A brief introduction to the different areas in Tuscany, including information about the best towns and must-see landscapes. Here you’ll find everything you need to know to plan your trip.
Northern Tuscany – Lunigiana and Garfagnana
The north of Tuscany is a mountainous area with forests, rivers and verdant valleys. The Lunigiana is right at the northern tip, nested between the Apuan Alps that run along the coast and the Apennines to the west. It’s called the “land of 100 castles” and as you’d imagine there are remains of it Medieval past. Expect delicious cooking, stunning views and plenty of peace and quiet.
The Garfagnana is a valley an hours drive from Lucca, south of Lunigiana. There are mountainous landscapes, great views and plenty of picturesque small towns nestled in the forests. A land of chestnuts and mushrooms, long peaceful walks and fresh air even in the depths of Summer. Tourists are discovering it more and more. For those who love nature and tranquillity, this is authentic Tuscany without much fuss.
The Mugello to the north of Florence includes towns like Borgo San Lorenzo and Scarperia. The Medici came from the Mugello and as a result there are many Medici villas in the area, like the Villa Demidoff near the town of Vaglia.
Central Tuscany – Chianti and Val d’Orcia
The jewel in the crown of Tuscany. These are the idyllic landscapes often seen on postcards. Rolling hills, vineyards, silvery olive groves, and patches of forests. The Chianti region, stretching from Florence to Siena, is a land where wine and olive oil have been produced for centuries to outstanding standard. Perfect for wine tasting, it has some of the most scenic of Medieval hilltop towns, including Radda in Chianti and the lovely Montefioralle.
The Val d’Orcia south of Siena is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Expect an idyllic, picture perfect countryside. The rolling hills with their cypress trees are a treat for the eyes. The area is dotted with characterful churches and small towns like Pienza and Montalcino. Both Chianti and Val d’Orcia are perfect destinations for a driving holiday.
Valdelsa lies to the west of the Chianti and includes the very historic Medieval towns of San Gimignano, Monteriggioni, Certaldo and Colle Val d’Elsa. Nearby Volterra is another must-see town in the area.
Arezzo province is made up of Casentino, Valtiberina and Valdichiana. Still largely undiscovered by tourists, it retains its rural authenticity and a quiet reserved atmosphere. There are interesting small towns, Medieval churches and monasteries set in serene countryside.
The best destinations here include Medieval Cortona, Anghiari and Poppi. The ancient forests of Casentino lie within a National Park, and are a real treat in autumn, when the leaves turn yellow and red.
Areas in Tuscany – Tuscan coast and the Maremma
The northern coast comprises the Versilia with popular resorts like Viareggio, Forte dei Marmi and Lido di Camaiore. Unspoiled beaches can be found in the San Rossore-Migliarino Nature Reserve.
The so-called Etruscan coast stretches between the ports of Livorno and Piombino. It offers long, clean beaches and some scenic towns in the interior like Suvereto and Campiglia Marittima. Wine lovers flock to Bolgheri for a taste of the renowned Supertuscans. For a taste of the Etruscan past visit the Baratti and Populonia Archaeological Park.
The coast includes the Uccellina Nature Reserve, with beautiful pine groves and unspoilt wide beaches. A perfect destination for hiking, cycling or just relaxing on the beach. Maremma is one of the best areas in Tuscany for a beach holiday, as it has crystal clear waters and some of the best beaches in Tuscany.