Tuscany

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Admire Tuscany’s stunning natural landscape as you wander around medieval cities, hilltop towns, and spectacular cathedrals; experience the region’s celebrated art and unrivalled culinary scene; and if you’re feeling energetic, pick your way through endless olive groves, pausing only to sample the delights. Heaven!

Things to do in Tuscany

Boboli Gardens

Stroll through the enchanting Renaissance gardens at the Palazzo Pitti, landscaped for the Medici family in 1550. Don’t miss the amphitheatre and Viottolone – an avenue of cypresses and statues with breathtaking views over Florence.

Piazza Pitti 1, 011-39-055-238-8786, www.30fps.com/boboli
Tags: historic | views | things to do | culture

Cooking classes

Italians are extremely passionate about cooking, and learning from the masters on their home turf is an extraordinary experience; the combined language/cooking classes are the best.

40 minutes from Florence, Organic Tuscany, 347-417-5907 (U.S.-based number), www.organictuscany.org
Tags: smart splurge | things to do | culture | culinary

Cortona

Made famous in Frances Mayes' 1997 book and the film Under The Tuscan Sun, this romantic hilltop town is believed to be one of Italy's oldest continually inhabited towns. Soak up the atmosphere and Valdichiana Valley views in the lively Piazza della Repubblica.

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Tags: views | things to do | culture | history

Duomo

Boldly patterned in black and white marble, the Duomo in Siena is among Italy’s greatest cathedrals. The central panels are only uncovered in August during the famous horse races.

Piazza del Duomo, 011-39-0577-238-048
Tags: things to do | culture | architecture | history

Fonteverde Natural Spa Resort

Bask in baths overlooking the Tuscan hillside. The same source that feeds this modern, elegant spa also bubbles up in the 42 thermal springs of nearby San Casciano dei Bagni.

San Casciano dei Bagni, www.fonteverdespa.com
Tags: things to do

Il Palagio / Retreat / Yoga

Fancy meditating in style? Make your way to Chianti and stay at this sophisticated yoga retreat that’s housed in a 16th-century villa, summer home of Sting and film producer Trudie Styler. Whatever your yoga level, breathe easy knowing that the classes are led by highly respected teachers Maty Ezraty and Chuck Miller from Yoga Works in Santa Monica. And, for a holistic Tuscan approach, taste the estate’s lip-smacking honey and olive oil, made using traditional bottling methods combined with modern organic growing techniques.

Figline Valdarno, Chianti, Toscana, yoga@palagioretreats.com, www.palagioretreats.com
Tags: things to do | outdoors | health

Isola Del Giglio

If you’re craving seafood, leave the mainland via ferry to the beautiful Isola Del Giglio, a top Italian destination in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Indulge in one of the restaurants at Giglio Porto, where the ferry docks, or explore the peaceful southern section of the island. With beaches galore, this makes a great family outing. Embark at the Porto S. Stefano with Maregiglio di Navagazione (www.maregiglio.it).

Isola Del Giglio, Toscana, www.isoladelgiglio.it
Tags: beach | island | seafood | things to do

Puccini's birthplace

Visit the home of Giacomo Puccini, the great composer of operas Madam Butterfly, La Boheme, and Turandot. Situated in Lucca, his home is now a museum containing an assortment of personal items including original librettos of his early operas and his piano. In nearby Torre del Lago, catch the Puccini Festival (www.puccinifestival.it), an annual line-up of performances and events.

Corte San Lorenzo,9, Via di Poggio, Toscana, 011-39-0583-584-028
Tags: things to do | culture | history | museum

Ricasoli

This winery in the famous Chianti district has been owned by the Ricasoli family since 1167. Because it's one of the first Chianti producers, a visit to their cellars for a guided wine tasting is a must.

Gaiole, 011-39-057-77-301, www.ricasoli.it
Tags: things to do | history | culinary

Shopping in Florence

The Fifth Avenue of Florence is Via dei Tornabuoni – Versace, Gucci, Armani, and Ferragamo are all here. Head to Ponte Vecchio for jewelry.

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Tags: shopping | things to do | outdoors

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