The fertile region of Tuscany, with vineyards extending to the golden horizon, has cradled not only Italy’s agricultural economy, but a rich culture fueled by wine, olive oils, cheeses, and grains.

Ancient Italy was a series of city states with shifting alliances of powerful families and far-reaching arms of the Vatican. In rural Tuscany, walled cities tell the tale of these volatile times.

While the walled cities and fortresses were matters of survival to the ancient city-states, for modern visitors they hold invaluable treasures from the troves of Western civilization. Original works of art by Renaissance masters sit quietly in modest abbeys. The Etruscan walls are pock marked and patched with a history of conquest and defense. Historians and art aficionados are not the only ones who will be enchanted walking through Cortona’s old gate, or the winding cobblestone streets of Certaldo.

Florence, the most visited city in the region, is considered to be the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance is home to countless works of art by the leading artists and architects of the era. The powerful Medici family played a large role in commissioning and protecting the many works, and their influence is still palpable.

For some, it will be a personal encounter with Michelangelo’s masterpiece, David at the Accademia Gallery, for others, a sunset stroll across the Ponte Vecchio. One way or another Florence finds its way into the hearts of visitors.

Of course, no visit to Tuscany is complete without plenty of wine and the hearty Tuscan dishes absent from the menu of most American Italian restaurants. Take a tour of the winelands in a luxury car, or spend the afternoon leisurely biking the countryside. Whatever pace you want to go, Tuscany offers up the fruit of its vines with generosity and abundance. Ker & Downey’s expert consultants await to help you find yourself among the riches of Tuscany.