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You simply can’t explore Tuscany without visiting Florence; but the Italian countryside has more to offer than the splendor of Florence. Explore the rolling vineyards or bike along a walled city, there’s so much to discover in Tuscany. Here’s Forbes Travel Guide’s take on the five best things to see and do in Tuscany:
1. Bike along the walled city of Lucca. Rent a bike and ride along this historic wall that dates back to the 16th century. Beautiful trees line the wide path that is literally on top of the wall. Inside the fortress, you’ll find 99 churches, cobblestone streets and open-air markets.
2. Cheer on at Il Palio di Siena. It’s a tradition that has been part of Siena for centuries and has evolved very little. Twice each summer — July 2 and August 16 — 10 horses and riders representing one of Siena’s 17 city wards race around the Piazza del Campo. It doesn’t get much more local than this, when the square fills with onlookers and everyone cheers for their rider.
3. Climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa. One of the most-visited spots in Tuscany, the Leaning Tower of Pisa will blow your mind. The fact that it’s still standing today is jaw dropping. Climbing up to the top, winding up the spiral staircase, you can actually feel the odd angle of the tower. The views from the top are fabulous and the lawn in front is always filled with tourists taking the same photo: holding up the tower with two hands.
4. Explore the Uffizi Gallery. It’s one of the most famous museums in the world — and for good reason. Originally built to house administrative and judiciary offices of Florence, the Uffizi Gallery filled with masterpieces by great Italian artists like Botticelli, Michelangelo and Raffaello. Strolling through the great halls, you can’t help but ogle at the stunning works of art.
5. Discover the vineyards. Tuscany is known for its wine and the vineyards throughout the region are a great place to get a taste. From Chianti to Montalcino, the Italian countryside produces some of the best wine in the world.