Home to the opulent and stunningly beautiful Tuscany, Central Italy is responsible for the production of perhaps the most famous Italian red wine - Chianti. The remarkable beauty of places such as Rome, Pisa and Florence make it Italy’s most travelled wine region, and while Tuscany is considered central to the region’s viticultural excellence, Marche, Umbria, Lazio, Abruzzo and Molise all have their winemaking merits.
Central Italy boasts a lasting legacy of unique history, art, folklore and culinary traditions outside their lengthy viticultural heritage. Italy has 45 UNESCO world heritage sites and 12 of them are in Central Italy suggesting it remains one of the most-visited areas of the country.
Italy’s capital city Rome, once the centre of one of the most powerful empires on earth, still retains its ancient mystique and perpetual reminders of its glorious past. The Eternal City is now a vibrant, modern one, boasting many fine restaurants with a lively nightlife, but its historic centre, which is fairly compact given the city’s size, remains its fundamental draw.
The iconic Colosseum is a totem of Imperial Rome and ideally viewed having approached it from the Via dei Fori Imperiali, while the Vatican City and St Peter’s Basilica, home to the Pope and the Sistine Chapel which is adorned with Michelangelo’s majestic The Creation of Adam, remains a must for any visitor.
The Vatican Museum has as many as 1400 rooms and is the largest complex of its kind in the world, housing a plethora of famous pieces of art, including some of the most renowned classical sculptures and most important masterpieces of the Renaissance in the world.
The Roman Forum, once the site of triumphal processions and central to public life, remains wonderfully well-preserved and is subsequently a major tourist destination that is accessible via the ancient Roman streets.
The Pantheon, commissioned by Marcus Agrippa as a temple to the gods of Ancient Rome, is seemingly untouched by time and the quaint Piazza della Rotonda in front of it, is a nice haven to watch the world go by if you can endure the inflated food and drink prices.
The Fontana di Trevi is one of Rome’s top tourist attractions but unlike some of the aforementioned sites of note, it is a relatively new addition to the city by comparison. Completed in 1762, the Trevi Fountain is located on Via delle Muratte on a small square below the former Papal residence, the Quirinale Palace.
Rome is too vast and full of amazing places to mention them all but the city is by no means Central Italy’s only draw.
Florence, a stunning Renaissance city in the heart of Tuscany is an enchantingly beautiful and romantic area of the region. Housing some of Italy's finest museums, beautiful cathedrals - like the huge Gothic duomo of Cattedrale de Santa Maria del Fiore - and other worthy attractions, it is a magnet for tourists.
The Piazza della Signoria, at the heart of Florence's historic centre, is one of a number of the region’s significant squares worth visiting.
Florence is home to Michelangelo’s masterpiece, the sculpture of David, and the aforementioned Grand Master of the Renaissance has long been associated with Florence having been born and raised in Tuscany. Central to the Renaissance period, the famous Galleria degli Uffizi is in Florence and while it houses the most important collection of art from this period, it is also one of Italy’s most visited museums and therefore expect it to be busy!
Pisa, located in the alluvial plain a few kilometres from the Tyrrhenian coast, is of course best known for its freestanding bell tower – The Leaning Tower of Pisa or the Torre pendente di Pisa - but its unspoilt natural environment and its sprawling pinewoods along the picturesque shores add to the area’s charm.
Umbria is perhaps less frequented than the more revered Tuscany, but that shouldn’t detract from the area’s equally rich cultural heritage. It was the birthplace of Francis of Assisi and St Benedict and is just as picturesque with its undulating landscapes and rolling hilltops. Perugia, Orvieto, Spoleto and Assisi are Umbria’s towns of note.
Abruzzo borders the region of Marche to the north, Lazio to the west and south-west, Molise to the south-east, and the Adriatic Sea to the east, and it’s notable for its vast National Park and beautiful Adriatic coastline.
Central Italy is patently vast and it is subsequently incredibly difficult to mention every area within the region worth visiting given their number. Famed the world over for its rich cultural and historic heritage, this area of Italy has an equally fertile winemaking tradition and is subsequently one of the most visited regions in Europe.