Famously known as the birthplace of the Renaissance, Tuscany is a beautiful region with timeless appeal.
Located in central Italy, Tuscany is home to several iconic cities, including Florence, Pisa, and Sienna.
These cities were once home to some of the world’s most famous artists, such as Da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Donatello.
Besides its art-filled past, Tuscany is also home to vineyards, beaches, and the Apennine Mountains.
We hope this guide offers inspiration and advice on how to begin your journey to the most cultured region of Italy.
Most international travellers to Tuscany arrive at one of two major airports:
(Aeroporto di Firenze-Peretola, FLR). Florence Airport is located just a short drive from the city centre. This is ideal for those planning to explore Florence and its surroundings. Or:
(Aeroporto di Pisa, PSA). Pisa Airport, with its iconic leaning tower, is strategically placed for those venturing into western Tuscany.
Firenze Santa Maria Novella is the main train station in Florence, which connects major cities like Florence, Siena, and Pisa with picturesque towns, rolling hills, and the stunning Tuscan countryside.
Renting a car in Tuscany offers the freedom to explore the region’s hidden gems. Choose from multiple rental agencies, including major international brands. Tuscany’s winding roads and picturesque villages make driving an excellent way to uncover the countryside and access remote destinations.
Every Tuscan city offers a diverse array of accommodation options to suit every traveller’s taste.
Tuscany’s hotels offer diverse choices, from historic, upscale villas to boutique city lodgings and countryside retreats. Many blend authentic Italian charm with modern comforts for a memorable stay.
Bed and Breakfast accommodations provide a homely atmosphere. Locals often run them and offer a unique insight into everyday Tuscan life, complete with delicious meals authentic to the region.
This option is ideal for extended stays or those wanting a home away from home. Across the region, there are various apartments available to rent, from modern and historic to the city and the countryside.
Budget travellers can find several hostels in and around Florence, Tuscany’s capital city. Siena and Pisa have fewer options, but a handful are available. Hostels traditionally offer a mix of dormitories and private rooms.
For a truly Tuscan experience, consider staying in a historic farmhouse or one of the relaxed cities, overlooking Florence’s Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore or a medieval hotel in Siena.
This world-renowned art museum houses a remarkable collection of Renaissance masterpieces, making it a cultural treasure trove for art enthusiasts. Be sure to see Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus and Caravaggio’s Medusa.
Home to Michelangelo’s iconic sculpture, David, this museum draws visitors from around the world and is well worth a visit.
Also known as the Florence Cathedral, is a stunning Gothic masterpiece with its iconic dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, representing one of Italy’s most significant architectural achievements.
This picturesque, shell-shaped medieval square is known for its architectural beauty, hosting the historic Palio horse race and offering an inviting space for people to gather and savour the city’s charm.
This striking Gothic cathedral is renowned for its intricate facade, ornate interior, and breathtaking view from its unfinished facade, offering a captivating glimpse into medieval Italian architecture.
This world-famous bell tower leans due to a structural flaw, attracting countless visitors who marvel at its unique tilt and historical significance.
The Tarot Garden is a mesmerizing sculpture garden in Tuscany created by the French artist Niki de Saint Phalle. It features massive and colourful sculptures inspired by tarot cards, offering a whimsical and surreal experience for visitors as they explore this enchanting artistic oasis set against the backdrop of the Tuscan landscape.
Beyond the must-visit attractions are the equally important hidden gems of Tuscany. We could write an entire guide just with local insights into Tuscany, offering up lesser-known spots. Perhaps we will do just this in the future…
Montepulciano is a treasure trove for wine enthusiasts. The town is famous for its Vino Nobile, a robust red wine, and offers numerous wine cellars for tastings. Its medieval architecture, including the Palazzo Comunale and the Duomo, creates a captivating atmosphere.
Pitigliano is an enchanting village that seems to emerge from the tufa cliffs of southern Tuscany. It boasts a rich Jewish history, with a synagogue and Jewish cemetery. The medieval streets are a delight to explore, and the panoramic views from this “Little Jerusalem” are breathtaking.
The Maremma Coast is a relatively undiscovered coastal paradise. It has pristine beaches, like Marina di Alberese, set within the peaceful Maremma Regional Park. Plus, the natural hot springs at Saturnia offer a unique spa experience.
Lucca’s charm lies in its well-preserved Renaissance walls, which you can stroll or bike along for beautiful views. The city’s historical centre is a pedestrian-friendly haven with cobblestone streets, medieval towers, and picturesque piazzas.
Bolgheri is a tiny village famous for its cypress-lined Viale dei Cipressi. This avenue is not only visually stunning but also leads to some of Tuscany’s best wineries, known for their super Tuscan wines. The village itself exudes a rustic charm with its cosy cafes and restaurants.
Saturnia is an ideal destination for relaxation and rejuvenation. Its thermal waterfalls, with their healing properties, offer a unique spa experience. Surrounded by lush greenery, these natural baths are perfect for unwinding.
Often referred to as the ‘Medieval Manhattan’, due to its distinctive skyline of ancient towers, San Gimignano is a charming Tuscan hilltop town renowned for its well-preserved medieval architecture and captivating historic atmosphere.
These three enchanting towns in the heart of Tuscany are relatively closeby to each other and make for a great day trip. Greve, a bustling market town, serves as the gateway to Chianti, known for its lively Piazza Matteotti. Panzano, a hidden gem nestled among rolling hills, is celebrated for its traditional Tuscan cuisine. Radda has charming medieval streets that lead to a 15th-century fortress and offer panoramic views of the stunning Chianti landscape.
This captivating hill town in Tuscany, Italy, boasts enchanting medieval streets, historic Etruscan roots, and breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. There are several museums to see, showcasing the town’s Etruscan past.
This location offers a captivating blend of history and art. Volterra’s well-preserved medieval architecture, including the impressive Porta all’Arco gate, and the Etruscan Museum showcase its rich past.
Renowned for its exquisite Brunello di Montalcino wine, Montalcino is an idyllic hilltop location that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding vineyards and countryside.
Tuscan cuisine is a culinary journey that celebrates simple, high-quality ingredients. The region is renowned for its delicious dishes and fine wines.
Tuscan food is known for its rich, roasted meats, with lots of well-flavoured game, such as pheasant, deer, and wild boar. We can’t possibly do justice to Tuscan cuisine here, so we’ll simply summarize some of our favourite Tuscan dishes!
A hearty vegetable soup made with bread and beans, often topped with a drizzle of flavorful olive oil.
A tomato and bread soup, seasoned with basil and Tuscan olive oil. Taste this comforting dish at Trattoria La Casalinga in Florence.
A mouthwatering T-bone steak, expertly grilled and simply seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Savour it at Trattoria 4 Leoni in Florence.
Thick, hand-rolled pasta, typically served with a variety of sauces.
Almond biscuits often dipped in Vin Santo, a sweet dessert wine.
Just as with Tuscan food, we can’t possibly summarize everything worth drinking in Tuscany. So, we’ll highlight some of our favourite Tuscan drinks here:
A renowned red wine made primarily from Sangiovese grapes, offering fruity flavours and hints of spice.
This dry red wine is only made in central Tuscany, look out for the black rooster that marks every bottle.
A rich and full-bodied red wine produced in the town of Montalcino.
A crisp white wine with floral notes, perfect for warm Tuscan evenings.
A sweet dessert wine often served with cantucci.
This famous grape-based Italian liquor is made from leftover grape skins, seeds, stalks, and pulp in a wine press. Its distinctive flavour is not for everyone, but it is a staple in Tuscan drinks.
Shopping in Tuscany offers some of the best opportunities in Italy. From markets and antique shops to high-end fashion, Tuscany has a lot to offer!
Tuscany’s open-air markets are a shopping paradise. Florence’s San Lorenzo Market, for instance, offers leather goods, clothing, and an array of souvenirs. Siena’s Piazza del Campo hosts the Mercato del Campo, showcasing local food, wine, and crafts.
Florence and Arezzo stand out as Tuscan cities celebrated for their exceptional goldsmiths and jewellery ateliers.
Tuscany is a haven for antique collectors. Arezzo hosts an esteemed monthly antique fair and Florence boasts shops filled with historic artifacts and vintage pieces.
Ceramics from places like Montelupo Fiorentino and Impruneta are sought after for their unique designs.
Travelling in Tuscany can be an enriching experience, but it’s essential to be mindful of local customs and etiquette to make the most of your visit:
Italians commonly greet each other with a kiss on both cheeks, but handshakes are acceptable for tourists. Politeness is highly valued, so saying “Buongiorno” (good morning) and “Buonasera” (good evening) when entering shops or restaurants is appreciated.
Italians generally dress well, so it’s a good idea to avoid overly casual attire, especially when dining at nicer restaurants or visiting churches. In summer, bring light and modest clothing for visits to religious sites.
Tuscan restaurants often have set opening hours for lunch and dinner. Lunch is usually served from 1:o0 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and dinner starts around 8:00 p.m. Reservations are advisable, especially at popular establishments.
When visiting churches, cover your shoulders and knees as a sign of respect. Avoid speaking loudly in historical or sacred places.
Trains and buses are common modes of transport, and it’s essential to validate your ticket before boarding. Be cautious of pickpockets in crowded areas. Buy your tickets before boarding from any Tabacco shop or using the app TABNET.
Tuscany offers a plethora of captivating day trip opportunities, making it a perfect destination for exploration. That’s why you should check out our Day Tours in and from Tuscany!
Explore this city’s renowned art, historic architecture, and the iconic Uffizi Gallery. A must-visit for every traveller coming to Italy, whether you visit the museums, sample local cuisine, or simply walk around the city.
Here you can explore the picturesque Chianti region, dotted with vineyards and charming villages like Greve and Radda. The Tuscan countryside is a postcard-worthy destination wherever you choose.
The stunning Piazza del Campo and the historic Palio horse race is another must-see. This city is great for walking around and discovering history en route.
Both of these towns offer unique historical and cultural experiences. Whether you’re interested in art, wine, history, or scenic beauty, you can enjoy the slower pace outside of the main tourist cities.
Tuscany remains one of Italy’s most popular hotspots, due to its fantastic tourist cities with its abundant art, iconic architecture, and delicious regional cuisine. From bustling Florence to the serene countryside towns, a visit to Tuscany promises eternal memories.
While its famous landmarks attract tourists from across the globe, don’t forget to discover the heart of the region in lesser-explored corners and towns off the beaten track. Embrace age-old traditions as you discover ancient buildings, authentic eateries, and more.
If you are staying in the Chianti area, discover our tours of Tuscany with Tuscany on Wheels for a unique way to see the region. Based in Barberino Tavarnelle, just 10km from San Gimignano, Tuscany on Wheels is our sister company that offers exciting adventures infused with local colour.