Are you looking for a vacation spot this year that’s full of beauty and culture? If so, Tuscany should certainly be on your list. Often referred to as a nation within a nation, Tuscany is a region within Italy that contains the cities of Florence, Pisa, Siena, Grosseto, and many others. Today, it is considered to be the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.

It’s not hard to see why. There’s so much to see and do in Tuscany that it can be difficult to know where to start. You can even rent a house in Tuscany if you want. This is a great option for those who truly want to experience this wonderful destination to the fullest. Now let’s see what makes it such an ideal vacation spot. Here are eight reasons why Tuscany should be on your travel radar in 2018.

The Food and Wine Trails

Perhaps the first thing you should do upon arriving in Tuscany is go on one of its food or wine trails. In this way, you’ll spend the day tasting some of the best food you’ve ever eaten. And of course, you know Italy is famous for its wine. This is also a great way to see the region of Tuscany in general. The Casention Taste Trail, the Terre di Arezzo Wine Trail, and the Taste Trail of the Tuscan Valtiberina are a few of the recommended trails.

The Food Festivals

This is yet another way to experience the delicious cuisine of Italy. Tuscany is well-known for its food festivals, or sagras, which are often dedicated to specific local foods. These are held throughout the year across the entire region and can be a fun way to immerse yourself in the culture while eating incredible food. A few of the best include Boccaccesca in Certaldo, the Treno Natura, and the Chestnut Festival in Marradi.

The Uffizi Gallery

Located within the gorgeous city of Florence, the Uffizi Gallery is one of the most famed museums in the entire world. It contains one of the largest and most significant collections of Renaissance art. Here, you’ll find some of the most popular works by artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Raphael, and more. This is your chance to see some of the amazing works of art ever made. If you’re an art lover, then this is something you can’t afford to miss.

The Accademia Gallery

As long as you’re experiencing the Renaissance art of Florence, you might also consider visiting the Accademia Gallery. This museum is most famous for housing Michelangelo’s David, which is possibly his greatest work. You’ve seen pictures of it of course, but nothing compares to seeing this incredible sculpture in person. The Accademia Gallery also contains many of Michelangelo’s other sculptures, along with many other works by great Renaissance artists.

The Home of Leonardo da Vinci

For those of you who have an interest in one of the most famous Renaissance artists and inventors of all time, you can visit the birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci in Anchiano. This is your chance to see the beautiful landscapes that inspired him in his early years for yourself. You’ll even see a life sized hologram of da Vinci explaining many of the important details of his life. Furthermore, the Leonardo Museum is near the place of his birth, and it contains many of his most important works.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is, of course, one the most famous buildings in the world. The Leaning Tower actually refers to the bell tower of a larger cathedral known as the Campo dei Miracoli. Originally built in the 12th century by an unknown architect, it began to lean due to its foundation being too soft to support its weight. The structure has since been stabilized, and is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations today. Be sure to see the rest of Campo dei Miracoli while you’re there as it’s a beautiful cathedral in its own right.

San Gimignano

Located in the province of Siena, going to San Gimignano is like taking a step back in time. This is because of the distinctly medieval flavor of its architecture. The town is encircled by massive stone walls, and features many medieval towers and buildings. These towers have been magnificently preserved and look much the same as they did when they were first built. For those who have a fascination with this particular time period, visiting San Gimignano is like a dream come true.

The Spas

If you’re looking for a place to relax this year, then this may be reason enough to go to Tuscany. Tuscany is home to many natural hot springs, and there are over a hundred spas that allow you to enjoy them. The province of Siena in particular is well-known for them. The temperatures of these springs typically vary from 30 to 55 degrees centigrade, and they can be used throughout the entire year. Many of these spas also offer services such as hydromassage. A few recommended spas include Terme Sensoriali, Piscine Termali Theia, and Calidario Terme Etrusche.

Of course, this is only a small sample of what Tuscany has to offer. Staying there is truly like visiting many places at once. In terms of food, art, history, and culture, Tuscany is simply one of the best vacation spots a person can choose.