Travelling to Tuscany – all you need to know

Hear the word Tuscany, and images of winding white roads lined with cypress trees or sunflower fields instantly fill your mind.

And while Tuscany does have that to offer, this region of Italy also has so much more to see and do.


Book flights to Pisa



Tuscany is a favourite destination for many when travelling to Italy, if not for the stunning landscapes – which really are as picturesque as all of those images you’ve seen – then for the incredible food, wine, and historical sights to see.

Tuscany has long been one of the most popular regions in Italy; spend a little time here, and you’ll understand the attraction.

Discover picturesque Tuscany landscape

Photo source: Unsplash

One of the largest regions in Italy, Tuscany draws travellers from around the world, who come to admire the Renaissance art and architecture, visit perfect picture-postcard locations, taste the famous Sangiovese Chianti wines, and enjoy the many medieval towns that can be found here, each one offering its own unique artisanal craft or food specialty.

Enjoy the many medieval towns in Tuscany

Photo source: Unsplash

There are so many wonderful towns to visit in Tuscany. But if your time allows, don’t try to see them all in a one week. Instead, pick a few and stay for two to three days in each to really soak up the culture, live like a local, and experience the best that Tuscany has to offer.


Book flights to Pisa



Why travellers love Tuscany

From the iconic leaning tower of Pisa and the busy Renaissance city of Florence (home to Michelangelo’s David, Botticelli’s Venus, and Brunelleschi’s architectural marvel, the Duomo) to the charm of smaller medieval towns such as Pienza, San Gimignano, and Lucca, travellers love Tuscany for its beautiful landscapes, favourable climate, and incredible choice of things to see and do.

Woman walking through the alley in the Province of Siena, Tuscany

Photo source: Unsplash

Whether you’re a single traveller, a couple, or a family, Tuscany is the perfect holiday destination, offering a choice of busy city life or a slower pace in the country.

A short drive out of the city, and you encounter sprawling vineyards or marble-streaked mountain ranges.

Drive a little further to discover some of the most beautiful beaches and coastline, all of which you can visit in easy day trips from Pisa or Florence.


Book flights to Pisa



How much time to spend in Tuscany

Come for a weekend, stay for a week, or feel free to plan a longer viaggio. Tuscany is one of those places where you can get a true taste of life in Italy even if you don’t have a lot of time.

The long summer days are a popular time to visit, and sun-lovers can bask ‘under the Tuscan sun’ from the end of May until early October.

If you’re more of a cold-weather fan, then Tuscany is also a place where you can enjoy incredible mountain experiences, including skiing.

Vernazza is a small fishing village, one of the most characteristic villages in Cinque Terre

Photo source: Unsplash

If you only have a few days, then check out Pisa in the morning before jumping on the train and spending the afternoon and evening in Florence.

Venture out into the countryside the following day, visiting some lovely wineries and one or two nearby towns.

Exploring Tuscany cannot be imagined without visiting vinery

Photo source: Unsplash

If you have a week, consider using Pisa or Florence as your base and embarking on daily trips to some of the many other beautiful towns in the area.

From Pisa, you can easily visit Lucca, where you can hire a bicycle and ride around the ancient walls that surround the town’s historical centre.

Explore the historical centre of Lucca town in Tuscany

Photo source: Unsplash

Alternatively, head further north and visit the exclusive seaside town of Forte dei Marmi, which is home to all your designer stores and the most expensive private beach clubs on the Versilia coast.


Book flights to Pisa



How to get to Tuscany

From the Pisa airport, you might decide to jump on the train and head directly to Florence, or perhaps you prefer to stay in Pisa and check out the Leaning Tower straight away.

The iconic Pisa's Leaning Tower

Photo source: Unsplash

Flying into Pisa’s Galileo Galilei Airport, you can easily walk to the train station from the terminal, buy your ticket from the Biglietteria, and jump on the PisaMover, an efficient monorail that takes just seven minutes to arrive at Pisa Centrale.

Once there, you’ll find a regular and fast train service to Florence’s central train station, Firenze Santa Maria Novella.

Another option is to rent a car, which gives you the freedom and convenience to travel around the region as you please.


Book flights to Pisa



What to do in Tuscany

You really are spoilt for choice regarding what to do once you arrive in Tuscany. Experiences can be found for every age and interest level.

Choose from a vintage Fiat 500 or Vespa tour, or perhaps you prefer an e-bike experience.

Go horse riding and visit local farms, enjoy wine tours and tastings in the Chianti region, or go on an authentic truffle hunt followed by lunch, during which you will enjoy the tartufi that the talented dog has found.

Tuscany offers Truffle hunting with dogs and cooking classes afterwards

Photo source: Tripadvisor

For foodies, there are also many incredible market and food tours available in Tuscany as well as wine tasting and sunset aperitivo walks.

Learn about why Tuscan bread has no salt and the history of the Negroni cocktail, invented in Florence over 100 years ago. Enjoy a cooking class and learn how to make your own pasta, pizza, and gelato.

Pasta cooking classes in Tuscany

Photo source: Tripadvisor

If you love fashion and/or crafts, you’ll enjoy a tour with a personal shopper or learning an artisan craft such as paper marbling or leatherworking.

Venture out of the main cities and explore the Apennine Mountains streaked with their famous Carrara marble. There you can do a 4×4 tour of the quarries. Remember, this is where Daniel Craig filmed those famous scenes for the James Bond film Quantum of Solace.

Lake Scanno is nestled amidst the Apennine Mountains in Tuscany

Photo source: Unsplash

If you appreciate art and are looking for something slower-paced, then definitely take in all the incredible galleries, museums, and famous art and sculpture that Tuscany and especially Florence have to offer. This isn’t called the birthplace of the Renaissance for nothing.


Book flights to Pisa



What to visit in Tuscany

Pisa & Lucca

Pisa is known for its iconic Leaning Tower, which was leaning already in 1372, as soon as it was completed.

Located just a ten-minute drive from the airport, this 56-metre-tall white marble structure serves as the bell tower for the cathedral that stands next to it.

56-metre-tall Pisa tower serves as the bell tower for the next standing cathedral

Photo source: Unsplash

If you decide to rent a car, you could stop first to admire the tower before heading further north to the town of Lucca, which is known for its well-preserved Renaissance walls that encircle the historical city centre.

It’s fun to hire a bicycle and cycle around the tree-lined pathways that lead along the top of the huge 16th– and 17th-century ramparts and get the best view of the city within the walls.

Explore city of Tuscany - Lucca by a bicycle

Photo source: Unsplash



This is the birthplace of the Renaissance and home to one of the most recognisable cathedrals, the Duomo di Santa Maria del Fiore.

One of the most recognisable cathedrals - the Duomo di Santa Maria del Fiore

Photo source: Unsplash

Other must-see sites include the Ponte Vecchio, the Uffizi Art Gallery, and l’Accademia, which is home to Michelangelo’s David.

Also the Palazzo Vecchio, Palazzo Pitti, the Boboli Gardens, and the Vasari Corridor where the Medici family lived, played, and conspired.

The sculpture in Boboli Gardens in Florence

Photo source: Unsplash

Walk up to Piazza Michelangelo to admire the whole city at your feet. It’s extra special at sunset.


Bagno Vignoni

The charming town of Bagno Vignoni is located in the Val D’Orcia region and is home to thermal hot springs whose healing waters can be found in the main piazza as well as various day spas and hotels in town.

Don’t forget to bring along a swimsuit and towel when visiting this, one of the best-known locations for thermal baths in Tuscany.

Bagno Vignoni town in Tuscany is known for its thermal baths

Photo source: Unsplash



Pienza is known for its wonderful historical centre, which is an excellent example of Renaissance architecture. It offers the most wonderful views across the valley from its ancient walls.

Pienza is known for its wonderful historical centre, an excellent example of Renaissance architecture

Photo source: Unsplash

Pienza is also considered the capital of pecorino cheese, not only in Tuscany, but in all of Italy.

Romantics will love the Via del Amore (Love Street) and Via del Bacio (Kiss Street) for that perfect Instagram moment.



Located an hour’s drive from Florence, the town of Siena fans out from its central Piazza del Campo, home to the historic Palio horse race that takes place every July and August.

The central square Piazza del Campo in Siena

Photo source: Unsplash

Take a guided tour here to learn all about the fierce competition and tradition that this race involves.

Siena is also home to round, flat, sweet panforte that’s loaded with dry fruit, nuts, and spices.


San Gimignano

Appropriately known as the Manhattan of Tuscany for the number of medieval towers still standing today and the power that they once represented, San Gimignano is one of the most fascinating Tuscan towns to visit.

Tuscany town San Gimignano is known for its medieval towers

Photo source: Unsplash

Located just 40 minutes from Florence and Siena, this area is also known for its DOCG Vernaccia white wine, which can only be produced in San Gimignano.

Visit Fattoria Poggio Alloro on the way for a wine-and-farm tour or lunch. This family-run farm boasts the best view of San Gimignano from its terrace.



Located to the south of Siena, this classic hilltop town known as the home of Brunello wine has hardly changed in appearance since the 16th century. It’s surrounded by a full circle of fortified walls and is overlooked by a perfect medieval castle.

Montalcino town is the home of Brunello wine - one of the best in Italy

Photo source: Unsplash

Nowadays, however, the town is more famous for its Brunello wine, which is one of the world’s best Italian wines.

Its unique formula was invented in 1888 by Ferruccio Biondi Santi, who decided to leave out the more common Canaiolo and Colorino grape varieties used in traditional Chianti wines and rely only on Sangiovese grapes. Brunello must age for a minimum of five years, two of which must take place in oak barrels.


Book flights to Pisa



What is the most scenic part of Tuscany

Val d’Orcia

Protected as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Val d’Orcia is the Tuscany that most people come here to see: a green valley of winding roads lined with cypress trees and filled with medieval castles, ancient villages, beautiful farms and vineyards, olive groves, and undulating fields of golden grain and sunflowers.

The Palazzo Massaini in the heart of the Val d'Orcia region

Photo source: Unsplash

Taking its name from the Orcia River, this region stretches between the provinces of Siena and Grosseto in southern Tuscany.



The town of Pietrasanta on the Versilia coast is a personal favourite of mine. Not to be confused with Marina di Pietrasanta, which is the neighbouring town at the water’s edge, Pietrasanta is the historical centre and lies about three kilometres inland on the first foothills of the Apuan Alps.

The woman statue in the main Piazza Duomo in Pietrasanta

Photo source: Visit Tuscany

The town has always been popular with sculptors and painters and has become a gathering place for artists from all over the world, mostly due to its location so close to the marble quarries of Carrara.

As you walk around the town, you can admire contemporary art and sculpture in the many galleries scattered along its streets, and there’s usually a major exhibition taking place in the main Piazza Duomo.

Take some time to also just sit and watch the fashion parade of well-dressed Italians while you enjoy an aperitivo.



Leaving the cities and heading further south into the fertile Fiora Valley takes you to the area known as the Maremma.

The Maremma is blessed with some of the best beaches in Tuscany and Italy. Long unspoilt stretches of sand with crystal-clear waters backed by lush pine forests offer a pristine natural escape from the busy and crowded cities.

The view of Follonica shore, one of the best beachside towns in Tuscany

Photo source: Unsplash

The food here is of another level, mixing the freshest seafood with the flavours of the hinterland, the best of Mediterranean flavours accompanied by some of the best DOC wines.

Stay in the seaside towns of Follonica, Punta Ala, Castiglione della Pescaia, Baratti, or Capalbio.

If you prefer the mountains, then head to the fascinating village of Pitigliano, nicknamed Little Jerusalem due to its close link to the Jewish community that settled here in ancient times. The synagogue, which still stands today and dates back to 1598, as well as the Jewish Museum are must-sees for any history buffs.

The fascinating village of Pitigliano, nicknamed Little Jerusalem

Photo source: Unsplash


Book flights to Pisa



Where to go to the beach in Tuscany

Many people don’t associate Tuscany with the island lifestyle, but the region does in fact include some beautiful islands with crystal-clear turquoise water, fine golden sand, and magnificent views.

The closest beaches to Pisa are the ones that stretch along the Versilia coast. Viareggio, Marina di Pietrasanta, and Forte dei Marmi are some of the more popular towns found here, as well as those further north in Massa-Carrara.

The coastline here is lined with private beach clubs, which you can pay to use for a day, week, month, or the whole summer season. The more expensive and exclusive resorts have wonderful restaurants and also usually a swimming pool for those who don’t like the sea water.

The coastline along the Versilia coast is lined with private beach clubs

Photo source: Unsplash

You might be surprised to know that the Tuscan Archipelago consists of seven islands. Legend has it that when Venus was born from the waves, seven precious stones fell from her tiara, creating the seven islands off the Tuscan coast.

Elba is the largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago and the third-largest island in Italy after Sicily and Sardinia. It’s located between the Tyrrhenian and Ligurian seas and 20 kilometres from the coastal town of Piombino, where we board our ferry for the hour-long voyage to the island.

Coastline with cliffs in Elba, which is the largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago

Photo source: Unsplash

The ferries run much more frequently in the summer months but are also more expensive then.

The two most popular companies are Moby and Toremar, and their websites have detailed timetables with the various prices depending on whether you take a vehicle on board or are on foot.

During the high season, make sure you book early, especially on weekends, because these times are the first to get booked.

The island of Giglio, located in the Tuscan Archipelago just off the coast of Monte Argentario, is probably most popular for its enchanting beaches, coves, and cliffs.

The view of part of the Giglio island, which is the second largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago

Photo source: Unsplash

The islands of Giannutri, Capraia, and Pianosa are also easily accessed via boat or ferry.


Book flights to Pisa



What to eat in Tuscany

Tuscany is a region that offers some of Italy’s best-quality food and wine. There’s a tradition and a story to most of the seasonal local dishes, and whichever month you choose to visit, you’ll be sure to enjoy something that can only be found at that time of year.

The Tuscans are a proud lot, so trust that you’ll be offered the best local products available: the most flavourful tomatoes in summer, olio and vino nuovo in the autumn, hearty and comforting soups in winter, and the best bistecca alla Fiorentina (Florentine steak), usually served with cannellini beans and roast potatoes.

Served table with cake in Tuscany

Photo source: Unsplash

Below is a list of some local favourites.


Budino di riso

Start your day with one of these rice pudding pastries washed down with your favourite coffee.

Budino di riso - rice pudding pastries in Tuscany

Photo source: Visit Tuscany (by Serena Angelini)


Crostini Toscani

Often ordered as a shared plate at the start of a meal, these toasted slices of bread are topped with freshly chopped tomatoes, liver pâté, ragù bolognese, or cannellini beans, all topped with a generous pour of extra virgin olive oil.


Lampredotto & trippa

The original Tuscan street-food, trippa (tripe, or cow’s stomach) is most often served alla Fiorentina in a tomato sauce.

Lampredotto is from the cow’s fourth and final stomach and is usually purchased from the food trucks you find in most towns.

It’s eaten in a bread roll and served with salsa verde and a drizzle of chilli oil. The top of the bread roll is dunked back in the vegetable broth in which the lampredotto was cooked.

Lampredotto is made from the cow’s stomach and served in a bread with salsa verde and a drizzle of chilli oil

Photo source: Tripadvisor

This is a typical ‘worker’s lunch’, most often washed down with a glass of Chianti.



When in Florence, we’re talking about bistecca alla Fiorentina, which is a thickly cut T-bone traditionally from the ancient Chianina breed of cattle. Trust the chef and eat it as rare as it’s served.

Bistecca alla Fiorentina - a thickly cut T-bone traditionally made

Photo source: Tripadvisor


Pappa al pomodoro & ribollita

Both dishes have peasant origins and are made using leftover Tuscan bread, which soaks up the broth and makes for a particularly comforting meal.

Made with tomatoes, pappa al pomodoro is usually eaten in the summer, while ribollita is the winter version made with hearty vegetables, cannellini beans, and cavolo nero (a type of kale).

A generous slug of extra virgin olive oil over the top is also required.

Pappa al pomodoro is made using tomatoes and leftover Tuscan bread

Photo source: Visit Tuscany (by Juls’ Kitchen)



Also called torta di ceci, cecina comes from the area around Livorno. It’s a savoury flatbread made from chickpea flour that’s served hot and sprinkled with salt and pepper.


Schiacciata con l’uva

Autumn means harvest, and this sweet focaccia is filled with grapes from the vineyard. It’s baked in the oven until the grapes create a wonderful sweet syrup.


Cantuccini & Vin Santo

Every good Tuscan likes to finish their meal with cantuccini almond biscotti dipped in Vin Santo, a sweet dessert wine.

Cantuccini are Italian cookies with whole almonds

Photo source: Tripadvisor


Book flights to Pisa



Where to eat in Tuscany

Bolgheri is a historic medieval village amidst olive groves and vineyards. Worth the drive just to marvel at the four-kilometre road lined with more than 2000 cypress trees leading to its castle gates, this charming town is home to some of the best Super-Tuscan wines.

Located on the southern Maremma coast of Tuscany, it’s a lovely spot to stop for lunch and some wine tasting on your way to the beach.

Visit the scenic town Panzano in Chianti for incredible landscape and meal

Photo source: Unsplash

It’s no lie to say that the town of Panzano in Chianti has recently grown much more popular thanks to its resident famous butcher, Dario Cecchini, who offers a fantastic seven-course lunch or dinner featuring various local meat dishes, including Florentine steak and my favourite, ‘Chianti butter’ (whipped lard) served on crusty Tuscan bread.

The vegetarian menu is also very good, so everyone can enjoy the dining experience there.

Walk lunch off by heading uphill to the historical town to admire the church and stunning views below.


Book flights to Pisa



What to buy and where to shop in Tuscany

Tuscany is home to some wonderful artisans and is known for ceramics, leather fashion and accessories, mosaics, and marbled paper.

Florence is also famous for gold, and you’ll find some beautiful and very tempting pieces in the many gold stores that line the Ponte Vecchio.

Tuscany is known for marble paper, which can be a great souvenir

Photo source: Visit Tuscany (by Diane Bouvier)

Wander around the Oltrarno neighbourhood in Florence and you’ll discover many artisan workshops and studios where you can observe the artist at work and purchase their wonderful creations. It’s very satisfying to support the local artisans and buy something handmade.

Purchase your favourite Tuscan wines and olive oil at the food markets and have it shipped home to leave more space in your luggage for extra shopping.


Book flights to Pisa



Where to stay in Tuscany

Palazzo San Niccolò in Florence

Palazzo San Niccolò is located in the beautiful and very popular San Niccolò neighbourhood in Florence.

It features a lovely garden where you can relax after a busy day admiring the sights. There are a variety of different room styles and sizes to choose from, and all come with a kitchenette.

A lovely garden of Palazzo San Niccolò apartments in Florence

Photo source: Tripadvisor

From the palazzo, it’s a quick ten-minute walk along the river to the Ponte Vecchio, and it’s also conveniently located close to Piazzale Michelangelo, the best spot in the city to admire the sun setting over the city.


Hotel Number Nine in Florence

With 40 beautiful rooms and suites, each of its own unique style and quality, this hotel stands out with its elegance.

The hall of the Hotel Number Nine in Florence

Photo source: Tripadvisor

Located just a two-minute walk from both the Duomo and Piazza Santa Maria Novella, it features a great gym as well as its own spa with beauty treatments and pilates. The bistro also offers a modern and eclectic menu and fabulous breakfast.


Fattoria Poggio Alloro in San Gimignano

Owned by the Fioroni family since 1972, there are now five generations that work on this organic farm and winery.

Boasting the most beautiful view of San Gimignano, you can visit the farm for a wine tasting, farm tour, lunch or dinner, to take part in a cooking class, or to stay in one of its apartments and really enjoy la dolce vita Toscana.

Enjoy real Tuscan life staying in Fattoria Poggio Alloro in San Gimignano

Photo source: Tripadvisor

All of the food is grown on the property, and, in addition to its wonderful wine, the farm also produces its own extra virgin olive oil, raises its own Chianina cattle, and grows its own saffron.


Posta Marcucci in Bagno Vignoni

This lovely boutique hotel is the perfect place to relax and unwind. It has thermal pools both indoors and out as well as tennis courts and spa facilities so you can enjoy a massage at the end of the day.

Posta Marcucci is the perfect hotel to relax and enjoy its thermal pools

Photo source: Tripadvisor

With the perfect garden setting and a wonderful restaurant, Posta Marcucci is the perfect base to stay when exploring Bagno Vignoni and the Val D’Orcia area.


L’Andana in Castiglione della Pescaia

The first thing that will take your breath away as you drive towards the L’Andana resort is the incredible driveway lined with cypress and umbrella pine trees. If you visit in summer, then poppies and sunflowers will also greet you.

This luxury five-star hotel is everything you want while on holiday. Featuring a stunning outdoor pool, it’s located just 20 kilometres from Grosseto and is located in Maremma Natural Park.

L'Andana Resort in Castiglione della Pescaia will provide you with everything you need on vacation

Photo source: L’Andana resort

L’Andana has two main buildings – the Villa and the Fattoria –which are connected by the delightfully informal Winter Garden. It’s a refined atmosphere, and you won’t ever want to leave!


Book flights to Pisa



Cover photo source: Unsplash
Text by Lisa Brancatisano,

Explore top attractions

Related articles

We are big on Instagram

Follow us on Instagram
Follow us on Instagram