Nowhere else in the country is the landscape more stunning, the food tastier, and the collection of art and culture greater than it is here.
Undulating meadows basking in the evening sunlight, and cypress trees lining isolated country properties like friendly watchmen form the backdrop for artistic holidays, retreats, music seminars, and yoga classes. Between olive groves and vineyards, agritourism offers an insight into Italian rural life, and the area is also popular for horse riding, golf, hiking and cycling. And every year, thousands of visitors enjoy the warm, crystal-clear waters of the sea at one of the many pine-forest-lined sandy beaches and rocky cliffs of the Central Italian region.
Art enthusiasts also get their money’s worth in Tuscany. Considered the cradle of the Renaissance, the art and architecture of the major cities here in fact carry traces of the styles of all the ages. Siena and Arezzo captivate with their mediaeval palaces and churches, and narrow alleys. Pisa welcomes streams of visitors thanks to its world-famous monuments: the Cathedral, the Tower, the Baptistery and the Camposanto; as well as the old town of Florence, which is the site of the largest collection in the world of universally known works of art, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Florence draws millions of visitors each year from all over the world. Important personalities permeate the culture and spirit of the city. Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, and Galileo Galilei all spent time in Florence and contributed significantly to the legend through their works. The Uffizi, the Ponte Vecchio, the Cathedral with its world-famous dome, and the Palazzo Vecchio form the image of this beguiling city. The frescoes of Giotto in the Franciscan Church of Santa Croce alone are guaranteed to provide hours or even days’ worth of cultural insight. Living in the 1.5-million-strong city is a bit like living in the museum itself. On the banks of the Arno, the apartments in the upper storeys especially offer views of the river and the red-tiled roofs of the city. Almost as sought-after are the historic centre and the surrounding slopes.
Siena is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The most famous sights of this mediaeval city of 60,000 are without a doubt the black-and-white-striped Cathedral; the Piazza del Campo, where the annual notorious horse race, the Palio di Siena, takes place; and the Palazzo Pubblico with its 102-metre-high tower. But there are also countless hidden gems nestled in narrow alleyways that provide for picture-postcard photos: the Gothic building style, the flying buttresses, window boxes, washing lines. Just as you would imagine authentic Italy. A carefully renovated apartment in one of the historic buildings in the centre or in a more affordable area on the edge of town is perfect for experiencing history right on your doorstep.
Forte dei Marmi
Forte dei Marmi on the Ligurian coast has always been popular as a beach resort with the wealthy. Originally a harbour for shipping marble from the seams at Carrara, which Michelangelo used personally, later a sleepy fishing village, Forte dei Marmi transformed itself in the 1950s into a cosmopolitan resort for celebrities such as Thomas Mann, Aldous Huxley, and Andrea Bocelli. Nearly 8000 people live here–three times that in summer–enjoying sweet relaxation on the dreamy beach with its shallow water, a lively nightlife scene, luxury shopping in high-class boutiques, and a wide choice of sports ranging from tennis to windsurfing to climbing and hiking. A new home here could mean a luxury villa right next to the beach. There are also fine holiday homes in the centre and in the green spaces on the edge of the town.