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Digital Subscriptions > Lonely Planet Traveller (UK) > November 2017 > Hilltop Tuscany

Hilltop Tuscany

Looking at Tuscany’s classic landscapes, you might think the hills were arranged on purpose. Take in the best sights, restaurants and more in this Italian region’s medieval hilltop towns and along its snaking roads.
A road through the vines in the northern Chianti region
COMPILED BY RORY GOULDING, WITH CONTRIBUTIONS FROM NICOLA WILLIAMS AND BELINDA DIXON. PHOTOGRAPHS: FRANCESCO LACOBELLI/AWL IMAGES, KAILEY FLYNN/ALAMY

SIGHTS

Collegiata £

(duomosangimignano.it; Piazza del Duomo, San Gimignano)

San Gimignano’s Romanesque cathedral houses frescoes depicting episodes from the Old and New Testaments. Look out, too, for the Cappella di Santa Fina, near the main altar – a Renaissance chapel adorned with naive and touching works by Domenico Ghirlandaio. These featured in Franco Zeffirel-li's 1999 film Tea with Mussolini.

Palazzo Pubblico ££

(comune.siena.it; Piazza del Campo, Siena)

Built to demonstrate Siena’s huge wealth, this 14th-century Gothic masterpiece is the visual focal point of the Campo – the city’s main square. Inside, the Museo Civico showcases rooms richly frescoed by artists of the Sienese school. Commissioned by the city’s governing body rather than by the Church, some of the frescoes depict secular subjects. Highlights are Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s Allegories of Good and Bad Government (c. 1338–40) and Simone Martini’s Maestà (Virgin Mary in Majesty; 1315).

Pitigliano FREE

(comune.pitigliano.gr.it)

Sprouting from a volcanic rocky outcrop towering over the surrounding country, this hilltop town is surrounded by gorges, constituting a natural bastion. Within the town, stairways disappear around corners, cobbled alleys bend out of sight beneath graceful arches and reminders of the town’s once-considerable Jewish community remain in the form of a 16th-century synagogue and a unique Jewish local cuisine.

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About Lonely Planet Traveller (UK)

In the November issue… Explore the east of Iceland, further from the tourist hotspots, but no less scenic; trace Australia's past along the rainforest-clad coast of northern Queensland; discover unsung wonders in the African island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe; learn how to recreate some of France's most enduring recipes on a gastronomic tour; snuggle up in the finest selection of cosy cabins around the world; and much more