Key Takeaways

  • Deciding on the best things to do in Tuscany is a demanding task as the region’s diversity offers a great variety of options.
  • Visit Florence and Siena for historic landmarks.
  • Explore the Chianti wine region and Tuscan countryside.
  • Taste authentic Tuscan cuisine and visit coastal areas.
Rolling hills dotted with vineyards, cypress trees lining winding roads, and charming medieval towns nestled in the countryside

Tuscany, a region renowned for its rich history, stunning landscapes, and mouthwatering cuisine, offers a multitude of experiences for travelers.

From the architectural marvels of Florence to the charming streets of Siena, the best things to do in Tuscany capture both the essence of Italian culture and the natural beauty of the region.

Each city and town has its unique allure, ensuring an unforgettable journey.

Exploring the hilltop towns and the picturesque Chianti wine region are absolute musts for any visitor.

Whether it’s sampling world-class wines or wandering through vineyards with endless horizons, Tuscany promises adventures that cater to all senses.

Don’t miss the opportunity to admire the Leaning Tower of Pisa and take a relaxing stroll through the medieval walls of Lucca, providing memorable experiences steeped in history.

The culinary delights of Tuscany, encompassing everything from traditional dishes to coastal seafood, are essential aspects of the region’s appeal.

Travelers will find joy in local trattorias and luxurious fine dining establishments alike, all while enjoying the region’s warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Tuscany’s diverse offerings ensure that every moment spent here is filled with discovery and delight.

Explore Florence

Vibrant cityscape with iconic landmarks and rolling Tuscan countryside

Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, offers a wealth of experiences with its historic art, stunning architecture, and vibrant piazzas.

Key attractions in the city include the Uffizi Gallery, the magnificent Duomo, Piazza della Signoria, and the iconic Ponte Vecchio.

The Uffizi Gallery, one of the most renowned art museums in the world, houses a comprehensive collection of Renaissance artworks.

Visitors can admire masterpieces by Botticelli, including ‘The Birth of Venus’ and ‘Primavera.’ The gallery also features works by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael.

The gallery’s unique layout in a horseshoe shape provides an engaging way to explore its extensive collection.

Visitors can spend hours admiring the detailed artistry and historical significance of each piece. Guided tours are available for those interested in a deeper understanding of the artworks.

Climb the Duomo

Climbing the Duomo of Florence, formally known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, offers a breathtaking experience.

Designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, the dome is an architectural marvel. The climb to the top involves 463 steps, which take visitors through narrow passageways and past stunning frescoes.

At the summit, climbers are rewarded with panoramic views of Florence.

The sight of the city’s terracotta rooftops, historic buildings, and bustling streets makes the effort worthwhile.

The Duomo itself is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, noted for its intricate facade, which features marble panels in shades of green, pink, and white.

Wander through Piazza della Signoria

Piazza della Signoria is Florence’s political heart and a vibrant open-air museum.

The square is home to the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence’s town hall, which offers tours of its grand rooms and historic chambers.

The Loggia dei Lanzi, an adjacent open-air sculpture gallery, showcases notable statues, including Cellini’s ‘Perseus with the Head of Medusa.’

In the center of the square stands a replica of Michelangelo’s David, with the original residing in the Galleria dell’Accademia.

The lively atmosphere of the piazza, surrounded by cafes and restaurants, makes it a perfect spot for people-watching and soaking in the historical ambiance.

Stroll across Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio, Florence’s oldest and most famous bridge, spans the Arno River.

Known for its charming appearance and historic significance, the bridge is lined with shops that traditionally housed butchers and tanners. Today, these shops are home to jewelers, art dealers, and souvenir sellers.

The bridge offers picturesque views of the Arno River, particularly at sunset.

Its unique design, featuring a central corridor extending above the shops, was once used by the Medici family to move between their residences.

Walking across Ponte Vecchio provides a glimpse into Florence’s rich history and vibrant present.

Discover Siena

Vibrant cityscape of Siena, Tuscany with iconic red brick buildings, narrow cobblestone streets, and a bustling piazza filled with colorful market stalls and lively locals

Siena, renowned for its rich history, natural hot springs, and vibrant culture, offers visitors numerous attractions, including its famous piazzas, stunning cathedrals, and unique medieval charm.

Below are some essential experiences.

Explore Piazza del Campo

Piazza del Campo serves as the heart of Siena. This shell-shaped square is one of the most iconic public spaces in Italy.

The piazza is known for its architecture, featuring the Palazzo Pubblico and the Torre del Mangia.

Visitors can sit at a café and take in the stunning surroundings or climb the Torre del Mangia for panoramic views of the city.

The piazza is also the site of the famous Palio di Siena horse race.

It’s a lively area where tourists and locals gather, making it a vibrant spot to experience the city center’s atmosphere.

Visit the Siena Cathedral

Duomo di Siena, or the Siena Cathedral, is an architectural masterpiece.

The cathedral is famous for its intricate façade and stunning interior, which includes beautiful mosaic floors, detailed frescoes, and the Piccolomini Library.

Visitors can explore the cathedral’s chapels and crypts, as well as the baptistery.

Purchasing a pass allows entry to various sections of the cathedral complex, including the Museum of the Opera del Duomo.

Each of these areas provides a distinct perspective on Siena’s artistic and historical importance.

Walk through the Medieval Streets

The medieval streets of Siena offer a captivating journey back in time.

Visitors can wander through narrow, winding lanes, each with its own unique charm. These streets are home to an array of shops, cafés, and historical buildings.

Strolling through different contrade, or city districts, reveals the town’s historical richness.

A walk through these streets often leads to lesser-known attractions, hidden courtyards, and quaint squares.

The streets are best explored on foot, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the atmosphere of this medieval town.

Attend the Palio di Siena Horse Race

The Palio di Siena is a thrilling horse race held twice a year, on July 2 and August 16.

This event dates back to the Middle Ages and takes place in Piazza del Campo. Teams from Siena’s various contrade compete in this fiercely contested race.

The event is a blend of pageantry and competition, making it a must-see for visitors.

The race is preceded by historical parades and various festivities, creating an energetic atmosphere throughout the entire city itself.

Spectators often gather early to secure a good viewing spot, as the race is short but intensely exciting.

Experience the Chianti Wine Region

Rolling vineyards, quaint villages, and historic wineries dot the Chianti region. Sun-drenched hillsides and rustic architecture complete the picturesque scene

The Chianti Wine Region offers visitors a chance to indulge in exquisite wines, explore lush vineyards, ride through scenic landscapes, and savor authentic local cuisine paired with Chianti’s esteemed wines.

Wine Tasting Tours

Chianti is renowned for its wine-tasting opportunities.

Visitors can embark on guided tours that provide insights into the winemaking process.

These excursions typically include wine tastings, of various Chianti wines, such as Chianti Classico, within the region’s historic wineries.

Tour guides often share detailed explanations of the flavors and production techniques unique to Chianti wines, enhancing the overall tasting experience.

Guests may visit prominent wineries like the Banfi Winery, founded in 1978, or lesser-known family-owned vineyards, ensuring a blend of well-known and hidden gems.

Making reservations in advance is recommended, as tours can be popular and spots fill quickly during peak seasons.

Visit Vineyards and Wineries

Exploring the vineyards and wineries is a quintessential Chianti experience.

The region’s vineyards, such as those in Greve in Chianti and Montefioralle, are set against a backdrop of rolling hills. Visitors can walk through the rows of grapevines, learning about the viticulture and harvesting processes.

Many wineries also offer tours of their wine cellars, showcasing barrels and storage methods that highlight the aging process of Chianti wines.

Each visit provides a deeper appreciation of how the terroir and local traditions contribute to the unique character of Chianti wines.

Explore the Countryside on a Vespa

One of the most exhilarating ways to experience the Chianti countryside is by riding a Vespa.

Vespa tours offer an adventurous alternative to traditional sightseeing, allowing visitors to navigate through picturesque routes.

These tours often include stops at scenic viewpoints, charming villages, and, of course, local wineries.

Riding a Vespa through Chianti’s winding roads offers an intimate connection with the landscape, from the fragrant orchards to the expansive vineyards.

It’s an ideal way to combine leisure and exploration while engaging closely with the region’s natural beauty.

Enjoy Local Cuisine Paired with Chianti Wines

Chianti’s local cuisine is as celebrated as its wines.

Dishes are crafted using fresh, locally-produced ingredients, often sourced from nearby orti (vegetable gardens).

Traditional meals, such as ribollita (a vegetable and bread soup) and bistecca alla Fiorentina (Florentine steak), provide excellent pairings with Chianti wines.

Many restaurants and agriturismos (farm stays) in the region offer specialized menus that highlight these food and wine pairings.

Visitors can indulge in multi-course meals that showcase the harmony between Chianti’s robust wines and its rustic cuisine.

For a truly immersive experience, participating in a cooking class can also be an enriching way to understand and enjoy the culinary heritage of Chianti.

Visit Pisa

The iconic leaning tower of Pisa stands tall against a backdrop of lush greenery in the beautiful region of Tuscany

Pisa offers a captivating blend of unique architecture and historical landmarks. Visitors can experience the city’s rich cultural heritage through its iconic structures and scenic views.

Climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of Italy’s most famous landmarks.

Standing at nearly 57 meters, the inclination due to soft ground makes it a unique sight. Visitors can climb the 294 steps to the top for a stunning view of Pisa.

Advanced booking is recommended as entry is limited.

Climbing the tower provides an unparalleled perspective of the city’s architecture and layout, making it a vital experience for any visitor.

Explore the Piazza dei Miracoli

The Piazza dei Miracoli, or Square of Miracles, is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

It features four major religious edifices: the Pisa Cathedral, the Baptistery, the Campanile (Leaning Tower), and the Camposanto Monumentale. This square is the heart of Pisa’s cultural and spiritual life.

Walking through the piazza, visitors are surrounded by historical significance and beautiful Italian Gothic architecture. Each structure adds to the enchanting atmosphere of the square.

Visit the Pisa Cathedral and Baptistery

The Pisa Cathedral, officially known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, is a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture.

Inside, visitors can admire detailed mosaics, impressive artworks, and the intricate marble pulpit by Giovanni Pisano.

Adjacent to the cathedral is the Baptistery of St. John. This structure complements the cathedral with its magnificent acoustics and Gothic design.

The Baptistery’s dome provides a captivating acoustic experience, especially during choir performances.

Stroll along the Arno River

The Arno River runs through Pisa, offering picturesque walks along the riverbanks. The Lungarni (streets along the river) are filled with historical buildings, cozy cafes, and splendid views.

Ponte di Mezzo, a central bridge, provides a focal point for connecting the various parts of the city.

Enjoying a leisurely walk along the Arno, visitors can experience the charm and rhythm of daily life in Pisa.

This stroll is perfect for photography enthusiasts looking to capture the essence of the city.

Wander Through Lucca

A cobblestone street winds through the ancient town of Lucca, lined with colorful buildings and bustling with activity. The town's iconic medieval walls loom in the background, creating a picturesque scene of Tuscany

In northern Tuscany, Lucca offers a rich and immersive experience with its well-preserved city walls, historic towers, and vibrant local festivals.

Visitors can enjoy walking or biking around the city walls, climbing the Guinigi Tower, exploring the historic center, and attending the Lucca Summer Festival.

Walk or Bike around the City Walls

The walled town of Lucca, Le Mura di Lucca, offers a perfect start to your journey that will take you around a few places. These impressive Renaissance-era fortifications encompass the old town.

They were completed in the mid-17th century, and the walls now serve as a green promenade.

Walking or biking along the 4km stretch provides panoramic views of the city and its surroundings.

Bikes can be rented easily, and multiple entry points allow you to begin your tour from any part of the city.

Along the way, you’ll come across scenic spots ideal for picnics and leisurely strolls. While biking, don’t rush; the slow pace lets you absorb Lucca’s beauty.

Visit the Guinigi Tower

One of Lucca’s most iconic structures is the Guinigi Tower, which dates back to the 14th century. This medieval tower stands out with its unique feature—a rooftop garden.

Climbing its 230 steps rewards you with breathtaking views of the city.

The oak trees on top symbolize rebirth and renewal. From this vantage point, you can see the entire layout of Lucca and appreciate the blend of medieval and Renaissance architecture.

The Guinigi Tower is a gem for photography enthusiasts, offering an unparalleled perspective of Lucca’s red-tiled roofs and lush surroundings.

Explore the Historic City Center

Lucca’s historic center is a labyrinth of narrow cobble stone streets and charming piazzas.

Notable spots include the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, a former Roman amphitheater now encircled by picturesque buildings.

Via Fillungo, the main shopping street, is lined with boutiques, cafes, and historic buildings.

Don’t miss the Romanesque Cathedral of San Martino and the Church of San Michele in Foro. A guided tour can enrich your understanding of the city’s history and architecture.

Take your time to discover hidden corners and local eateries. Each alleyway and square has its own story, contributing to the unique atmosphere of Lucca.

Attend the Lucca Summer Festival

The Lucca Summer Festival is a highlight, drawing music lovers from around the world.

Held annually in July, this event features international artists performing in the historic Piazza Napoleone. Previous lineups have included big names like Elton John, Bob Dylan, and Stevie Wonder.

Tickets can be bought online or at local vendors. The festival also offers local food and crafts, adding to the vibrant atmosphere.

While attending, enjoy the blend of contemporary music in a historical setting, creating an unforgettable experience. Whether you prefer rock, pop, or classical, the festival’s diverse genres cater to all tastes.

Discover Hill Towns and Tuscan Countryside

Rolling hills dotted with charming hill towns, cypress-lined country roads, and vineyards stretching as far as the eye can see in the picturesque Tuscan countryside

Tuscany offers a blend of historic hill towns, lush landscapes, and authentic rural experiences. Visitors can explore medieval architecture, stay in charming agriturismos, hunt for truffles, and enjoy scenic hikes.

Historic Hill Towns: Cortona, San Gimignano, Volterra, Montepulciano

Cortona: Famous from the book Under the Tuscan Sun, Cortona offers stunning views of the Chiana Valley. Its narrow streets, Etruscan walls, and Renaissance architecture provide a rich historical experience.

San Gimignano: Known as “The Manhattan of the Middle Ages” due to its iconic towers, San Gimignano has a well-preserved historic center. The 14 surviving towers and medieval layout are a must-see.

Volterra: First inhabited by the Etruscans, Volterra boasts well-preserved Roman theaters and museums that provide insights into its ancient history. The town’s alabaster workshops also offer unique shopping opportunities.

Montepulciano: Positioned on a limestone hill in southern Tuscany, Montepulciano is famous for its Renaissance art and architecture. With its scenic views of the countryside and renowned wine production, it stands out as a highlight for visitors.

Stay in an Agriturismo

An agriturismo stay lets visitors experience rural Tuscan life firsthand. These farm stays often provide homemade meals, wine tasting, and cooking classes.

Many are set in restored farmhouses amidst rolling hills, offering a tranquil retreat. Guests can participate in farm activities, from grape harvesting to olive picking, making it a unique and immersive experience.

Truffle Hunting Experience

Truffle hunting in Tuscany offers a remarkable culinary adventure.

Local guides, often accompanied by trained dogs, take visitors into the woods to search for these prized delicacies.

The experience often includes tasting sessions where freshly found truffles are paired with regional dishes and wines, providing a sensory feast that highlights the unique flavors of Tuscany.

Hiking and Nature Walks

Tuscany’s landscape is ideal for hiking and nature walks.

Routes like the Via Francigena offer varying levels of difficulty, providing scenic views of vineyards, olive groves, and cypress-lined roads.

Natural reserves, such as the Parco della Maremma, let hikers explore diverse flora and fauna. Walking tours through hill towns like Montepulciano also provide a blend of physical activity and sightseeing.

Indulge in Tuscan Cuisine and Coastal Delights

A rustic Tuscan kitchen filled with fresh ingredients and local produce, with a view of the coastal landscape in the background

Tuscany offers a rich tapestry of culinary delights and coastal experiences. With traditional dishes, vibrant local markets, and pristine beaches, it caters to every sensory desire.

Savor Traditional Tuscan Dishes

Tuscan cuisine is celebrated for its simplicity and quality.

Pappa al Pomodoro, a tomato and bread soup, captures the essence of local flavors with ripe tomatoes, olive oil, and garlic.

Ribollita, another hearty soup, blends beans, vegetables, and stale bread.

Bistecca alla Fiorentina, a Tuscan T-bone steak, showcases local beef, often served rare.

Sample Salumi, including soppressataand finocchiona, at local delis. These dishes highlight the Tuscan philosophy of making the most of fresh, local ingredients.

Local Markets and Cooking Classes

Exploring local markets like Mercato Centrale in Florence offers a feast for the senses. Here, you can find fresh produce, cheeses, meats, and wines.

Taking a cooking class in rural Tuscany provides an immersive experience.

Learn to make pasta by hand, prepare Cantucci (almond cookies), or create Ragù alla Toscana.

These classes often include visits to the market, where participants select ingredients, followed by hands-on cooking, culminating in a shared meal with local wine pairings.

Truffle Tasting and Wine Tours

Truffle hunting in the Tuscan foothills is a unique adventure.

Guided by local experts and trained dogs, participants search for prized truffles.

This experience often ends with a tasting session featuring truffle-infused dishes.

Tuscany is also famous for its wines.

Wine tours in regions like Chianti and Montepulciano offer tasting sessions at vineyards.

Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano are must-try varietals.

These tours provide insights into wine production and the opportunity to purchase exclusive bottles.

Coastal Explorations: Beaches and Marine Life

Tuscany’s coastline offers a blend of sandy beaches and charming seaside towns.

Versilia is popular for its long stretches of sandy beaches.

Explore Elba Island, famous for its crystal-clear waters and diverse marine life.

Cala Violina is a pristine beach accessible by foot through a scenic nature reserve.

Activities like snorkeling, diving, and boat tours allow visitors to experience the vibrant underwater ecosystem.

These coastal delights complement Tuscany’s inland culinary adventures, offering a comprehensive travel experience.

Final Thoughts

Vibrant landscape of rolling hills, vineyards, and medieval towns in Tuscany. Iconic cypress trees line winding roads, leading to historic landmarks

Tuscany is a captivating region that effortlessly combines historical grandeur, cultural richness, and natural beauty, offering something for every type of traveler.

Whether you are drawn to the historic streets and Renaissance art of Florence and Siena, the serene landscapes and vineyards of the Chianti region, or the culinary delights and coastal beauty of the Tuscan seaside, Tuscany promises an unforgettable journey.

In Tuscany, the past and present blend seamlessly, creating an enchanting setting where every visitor can find their own slice of paradise.

Whether you are a history enthusiast, a foodie, a wine connoisseur, or simply a traveler seeking beauty and relaxation, Tuscany’s diverse offerings ensure a journey that will be cherished long after the trip has ended!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are some unique activities to experience in the Tuscany countryside?

    Take a hot air balloon ride over the rolling green hills to capture breathtaking views.

    Explore the scenic vineyards and try a wine-tasting tour to experience the region’s famous Chianti.

  • Which are the must-visit places in Tuscany for a first-time traveler?

    Discover the Renaissance art and architecture in Florence.

    Marvel at the Leaning Tower in Pisa.

    Visit Siena’s Piazza del Campo, known for its medieval cityscape.

  • Can you suggest some family-friendly activities in Tuscany?

    Visit Pinocchio Park in Collodi, which offers an engaging experience for children.

    Enjoy a day trip at the Maremma Natural Park, where families can hike and spot wildlife.

    Spend time at Cavallino Matto, Tuscany’s biggest amusement park.

  • What are the top recommendations for non-touristy experiences in Tuscany?

    Head to the Garfagnana region for tranquil nature trails and small villages.

    Explore the secluded beach of Cala Violina, famous for its clear waters.

    Join a culinary class in a lesser-known small town, to learn authentic Tuscan recipes.

  • How can one explore the beauty of Tuscany using public transportation?

    Use trains to travel between major cities like Florence, Pisa, and Siena effectively.

    Take local buses to explore smaller towns and rural areas.

    Consider renting a bicycle in cities like Lucca to explore at a leisurely pace.

  • How long should one plan to stay in Tuscany to fully enjoy the experience?

    A stay of at least one week is recommended.

    This allows time to explore multiple cities. You can also indulge in local cuisines and enjoy the countryside leisurely.

    For a more in-depth experience, consider extending your stay to two weeks.


5 stars
5 stars
5 stars
5 stars
5 stars
Trustpilot logo


Melina Thalassinou