The region of Tuscany
'Cammina Francigena' is a project with the objective of re-evaluating the ancient Via Francigena between Emilia Romagna and Tuscany. This is the old pilgrim route to Rome, so called because of the many Franks who used it.
The territory of Chiusi has been inhabited since the 11th century BC and the early settlers were attracted by the advantageous hill top position looking over the fertile Valdichiana.
The Etruscans didn't want to give up their powerful base and held out until 391 B.C. and the siege by Galli Senoni.
Final submission to Rome came in 351 B.C. In 89 B.C. Clusium as it was called gained an additional strategic position on the Via Cassia.
Cortona is an incredibly ancient town and was even enclosed by stone walls by the Etruscans as early as 800 BC. Their tombs still dot the hillsides and don't understimate their cultural influence even today.
Of course, Tuscany should actually read 'Etruscany'.
To get to grips with the history first stop by two museums: the Accademia Etrusca and the Museo Diocesano.
The former is home to the incredible 'Etruscan Chandelier' dating from the IV century BC.
It was found in 1840 in the Cortona countryside and is a bronze oil lamp made featuring 16 finely decorated burners.
The historic centre of the town is, therefore, 'relatively' modern and made up of churches and Medieval and Renaissance buildings named after illustrious families.
Look out for the Palazzo Casali, Palazzo Passerini, Pallazzo Mancini Sernini and Palazzo Vagnotti.
You may not know much about Monticchiello, a small medieval hamlet overlooking the Val d'Orcia in the province of Siena.
But everyone knows the classic Tuscan image of the winding cypress tree road and one of the symbols of Italy. And at the end of that road is Monticchiello.
Not far from Pienza it's easy to miss. From a distance only the robust hill tower is visible, but as you get close the formidable defensive walls, medieval gate and castle come into view.
They take their carnival very seriously in Viareggio. And not without reason as it is one of the best and most famous in all of Italy. Visitors to the seaside town in Tuscany at other times of the year might stumble upon wire meshing and huge clowns' heads lying in back streets, all witnesses to the build up for the all important month of February.
Viareggio has a relaxed charm and stretches along the coast to a quaint port and a mini canal system. The name comes from a tower which stood on the Via Regia. The celebrations get under way during February with the election of Miss 'Carnevale di Viareggio' as well as a concert at the 'Teatro Politeama' highlighting the official songs for the carnival.
Starting from Lucca an adventurous food and wine traveller in Tuscany will make his way north along the Via Brennero (SS12) up the Serchio river valley. The Lucca plain soon gives way to the steep hills of the middle Serchio valley and then quite quickly to the full-grown mountains of the Garfagnana, the Alpi Apuane to the west and the Apennines to the east. Chestnut woods cover the slopes creating a cool, lush green landscape even in the middle of summer.
The woodland is broken here and there by terraced fields and vineyards and a surprising number of villages. Most are mediaeval in origin and retain their narrow cobbled streets and traditional houses built of stone with terracotta roofs. Every one is a gem, and a curious explorer could spend many happy months unearthing what is special in each. If you only have a few days, head straight to Barga.