Following this year’s trend, Tuscany in 2023 invites you to take things slow, travel responsibly, and go in search of little known secrets that are just waiting to be discovered. Yes, Tuscany is a very popular destination, home to Unesco sites and iconic artworks and landscapes. But it’s also a land that keeps regenerating itself, offering visitors new way to enjoy its rich and long heritage.
While planning your trip to Tuscany, why not include some secluded spots? Or leave the car behind and travel by train? You could also learn a new skill in Florence, an apt thing to do in a city that gave birth to the Renaissance and keeps reinventing itself.
1. Search for the perfect, undiscovered hilltop town
It’s true that Tuscany can get crowded at certain times of year, but that doesn’t mean you spend your time stuck in queues and overcrowded towns. Even if you have to travel at the peak season (late spring and summer) you can still avoid crowds if you know where to look.
There are areas in Tuscany that are still relatively undiscovered: the beautiful valleys of Casentino with lovely towns like Poppi and the tiny hamlet of Porciano surrounded by forests, Medieval wonders like Massa Marittima, Suvereto in the south and Filetto in the north. Adding lesser known spots to your itinerary will make you feel more connected with the authentic Tuscan feel and deepen your connection with this varied land.
=> Check out Best Time to travel to Tuscany to avoid crowds.
2. Learn something new in Florence
“Following a spate of post-pandemic revenge spending, we can now expect travellers to be more selective, placing higher value on fulfilling experiences that fuel their thirst for knowledge and personal growth in 2023”, writes Conde Nast Traveller exploring this year’s tourist trends. Educational itineraries make the top list in 2023.
And what better place than Florence to go back to school? You can enrol in a course in Italian language (which, by the way, is among the most popular languages to learn in the world!) to make your stay in Italy more impactful and authentic. You could choose to learn about Renaissance art, try your hand at a traditional local artisan craft like pottery or learn to work leather at the Scuola del Cuoio where you’ll be taught by Master Leather Craftsman. Florence once was the European centre of culture, and still has much to offer to the culture-thirsty visitor.
3. Discovering the real locations of Medici, Masters of Florence
Lately, we’ve been spending lot of time indoors, exploring Netflix rather than new places. But now it’s time to go and look for the exotic locations that feature in our favourite series!
If the Medici family sparked an interested in you thanks to the “Medici. Masters of Florence” Netflix series, you can encounter them first hand in Florence and discover Palazzo Medici Riccardi, their original residence. Not to mention the places around the city where their love affairs and most dramatic episodes, such as the Pazzi Conspiracy , took place.
4. Eat genuinely, mindfully (and plenty!) in Tuscany
There’s a growing interest in locally sourced food, genuine fresh ingredients and in Tuscany we don’t need to look very far to find all of this. It’s part of our daily life. As a visitor, you’ll be invited to embrace this almost sacred respect for food, and to go ever further in search of the ultimate culinary experience. In Tuscany you’ll learn that every small town has its own way to prepare pasta or bake schiacciata (flat bread). Every season brings different treats and flavours, and you can pick the freshest ingredients from local markets, like the revamped San Lorenzo Food Market in Florence or weekly markets in every town.
=> Check out the typical Tuscan Menu
=> Florence for foodies: 12 Unmissable Food Experiences in Florence!
5. Art masterpieces yes, but just a bit out of the way
Art lover? Don’t look any further. Follow in the Piero della Francesca’s steps in Eastern Tuscany. You could start in Arezzo, where the “Legend of the True Cross” frescoes in the Church of San Francesco will leave you speechless. Then head to San Sepolcro and nearby Monterchi. These little towns’ museums host some of the artist’s most famous masterpieces: the impressive “Resurrection” and the “Madonna del Parto”.
=> Discover Where to see Botticelli’s artworks in Florence.
6. Ditch the car. Take day trips by train or bus.
If you choose Florence as your main base, you can easily travel to nearby towns without renting a car. You’ll save money and the stress of having to find and pay for parking. Trains are cheap and these trips are around an hour short so you can easily do them in a day => Check out our favourite 8 Day Trips from Florence without a car.
7. Follow the Etruscans
The Etruscans inhabited central Italy since 8 century BC. And anyone who would like to see what’s left of the Etruscan past in Tuscany should explore the aptly named Costa degli Etruschi, or Etruscan Coast, starting from Populonia. Then head to Sovana Archeological Park in southern Tuscany and walk in their footsteps along the mysterious Vie Cave, ‘sunken roads’ excavated by the Etruscans from the soft tufa rock centuries ago.
Want to deepen your knowledge of the Etruscans? Etruscan artfacts – vases, urns, statuettes – are guarded in fascinating museums such as the Museo Guarnacci in Volterra, and the Archeological Museum in Florence and in the towns of Cortona, Chiusi and Chianciano Terme.
8. Enjoy the silence on Mount La Verna
Whether you are searching for deeper meaning, reconnecting with nature or simply finding a secluded quiet spot to regenerate your batteries, you should consider a trip to the top of Mount La Verna where you’ll find the very places where Saint Francis used to come to pray and be at one with nature. Check out one of Tuscany’s most scenic monasteries: La Verna Sanctuary. A stay at La Verna Monastery might prove to be just the perfect thing to do this year.