Whether you’re a foodie, an art geek, a peace seeker or a shop-alcoholic, Tuscany has something that will suit your personality and tastes. Read on to discover where in Tuscany your type will feel most at home…
Where to go in Tuscany based on your personality and taste
1. Wine connoisseur
If you like your wines, and are curious to try out some of the world’s most renowned reds, then Tuscany should definitely be on your bucket list. This is a land that has been devoted to wine production since Etruscan times. Here grape growing, wine making and ageing is a refined art. Traditionalists opt for Sangiovese-based Chianti wines, masterfully produced in Tuscany’s most famous wine region, the Chianti, where wine tasting opportunities abound.
Wine connoisseurs would want to try the noble wine in Montepulciano, and visit the ancient cellars in Montalcino, home to the pricey and esteemed Brunello. For something a bit more off the beaten track, but perfectly luxurious, head to Bolgheri, where the fancy Super Tuscans are the latest inventions of Tuscan wine alchemists.
2. Artistic type
After you’ve explored the city’s museums – the Uffizi Gallery (for Renaissance and Mannierist paintings), the Bargello (sculptors mecca), the Pitti Palace galleries for more paintings – and gazed adoringly at the frescoes that decorate the Florentine churches – look for a tranquil spot and try your hand at drawing the Ponte Vecchio. If the cradle of the Renaissance doesn’t sate your artistic cravings, nothing will.
3. Nature lover
In Tuscany, nature has been cherished and protected, its landscapes made famous by countless photos and paintings. And there are plenty of places where you can enjoy it.
From the marble-rich Apuan Alps and the verdant Apennines mountains in the north, to the idyllic countryside of Val d’Orcia (also a UNESCO site), and the enchanting forests in the Casentino National Park. Not to mention the long stretches of coast in southern Maremma, home to the Uccellina Nature Park. The choice is literally endless.
4. Food fanatic
Virtually everywhere. Every Tuscan destination is a good destination for foodies. Florence has the highest concentration of restaurants and historic trattorie, and great food markets like the popular San Lorenzo Food Market. Meanwhile menus around Siena and the Chianti region offer an amazing variety of affettati made from Cinta Senese, as well as succulent meat dishes and antipasti to die for. Travelling along the Tuscan coast means you’ll be able to try some of the traditional fish dishes, that arrive at the table straight from the sea.
=> Check out the Top Tuscan destinations for foodies.
5. History buff
In many of the towns and small villages in Tuscany you’ll be able to appreciate the traces that history has left behind. To travel back to a distant past, start with the Etruscan archeological sites in Populonia or Sovana and the Etruscan museums in Volterra and Cortona.
To immerse yourself in the Middle Ages visit fortified villages like Monteriggioni, Capalbio, Pitigliano, Poppi with its castle, and climb one of San Gimignano‘s 13th century towers. Siena is the Medieval queen of Tuscany, with the gorgeous main square Piazza del Campo and the Gothic Cathedral. In Florence you can have a full immersion in the world of the Renaissance and its magnificent buildings – amongst which Palazzo Vecchio should be the first to visit.
Discover the best of Medieval Tuscany with this Guided Tour of Pisa, Siena, San Gimignano: you’ll be exploring the historic centre and the contrade of Siena, see the towers of San Gimignano, the square of Miracles in Pisa and taste some local food & wine along the way!
Florence is a shoppers (and window shoppers) paradise. From luxury bands in Via Tornabuoni, to colourful markets, little boutique shops and artisan workshops, the choice is endless. A trip to one of the shopping outlets near Florence might be a good idea (especially when the sales are on!), and if you like your antiques, make sure you visit the great antique market in Arezzo held every first Saturday of each month.
The more popular small towns – like San Gimignano, Anghiari, Cortona and Montalcino – have a good range of shops that sell souvenirs and traditional goods too.
7. Sun worshipper
Looking to soak up the sun on your Tuscan holidays? Then plan a visit during the Spring and Summer months (beach season starts at the end of May and finishes at the end of September). You’ll find plenty of beach establishments and some stretches of free beaches along the 400-km-long Tuscan coast, while the Uccellina Nature reserve is a protected nature park facing the blue water of the Mediterranean Sea. Make sure you check out the best beaches in Tuscany.
8. City animal
If you like big city vibes, you might find Tuscany a bit small-scale for your taste. The biggest city is Florence, and it’s your best bet if you’re looking for nightlife. It has a lively aperitivo scene with the San Frediano neighbourhood leading the way, after being named the “coolest quartiere” by Lonely Planet. Florence has some contemporary art galleries – along with many artisan and antique shops – authentic markets like Sant’Ambrogio, and its dose of graffiti too. Artist Clet Abraham, famous for his street sign art, has made his home in Florence and has his studio in the Oltrarno.
9. Architecture appreciator
If the sight of a beautifully proportioned basilica stirs your soul, you won’t be bored in Tuscany. Start in Florence with the Cathedral and its famous Dome designed by Brunelleschi. Awe at the Square of Miracles in Pisa where an architect’s mistake has given Pisa one of the most famous towers in the world, visit the stunning Medieval churches in Siena and Lucca, the Medici Villas near Florence, the stylish mix of Piazza Grande in Arezzo, and the ‘ideal city’ of Pienza built on Humanist architectural principles.
=> Discover all the Unesco World Heritage sites in Tuscany
10. Spiritual seeker
Tuscany can be enjoyed by anyone looking for peace and a tranquil spot to unwind and connect with themselves. First stop is La Verna Sanctuary, immersed in a thick and ancient forest atop the mount where Saint Francis is believed to have received his stigmata. Nearby you find Camaldoli Monastery, and in the same area you can visit the evocative parish church Pieve di Romena.
Le Celle near Cortona is another Franciscan hermitage immersed in nature, while Montesenario Sanctuary dominates the Mugello Valley. (official site) The Monte Oliveto Maggiore Abbey is a beautiful Benedictine complex, built in the 14th century by the religious order that followed the “ora et labora” motto. In Tuscany you also find one of Italy’s most important Buddhist centre: the Lama Tzong Khapa Institute in Pomaia, south of Pisa.