There’s no question that Tuscany is as beautiful as it gets. Typically, however, cruise ships dock for only one day in Livorno, limiting the options available to cruise passengers.
With a half dozen or more shore excursions from which to choose, the cruise passenger visiting Livorno will need to choose a single shore excursion — often at the expense of other experiences that could have been equally as enriching.
Here’s a little help in deciding what may be the best choice for you.
Florence, The Beautiful
Florence is like a Tuscan jewel with its beautiful domed cathedrals and its colorful inner city, with its wide piazzas that are perfect for play and for framing the icons of Florentine beauty. Be sure to see Michelangelo’s David, the most famous of sculptures here in the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance.
The historic center, with its gorgeous cathedrals, is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. See the sights while walking the city and test your will when confronted with miniature mountains of creamy gelato. Florence frames beauty at every turn.
Stroll along the streets to admire the city’s stunning architecture, past buildings that date back to even before the time when Florence was the capital of the Kingdom of Italy. The jewel of Tuscany will impress and astound you.
- The Dome
- The Cathedral
- The Cathedral Catacombs
- Ponte Vecchio
Lucca is a charming medieval town that’s enclosed by massive brick walls that are among the best preserved defense structures of Renaissance Europe. The walls seem to isolate Lucca from the hectic pace of the modern world and they give Lucca its special character.Inside the walls, you’ll find a city of monuments and medieval houses, such as those at the Piazza Mercato, situated on the site of an ancient Roman theater. Houses were built against the walls of the theater, and the piazza’s distinct oval shape reflects the theater’s outline.
Enjoy walking Lucca’s medieval streets and admiring its interesting architecture some of which soared to great heights. Take time to stroll along Via Fililungo, Lucca’s version of the Via Veneto in Rome and a great way to end your time in this charming Italian city.
The rolling hills of Chianti are adorned by leafy vineyards and stately cypresses, all breath-taking to admire. Equally as stunning are the stone castles that watch over many of the vineyards. This is a region that produces some of the world’s most famous wines. You don’t need to love wine to appreciate the beautiful countryside, however. You could simply admire the Tuscan landscape and you’d be happy enough.
If you do enjoy wine, though, you’re in luck. I made my way to Castle Vicchiomaggio, where I enjoyed tasting the vineyard’s select Chianti Classicos, They were perhaps even more tasty than they might have been elsewhere because of the beautiful setting.
Siena’s age-old buildings mix with open-air cafes and narrow winding streets. The ancient city sits on a hill and its entire historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some of Siena’s well-preserved medieval buildings were homes for the city’s aristocratic families.
The shell-shaped Piazza del Campo, home to Siena’s famous medieval horse race, Il Palio, features original 13th century palaces and a 300-foot-tall bell tower. If climbing the tower is not your thing, head to the Piazza del Duomo. Situated on Siena’s highest hilltop, the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption is built in stunning black and white marble.
Siena is best seen on foot so prepare to do a lot of walking in order to fully absorb the wonderful character of this ancient hilltop city.
Walled San Gimignano
San Gimignano is another walled medieval Tuscan town with a few notable differences from Siena – well make that about a dozen notable differences. San Gimignano is famous for its unique tower houses, around a dozen of them that pierce the skyline.
The towers were built by families so that they could live out of harm’s way as wars and conflicts raged down below. There were 72 of these towers by the end of the Medieval period, with some rising more than 20 stories.The towers and the historic city center make up a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Be sure to visit the piazza della cisterna, where you will find a well that was the main source of water for the town’s residents. You can climb to the top of the town’s highest towers, or make your way to the top of the town walls for beautiful views overlooking Tuscany.
Livorno is the gateway port to cypress-studded landscapes, rolling hills draped in vineyards and cities crowned by some of the world’s greatest masterpieces.
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