Travel to Tuscany Italy - Inside Tourism Information

Travel to Tuscany for inside tourism information for your Tuscany vactions! We share our information with you with our Tuscany travel guide on what to see and do, what wine to look out for, what villas to rent, when it is the best time to visit as well as restaurant reviews, and regional dishes of this area of Italy.

Tuscany, Italy in the Arezzo Province

Tuscany is a beguiling lover. When you visit you are overwhelmed by the beautiful countryside of vine-clad hills, Cyprus trees that line winding roads, olive groves with their silvery-green leaves and hill-top towns built out of stone that haven't changed in a thousand years.

Tuscany is really the heart of Itlay. It stretches from the Appennines to the sea, midway between Milan and Rome. Its scenic beauty is unmatched in Italy and its towns are justly famous for its artwork and architecture. But it is the simple, yet delicious Tuscan food, the fine wine, the hospitable locals and the unspoiled hilly landscapes that people are even more enthusiastic about.

This is an area to really stop and explore. Slow travel is essential to get the best experiences. Take leisurely strolls to watch bent women picking wild greens in the fields for their lunches, wander aimlessly around the countryside and see snapshots of daily life; the mushroom hunter, the wild boar hunter, the farmer, the artisan. This is where the true soul of Tuscany can be found.

Tuscany gets under your skin, and she beckons to be visited again and again, long after you have left. Built on layers of history; the Romans, the Etruscans who lived in many settlements around Tuscany, including Cerveteri,  and those before. And so therefore, it is not just the large towns that are of interest and are custodians of great artworks, but these can also be found in the smallest of towns too.

The Tuscan countryside changes with the seasons, each season showing a different face of her beauty.  Therefore, no matter what time of year or season it is always a good time to visit Tuscany, or even Italy for that matter. There will always be something for you to see and do.

Travel to Tuscany in the Spring

In the spring from April to June you can see swathes of red poppies growing in the wheat fields of Tuscany. The hills are covered in wild flowers and new grasses. Wild irises line ditches and river beds, and roses and magnolias start to bloom.

Travel to Tuscan in the Summer

Travel to Tuscany in the summer when the farmers are busy with their summer produce. Sun-kissed melons can be eaten; the sweetest melons I have ever had and the tomatoes in Italy cannot be beaten. They also have flat, white peaches that look a little like a doughnut that are sublime; juicy and sweet and delicious.

Tuscany's wine and food is famous around the world. The food is rustic and simple but made with passion and care. The red wine is heady, full-bodied and robust. Grape harvesting differs from region to region, but in Tuscany, the grape harvest starts in September. By mid-September, the grape harvest is in full swing and there are a number of grape harvest festivals in villages around the province.

You will come across layers of history in town walls where buildings have been built on top of existing structures. Go to San Gimignano, or Cortona.

The Medieval Towers of San Gimignano

Look for Etruscan sculptured block work in the town's walls. They are easily visible and a reminder of how casually Italy accepts her rich history. Or visit Montalcino for its

castle and world famous wine, Brunello, or Sansepolcro and witness the Palio of Archers, a crossbow competition that has been taking place for the last 500 years.

Travel to Tuscany in the Autumn/Fall

In the autumn or fall, the Tuscan countryside starts to change from green to autumn hues of gold and brown an the many oak trees deepen in color as the season progresses.

The farmers are busy with their grape harvests and in November it is olive picking time. The weather is fresh now, and winter is fast approaching.

Autumn fields in the Arezzo Province of Tuscany

Travel to Tuscany in the Winter

Finally, after 3 seasons of productivity and produce, the winter months bring a biting cold, snow in many places and a time of rest for the farmers, the vines and the olive trees waiting until spring for the cycle of life to begin again.

And I think that it is this cycle of life that is so evident in Tuscany that makes us so fond of this region when we visit. The people fall in with the seasons of planting and harvesting, they eat locally produced food that is seasonal, most of which has been grown organically. They remain unhurried. They close their shops for lunch to spend time with their families to enjoy their main meal of the day.

Travel to Tuscany: The Various Areas to Visit on your Tuscany Holidays

                           The Casentino Valley where we have a farm.

As Italy is regional, so is Tuscany, even though it is a region of Italy in its own right.

We tend to think of Tuscany as being just the Chianti area, or the area next to it called the Valdarno. Most people when they travel to Tuscany will only see this area. Which is a pity really, as there is so much more to Tuscany than this. 

There are many beautiful valleys to visit: 

However, when you travel to Tuscany no doubt this is the first place you will go. However, when you travel to Tuscany one of the places you cannot miss is of course Florence, home to Michelangelo's David, the Arno River and the Ponte Vecchio, Pitti Palace, Uffizi Gallery and the Palazzo della Signoria.

This is the heart of the region and the landscape that matches the quintessential Tuscany. It is here that you will see fields of sunflowers and poppies, vineyard clad hills and olive groves.

Florence is a small town crammed with art and history and seethes with tourists during the summer months. It is a beautiful example of the Renaissance period, and Botticelli, Michelangelo and Donatello turned the city into one of the world's greatest art capitals.

The city of Florence, Itay with the Duomo dominating

The city of Florence Italy, showing the Duomo

However, Florence didn't have it easy in the past with Siena rising up against this city, jostling for power and position. And it is a beautiful medieval city. The historic center of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site and the surrounding countryside is equally as breathtaking as the city itself.

However, there are places outside of the main touristy areas where you can continue to enjoy the beautiful Tuscan countryside. One such place is in the Casentino Valley. I think that this is a little slice of paradise, because it is not overrun with tourists, even in the height of summer, and it has some wonderful gems to visit such as Poppi and its wonderful Poppi Castle, Arezzo for its stunning Medieval architecture and monthly antique markets, Caprese Michelangelo where Michelangelo was born, Anghiari a perfectly walled Medieval town, the Casentino National Forest just to name a few.

The town of Anghiari Italy

The Medieval town of Anghiari, Tuscany

The Arezzo province is beautiful and its principal town of the same name is a gem that is often missed by those who travel to Tuscany. 

It has wonderfully preserved Medieval architecture in the places that weren't ravaged by World War II and has Piero della Francesca's famous "The Legend of the True Cross" in the 13th century church of San Francesco.

Sansepolcro in the province of Arezzo was the birthplace of Piero della Francesca and it's famous too for their annual Palio of the Archers competition that has been taking place every year for 500 years. 

Archers in purple Medieval costume for the Palio Sancepolcro

The Palio of Sansepolcro

The Arezzo province offers a wealth of tourist opportunities where you will find some lovely places including Val di Chiana home of the large white Chianina cattle .

And then there is the Garfagnana. The landscape is varied with a variety of climates and vegetation. It is a particularly striking and beautiful part of Tuscany owing to its mountains and it is here that you can find the walled town of Lucca, and Barga, a pretty hill-top village. The hills are covered with chestnuts in the autumn and with snow in the winter.

The Maremma is seldom visited by tourists and yet it has many Etruscan sites reminding us of how ancient this area of Tuscany is. The red-soil is fertile and produces tonnes of fruit and vegetables every year, as well as olive oil, flowers, grain and wine.  

The town of Pitigliano in Maremma Italy

Pitigliano, Grosseto

Some places that are not to be missed in this area are Massa Marittima is no where near the sea despite its name and is an ancient Etruscan site with hot springs, Pitigliano rising straight out of the tufa rock that it is built on with caves and tower-houses, and the nature reserve of Monti dell'Uccellina.

When you travel to Tuscany try and see more than just Chianti. Travel to the Mugello area north of Florence which is a wide, green valley protected by the Apennine mountains to the north and is well-watered by the mountain springs that feed into the Arno. Visit Scarperia, an interesting fortified village and the principal town of Borgo San Lorenzo.

The countryside of Scarperia, Tuscany Italy

The countryside of Scarperia

Finally, travel to Tuscany and explore the coast strip to the north of Italy known as the Versilia. It is a haven for sun-worshipers with miles and miles of white sandy beaches and a mild climate.

Forte dei Marmi is sought out by the Italians for their holidays. However, be careful where you go along this strip as you can find yourself thinking that you are in Benidorm, or Blackpool rather than in a Tuscan coastal haven as there are places here that are squalid and overrun with tourists and unsympathetically built hotel blocks.

Forte Dei Marmi with the pier, sea and mountains

Forte dei Marmi

For some of you, you are traveling to Italy to live the Italian dream cleverly weaved by novelist Frances Mayes, in her book, " Under the Tuscan Sun ". You are looking for that Tuscany holiday villa that will evoke the same emotions you had when you read her book. The traditional stone farmhouse, set in fields of sunflowers and olive groves, on a hill lined with Cypress trees with not a car or tourist in sight.

Not many people know that Tuscany is not just an area of castles, vineyards and art but also an area of beautiful beaches. See the Best Tuscany Beaches  and discover some of the best beaches in Tuscany Italy. Crowded and elite Tuscan Versilia, rustic and natural Maremma, picturesque Livorno and splendid Elba Tuscan beaches.

Best Places to Visit in Tuscany for the First Time Visitor and Map of Tuscany showing Provinces

If you are visiting Tuscany for the first time, it can often be confusing deciding where to go in this large region. Here is a map of the Region of Tuscany so that you can see what provinces make up Tuscany. The second map of Tuscany below is more details and shows you towns, roads and villages and the major airports of Tuscany.


Provinces of Tuscany

  • Arezzo
  • Florence
  • Grosseto
  • Livorno
  • Lucca
  • Massa-Carrara
  • Pisa
  • Pistoia
  • Prato 
  • Siena

Detailed Map of Tuscany Italy

Map of Tuscany Italy


Municipalities Making Up the Province of Arezzo


Anghiari
Arezzo
Badia Tedalda
Bibbiena
Bucine
Capolona
Caprese Michelangelo
Castel Focognano
Castel San Niccolò
Castelfranco di Sopra
Castiglion Fibocchi
Castiglion Fiorentino
Cavriglia
Chitignano
Chiusi della Verna
Civitella in Val di Chiana
Cortona
Foiano della Chiana
Laterina
Loro Ciuffenna
Lucignano
Marciano della Chiana
Monte San Savino
Montemignaio
Monterchi
Montevarchi
Ortignano Raggiolo
Pergine Valdarno
Pian di Scò
Pieve Santo Stefano
Poppi
Pratovecchio
San Giovanni Valdarno
Sansepolcro
Sestino
Stia
Subbiano
Talla
Terranuova Bracciolini

Municipalities Making Up the Province of Florence

Bagno a Ripoli Barberino Val d'Elsa Barberino di Mugello Borgo San Lorenzo
Calenzano Campi Bisenzio Capraia e Limite Castelfiorentino
Cerreto Guidi Certaldo Dicomano Empoli
Fiesole Figline Valdarno Firenzuola Florence
Fucecchio Gambassi Terme Greve in Chianti Impruneta
Incisa in Val d'Arno Lastra a Signa Londa Marradi
Montaione Montelupo Fiorentino Montespertoli Palazzuolo sul Senio
Pelago Pontassieve Reggello Rignano sull'Arno
Rufina San Casciano in Val di Pesa San Godenzo San Piero a Sieve
Scandicci Scarperia Sesto Fiorentino Signa
Tavarnelle Val di Pesa Vaglia Vicchio Vinci

Municipalities Making up the Province of Grosseto

Arcidosso Campagnatico Capalbio Castel del Piano
Castell'Azzara Castiglione della Pescaia Cinigiano Civitella Paganico
Follonica Gavorrano Grosseto Isola del Giglio
Magliano in Toscana Manciano Massa Marittima Monte Argentario
Monterotondo Marittimo Montieri Orbetello Pitigliano
Roccalbegna Roccastrada Santa Fiora Scansano
Scarlino Seggiano Semproniano Sorano


Municipalities Making Up the Province of Livorno

Bibbona Campiglia Marittima Campo nell'Elba Capoliveri
Capraia Isola Castagneto Carducci Cecina Collesalvetti
Livorno Marciana Marciana Marina Piombino
Porto Azzurro Portoferraio Rio Marina Rio nell'Elba
Rosignano Marittimo San Vincenzo Sassetta Suvereto


Municipalities Making Up the Province of Lucca

Altopascio
Bagni di Lucca
Barga
Borgo a Mozzano
Camaiore
Camporgiano
Capannori
Careggine
Castelnuovo di Garfagnana
Castiglione di Garfagnana
Coreglia Antelminelli
Fabbriche di Vallico
Forte dei Marmi
Fosciandora
Gallicano
Giuncugnano
Lucca
Massarosa
Minucciano
Molazzana
Montecarlo
Pescaglia
Piazza al Serchio
Pietrasanta
Pieve Fosciana
Porcari
San Romano in Garfagnana
Seravezza
Sillano
Stazzema
Vagli Sotto
Vergemoli
Viareggio
Villa Basilica
Villa Collemandina


Municipalities that Make Up the Province of Massa-Carra

Aulla Bagnone Carrara Casola in Lunigiana
Comano Filattiera Fivizzano Fosdinovo
Licciana Nardi Massa Montignoso Mulazzo
Podenzana Pontremoli Tresana Villafranca in Lunigiana
Zeri

Municipalities that Make Up the Province of Pisa

 Bientina Buti Calci Calcinaia
 Capannoli Casale Marittimo Casciana Terme Cascina
Castelfranco di Sotto Castellina Marittima Castelnuovo di Val di Cecina Chianni
Crespina Fauglia Guardistallo Lajatico
Lari Lorenzana Montecatini Val di Cecina Montescudaio
Monteverdi Marittimo Montopoli in Val d'Arno Orciano Pisano Palaia
Peccioli Pisa Pomarance Ponsacco
Pontedera Riparbella San Giuliano Terme San Miniato
Santa Croce sull'Arno Santa Luce Santa Maria a Monte Terricciola
Vecchiano  Vicopisano Volterra


Municipalities that Make Up the Province of Pistoia

Abetone Agliana Buggiano Chiesina Uzzanese
Cutigliano Lamporecchio Larciano Marliana
Massa e Cozzile Monsummano Terme Montale Montecatini Terme
Pescia Pieve e Nievole Pistoia Piteglio
Ponte Buggianese Quarrata Sambuca Pistoiese San Marcello Pistoiese
Serravalle Pistoiese Uzzano

Municipalities that Make Up the Province of Prato

Cantagallo Carmignano Montemurlo Poggio a Caiano
Prato Variano Vernio

Municipalities that Make Up the Province of Siena

Abbadia San Salvatore Asciano Buonconvento Casole d'Elsa
Castellina in Chianti Castelnuovo Berardenga Castiglione d'Orcia Cetona
Chianciano Terme Chiusdino Chiusi Colle di Val d'Elsa
Gaiole in Chianti Montalcino Montepulciano Monteriggioni
Monteroni d'Arbia Monticiano Murlo Piancastagnaio
Pienza Poggibonsi Radda in Chianti Radicofani
Radicondoli Rapolano Terme San Casciano dei Bagni San Gimignano
San Giovanni d'Asso San Quirico d'Orcia Sarteano Siena
Sinalunga Sovicille Torrita di Siena Trequanda


This is our shortlist of the best places to visit in Tuscany if you are pressed for time:

If you have a longer time in the area then have a look at our 15 most beautiful towns in Tuscany.

1) Anghiari
2)
Arezzo
3) Carrara
4)
Cortona
5) Grosseto
6) Isola d'Elba
7) Lucca
8)
Montalcino
9) Montepulciano
10) Pienza
11) Pietrasanta
12) Pisa
13) San Gimignano
14) Siena
15) Volterra

Where is Typical Tuscany?

A view of Typical Tuscany in the Val d'Orcia

Because Tuscany is such a large region, people do get confused as to where they should visit to see that quintessential Tuscany that people see on calendars, posters, coasters and postcards.

As I have demonstrated above, the whole of Tuscany is worth exploring, but unfortunately so many people head just for Siena believing that this is Tuscany.  It is and it isn't. By limiting yourself to this area you are missing out on so much more.

Having said that, if you want to see the typical Tuscany that people travel from far and wide to see then you will want to start your trip in the province of Siena. It is the largest province of Tuscany and does offer some magnificent scenery and  fine wine!

If you like your wine, head for the wine region of Siena, Chianti Senese which is the southerneastern part of Chianti. Stop here to drink in some panoramic scenery of olive tree clad hills, rows of grapevine and gentle, rolling hills supporting ancient stone farmhouses that turn an ochre yellow in the setting sun.

People seem to flock to Chianti and there are so many Brits in Chianti owning property here that back in the 80s it was known locally as Chiantishire! As a result, although you will be well-catered for and find many people speaking your language it is an area that is no longer authentically Italian.  To find authentic Italy head rather for Siena and its immediate surrounds.

Outside the city of Siena there are some villages that are surrounded with views just as beautiful. Visit Sovicille, Monteriggioni and Radicondoli.

Travel south and you will come across the UNESCO protected Val d'Orcia. Although Val d'Orcia is rather pricey to visit, it does provide you with unforgettable almost moon-like landscapes,  iconic vistas and strange and bizarre local festivals.

Shopping in Tuscany

Every time I visit Tuscany, I come home with food, rather than possessions. I love buying truffle oils, dried porcini, zolfini beans, Pecorino cheese, good olive oil, a couple of bottles of Brunello and unusual pastas. However, I am sure that you will something that will take your fancy too.

If you are looking to buy specialty items then Arezzo is know for its production of gold, and lovely jewelry.  You can also buy some spectacular knitwear here too.

Some of the best olive oil in the country comes from Lucca. Prato makes the hard, almond cookies that are my weakness; biscottini and although traditionally served at the end of the meal with a bottle of Vin Santo, they really are good to eat at any time of the day!

Siena is known for a variety of medieval desserts;  cavallucci, panforti and ricciarelli as well as for ceramics.

Volterra has a number of shops selling boxes , jewelry and other objects made of alabaster.

Don't forget to head for Arezzo if you are in the area over the first weekend of each month to see a huge antique market that takes place not just in the Piazza Grande but spills out onto the streets leading to the piazza.

Ski Tuscany

Yes, you can go skiing in Tuscany, and the best spot to do this, is at Abetone. There are extensive slopes that offer a number of winter sports - learning to ski, cross-country skiing, Alpine skiing and snowboarding. Abetone can be found 80 km northwest of Florence and about 50 km northwest of Pistoia.

Abetone ski fields in Tuscany

Extensive ski fields at Abetone

Contact Abetone for more details.


Typical Tuscany on a Misty Morning

Tuscany villa rentals don't need to be expensive, and often, if you are staying for a while, they end up being cheaper than hotels. Have a look at some wonderful villa accommodation in Tuscany with Tuscany Holiday Villa. They don't just offer villa rentals, but they also offer cookery classes, and if you are looking for a Tuscany wedding, they are also wedding planners as well, offering you a full service.

If you are looking for some more pictures of Tuscany, you can see them here. Pictures of Italy. And if you travel to Tuscany please add some of your photos here.

A winding road in Tuscany lined with Cyprus Trees

Getting to Tuscany

Travel to Tuscany by Car:

The best way to explore Tuscany is by car. This allows you to visit places off the beaten track and gives you far more freedom in places you want to visit.

The A1 connects Florence with Bologna, 105 km (65 miles) north, and Rome, 277 km (172 miles) south.  There is an exit road to Arezzo on this road, as well as to Chiusi where you can visit Montepulciano.

A toll-free superstrada links Florence with Siena.

A Travel Italy Grapevine Travel Tip:

If you are looking for the town center of any town or city, follow the signs that say Centro Storico.

 

Travel to Tuscany by Train:

The coastal line from Rome to Genoa passes through Pisa.  The main line from Rome to Bologna passes through Arezzo, Florence and Prato.

Travel to Tuscany by Plane:

The largest airports in the region are Pisa's Galileo Galilei Airport and Florence's Peretola Airport . There are direct flights from Paris to Pisa or Florence; from London there are direct flights to Pisa and Florence, from the United States you will have to get connecting flights from Rome or Milan.

Travel Videos

An overview of tourist spots in Tuscany



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