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Essential reads:
5 minutes guide to Tuscany

Tuscany is a captivating region in Italy known for its picturesque landscapes, cultural heritage, and rich history. Tuscany has gripped the imagination of poets, playwrights, and travellers for centuries - from James Bond in the Quantum of Solace, Audrey Wells’ Under the Tuscan Sun to Dante’s Divine Comedy. We invite you to immerse yourself in this enchanting and sun-drenched ambiance as we embark on a journey through time and beauty.

Florence, the capital of Tuscany, is a veritable treasure trove of art, history, and architectural splendour. A journey through Florence is a journey through time itself: seat of the Florentine Republic in 1115 to 1434, the Ponte Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria witnessed intense turbulence during the 1378 uprising of the Ciompi and the brief revolution by the colourful friar Savanorola in 1494, and the ascent of the legendary Medici family.

‘Tuscany’ remained a geographic and cultural term until the expansion of Florence in the 15th century made it a political reality, and the region was unified under the Medici family as the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. The staunchly independent republics of Siena and Pisa were conquered by Florentine arms, as were the port of Livorno and the city of Arezzo. The Grand Duchy was itself in turn taken over by the Austrian Habsburg-Lorraine rulers in 1737. The progressive reformer Leopold I, whose statue dots Tuscan cities, encouraged trade, abolished serfdom, and made Tuscany the first sovereign State in the world to abolish the death penalty in 1786. In 1801, Leopold and his scions were deposed by Napoleon Bonaparte before his ultimate defeat in 1814. In 1861, Tuscany fell under the control of the modern nation of Italy and Florence became the capital of Italy until 1871.

The once independent republics of Siena, Lucca and Pisa are a must-see for visitors. Siena is renowned for its medieval charm and the Palio horse race: visit the Piazza del Campo, or the stunning Gothic Cathedral and climb the Torre del Mangia. The city of Pisa beckons with its iconic Leaning Tower standing out against Piazza dei Miracoli – a UNESCO World Heritage site. While in Lucca, enclosed by well-preserved Renaissance walls, rent a bicycle and pedal along the tree-lined walls and discover the striking Cathedral or stroll through the charming Piazza dell’Anfiteatro. Each of these cities, despite their humble size, has enough history to fill entire libraries.

Venture into the Tuscan countryside and explore charming towns such as San Gimignano, with its ‘medieval skyscrapers’ and Volterra, rich in charm and history. Stroll the narrow, cobbled streets of Tuscan villages, savour the Chianti region’s finest wines and the Brunello di Montalcino, fall in love with Val d’Orcia’s landscape and refresh yourself in the sandy Tuscan coast. Tuscany’s sun-drenched landscapes, rolling hills of iconic Cyprus trees and vineyards and architectural marvels make it a destination like no other.

Let this destination cast its spell over you as you delve into its history and embrace its timeless allure from one of our luxury villa rentals in Tuscany, creating memories that will stay with you forever and irresistibly drag you back.

Further Reading


Italian Culinary Symphony

Essenza's guide to gastronomic adventures and dining etiquette


Florence's "Wine Windows"

A Whimsical Tale of Tuscany's Vinous Legacy


5 minutes guide to Sicily

Sicily is a captivating island nestled in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea offering a magnificent historical heritage, diverse blend of cultures and breath-taking landscapes.