine trees, cork trees, lavender, thyme, rosemary, vineyards and olive groves. The color-
ful flower fields and the country roads lined with cypress trees are a delight for the eye
and give this region a nostalgic and romantic atmosphere and impart a very special Me-
diterranean charm no visitor can escape. Further tourist hot spots in Tuscany are the nu-
merous beautiful bathing beaches and the various day trip destinations. Due to its proxi-
mity to Liguria, vacationers can choose between many interesting and worthwhile places
of excursions.

But it is also the culinary delights of Tuscany, its eventful history and its rich culture
which constitute further attractions of this region in Italy. The many interesting cities
such as Florence, Pisa, Siena and San Gimignano and their sights and art treasures are
an obligatory destination not only for the culturally interested traveller but for everyone.
Especially those visitors who want to immerse themselves deeper into European art his-
tory and Italian Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque architecture should plan an excur-
sion to one of these cities.

A place which shouldn’t be missed during a holiday in Tuscany is the city of Lucca. Lo-
cated in the valley of the Serchio River and northeast of Pisa, it is a good starting point
for visiting many beautiful destinations. Worthwhile sights of Lucca are the Duomo of
San Martino, the Piazza Napoleone, the Piazza San Michele, the Anfiteatro, the church
of San Michele in Foro and the Chiesa di San Frediano. Other local attractions include
the various museums of the city such as the Museo Nazionale Guinigi and the Museo e
Pinacoteca Nazionale.

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Tuscany – Siena and San Gimignano – June 2007
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