Tuscany is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful regions in Italy. A place that thrills visitors so much that they come back year after year. With historic cities, atmospheric landscapes and world-famous art, there are many reasons why you’ll fall in love with Tuscany. Come and discover it for yourself.
Experience the wonders of Tuscany Italy
Tuscany is a region in central Italy that’s blessed with many attractions. Florence is the biggest city of the region and its unofficial capital, while the other main cities are Siena, Pisa, Lucca, Arezzo and the busy port of Livorno. But Tuscany is also famous for its scenic hilltop towns, idyllic countryside and long stretches of beautiful coastline. Read on to get a taste of what to expect from Tuscany and a quick overview of its highlights.
Visit Florence and the historic cities of art
Florence steals the spotlight when it comes to art. This is the place where the Renaissance began; a town that gave the world some of its greatest masterpieces. Quite a few of them are still there, in the Uffizi Gallery, a must-see for anyone with even a passing interest in art. Florence also boasts one of the world’s most iconic Cathedrals, churches full to the rafters with frescoes, and plenty of museums in which to while away the hours.
Awe-inspiring Medieval architecture is the order of the day in Siena, with the gorgeous Piazza del Campo, and in Pisa where the Leaning Tower has attracted visitors for centuries. Lucca has some magnificent churches and a set of ancient walls that embrace the city centre. Less visited cities like Arezzo and Pistoia have their share of interesting museums and Medieval wonders.
Drive through Iconic Landscapes
The landscapes of Tuscany look like they belong on a postcard. The gentle rolling hills, golden fields and silvery olive groves have seduced generations of travellers, not to mention film-makers. One of the main pleasures of a Tuscan holiday is just driving along its scenic country roads. Whilst a stay in a farmhouse or villa allows you to relax and breathe in its intoxicating atmosphere.
The vineyards of the Chianti region. The Val d’Orcia dotted with cypress trees. This is image many people have of Tuscany. But there’s so much more to it that. The northern areas of Garfagnana and Lunigiana are mountainous, verdant and deliciously atmospheric. The Arezzo province is home to an ancient forest, and the Maremma in the south has the best beaches where you can savour the good life, and plenty of shady pine tree groves.
Discover small towns of timeless beauty
Tuscany is a land to explore slowly. The rhythm of life is gentle here, and many of the small towns that make up the landscape have remained unchanged for centuries. Tuscany had a tumultuous past, but today the picturesque Medieval walled towns are the most peaceful spots you can imagine, places of timeless beauty full of stone alleys and ancient towers. So much so that when you step inside the gates of San Gimignano or Volterra, it can feel like you are stepping back in time.
Once you’ve ticked off famous towns like Cortona and San Gimignano, there are plenty more to explore. The Chianti region, the province of Arezzo and northern Tuscany all have their fair share of hidden treasures. In the Maremma you’ll find Pitigliano, Sovana and Montemerano, all of which pack a serious wow factor.
Check out this Best of Tuscany Full Day Guided Tour: see scenic San Gimignano, known as the “Manhattan of the Middle Ages”, visit Siena and learn about its traditions with a local expert, walk around the fortified village of Monteriggioni. Including lunch and wine tasting at a Chianti winery. Unmissable, and… Excellent value for money!
Savour local wines and traditional dishes
When you visit Tuscany in Italy, the experience wouldn’t be complete without a taste of the local cuisine. And the traditional Tuscan dishes wouldn’t be complete without a glass of Chianti Classico to wash it down. Gastronomy is a serious business here.
Food is local and seasonal, and restaurants and food shops are usually family-run. Finding a table at one of the more authentic restaurants, and sampling some of the traditional dishes could be a highlight of your holiday. Bear in mind that recipes and cured meats often differ from one town to the next. Try as many as you can. After all, to eat like a Tuscan is to live like one.
Insider tips for visiting Tuscany, Italy
When you visit Tuscany it’s best to take it slowly. Don’t try to see too much in a day, or squeeze in too many museums in Florence. And don’t plan to see all those hilltop towns at once either. This is a place to take things easy. Try to match the more obvious and popular sights with less well-known ones that you might have all to yourself. And remember that the size and clamour of museums like the Uffizi can be quite demanding, so book in advance!
If you’re going wine tasting, do your research first. Opening hours of the estates can be erratic and it may be worthwhile to take a tour if your time is limited. Joining a Tour, like this Chianti Wine Tasting Tour from Florence is a great way to enjoy your wine in total relaxation, with wine expert showing you around the wine cellars and revealing the secrets of Tuscan wine making!
A car is definitely a good option if you’re travelling around the countryside, as the public transport in the more remote areas can be limited. But if you’re mainly interested in the bigger cities, it’s easy enough to travel by train or by bus. Check our itineraries for some suggestions. And have a look at our favourite experiences in Tuscany.
=> Art passionate? Wine connoisseur? Where to go in Tuscany based on your personality type!