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 home 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. Lucca, one of Tuscany's most important historical towns, rises from the lower reaches of the Serchio river, on a former swamp. 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 contours of the hills. 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. 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. 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 nature...Tuscany has it all!