Tuscany is a region full of history, art and culture. Since 1982, UNESCO has included 7 places in Tuscany in the list of World Heritage Sites. This makes it one of the regions with the highest number of UNESCO sites in the world.
Have you ever visited the 7 UNESCO world heritage sites in Tuscany? Let’s see them together in detail!
- Florence, historic centre
- Pisa, Square of Miracles
- San Gimignano, historic centre
- Siena, historic centre
- Pienza, historic centre
- Val d’Orcia, cultural landscape
- Medici Villas and Gardens
The historic centre of Florence was the first place in Tuscany to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1982. Core of Tuscany’s cultural identity, it is an open-air museum which preserves the most important cultural assets of the city. Therefore, it is a precious treasure full of works of art, humanism and architecture.
Florence is “the cradle of the Renaissance” thanks to the work of extraordinary artists such as Giotto, Brunelleschi, Botticelli, Donatello, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. The majesty of the city lies in the great number of masterpieces such as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Church of Santa Croce, the Uffizi and the Pitti Palace.
Piazza dei Miracoli in Pisa was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. This is the heart of Pisa and it has one of the most amazing concentration of beauty in the world. Due to the amazement and admiration it has aroused for centuries, it has earned the name of “Square of Miracles”, coined by the writer Gabriele d’Annunzio.
Here you will find the famous Leaning Tower as well as the beautiful Cathedral, the Baptistery, the bell tower and the Camposanto.
In 1990, the historic centre of San Gimignano was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a medieval village characterized by the presence of 14 towers, which originally were 72. For this reason, it is also called “the city of beautiful towers“.
According to UNESCO, the patrician families who controlled the town built these towers as symbols of their wealth and power. Although only 14 have survived, San Gimignano has maintained its feudal atmosphere and appearance.
Crossed by the Via Francigena, San Gimignano was an important relay point for pilgrims and, nowadays, it is still an enchanted place that deserves to be visited at least once in a lifetime.
Another wonder of Tuscany is the historic centre of Siena which was included in the Unesco list in 1995. Siena is the embodiment of a medieval city and throughout the centuries, the city has preserved a distinctive Gothic style.
The center of Siena is “Piazza del Campo“, the main square of the city which is famous all over the world for its architectural beauty and integrity, as well as for being the place where the “Palio di Siena” (a kind of competition between the districts of the city) takes place twice a year.
As UNESCO states, the whole city was devised as a work of art that blends into the surrounding landscape. All around the square there are monumental wonders such as Palazzo Sansedoni, Palazzo Pubblico and the Torre del Mangia.
In 1996, UNESCO extended its protection to the historic centre of Pienza, a beautiful town in the province of Siena. Its original name was Corsignano but, in the late 15th century, Pope Pius II renamed it to “Pienza” which mean “city of Pius” and redesigned the town making it become a symbol of architectural and Renaissance perfection.
Its main monuments and sights are: the Duomo (Cahtedral), Palazzo Piccolomini, Palazzo Vescovile and Palazzo Comunale.
In 2004, the Val d’Orcia became a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the excellent state of conservation of the natural landscape. Surrounded by numerous medieval towns, the Val d’Orcia extends over 18,500 hectares of unspoiled natural area.
According to UNESCO, this valley is an exceptional reflection of the way in which a natural landscape was redesigned during the Renaissance to reflect the ideals of good governance and to create an aesthetically pleasing pictures.
Therefore, Val d’Orcia is a place where nature is in perfect harmony with man. A close relationship from which innovative agricultural landscapes and the Via Francigena were born.
Medici Villas and Gardens
In conclusion, 12 Villas and 2 Gardens of the Medici Family also entered the World Heritage Site list in 2013. This shows the influence the Medici family exerted over modern European culture through its artistic patronage.
Specifically, they are: Palazzo di Seravezza, Villa di Artimino, Villa di Cafaggiolo, Villa di Careggi, Villa di Castello, Villa di Cerreto Guidi, Villa La Magia, Villa La Petraia, Villa Medici in Fiesole, Villa di Poggio a Caiano, Villa del Poggio Imperiale, Villa del Trebbio, Boboli Gardens and Pratolino Gardens.
Thanks to its scenic beauty, Tuscany has been the perfect setting for many famous films. Read our article if you want to know 7 of the best movies set in Tuscany.