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Tuscany is a province in Italy that has mesmerized travelers for years. It’s famous for its vineyards and wineries, Roman history, renaissance architecture and artwork, delicious food, and friendly locals – what’s not to love?
If you’re thinking of visiting Tuscany in Italy, you’ve made the right choice. There are so many amazing places to visit in Tuscany, you could easily spend a month there and not see it all.
That’s why we wrote this guide. Because not all travelers are blessed with limitless time, and we want you to have the best holiday possible – so we’ve listed out favourite Tuscany destinations so you can decide which places to add to your itinerary.
Whether it’s beaches, cities or countryside you’re after, there’s something special and unique about these places.
Places to Visit in Tuscany
So without further ado, here are our favourite areas in Tuscany to visit!
My personal favorite, Florence, is a beautiful city full of history, architecture, Renaissance art, and food. After visiting one or all of the world-famous galleries like the Uffizi Gallery to see works by Leonardo da Vinci or the Accademia Gallery to view Michelangelo’s David treat yourself to a steak Florentine.
You will want to skip lunch if you are going to pay homage to the altar of steak but if you need something to bridge the gap head to the San Lorenzo market and pick up a lampredotto sandwich.
The simmered fourth stomach of a cow, sliced thin and garnished with green sauce and a splash of cooking juice on the bun, this sandwich is only served up in Florence and has been for hundreds of years.
Now that you’re fueled up, hit the city and open every door because behind one could be a hidden feast for the eyes or stomach.
Be sure to check out the most famous sites, the Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo including the bell tower and baptistery.
The Museo di Palazzo Vecchio is open late so you can end your day by slipping into an art coma from its over-the-top interior.
We loved Lucca and fortunately, our apartment was only a fifteen-minute drive to the walled town.
Once called the city of a hundred churches, because it seemed that there was a church on every corner, Lucca is now a small town known for its nest of art, artisans, and all things Tuscan.
Lucca was the capital of Tuscany and was fortified with huge walls that you can now walk or cycle around for a great view of the town and the surrounding rolling hills.
For a better view climb the steps of either one of the two medieval towers Guinini or Torre delle Ore.
Before hitting the stairs up pop down the street to Lucca’s oldest coffee shop Caffe di Simo for one of the best coffees you will ever have. A honey-soaked pastry or treat along with that and you are ready for the climb.
Back on the ground don’t be afraid to check out every street, you can’t get lost and you will find some of the best places where you may not expect like Forno Casali where they make an all-corn focaccia that is a unique and delicious bread.
Don’t be surprised if it’s still warm from the oven and good luck walking a block without tearing into it.
3. Chianti and Siena
If you are lucky enough to have a car on your trip you could not have a more romantic and beautiful drive than through the rolling vineyards of the Chianti region, lined with low-lying villas and small hilltop towns.
Perfectly cultivated rows of grape vines line the estates along with olive trees, vegetable gardens, and flowers.
Lunch at a vineyard or estate is a must and we highly recommend Casamonti Estates. At Casamonti not only is the host gracious, the food delicious, the wine tastings splendid, and the estate incredible but you get to eat the legendary Cinta Sinese pig.
In fact not only do you get to eat it but you can see the whole process of raising and processing this historic swine into mind-bending prosciutto, salami, and guanciale, a gigantic, cured cheek.
If you call ahead they may even sell you fresh Cinta meat, such as ribs or an arista (roast).
Within ten minutes you can drive into the bustling city of Siena.
The walled city sits up high in the hilltops in the middle and once inside you can walk all through its sloped cobblestone streets and steep stairs.
Be sure to check out the piazza del campo which is one of the most beautiful squares in Tuscany and a great place to find a bite to eat. It’s also the site of the annual horse race and is where you’ll find the stunning architectural wonders of Torre del Mangia and Palazzo Pubblico.
Siena has a long list of museums and galleries worth checking out, but you may have a sore neck if you do it all since some of the best paintings are overhead.
If you’re short on time don’t miss the Cathedral of Siena, it is a great example of the Italian’s love of extravagant art and interior design and well worth the ticket price.
Panforte, a dense unleavened fruit cake, originated in Siena and is wonderful with a piece of pecorino cheese and a glass of prosecco.
4. Apuan Alps
If your drive through wine country was a little too mundane this drive is sure to clear the cobwebs.
Highway 13 from Castelnuovo through the alps to Massa on the other side is the most spectacular piece of dangerous road I have ever driven.
A virtual one-lane ribbon of pavement glued to the side of the mountains that wiggles its way along the Garfagnana valley, through the Alps (literally), and down the mountainside to the ocean.
Your reward for braving the insanity is some of the most incredible views of marble-capped peaks and lunar-like landscapes you can find.
Hiking trails are available at every possible stop, so you better bring some water, the Apuan Alps produce one of the finest waters in the world, in my opinion. Water from these mountains is said to supply the whole country.
We loved the Fonteviva brand, it tasted like you were drinking from a glacial stream. The fact that we had just climbed a mountain in 40+ Celsius weather may have had something to do with it.
If spending a day driving is not your thing maybe a day at the beach is more your style. Viareggio has some of the most interesting beaches we have encountered.
The main beach running down the coast through the heart of the city is serviced by a beautiful boardwalk lined with restaurants, shops, and gelaterias.
The ocean however is only accessible through private beach clubs that own sections of the beach. The clubs will rent you a chair and umbrella on a beautifully kept beach for about Û25 a day, and visitors will often rent out space for the summer like a cottage.
A Tuscan tan is something to be proud of here and the darker the better, some so dark they looked a little purple. The chairs are stacked in like cordwood so good luck flinging a frisbee or tossing around a football.
If free is more your style (you still have to pay for parking) and you don’t mind a relatively unkept beach, head towards Torre del Lago and the dunes.
With no trouble at all you can find your own stretch of sand and the people are much more interesting. No beach chairs here just a few kilometers of driftwood-strewn coast, the same ocean, and the same Tuscan sun.
Famous for the Leaning Tower of Pisa, one of the most famous attractions in Italy and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This iconic bell tower is world-renowned for its leaning shape caused by an unstable foundation on soft soil. Exploring the rest of the nearby square will take you through religious monuments such as churches and baptisteries which were all added to the square at different points in history.
But Pisa has more to offer than just the leaning tower, it has a long and fascinating history.
Located in a strategic position at the mouth of two rivers, Pisa’s port enabled it to become one of the greatest maritime harbours of the Middle Ages.
Today, there are many reasons to visit this beautiful Italian city and it’s frequently visited by cruise ships each summer.
For those looking for something to do beyond sightseeing, Pisa is full of art galleries, unique shops, and delicious food!
7. Island of Elba
The Tuscan archipelago is one of the most beautiful hidden gems in Italy, and any visit here would not be complete without a visit to the largest island in the group, Elba Island.
Nestled away within the Tyrrhenian seas, the island of Elba is a cultural icon of the area.
First established by the Etruscans, and then later by the Romans, there is plenty of history that can be explored along with plenty of fun and exciting activities to fill up any holiday itinerary.
Elba island is all about the beaches. Be sure to soak up some sun at the Spiaggia di Sansone, Spiaggia di Capo Bianco or Spiaggia delle Ghiaie. Wherever you look, you’ll be surrounded by turquoise waters and pure white beaches.
Culture vultures should be sure to explore its many cultural sites such as the ruins of the Castello de Volterraio.
Located along the Tuscan coastline of Italy, Livorno is a beautiful seaside city with historical roots dating all the way back to 1017, when it was built as a fortress to protect Pisa. It’s often used as a gateway to Pisa for cruise ships, but don’t just skip it for Pisa!
Not only is there a vibrant and colourful harbour filled with fishing boats and day cruise vessels, but there is also a historic centre complete with gorgeous architecture that features gothic, Renaissance and Baroque-style buildings.
Popular attractions in Livorno include the Terrazza Mascagni, Sanctuary of Montenero, and Monument of the Four Moors, which are all ideal for getting a taste of the area’s history and heritage.
For those looking for something unique in Livorno, the city showcases its authentic Italian culture through its unique regional cuisine, such as its famous cacciucco fish stew!
In addition to eating delicious food from local restaurants, visitors can also enjoy luxury shopping in Livorno Marina or explore local art galleries located throughout the city.
Grosseto is an enchanting place to visit in Tuscany with roots stretching all the way back to 1564 when it was founded by Baldassarre Lanci.
The city is unique in that it’s built in a circular shape, surrounded by classic Italian hills landscape and composed of stunning renaissance architecture.
As you delve into its history, be sure to visit the cathedral of San Lorenzo which dates back. to the 13th century, as well as the Museo Archeologico della Maremma.
Piazza Duomo provides a picturesque spot to enjoy some of Grosseto’s great food and wine while watching the locals go by.
Grosseto has plenty of activities to offer visitors too – spend a leisurely afternoon visiting one of its many art galleries or take a hike through the nearby Parco Regionale della Maremma for some natural beauty, hiking and biking trails.
Volterra is filled with history. It was first settled before the 8th century BC, and was an important corner of the Etruscan, Roman and Medieval civilizations.
Today, visitors can still get a sense of this ancient past by exploring piazza grande, which is considered the heart of the town. It was made famous after it appeared in the Twilight movie, New Moon.
There are several other piazzas as well, all offering quaint cafes and restaurants serving the best of Tuscany’s vibrant food culture and showcasing captivating architecture. It’s no wonder why Volterra has attracted travelers over the centuries.
Pienza is an enchanting village in Tuscany that is famous for featuring in many Hollywood movies such as Gladiator and Romeo and Juliet. It’s surrounded by rolling hills, rural landscapes, and breathtaking views.
It’s often referred to as one of the most beautiful areas in the world and is what many imagine when they think of Tuscany.
Pienza has been officially recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It was once a humble village overlooking the Orcia river valley, but now this small town has become an important cultural center and is one of the most unmissable places to visit in Tuscany.
Be sure to head over to the Val d’Orcia for some lush views of the Tuscan countryside.
Cortona is a small Italian town brimming with beauty and rich history. Founded by the Umbrians, and then soon after conquered by the Etruscans, this city is full of awe-inspiring historic artifacts ranging from wall paintings to tombs.
Immerse yourself in the Renaissance architecture of Cortona by walking through the streets and admiring its beauty at every turn.
As for activities, don’t miss out on visiting some of its churches – not only for their religious significance but also as an opportunity to marvel at stunning works of fresco art which each have unique stories behind them.
It isn’t hard to notice Cortona’s influence from rustic Tuscan culture while strolling around.
Exuding charming little shops where locals sell home-grown produce or exceptional wines, its rural vibes will surely make you feel right at home.
Arezzo is an amazing place to visit in the Tuscany region of Italy, offering visitors a quintessentially Italian experience.
With its age-old roots going back to the Etruscan civilization in the 4th century BC, Arezzo boasts many must-see historical sites, including the impressive Cattedrale di Arezzo, a stunning Roman cathedral.
The Piazza Grande is especially memorable with its palazzos and weekly antique market since it shows off the charm of Arezzo’s ancient past.
When you’re done taking in the historical sights, head to Casentino Valley for some outdoor adventure and outdoor activities like hiking and mountain biking.
Plus, wine lovers will be pleased as there are several acclaimed wineries nearby where you can taste some of the best wines that Italy has to offer.
Montepulciano is a vibrant Italian city that was once inhabited by the Etruscans and was an influential center of trade in the Middle Ages.
Today, Montepulciano is home to a fascinating culture and unique attractions. Visitors can explore the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Biagio which was built in the 1500s, as well as the renowned Palazzo Vecchio.
The city center is surrounded by ancient walls stopping visitors from getting lost in time in this idyllic Italian paradise.
Be sure to try all the local delicacies such as fresh pressed olive oil. It’s also famous for its vino nobile red wine, in particular, Brunello di Montalcino wine.
Be sure to check out the wineries and wine cellars here, as it’s one of the top things to do in Montepulciano!
Best Time to Visit Tuscany
The best time to visit Tuscany is in the Spring or Autumn. This is when there are fewer tourists and you can still enjoy some warm weather.
July and August are the busiest months, as this is when the schools are closed. It has beautiful weather, but you will need to book ahead to avoid queues and to secure the best accommodations.
Before Visiting Tuscany
So there you have it, those are the most beautiful places to visit in Tuscany. As you can see, each place has something special and unique about it, and it simply highlights the diversity of this fascinating country.
We hope this guide helped you plan your next trip to Italy and gave you the insight you need to choose places to add to your itinerary.
Wherever you decide to go, we know you’re in for an incredible trip in Tuscany! It’s truly one of the most diverse and beautiful provinces in Italy.
Whatever your vacationing preference, Tuscany, Italy is sure to please you with its spectacular skyline views, friendly people, and amazing food.
Bio: A Cook Not Mad, a food blog with bouts of travel, was started by Tim & Nathalie Harris in 2011 after they sold their business and decided to travel through Europe. Now that the adventure has started they don’t want it to end. Join them as they travel farther bringing you tasty recipes and pretty pictures from different parts of the world.
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Have you ever been to Tuscany? Do you have any tips for places to see in Tuscany and things to do?