From Michelangelo to Medici: Tuscany’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites
06 October 2020
With its sunkissed coastline and bountiful vineyards, fascinating history and rich culture, the central region of Tuscany has long been a dream destination. Yet only relatively recently were its many treasures officially recognised by UNESCO. From the Cradle of the Renaissance to the ornate Medici Villas, discover Tuscany’s seven World Heritage Sites on your next stay at Hotel Savoy.
The Historic Centre of Florence (1982)
On Hotel Savoy’s doorstep
Often referred to as an open-air museum and the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence’s city centre displays ‘seven hundred years of tangible cultural and artistic blooming’. The birthplace of many Great Masters, from Michelangelo to Botticelli, Tuscany’s capital brims with eye-catching art and architecture at every turn. Settle in at Hotel Savoy on the Piazza della Repubblica and you’ll find its most impressive attractions just a leisurely stroll away. Marvel at the Gothic beauty of the Duomo, and admire the priceless paintings of the Uffizi Gallery. Step back in time at grand residences such as the Palazzo Vecchio and Palazzo Pitti, once home to mighty dynasties. Then browse luxury leather goods in the workshops of Oltrarno, the city’s artisanal quarter, to take a piece of Florence home.
Piazza del Duomo, Pisa (1987)
88km from Hotel Savoy
Enclosed by the city walls, the Piazza del Duomo is home to a group of monuments so majestic they’ve earned it the nickname ‘piazza dei miracoli’. Erected in the Middle Ages, these comprise the cathedral, the baptistery, the cemetery and the bell tower, known internationally as the ‘Leaning Tower of Pisa’. Take a day trip from Hotel Savoy to drink in this unique scene, exemplifying the ‘creative spirit of the 14th century’—breath-taking by day and illuminated as night falls.
San Gimignano (1990)
61km from Hotel Savoy
Surrounded by terraced vineyards and feudal farms, San Gimignano’s 15 towers are visible from far and wide, rising up into blue skies above the rest of this well-preserved hamlet. There were once 72 towers here—earning it the nickname ‘the Manhattan of the Middle Ages’—each built by a powerful family as a tangible display of wealth. Wander its winding cobbled streets for an insight into the essence of mediaeval Tuscan life, taking in scenic views of pastoral countryside along the way.
80km from Hotel Savoy
Best-known for its annual Palio, during which riders from each district compete in a 90-second bareback gallop around the Piazza del Campo, Siena is an attractive destination at any time of the year. Explore this beautifully designed town, full of Gothic and Renaissance buildings arranged in harmony around its shell-shaped Piazza del Campo. Here, behind the elaborate façades of its cathedral, you’ll find striking mosaics, a regal dome and statues by artists such as Donatello and Bernini.
118km from Hotel Savoy
Located in Val d’Orcia, the picturesque town of Pienza is considered the finest early example of humanist urban planning, and often nicknamed ‘the ideal Renaissance town’. Its entire layout was transformed in 1459 by Pope Pius II to exemplify the Renaissance. Take a walk around Piazza Pio II, admiring the stunning palaces and cathedrals which surround it, and experience the epitome of Renaissance planning first-hand.
Val d’Orcia (2004)
145km from Hotel Savoy
With its rolling hills and fortified towns, ancient olive trees and sombre cypresses, Val d’Orcia is quintessential Tuscany. The first rural area to receive UNESCO status, it’s breath-taking whether you visit under blue skies, as autumn paints it ochre or in the colder months, when exploring quaint, historic hilltop settlements such as Montalcino, Montepulciano, Pienza and Castiglione d’Orcia is easiest.
The Medici Villas (2013)
20km from Hotel Savoy
First the Lords of Florence, then later the Grand Dukes of Tuscany, the Medici family ruled the region for over three centuries and left behind a legacy that inspires awe to this day. This constellation of 12 villas (and two pleasure gardens) makes for an enchanting glimpse into a world—and lifestyle—long gone, and our Medici Experience at Hotel Savoy is the best way to take in the highlights whilst learning about the eponymous dynasty’s key figures. If you feel a sense of déjà vu as you explore their Baroque and Renaissance beauty, it’s because the effortless way in which their architecture, art and statuaries blend into the landscape inspired palaces and their grounds all across Europe.
Book your stay at Hotel Savoy at the heart of Tuscany’s largest UNESCO World Heritage Site and let our Concierge arrange for you to experience the others. Email firstname.lastname@example.org