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Tuscany. It's home to some of the world's finest art and wine, has a fascinating history and mile after mile of beautiful countryside.
Tuscany's First Lady, Florence, often steals the limelight when all things Tuscan are considered. In fairness, it's easy to see why. It's a city where, for 300 years, the likes of Michelangelo, da Vinci and Brunelleschi went about defining art history. The fruits of their labour are everywhere. In fact, Florence is home to more world-class Renaissance art and architecture than most countries.

It'd be a shame not to venture outside the region's capital, though. Siena's Medieval calm is a refreshing alternative to bustling Florence. It's full of Gothic architecture, as well as arguably Italy's most impressive town square, the Campo. The cathedral also makes a visit worthwhile. Its striking interior houses a Donatello-attributed bronze pavement and baptismal font. Then there are southern towns, like Montepulciano, Montalcino and Pienza, to think about. The latter is considered one of the best-planned Renaissance towns in the world.

Leaving the towns behind, tiny villages dot a landscape of vineyards, olive groves and rolling hills. But head to the north of the region, and the marble-rich mountains, Orecchiella and Alpi Apuane, add another dimension to the scenery. In the east, meanwhile, the likes of Casentino, Mugello and Pratomagno give the Chianti region some competition.

As for the region's cuisine, food is a simple set-up, adding to the area's rustic-chic reputation. Excellent olive oils and lots of fresh produce make mealtimes a hearty affair. And, of course, that's something topped off with the wonderful selection of wines. Naturally, Chianti is the best-known, but Brunello di Montalcino also gets the thumbs up. In terms of whites, Villa Antinori Bianco is delicious.
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