Discover the top things to do in Tuscany right here. This useful check-list gives you the sights, activities, towns to visit and all the tourist favourites. It’s the 10 step guide to making the most of your holiday in Tuscany.
1. Climb the Cathedral Dome in Florence
You can admire it from street-level, but it’s even more impressive at the top. This unique piece of architecture is a work of pure genius by Brunelleschi. Climbing the ‘Cupolone’ (nickname for this dome) is one of Florence’s great experiences. Inside the dome, there are 3,600 square meters of frescoes. Outside there is one of the best photo opportunities you’ll ever have.
2. Buy leather in Florence
You can head to San Lorenzo Market for some cheap finds and an infinite number of leather jackets. The area of Santa Croce is a good spot for artisan leather workshops. Or for some high-end shopping have a look around Via Tornabuoni. Leather has been manufactured and sold in Florence for centuries. Why break with tradition?
3. Eat breakfast at a bar Italian-style
Order a cappuccino with deliciously thick foam, and a sweet pastry (pasta/pezzo dolce). These come in all shapes and sizes, from buttery cornetti to cream filled donuts (bomboloni). Take your pick and get stuck in. But make sure you eat it standing up, only a tourist would have breakfast at a table.
4. Take a selfie at the Leaning Tower of Pisa
Pretending to hold up the Leaning Tower for a photo, is one of the most shamelessly touristic things to do in Tuscany. But don’t let that stop you. Once you’ve spent a couple of hours immersed in culture, a quick selfie might be just the thing. If not, just watching other people do it is entertaining in itself.
5. Visit a Tuscan market
Food, clothing, trinkets, antiques. There’s always a market going on in Tuscany’s town squares. Head for the famous San Lorenzo markets in Florence, and the monthly antique markets in Arezzo. But even the smaller local food markets are a delight for the senses.
6. Climb a Medieval tower
The views of Tuscany are best appreciated from above. And what better way to see them from an authentic 13th century tower. From the Giotto’s bell tower (campanile) in Florence Cathedral, to Torre del Mangia in Siena and San Gimignano‘s famous house towers, there’s no lack of climbing to do.
7. Try ice-cream in an artisan gelateria
There’s a lot of ways to thrill your taste buds in Tuscany. But the gelato has to be one of the best. Don’t be tempted by the ice-cream shops that sell the overly colourful ones. Look instead for the artisan gelaterie, where you’ll find mouthwatering hand-made ice cream and some very unusual flavours. Worth a mention are the Gelateria de’ Neri in Florence, and the award-winning Dondoli in San Gimignano.
8. Spend an afternoon on a wine estate in the Chianti
The Chianti area between Florence and Siena is full of celebrated vineyards. The rolling hills are tightly packed with vines and there are infinite opportunities for wine tasting. There are ancient estates like Badia a Coltibuono, and modern wineries like Antinori where you can taste classic vintages in a contemporary setting. It’s a taste of the good life, and one of the finest things to do in Tuscany.
9. Experience authentic Tuscany country life
Stay in an agriturismo to experience country life at its best, and savour the slow rhythms of Tuscany. Country stays in the Chianti region, Val d’Orcia and Maremma have become more and more popular. These areas are the most popular destinations in Tuscany. But they are no less authentic for this. Taking a walking holiday in the countryside is another great way to experience natural charms of the area.
10. Trying local dishes is one of the top things to do in Tuscany
You haven’t been to Tuscany, until you’ve eaten one of their signature dishes. Try a plate of delicious Panzanella in the summer, made with Tuscan bread and tomatoes, or a flame grilled Bistecca alla Fiorentina. For the more adventurous, the region’s offal dishes like Lampredotto are a must. And lovers of seafood can’t go wrong with a plate of Livornese Cacciucco. Serious foodies can sign up for one of many cooking courses. Buon appetito.