If you are looking for a European tourist destination, consider visiting the western part of the famous Tuscany region in central Italy. Depending on your interests, this beautiful area might be your ideal vacation spot. You can get classic Italian food, and wash it down with fine local wine. Many local sites are very popular, especially in high season, but are well worth the visit. Be sure to read the companion articles in this series that present eastern Tuscany and the Chianti region.
The Mediterranean resort city of Viareggio is on the Tuscany Riviera. Its Carnival claims to be the most important in all Europe. During the offseason Carnival Town hosts a Jazz Festival and a Theater Festival. Other Viareggio festivals are EuropaCinema and Festival Puccini.
More than two thousand years ago Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus met in Lucca and agreed to rule nearby Rome. Lucca was Tuscany’s first Christian town and now hosts about 100 churches, over one church per thousand residents. Napoleon Bonaparte’s sister Maria Anna… ruled Lucca for nearly ten years in the early Nineteenth Century. The walls of the city are now pedestrian promenade. Watch out, there is no railing. The medieval buildings in the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro Romano are constructed over the Roman amphitheater.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa began as a bell tower for the Twelfth Century Duomo. It has been stabilized and is safe for climbing, if you are at least nine over eight years old. Book ahead. Be sure to see the Duomo’s Fourteenth Century pulpit and Romanesque panels depicting the life of Christ. Pisa is home to many museums and a University that hosts Europe’s oldest academic botanical garden.
Why not emulate Napoleon and tour the island of Elba off the coast of southern Tuscany? This is the third largest of the Italian islands, much smaller than Sicily and Sardinia. Elba’s largest town is Portoferraio, an international tourist resort that offers several forts, an archeological museum, and Napoleon’s house. Capoliveri in the southeast of the island offers classic sights and several great beaches.
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his website www.travelitalytravel.com devoted to Italian travel with an accent on fine Italian wine and food. Visit his central wine website www.theworldwidewine.com with weekly reviews of $10 wine and columns devoted to various aspects of wine including wine and food, humor, trivia, organic and kosher wine and lots more.Click to access the original, longer article on this Italian tourist location.
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