Exploring the rich artistic legacy of Tuscany doesn’t necessarily mean sticking to the well-trodden tourist paths in Florence. Though the city is famous for its Renaissance art and architecture, Tuscany offers countless other towns and regions that are equally rich in art, history, and cultural significance. With this guide, we invite you to step off the beaten track, venture beyond just Florence, and discover the unexplored areas of this enchanting Italian region.

Stunning Siena: The Heart of Gothic Art

Begin your exploration with Siena, an important city that rivals Florence in terms of historic and cultural significance. The city is best known for its enormous, simply fascinating 14th-century cathedral, known as the Duomo of Siena. The remarkable alternating bands of dark and light marble make it a classic example of the Italian Gothic style of architecture.

Important Artistic Highlights of Siena
Duomo of Siena
Piazza del Campo
Palazzo Pubblico and the Torre del Mangia

Revelling in the Renaissance: Pisa and Lucca

Continue your journey towards Pisa, which beckons travelers not just with its legendary ‘Leaning Tower’ but with a rich Renaissance motif running throughout the city. Just a short hop away resides Lucca, often dubbed as Tuscany’s best-kept secret. Its intact city walls, ancient towers, and historical churches ooze unmistakable Tuscan charm.

The Pisan Kingdom of Art

Pisa houses the famed ‘Piazza dei Miracoli’ complex, featuring the Cathedral, the Baptistery,and the Leaning Tower all situated within a sprawling green field, presenting an incredible amalgamation of art, history, and mathematics.

Lucca’s Historic Charm

The intact walls of Lucca, dating back to the Renaissance era, today serve as a pedestrian promenade. The city’s historical center is a labyrinth of narrow, old-fashioned alleys lined with medieval churches and Renaissance ‘palazzi’ (mansions), while its gorgeous piazzas host vibrant markets.

The Hill-top Haven: San Gimignano

The small, walled medieval hill town of San Gimignano is a treasure trove of art and architecture. Its skyline, adorned with fourteen medieval towers, has earned it the nickname “Manhattan of the Middle Ages”. The Collegiate Church, filled with beautiful frescoes, conveys the economic and cultural prosperity experienced during the Middle Ages.

Seeking Masterpieces in Arezzo and Cortona

Arezzo, a serene city nestled on a hilltop, boasts the masterworks of Piero della Francesca, one of the most important artists of the early Renaissance. Cortona, on the other hand, is a charming small town rich in Etruscan history and Renaissance art. It also provides breathtaking views of the surrounding valley, making it a feast for both art lovers and nature enthusiasts alike.

Piero della Francesca’s Legacy in Arezzo

The cycle of frescoes titled ‘The Legend of The True Cross’ in Arezzo’s Basilica di San Francesco is the masterpiece of Piero della Francesca, providing testimonies of the artist’s innovative technique and profound humanity.

Cortona: An Etruscan and Renaissance Jewel

Home to the Museo dell’Accademia Etrusca, harboring Etruscan artifacts, and the Diocesan Museum, housing masterpieces from the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Cortona is a town that breathes history with every step.


Whether it is the Gothic grandeur of Siena, the Renaissance essence of Pisa and Lucca, the medieval magic of San Gimignano, or the artistic allure of Arezzo and Cortona, each town beyond Florence grants you a unique opportunity to savour the rich artistic legacy of Tuscany. So take the journey and let the art and history of this remarkable Italian region leave its indelible mark on your soul.

Discovering the hidden gems of Tuscan Art

One truly inspiring way to experience the rich artistic heritage of Tuscany is by exploring smaller towns and landscapes scattered across the region. From medieval villages, richly adorned churches to world-renowned art collections, there is plenty to discover beyond the walls of Florence. Let’s embark on an enchanting journey through the Tuscan countryside, steeped in art and culture.

Pisa: More than just a Leaning Tower

While most people are familiar with Pisa’s Leaning Tower, the city has much more to offer. The Cathedral of Pisa and the Baptistery are two magnificent structures that shouldn’t be overlooked. The Cathedral contains works of art by notable Renaissance artists like Ghirlandaio, Andrea del Sarto, and Beccafumi. Take time to visit the Camposanto Monumentale, an ancient cemetery, brimming with beautiful frescoes and intricate Moorish-inspired mosaics.

Chianti’s Artistic Riches

Tuscany’s famous wine region, Chianti, is not just about fine wines and mouth-watering food; it’s also a treasure trove of art and culture. Enjoy a refreshing visit to medieval fortified villages, such as Montefioralle and Castellina, bearing witness to the region’s history.

Cortona: A Renaissance Art Hub

Nestled on a hill overlooking the Val di Chiana, Cortona is an Etruscan city that boasts works of art with intriguing stories. While the Etruscan Academy Museum houses an impressive collection of Etruscan artefacts, the Diocesan Museum is home to Fra Angelico’s Annunciation (1430-1432).

Destination Key Artworks
Pisa Cathedral of Pisa, The Baptistery, Camposanto Monumentale
Chianti Fortified villages of Montefioralle, Castellina
Cortona Etruscan Academy Museum, Diocesan Museum

Tuscan Landscapes: Interpreted through Art

Exploring Tuscany is not only about physical places, but also about its soul, interpreted and unveiled through inspiring artistic representations. Immerse yourself in the landscape-themed artworks on display at museums and exhibitions, offering unique perspectives on this region.

Modern Artistic Legacy

Finally, an exploration of Tuscany’s art would be incomplete without considering the vibrant current art scene. Various contemporary art museums, pop-art galleries, and street art can be discovered in different Tuscan cities. For instance, the MACRO, dedicated to expressions of contemporary art, is worth a visit in the city of Lucca.And the active local arts community ensures new additions to the artistic legacy are always in the making.

As we have seen, Florence is not the only destination for art enthusiasts in Tuscany. With a wealth of artistic delights spread far and wide, from Pisa to Cortona to the rolling hills of Chianti, the artistic legacy of Tuscany is truly remarkable.