Where the wild things are

Editorial Staff
July 12, 2007

As Florentines head to the beach or to the mountains, the city is filling with tourists from all over the globe, more than half coming to kick back and relax under the Tuscan sun or explore Tuscany off the beaten track.


Statistics from 2006 reveal that tourism in Tuscany is up 7.6 percent from the previous year and there is no sign of it declining. Second only to the region of Veneto, Tuscany’s popularity has been growing steadily, especially among Europeans, Americans and Scandinavians.


Just at Florentine museums alone, last year’s numbers surpassed the 9 million mark. Compared to 2005 records, 24 percent more tourists admired Botticelli’s Primavera and 5.1 percent more stared speechless at Michelangelo’s David.  Over 500,000 tourists got a bird’s eye view of the city from atop Brunelleschi’s famed cupola. According to hotel figures from 2005, tourists to Florence stayed approximately 2.9 nights in the city, and those with accommodations elsewhere in the region, saw the city in roughly three hours.  Although these numbers principally reflect an increase in cultural tourism, recent reports also show an upswing in sports and religious touring in both the city and region. In fact, Florence has become such a draw that it has taken home the Best City in Europe award from the prestigious American travel magazine Travel and Leisure, which has over three million readers.


And in the rest of Tuscany? Forty percent of last year’s visitors spent their holidays at the beach, while 34.8 percent preferred sightseeing in the myriad Tuscan towns. Only a small group, 9.4 percent, chose to relax at the thermal springs;  about 6.8 percent ran for the hills in search of cooler temperatures.

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