It’s not hard to see why Tuscany is one of the most well-known regions in Italy! Home to some of Italy’s most beautiful cities and countryside, there is a reason for this region’s huge popularity. However with great popularity comes great numbers of tourists. The question is therefore – how and where can you escape the long lines of tourists in Tuscany?
The Duomo (Cathedral) & Baptistery in Florence
The Duomo is the most popular sight in Florence, Tuscany’s capital city. Designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, this magnificent Renaissance dome stands tall over the city and is arguably the most beautiful attraction in the whole of the city. The biggest artwork held within the cathedral is Giorgio Vasari’s frescoes of the Last Judgement (1572-9). Both inside and out the Duomo is a masterpiece in design. This is the reason behind it’s huge popularity.
The Duomo is free to enter, another reason for much of its popularity. However there are fees to visit the dome (€8) and the crypt (€3). The best way for you to beat the crowds is therefore to arrive early. The earliest opening time on any day is 10am. I’d advise getting there at least half an hour to an hour before 10am as queues will already have started to form. This way though you can at least guarantee that you will be one of the first in.
Alternatively, if your plans are flexible then you could travel to Florence during the off-season. Although the Duomo is popular all year round, there is remarkably less tourists around during winter than there is in summer! This immediately cuts down time waiting in queues to see the attraction or any other attraction in Florence for that matter!
Another way to gain admission ahead of the main queues is to see the Duomo as part of a guided tour. It will typically be more expensive, but you’ll get in faster to see the attraction. Tours typically last around 45 minutes.
Il Palio in Siena
Palio de Siena (Il Palio as it is known locally) is a famous horse race that is held twice a year in the Tuscan town of Siena, on 2nd July and 16th August. The race itself circles Piazza del Campo, on which a thick layer of dirt has been laid. Ten horses and riders take part, the riders ride bareback, and they all wear colours representing ten of the seventeen districts in Siena.
Il Palio is one of the most historic and most popular festivals in Italy. It therefore gets very crowded. If you want to watch the event up close your best bet is to try and get a standing place. There is standing room available for around 28,000 people. Alternatively, there are around 33,000 seats available for reservation, but these are usually sold out many months in advance so the key is to book extremely early if you want one.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is an iconic landmark in Italy and around the world! Along with the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower – you’ll have no doubt have seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa’s iconic image or silhouette used to represent both Italy and travel in general. As you can imagine this undoubtedly brings about many crowds who all queue up to see the leaning tower throughout the year. Never before has an alignment 5 degrees off proved so spectacular!
The best way to avoid the crowds in Pisa is to book at least 15 days in advance online to get the combo ticket! This gives you entrance to both Pisa’s Baptistery and Duomo. Otherwise try and travel during the off-season for a reduction in queues!