Tuscany is the symbolic region of Made in Italy in the world. A place where beauty is always the master, in the form of artistic masterpieces, haute couture creations or picture-postcard landscapes. Foreign tourists love it unconditionally and consider it the image-symbol of the Belpaese: they flock indiscriminately to museums, wineries, spas and villages. And we who have so much beauty at our fingertips, why don’t we take advantage of it?
Treat yourself to a holiday in Tuscany: you don’t have to be a wealthy foreigner to appreciate beauty. Just take a car and drive up and down narrow roads through the countryside, stop off in a medieval village that seems to have stood still in time, and end the day with a genuine dinner washed down with a good glass of Chianti or Brunello di Montalcino.
Tuscany is not only art galleries and characteristic villages, it is also sea and nature. You can bask in the sun on wild beaches that are difficult to reach or lidos equipped with all facilities, go skiing at Abetone, trekking and mountain biking in the Apuan Alps, or bathe in the warm waters of a natural spring inside a forest.
After your first holiday, treat yourself to a second, or a third or a fourth, because there is such a wealth of attractions in Tuscany that you will not be able to see them all in a weekend or a week and you will definitely want to return. You never get tired of beauty.
Rich in attractions, scenic beauty and events, Tuscany can be visited all year round. However, there are a few factors to consider in order to get the most out of your holiday.
If you focus on art cities, try to avoid the high season. Florence is one of the most visited cities in Italy and can be a little claustrophobic during the holidays, when the streets of the centre and its famous museums are taken by storm by tourists.
Beware also of the heat: visiting Florence and other art cities in summer can be tiring. In the summer months it is better to go to the seaside, and there is no shortage of options for a nice seaside holiday in Tuscany! If, on the other hand, you want to visit the villages or take a walk, the recommended seasons are spring and autumn.
Winter can be cold and in mountain areas snowfalls are not uncommon. Keep this in mind if you plan a holiday in this season.
When planning your holiday in Tuscany, remember to take a look at the events planned in the places you are interested in. During the most famous events, hotels are always sold out, so it is important to book well in advance.
Florence is the jewel in the crown of Tuscan tourism: the unmissable destination of Italy’s noble Grand Tours of the past, it is still one of the most visited cities in the Belpaese. The lure of its artistic masterpieces, such as the Duomo and the Uffizi Gallery, and the romantic views from the Ponte Vecchio is truly irresistible.
Another city-symbol of tourism in Italy is Pisa, known by all for its famous Leaning Tower. Siena ‘s fame, on the other hand, is linked to the Palio, a centuries-old tradition that fascinates locals and visitors from all over the world, and for the beautiful Piazza del Campo.
Perched atop a hill, surrounded by greenery, framed by elegant cypress trees, the villages of Tuscany are an enchantment that the whole world envies us. Choosing which ones to visit is a real dilemma because there are so many of them and they are all beautiful, but three that you absolutely must see are San Quirico d’Orcia, Certaldo and San Gimignano: three iconic medieval villages that encompass centuries of history and art.
Wine connoisseurs cannot miss Montepulciano, a village whose name is linked to one of Tuscany’s most famous and appreciated wines; beauty and food and wine are also to be found in Pienza: described as ‘the ideal city’ by Pope Pius II, it is the home of a very tasty pecorino cheese.
If you prefer literature to the pleasures of the table, pay homage to one of our most important writers by visiting Certaldo, Boccaccio’s birthplace.
Blessed are the Tuscans: they live in dream cities and then when the heat gets stifling they can take the car and off they go, in no time at all, sunbathing on dream beaches! Why don’t you treat yourself to a few days by the sea in Tuscany too?
You can choose between mundane locations, full of clubs and entertainment, such as Forte dei Marmi, Marina di Pietrasanta and Lido di Camaiore, or lesser-known beaches that still retain a wild beauty. The city-symbol of carefreeness, however, is Viareggio, a seaside resort famous for one of the most important carnivals in the world. Other seaside resorts with a long tourist tradition are Marina di Grosseto and Marina di Carrara.
A top destination for lovers of the beautiful sea are the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago, among which are the Island of Elba, the island of Giglio and the island of Capraia. Here you can experience a dream holiday immersed in nature, but beware: these are well-known destinations and not exactly inexpensive, so if your holiday budget is tight, book well in advance to have more choice of accommodation and to get an affordable price.
Tuscany’s thermal bath s are the right place to forget the stresses of everyday life and completely recharge your batteries. A hot bath in the natural thermal springs of Saturnia and Bagni di San Filippo is a totally regenerating experience, to be tried at least once in a lifetime.
For a romantic holiday, however, it is better to book a spa hotel in the most famous thermal resorts in Tuscany: luxury facilities guarantee privacy and dreamlike experiences. You can look in Saturnia or in Montecatini Terme, Chianciano and Rapolano.
Tuscany has a long tradition of hotel accommodation: this applies both to city contexts such as Florence and Pisa, and to other contexts such as villages, seaside resorts and even rural areas. Finding a place to stay in Tuscany is generally not difficult because the choice of accommodation is very wide. However, if you have special needs, budget or taste, it is a good idea to book in advance, all the more so if you are travelling during special events (e.g. the Palio di Siena or the Viareggio Carnival) or during high season.
The flagship of Tuscan hospitality are the b&b and agriturismi: these are in fact the structures that best express the quintessence of the Tuscan way of life, a lifestyle devoted to beauty, simplicity and good food.
The prices of b&b and agriturismi in Tuscany vary greatly depending on the category. Some accommodations are very simple and offer basic services; others, on the other hand, are very well-kept charming houses that mostly cater to wealthy foreign tourists and are therefore rather expensive.
In Florence and the spa resorts it is easy to find good quality hotels and flats; the same can be said of the seaside resorts.
A road trip to Tuscany is the best way to fully capture the poetry of this timeless region. Rail and bus connections between the main cities in Tuscany are efficient, but many small villages, including some of the most famous ones, are difficult to reach by public transport. It would be impossible to explore the length and breadth of enchanting areas such as the Chianti region, the Val d’Orcia or the Garfagnana… but it would also be a shame not to!
Driving in Tuscany is a very pleasant and relaxing experience. Leaving the big cities behind, the roads are generally lightly trafficked and the landscape before your eyes is breathtakingly beautiful. Sinuous hills, endless stretches of vineyards or blossoming sunflower fields and regular rows of cypress trees are the symbolic images of a driving holiday in Tuscany. But the landscapes are much more varied: lush green meadows, maritime pines and rugged rocky mountains also await you.
You can create a car itinerary tailored to your interests and the time you have available, choosing where and when to stop. For example, the car allows you to stop at wineries you encounter along your Chianti route or visit several villages in one day. The car is also useful for those who want to combine cities of art and islands in a one-week holiday: with a vehicle at your disposal, you will not waste time waiting for trains and buses to reach the port.
Tuscany is a region in central Italy. It is bordered to the north by Liguria and Emilia-Romagna, to the south by Lazio and to the east by Umbria and for a short distance by Marche. It is washed by the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west.