Out of Season Travelling in Tuscany
Issue 1 / 05 April 2018
Out of Season Travelling in Tuscany

Visiting Tuscany outside the main summer season provides the perfect opportunity to explore away from the crowds.

Jackie Slaughter
Jackie Slaughter

Tuscany out of season conjures up images of peaceful country roads amidst picturesque landscapes of vineyards, olive groves and gentle rolling hills, with crowd-free hilltop villages and museums.

Visiting Tuscany outside the main summer season provides the perfect opportunity to explore away from the crowds - from medieval hilltop villages and well-known cities of Florence and Siena through to expansive vineyards. Rich in culture, history and excitement it is no wonder so many travellers fall in love with Tuscany and come back to this gorgeous region time and again.

Arezzo

The parts of Arezzo’s historic centre that managed to survive the bombings of WWII are truly delightful, particularly the central square that was the setting of Roberto Benigni's classic film La vita è bella (Life is Beautiful). Today, the city is famous for its museums, churches and huge monthly antiques fair which takes place in the sloping Piazza Grande. The Pyro Della Francesca frescoes in the church of San Francesco in Arezzo are known all over the world for their beauty and intricacy and are not to be missed if you are an art lover. Visit late afternoon and enjoy a spot of window-shopping as you stroll along the shopping street of Corso Italia.  

Lucca

A jewel of medieval architecture, Lucca is surrounded entirely by walls dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries, with charm emanating from every corner of its narrow winding streets. Particularly evocative is the pedestrian-only old town, with its intact medieval appearance composed of typical narrow streets and piazzas overlooked by stone towers, tower-houses and brick houses with arcades.  As the city grew and modernized, the top  of the walls surrounding the old town became a pedestrian promenade, planted with grass and trees and today is one of Lucca's main attractions. Architecture of particular importance includes the Duomo di San Martino with its brilliant façade and interiors rich in precious artworks; the Duomo Museum that houses paintings, sculptures and liturgical furnishings and the splendid Basilica of San Frediano.  

"Intimate, welcoming but above all exuberant...this is Lucca"
Vogue
"Intimate, welcoming but above all exuberant...this is Lucca"
Vogue

Siena

Siena is arguably Italy's most attractive medieval city, with a characteristic and appealing historical centre, enclosed within its traffic-free walls. The medieval atmosphere of Siena is, if possible, further enhanced by the light and the winter climate. Siena's central piazza known as Il Campo, is known internationally for the famous Palio, a horse race run around the piazza every summer. Siena is a magnificent city of art with characteristic alleys, wards (rioni) and towers, artisan shops and buildings that make it a wonderful tourist destination for travellers. Movie lovers will recognise Siena and the Palio in the James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace.

San Gimignano

With it multitude of towers sticking out against the horizon, San Gimignano is one of the most recognisable villages in Tuscany. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990, San Gimignano owes its fame to the incredible quantity of towers that rose above the rooftops of the small town. Nowadays, 13 of the original 72 splendid towers form the unique skyline. However, a visit to San Gimignano is more than just the skyline. The 12th century Cathedral, is considered to be one of the most illustrious in Tuscany, and a true anthology of Florentine school frescoes. Inside the Town Hall, visitors can admire works by artists like Pinturicchio, Benozzo Gozzoli, Filippino Lippi, Domenico di Michelino and Pier Francesco Fiorentino. Make time to visit the Torre del Podestà – or Torre Grossa – which is the tallest tower in San Gimignano at 54m, unchanged since its construction in 1311. Don’t forget to taste the Vernaccia di San Gimignano, an exquisite white wine produced only in these hills and the first Tuscan white wine to earn the DOC, Guarantee of Origin (in 1993).  

Florence

Florence is never a deserted city, even in low season. However there are fewer people in restaurants and a distinct lack of queues at museums. The city has an intricate history filled with power struggles between Popes and Emperors resulting in a variety of cultural and political influences that have shaped it into the beautiful place it is today. Home to artists like Cimabue and Giotto, famous architects and sculptors, the museums are simply brimming with cultural treasures. See the works of Da Vinci and Michelangelo along with Botticelli and Ghiberti or learn more about Italian philosophers and political science. Shopping in Florence is a favourite pastime and with so much beautiful handcrafted jewellery, leather products, ceramics and art, you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to souvenirs.

"Florence is as rich in history as it is in culture."
Condé Nast Traveler
"Florence is as rich in history as it is in culture."
Condé Nast Traveler

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