Tuscan getaways for the die-hard romantic

Punita Malhotra


Sun-soaked villages, cypress-lined roads and manicured farmland…Tuscany spells classic romance every inch of the way. Join us on our Tuscan tour as we tell you all about this stunning area of Italy taking in the beautiful towns of Florence, Siena, San Gimigano and Lucca. Buon viaggio!


The Tuscan capital has captivated the hearts of millions with its world-renowned art galleries, stellar architecture, and an iconic wooden bridge over the Arno River. As the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence or Firenze, was the hotbed of artistic innovation and scientific discovery during the mid-14th century, a legacy which has endured. The home of great masters like Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, Giotto and Botticelli is an art lover's delight with symmetrical domes, elegant squares, opulent arcades and elaborate fountains.

Florence has been a city where passionate artists lived and worked, and remnants of those times are all over its streets and piazzas, adorning church walls and displayed in its world-class museums. Topping the list of must-dos in the city is a trip to the iconic Uffizi Gallery (for the world's largest collection of Renaissance art), Galleria dell'Accademia (for Michelangelo's David) and the Duomo (a grand Gothic cathedral in pink Candoglia marble). Shop for leather goods, watch an opera performance enrol in a Tuscan cooking class, drool over the spectacular views from Piazzale Michelangelo and fall in love with the sunsets over the Arno. Make it perfect with a stay at the fashionable Portrait Firenze, owned by the Ferragamo family. The views are to die for.


The red-brick town of Siena, best known for the annual Palio race, is a delightful warren of curvy, steep streets and a central bowl-shaped square. The prime attraction of Siena is its stunning historic centre, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Duomo, or the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, an imposing example of Romanesque-Gothic architecture in pristine white marble, is reminiscent of Firenze’s Duomo from the outside. Its black and white interiors are decked with works of famous artists like Donatello and Michelangelo. If you go between late August and October, you may have the privilege of seeing some fascinating mosaic artwork on the church’s floor, a spectacle unveiled yearly for public viewing. Climb 400 steps to the top of Torre del Mangia next to the Duomo to find 360° views of the red-roofed medieval town and the surrounding Tuscan countryside.

Spend a couple of hours people-watching at the Piazza del Campo before losing yourself in the warren of cobbled roads, looking for emblems of the various contrade districts hanging from the windows and doors of houses. In the evening, catch a classical music concert in one of the churches and wrap it up with a delicious meal in a back alley bistro. 

San Gimignano

"Manhattan of the Middle Ages", you may proclaim at the first glimpse of the ancient tower buildings of this archetypal Italian hill town. Centuries ago, there were 65 stone towers in the city, built by wealthy families, partly for bragging rights and partly for defence. The 13 towers that remain today are the prime attraction of this UNESCO world heritage site, but that's not all. The Cathedral is a must-see for its ensemble of precious frescos from the Florentine school. Art enthusiasts can bookmark the Palazzo Comunale art gallery for works of artists like Pinturicchio, Benozzo Gozzoli, Filippino Lippi, Domenico di Michelino and Pier Francesco Fiorentino.

Torre del Podestà, soaring to a height of 54 metres, was once San Gimignano's tallest tower and still rules the roost for unbeatable views from the top. Gourmands can also book the Vernaccia di San Gimignano Wine Experience to taste wine and local produce and learn about wine history in the region. 


Lucca kicks up surprises with its charming streets, open squares and 4-kilometre-long fortified walls, wide enough for biking and strolling. The stone ramparts dating from the 16th and 17th centuries encircle a fortress town filled with no less than 99 churches, most noteworthy of which is the Romanesque-styled cathedral, the Duomo di San Martino.

Visit in October to participate in the colourful Lucca Comics & Games festival or pay homage to world-renowned international music artists at the Lucca Summer Festival. The best way to experience the city is by losing yourself in the narrow maze of streets lined by medieval houses. No matter which direction you take, the trail inevitably leads to a sunny square, where you can treat yourself to mouth-watering Italian delicacies like Buccellato (sweet bread), Tordelli Lucchese (similar to ravioli) and Garmugia (Tuscan soup).

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