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Florence is the capital of Tuscany and at the end of the 14th century, was ruled by a few leading families who not only financed churches but also competed in building magnificent palaces. Of these, the Medici family proved to be the most powerful.It is a city of art and joie-de-vivre and past homes of important artists and sculptors such as Donatello, Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci, plus the writers Dante and Boccaccio, not to mention the scientist, Galileo Galilei.The most modern of the Tuscany spas was built in the valley below Montecatini Alto, which can be reached on a rack-railway which climbs to the top of the mountain through orchards and fields.Lucca, one of Tuscanys most important historical towns, rises from the lower reaches of the Serchio River, on a former swamp. Dating from the Middle Ages, it is surrounded by a massive brick wall which helped the town retain its independence and also protected it from the floodwaters of the Serchio.The precarious imperfection of the Leaning Tower of Pisa is in stark contrast to the grandiose palaces and religious buildings of the Medici family and the natural contors of the hills. The Cathedral, Baptisterium and Campanile form a unique, grandiose harmony and displays the liberal mindedness of those who were in power during their construction.Olive groves and vineyards line the gentle hilly landscape around the picturesque Vinci. The birthplace of Leonardo is a simple farmhouse above the square in which only a modest bust portrays this universal genius.Surrounded by the cities of Florence, Siena, and Pisa, Certaldo is a Middle Age village built of red brick and was the birthplace of the author, Giovanni Boccaccio.The heart of Tuscany lies around the provincial capital of Siena, a Gothic city of great artistry. The entire structures, its squares and streets, most of the residential quarter and noble palaces, the cathedral and the church, date back to the 13th and 14th centuries.History and culture combined with the beauty of natureTuscany has it all!