When we happen to visit a new place, we all prepare one must-see list to make the most of every available day. And if you intend to visit a place as immensely rich in things to do as Tuscany, planning the trip in time becomes an essential condition. If you are planning to see Tuscany for the first time, this post is for you! It is a beautiful region, rich in art, medieval and Renaissance history, culinary culture and memorable views made of countryside and rolling hills. Here you go i main places to visit in Tuscany!
- Val d'Orcia
- San Gimignano and Via Francigena
- Chianti wine region
- Elba Island and Tuscan Archipelago
- User questions and comments
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1 - Pisa
Located along the Arno River in the northwestern region of Tuscany, the city of Pisa presents several testimonies of the glories of the past.
It is full of wonderful attractions such as the Museum of San Matteo and the beautiful Church of the Spina, but above all the famous one Square of Miracles, in which stands the Leaning Tower, one of the most famous Italian monuments in the world. The entrance lines to the tower are often very long, therefore we recommend the purchase of the tour with hourly entrance reserved for the Tower and the Duomo.
Pisa can easily be visited in a weekend, or it can be included in an on the road itinerary in the main Tuscan cities of art.
If you only have one day to discover its beauty, don't miss the 90-minute guided walking tour.
2 - Florence
A historic, magical and fascinating city ... among the best in Italy. No adjective can adequately describe Firenze, the cradle of the Renaissance. It is often described as an open-air museum, a magnificent mix of art and architectural treasures, boasting stunning attractions such as Piazza della Signoria, Duomo and the Ponte Vecchio, Palazzo Pitti Uffizi Gallery and Accademy's Gallery. As this is one of the most visited cities in Italy, also in this case it is essential to purchase some priority entrance tickets in advance, such as the one for the Duomo and the Dome, the one for the Uffizi Gallery and the one for Michelangelo's David in the Accademy's Gallery.
3 - Siena
Coming to Tuscany without planning at least a short visit of Siena it is a huge mistake not to be made at all.
The city is perhaps less considered than Pisa and Florence, but in reality it has an equally relevant charm. It is known worldwide for the Palio, held annually on July 2 and August 16. The heart of the city is Piazza del Campo, with its unmistakable shell shape and in which stands the Torre del Mangia. Also not to be missed is the beautiful Duomo complex, for which the purchase of an express ticket is recommended.
4 - Lucca
Nicknamed the "city of 100 churches", Lucca is famous for its elaborate Roman cathedrals and for perfectly preserved walls. This 4km walkway overlooking the city is a great starting point for a tour of Lucca. Among the things to see we remember: the Roman Amphitheater, the Guinigi Tower, the Cathedral of San Martino, the Pallazzo Pfanner and its baroque gardens.
The center is quite small and can be visited on foot, even better if with the help of a local guide who will make you notice every corner. If you prefer a more dynamic and fun solution, you can opt for the self-guided bike tour.
Small curiosity: Lucca is also known for being Giacomo's homeland Puccini, one of the greatest Italian composers. The composer's birthplace is now a museum that can be visited.
5 - Arezzo
Visit Arezzo it's a bit like traveling back in time, among monuments, churches and museums, which take you back to the past. It was a thriving Etruscan city, and today it certainly deserves to be visited because of its great historical heritage. Between the places of the city not to be missed: Piazza Grande with the Loggia del Vasari, the Basilica of San Francesco and its surprising Bacci Chapel, the Museum of Medieval Art and the Romanesque church of Santa Maria della Pieve, all of which can be visited on a comfortable private guided tour.
Arezzo is home to an important historical-cultural event held in June and September of each year, known as the Giostra del Saracino. On this occasion, the four historic districts that make up the city compete in medieval games.
6 - Val d'Orcia
La Val d'Orcia is a picturesque region that includes several wonderful hamlets and villages such as Pienza, one of the "ideal cities" of the Renaissance, but also San Quirico, Castiglione and Montalcino, the latter famous for the production of the well-known Brunello wine.
Finally, Montepulciano deserves a special mention, a town located on a limestone ridge about 600 meters high, full of elegant Renaissance palaces, ancient churches, squares and hidden corners. Montepulciano is also famous for its wine, counted among the best in Italy. The best way to visit the Val d'Orcia is through a food and wine tour to discover Tuscan wines and specialties. Alternatively you can choose to visit the main villages such as Pienza and Montepulciano via daily tours from Siena.
7 - San Gimignano and Via Francigena
The Via Francigena is a route of over 380 km which crosses almost 40 municipalities including San Gimignano, San Miniato, Monteriggioni, Radicofani and many others.
This ancient path offers history, culture, architecture and above all landscapes that remain indelible in everyone's memory. It is possible to enjoy these places through excursions on foot, by bicycle, on horseback, or simply planning an on the road route by car between one municipality and another. Among the various stages we also mention cities such as Siena, Lucca, as well as municipalities of Versilia and Val D'Orcia.
Among all the municipalities crossed we want to dedicate a special mention to Saint Gimignano, a small medieval village dating back to the eighth century. It is perhaps the most famous of the small towns of Tuscany, known above all for its 14 towers overlooking picturesque olive groves and vineyards.
8 - Chianti wine region
The iconic vineyards and olive trees of Tuscany are scattered throughout theChianti area, located a few kilometers from Florence. Characterized by pretty country lanes perfect for a tour by car or by bike, the whole area is considered a real paradise for lovers of food and good wine.
There are multiple itineraries to choose from: the Chianti Classico route, which touches the cities of Greve in Chianti, Gaiole and Castellina; and the route that focuses on the Val di Pesa, which touches Tavarnelle, San Casciano, San Donato in Poggio, Badia a Passignano and other hidden gems in this beautiful area. One of the most fascinating experiences you can do is an excursion to Chianti in a vintage Fiat 500, not exactly cheap but certainly exciting.
9 - Island of Elba and the Tuscan Archipelago
After so much history, gastronomy and culture, the time has come to celebrate the sea and some of the most relaxing areas of Tuscany. We are talking about the Tuscan Archipelago, made up of the seven major islands of Elba, Giglio, Capraia, Montecristo, Pianosa, Giannutri and Gorgona, plus other smaller islets and outcropping rocks.
The main, and for some even the most fascinating, is the Island of Elba. Who wouldn't want to remain in exile on the island of Elba for a while, just like Napoleon Bonaparte did? There disarming quiet, the suggestive panorama and obviously the mythical beaches make this place unique. There are over 150 beaches, including Marina di Campo, Procchio and Fetovia.
10 - Versilia
The Versilia region is a part of northern Tuscany that occupies the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea not far from Pisa and Lucca. When one thinks of Tuscany, the imagination immediately goes towards rolling hills, ancient farmhouses, delightful villages. Too often we forget about seaside resorts of Versilia such as Viareggio, Forte dei Marmi, Lido di Camaiore, which are also part of the Tuscan dream.
In this area it is possible to enjoy beaches and nightlife, but there are also attractions such as Torre del Lago Puccini, a hamlet of Viareggio known for the presence of beautiful villas, such as the one that hosted Giacomo Puccini. There are also places of natural interest such as the Masaciuccoli Oasis and the nearby Apuan Alps, which offer spectacular views of the coast and activities of interest for families and sports lovers just a few minutes' drive from the coast.
Other attractions and places of interest
Tuscany is a reason so full of wonders that choosing a list of only 10 places to visit is extremely complicated. It is practically impossible not to leave something out, but precisely because we deeply love this land we have decided to include in this last paragraph some "discarded" beauties that still deserve to be mentioned:
- Volterra: it is an Etruscan village so "magical" that it was chosen as the location for the films of the Twilight saga, among the attractions not to be missed are the Palazzo dei Priori and the Duomo;
- Garfagnana: it is a historical and geographical area of the province of Lucca, rich in beautiful villages such as Borgo Mozzano, Gallicano, Barga, Castelnuovo di Garfagnana. In this area there is also the fascinating karst cavity known as the Grotta del Vento;
- Maremma: geographical region that overlooks the Tyrrhenian Sea and includes seaside resorts and historic cities such as Monte Argentario, Grosseto, Pitigliano, Castiglione della Pescaia and Saturnia, the latter known as a spa resort;
- Costa degli Etruschi: locality in the Province of Livorno famous for the presence of Etruscan beaches and necropolis. Some areas of interest are Piombino, Castagneto Carducci, Bibbona, Cecina, Suvereto;
- Pistoia and Montecatini Terme: Pistoia offers one of the most beautiful squares in Italy, overlooked by the Duomo, the Baptistery and the Palazzo del Comune; in its province there is also the famous thermal station of Montecatini.
Plan your trip: How to get there and where to sleep
There are basically three types of holidays you can do in Tuscany: a weekend in a city of art, stay relax by the sea or at the spa and finally a on the road itinerary, which in turn can be enogastronomic, naturalistic, historical or hybrid. For a simple weekend in the city, you can choose between Florence, Pisa, Siena, etc.; that you can reach by train or bus. Hotels and b & b in Florence from € 55,00 per room. For a beach holiday, you can choose Versilia, the Etruscan Coast, the Province of Grosseto or one of the Tuscan Islands. Discover the recommended accommodations in Versilia from € 61,00 per room.
If, on the other hand, you want to build an on the road itinerary, reach the region with your car, or land in one of the two main airports of Pisa and Florence and then rent a rental vehicle (return flights from € 70,00 - rental car from € 40,00 per day). For this kind of trip, Siena is a strategic city in which to base, as it enjoys a central position. Here is a selection of accommodations in Siena starting from € 59,00 per night.