The Tuscany region in Italy is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. No wonder, with so much history, culture and fascinating things to do and see. We love to travel to Italy, Tuscany is actually our favorite region in Italy as well. We love to explore the cities and small villages where the Tuscany region is known for. And also, to enjoy the fantastic regional cuisine!
What is Tuscany best known for? Tuscany is the birthplace of the Renessaince and was home for many famous and historical people in the history of art and science. Among them were the Medici Family, Leonardo Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, and many more. The Tuscany region is also known for its beautiful landscapes, cultural history, and excellent Italian cuisine.
In the countryside, you’ll find the best wine and olive oil production in all of Italy. Nowadays the Tuscany region is often referred to as an open-air museum. In many cities, it feels like you are wandering back in time. All this fascinating history can sometimes be overwhelming, so make sure you plan enough time for your Tuscany tour. So you will be able to enjoy the great history and also have time for some relaxing with the best Italian wines!
Are you planning a trip to Tuscany and not sure where to start? We selected the best-known places to visit in Tuscany, that you don’t want to miss!
Make sure to read our other Italy blogs!
City of Pisa
Pisa is one of the most important historic cities in all of Tuscany. Anyone looking for a rich exploration of the history of Italy must consider a trip to Pisa. Of course, the most famous thing to do in Pisa is to visit the iconic leaning tower of Pisa. And, if you’re up to it, taking an obligatory “leaning” selfie photo to show everyone back home.
Fun Fact; Did you know the leaning tower of Pisa actually straightens every year?
The famous Tuscany ‘Leaning Tower of Pisa’ is just one part of a more massive complex which includes a historic cemetery, a baptistery, and a beautiful cathedral. You’ll find some of the most remarkable architecture in all of Italy. If you’re heading to the baptistery, resist the urge to wade through the massive crowds to see the inside. The interior is remarkably plain, and you are better off heading to a museum in Pisa to see Renaissance-era artwork.
Art lovers pay attention!
You must check out the Palazzo Blu or Blue Palace of Pisa. This remarkable art museum lies along the river near Pisa’s historic city center. The Blue Palace hosts more than 300 artworks dating from the 1300s to the 1900s. Entry to the regular museum collection is free, and fees for special exhibitions are typically less than $5.
Explore the Village of Trequanda
The historic village of Trequanda founded in the 13th century. Trequanda located in one of the most unspoiled areas still standing in Italy. The town sits picturesquely on a hilltop, surrounded by natural woods. Rows of vineyards and olive groves complete the beautiful scenery. Locals create homemade wines and olive oils with these groves. Trequanda, best described as looking like stepping into a fairytale.
A unique cylindrical tower is one of the most notable sights in the village. The tower is a surviving structure from the original 13th-century castle that the town was founded around. There is also a 13th-century church nestled in the single-street hamlet of Castelmuzio, which houses The Museum of Sacred Art. Home to historic artwork and a treasured reliquary. Lovers of history must visit Petroio, a small village that is home to the Terracotta Museum. In this museum, you can learn about the unique history of terracotta production in the area.
Take in the sights of Village of San Gimignano
San Gimignano is one of the most iconic villages in both Tuscany and Italy as a whole. San Gimignano has a genuinely iconic skyline that overlooks 12th and 13th-century towers spanning across the village. The village has a long and historical past. Its attractions include preserved frescoes, local products, and culinary treats, and an overall charming atmosphere that you can’t find somewhere else.
If you’re the type of traveler who loves history and isn’t afraid of heights, then you’ll definitely want to scale the Torre Grossa, which is the only tower open to public visitors. Once you’re at the top, you will see a beautiful view of San Gimignano from up above.
It’s lovely to wander around the beautiful streets of San Gimignano enjoying the vibe. It almost feels like you’re walking back in time!
Taste the wine of Chianti
Chianti is well-known for its wine production. The beautiful vineyards of Chianti are lovely on their own, but the broader landscape of the area is just as pleasing. Chianti is home to everything from grapevines to historic olive groves to centuries-old homes, churches, and even castles.
When you’re looking for an authentic taste of Tuscany and the Italian way of life, Chianti is the place where you need to be. Make sure to get to know the culture while tasting some of the best wines of the region.
If you’re not into wine, or just looking for some other activities. Check out the surrounding areas of Chianti. You’ll find some lovely attractions such as the centuries-old Piazza Matteotti. Home to local cafes, restaurants, gelaterias, and artisan workshops. When you’re interested in the history, art, and old architecture, you want to check out Palazzo del Commune which features plenty of 14th-century artwork.
Enjoy the island life on Giglio
Looking for an island getaway? You can combine it with your Tuscany or Italy trip!
Just outside the coast of Tuscany, you’ll find Giglio. A small island where you can wander around the beautiful nature. Or enjoy a relaxing time at one of the famous beaches.
Giglio is easy for a day visit, or you can stay overnight on the island. During August it’s not possible to reach the island by car. So you’ll need to take the ferry and catch a taxi on the island. But it’s also effortless to walk around.
Where most people visit the island just for the day, it’s extraordinary to stay overnight. In the evening you’ll catch the real vibe of Giglio. It’s not so crowded, and you can enjoy your time with the local community.
A visit to Tuscany without seeing Florence is like a visit to Italy without getting at least one cup of authentic gelato. You simply can’t do it!
Florence is not just one of the most beloved cities in Tuscany, and it’s one of the most famous cities in the entire country. Florence is affectionately called the “cradle of the Renaissance,” thanks to the many historical events that took place in this city.
Anyone who loves history, art, and culture will love Florence. There are many things to do in Florence for history and art lovers. Popular attractions include the Palazzo Vecchio, an open-air museum stuffed with Renaissance masterpieces, including the famous Statue of David; and Ponte Vecchio, a river-side district with shops and stalls.
Make sure you spend at least 2 days in this city, it’s worth your time while visiting the historical beauty.
Have a spa day at Montecatini Terme
Montecatini Terme is a spa town in Tuscany, Italy which has a lot to offer any travelers looking to rest, relax and rejuvenate themselves. Of course, the most popular thing to do in Montecatini Terme enjoys a spa experience. The historic spas of Montecatini Terme have been famous for centuries, and visitors to modern Montecatini Terme can still enjoy the warm, relaxing waters which can help you relax, clarify your mind and improve your overall mood.
The most famous spa is the Terme di Montecatini Spa. This spa has indoor and outdoor spas that will help you feel more relaxed. This spa can get very busy, however, so make sure that you book your tickets well in advance to guarantee yourself a spot.
Learn about historic churches in Lucca
Any travelers hoping to take in the famous historic churches that are well-known throughout Tuscany will want to head to the city of Lucca, home off over 100 churches that date back to medieval Italy. Lucca is a historic city that is surrounded by medieval architecture. The city still retains its medieval square and most notably, its medieval churches. Lucca is called the “home of 100 churches.” Because there are seemingly endless array churches dotted across Lucca’s landscape.
After visiting the churches, head to the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro. A circular array of medieval homes built on the ruins of an ancient Roman amphitheater.
Take in the quiet of Lucignano
If you’re a traveler who wants to explore a small Italian village without worrying about bumping into crowds of tourists, then Lucignano may be the option for you. Lucignano is founded during the medieval era. Most of the original medieval structures from this time remained intact. Even the layout of the authentic village is mostly intact from the medieval period.
If you’re traveling with your significant other, head to the local museum to place a lucky charm on the “Tree of Love.” If you visit in May, you’ll be in time for the popular flowers of the Maggiolata festival, which features a unique parade headed by locally made floral floats.
Enjoy the tastes (and textiles) of Prato
Prato is well-known today for its beautiful countryside and delicious culinary treats. Prato, like many cities in the area, is home to some notable historical buildings such as the popular Emperor’s Castle and Duomo di Prato. But it is the unique tastes and textile history of Prato that set it apart from other cities in Tuscany, Italy. While Prato is no longer the textile capital of Tuscany Italy, it is still home to the Textile Museum. A museum which explains the stories and historical role of textiles from Prato.
Travelers who want a taste of authentic Italian food will want to try the famous home-made Biscotti biscuit and cured Mortadella Salumi. Both of which are local delicacies that anyone looking for a culinary adventure in Prato should taste at least once.
Discover the beauty of Siena
Siena is one of the most well-known and well-visited cities in all of Italy. Siena is a must-visit destination for anyone who enjoys beautiful sights, stunning architecture, and unique cultural heritage, unlike any other found in the region. Notable sights include the Piazza del Campo, one of the largest medieval squares in the entire world; the famous Torre del Mangia, an 88-meter high tower that offers one of the best views in the whole city; and the public palace of Sienna, where all the rulers of Siena once lived.
Travelers who love traditional food will enjoy traditional Siena dishes, including meals made with wild boar, Cinta Senese (a local domestic pig breed) and hare. For dessert, there are cantucci biscuits, Ricciarelli, and Panforte. Siena wines include Brunello di Montalcino and Vernaccia di San Gimignano. Meals and snacks are available throughout the city from restaurants and street vendors.
How to get to Tuscany and get around?
It’s easy to catch a flight to Italy. There are several International Airports in the Tuscany region. You can either fly into Florence or Pisa. Both cities are an excellent way to start your Tuscany travels. However, we recommend to start and end your trip in Florence.
Pisa is a lovely city for just a day or half day visit. And Florence takes a lot more time to explore. So starting your trip in Florence is a smarter way to manage your time.
We advise planning at least a 7 day trip for your Tuscany tour. When you’re able to, try to make this trip even longer. This way you can enjoy even more of the beautiful area.
When you arrive in Florence, we advise you to take the first day exploring the historical city. The next day you can pick up a rental car for the next few days of your trip. You don’t need a car in Florence. We always book our rental cars via Rentalcars.com, an easy and reliable way to book a cheap rental car.
It’s really easy to drive around Tuscany. The roads are good, and the countryside is marvelous! Make sure to use good navigation, for example, on your smartphone. We never use data-internet connection when we abroad. So a good app for navigation offline is maps.me, you need to download the maps first when you’re online, but then you can use it offline. Saves a lot of money 😉
We put together a Roadtrip recommendation for 7 days. Just to make your life a bit easier and save you the trouble of planning everything on your travels to Tuscany 😉
When you have more time, add a few days at every stop. You’ll explore Italian hospitality even more. You can also visit the island of Giglio. Visiting the island will take you at least two days, so when you have seven days, it’s easier to stay on the mainland.
Day 1: Florence
Day 2: Chianti Region (Wine tasting) – Pick up your rental car in the morning
Day 3: Trequenda – Siena
Day 4: San Gimignano – Volterra – Pisa
Day 5: Lucca / Montecatini Terme – time for a SPA day!
Day 6/7: Prato/ Florence – Bring back the Rental car
Tuscany in Italy is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. And with so much to offer, from historical sites to delicious treats and everything in between, it is no wonder that millions of tourists find their way Tuscany every year.
Time to get back home? Or maybe you want to explore more of Italy? Either way, when you’re looking for some more Italian inspiration, we got you covered!