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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Exploring the Cities and Towns of Tuscany

Exploring the Cities and Towns of Tuscany
By Giovanni Balboni
One of the most visited and beautiful areas of Italy lies on the western coast of the archipelagic nation in the region of Tuscany. Villas here are great for allowing you easy and ready access to discover the smaller towns outside of the major centres, and the Renaissance hotspots such as Florence, Pisa, and Sienna.
While you are in the countryside of the region you should take the time to visit some of the smaller towns and cities that help to make up this interesting and beautiful area. Be sure to spend a day in Montepulciano, Prato, and Pescia, testing out some of the local products and experiencing the historical flair.

Montepulciano - Located in the province of Siena in the southern part of Tuscany, villas nearby will give you great access to the town of Montepulciano. As a Medieval and Renaissance town that sits up on a high ridge, Montepulciano is filled with history and beautiful buildings that are worth more than a passing glance. The Palazzo Comunal will bring back flashes of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, as it is built in the same style; and the Duomo of the city is a work of the Sienese school and is considered a true masterpiece. But, one thing that you will be sure to notice is the abundance of good wine in the town. This area is known for its produce and Vino Nobile, which is considered one of Italy's best wines. It should not be confused with the more diffused wines made with the Montepulciano grape variety.
Prato - While you are in Tuscany, villa rentals between the towns will give you access to places you might not have considered visiting before, such as Prato. Situated at the foot of Monte Retaia, this capital city of the province of the same name is known for its history in textiles and its part in the 'slow food' movement. While here, be sure to see the Duomo, the Palazzo Pretorium, and the Santa Maria della Piet�. This last was built between 1617 and 1619 and houses a 14th century fresco of the Madonna and Child that is said to have miraculous powers. Before you leave, be sure to pick up a taste of the cantucci - a biscoti like biscuit made by the local bakers.
Pescia - Tucked into the zone between Florence and Lucca, Pescia is a battleground between the two larger cities on either side, and was subsequently destroyed and rebuilt during the 13th century. During your time in Tuscany, villas near to Pescia give you great access to both Florence and Lucca, but you shouldn't overlook Pescia as a destination in and of itself. Have a stroll around the city and visit the Palazzo Vicario, Palazzo Palagio, and the Gothic Church of St. Francis, before picking up a bundle of the carnations, which the city is renowned for, and heading back to your nearby accommodation.
Giovanni Balboni works for To Tuscany, who specialise in finding the perfect Tuscany villas as well as selected villas in Umbria and Puglia. To Tuscany is proud of their villas and their reputation. Each property is personally selected and visited by our representatives to ensure we offer only the best in the region.
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