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Piazza Bovio - Piombino

Catch the beauty of Tuscany from an altitude

Tuscan Panoramic Views

Claudia D'Aliasi by Claudia D'Aliasi

Tuscany has got many panoramic spots overlooking the sea, the mountains, the countryside and, of course, the beautiful cities. We've chosen for you a list of 7 wonderful places and panoramic views not to be missed.

San Marcello Pistoiese – Pistoia

If you go to San Marcello Pistoiese, you cannot miss the amazing suspension bridge: 227 meters long and overlooking a void 40 meters deep, it connects the two sides of the river Lima. Crossing it is an unforgettable experience!

In 1990 it entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest suspension bridge ever built, a record only recently beaten by a similar structure in Japan (the Akashi Kaikyō bridge).

Opened in June 1923, it was built following the request of ​​Vincenzo Douglas Scotti, owner of a Metallurgical Company. The bridge was planned to allow the passage of workers from Popiglio to the factories on the opposite side.

Ponte Sospeso
Ponte Sospeso - Credit: @johannazambrano on Instagram
Gorfigliano – Lucca

In Alta Garfagnana – or, to be more precise, in the municipality of Minucciano – there’s a small town where you can admire a beautiful panoramic view. It’s Gorfigliano, located at 685 meters above sea level, on the slopes of Pisanino Mountain.

Going there this time of year, you’ll enjoy one of the most important traditions of the community of Minucciano: the lighting of the “Natalecci“, held every year on Christmas Eve, at sunset. These high bonfires are built by twisting and tying juniper branches around a pole of chestnut wood. It’s a tough tangle of logs obtained from cleaning the forest. For entire days, this activity brings together old and young who dedicate all their energy to creating a huge fire, aiming to make it visible from far away, hoping it brings good fortune to the entire village.

What else is there to see in Gorfigliano? The “Old Church” or the “San Giusto Church”, abandoned after the 1920 earthquake and later renovated in 1983.

Gorfigliano - Credit: @lucaditoscana on Instagram
Val d’Orcia – Siena

Deep in an unspoilt, dreamy countryside, studded with soft heaving hills, there’s a winding road lined with cypress trees. This is probably the image that best represents Tuscany and its landscapes. If you follow the ancient Via Cassia, going south from Siena, you’ll find one of the most charming and characteristic views of the region: the Val d’Orcia, a UNESCO heritage site.

As soon as you enter this enchanting valley, a unique and evocative territory opens up before you: vines, olive trees, fields and woods forming a lovely patchwork, with villages filled with outstanding art and architecture, like Montalcino, San Quirico d’Orcia, Pienza and Bagno Vignoni, to name the most popular. But there’s more to discover: for example, not far from Pienza, there’s also a lovely medieval village called Montichiello surrounded by fascinating scenery.

San Quirico d'Orcia
San Quirico d'Orcia - Credit: Shaiith on Getty Images
Apuan Alps - Lucca

At the heart of the Apuan Alps, just after the crossroads for Arni on the road leading down to the coasts of Versilia, stands a peaceful oasis of beauty, a place so unexpected that it seems to come straight out of a fantasy movie. It is called Isola Santa and belongs to the municipality of Careggine, in Lucca surroundings.

Isola Santa is a very old village, built in the Middle Ages around a hospital for travellers and pilgrims on the banks of the river Turrite Secca. In particular, it was a place for travellers to recover after passing through the Foce di Mosceta, a connecting road between Versilia and Garfagnana. In 1950, the construction of a dam for hydroelectric power forced the inhabitants to leave their homes. But, later, the old inhabitants decided to give the village back its ancient beauty and charm: in the 2000s, a restoration project brought new life on the shores of its lake, but Isola Santa remains today almost a ghost town where the houses are empty and where just a few fishermen and sporadic travellers pass by.

Isola Santa
Isola Santa - Credit: Archifrancesco on Instagram
Piazza Bovio in Piombino – Livorno

Piazza Giovanni Bovio, in Piombino, is at the top of its promontory, and it has a beautiful terrace hanging over the sea on three sides. Created in the 1920s by demolishing an Etruscan fortress, the peninsular terrace follows the shape of the cliff and from it you can admire a wide, amazing view of the channel of Piombino, looking over a large part of the Tuscan Archipelago, and, when the days are clear, even Corsica and Giannutri.

At the end of the terrace there’s the Rocchetta lighthouse-shaped tower in neo-medieval style.

piazza bovio
piazza bovio - Credit: Raffaele Sergi
Volterra – Pisa

Volterra is on the east side of the province of Pisa, adjacent to the province of Siena, and situated on a hill 1770 feet above sea level, between the valleys of Cecina and Dell’Era. Its origins date back to the ancient Etruscans, who used to call the city Velathri or Felathri, while the Romans called it Volaterrae.

The Etruscan walls are still visible, well preserved and enclose the city centre. Throughout the Middle Ages, the city was the bishop’s domicile, while later it was under the domain of Florence (and the Medici family), and then under the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.

Walking through the narrow streets of the centre, you might feel like time has stopped in a magical past.

Volterra View
Volterra View - Credit: Bernd Thaller
Florence view

You can admire the cityscape from different points of view. There’s Bellosguardo, in the south-west, on a small hill that offers a beautiful view of Florence. There you can find many villas with Renaissance origin that have hosted, over the centuries, several famous people like Giuseppe Garibaldi, Ugo Foscolo and Henry James.

In addition there’s Fiesole, at just 8 kilometers northeast of Florence, located on a hill with a view over the city. It has Etruscan origins and it was one of the most important towns on the southern slopes of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines. Faesulae – as the city was known – was conquered by the Romans and then was the stage for the battle of the Goths. In the Middle Ages it suffered a decline, coinciding with the growth of Florence’s economic and political influence. By the 14th century, rich Florentines had countryside villas in Fiesole. The Villa Medici is the most beautiful example and evidence of this.

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florence from bellosguardo
florence from bellosguardo - Credit: Simone Piunno
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