There is no other place in Italy quite like Tuscany. It is full of wineries, quaint villages, art, olive groves, more art, truffle fields, fashion, and more art. It is the epitome of all that is Italian, and it is the literal birthplace of the Renaissance. A Tuscany trip is a walk through history with a vast selection of things to do.
When planning your perfect Tuscany vacation, you need to spend a little time in the various areas of the region including the walled town of Lucca, the gothic Siena, the incomparable Florence, Arezzo Chianti in the East, the coastal area of Grosseto, and the luxurious Portofino. Each of these areas has its own special charm that you are sure to fall in love with.
A Visit to Lucca
The walled town of Lucca is located in the northern part of Tuscany, and it dates back to medieval times. The views from this charming spot include the peaks of the Apuane Alps and the seemingly endless plains stretching out towards the sea. Travelers that choose to make Lucca their home base for exploring the region will be happy to find an organized road network that will get them to all of the nearby sites such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa to the west, and the spas of Montecatini Terme to the east.
You don’t have to leave Lucca to have a good time, however. You will find many fun and interesting things to do inside the historic walls. The Lucca Cathedral is an impressive structure with soaring arches and portico around the front doors. It was built in the 11th century and then redesigned in the 14th.
For those that want to spend a little time outdoors, a walk on top of the city walls may be the perfect pastime. This complex configuration of city walls surrounds the entire city, and there are 11 bastions connected by footpaths to explore.
Those fond of history will enjoy the Guinigi Tower due to its arched windows and exposed brickwork. It stands 45m high and can be seen from most spots within the city, but the most notable thing about the tower is the garden and the oak trees that are planted on top of it.
Lucca Restaurants: Where to Eat
Of course, Italy is known for its culinary creations, and no Tuscany trip would be complete without some high-quality dining. Lucca has the spots to satisfy even the most discerning palate.
Those seeking fine dining will enjoy a meal at Da Pasquale which combines fantastic seafood dishes, quality service, and outstanding drinks. You will love the quality of the Italian dishes which will be expertly paired with a glass of wine.
If you don’t get enough wine at Da Pasquale, you can head to Vinni Liquori Vanni to sample a few more vintages. The huge wine cellar holds more options than you could possibly dream of, and the staff will allow you to take a peek. Those that fancy themselves connoisseurs will find a visit to Vinni Liquori Vanni a must.
Tuscany Holiday Rentals in Lucca
Finding a place to stay in Lucca is not a bit difficult as there are plenty of villas which can be rented for a few days or weeks. Many of the available properties in the area have the classic style of the Italian country house, or there are places with a bit of rustic charm.
The cozy hillside Villa Rodolfo has four bedrooms which makes it a great Tuscany vacation rental for families. Many of the windows offer views of the verdant olive groves, and guests at Villa Rodolfo will find themselves within walking distance of the village.
A larger property that could serve as a gorgeous wedding venue is Villa Daniela. This majestic estate has eleven bedrooms which is plenty of room to have a large family reunion in the Tuscany countryside.
A Visit to Siena
The city of Siena is gothic and beautiful. Plus, it is full of history and dripping in culture all while maintaining breathtaking views of the Southern Tuscany countryside. Siena has a slower pace that is ideal for travelers that want a little time to relax and sip a glass of wine while reading a good book. That doesn’t mean there is nothing to see or do here, quite the contrary! There is plenty to keep you entertained while on your Tuscany Trip! The architecture of the buildings is enough to keep you enthralled for days on end.
A stay in Siena means a visit to Duomo, one of the most famous cathedrals in the region. It is built on the site of a former Roman temple, and it was constructed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The green and red marble and the elaborately carved pulpit are stunning displays of beauty and grace.
Another spot that deserves your time is Il Campo, the sloping piazza and social center of Siena. This piazza was built on the same spot that was once a Roman market, and it is divided into nine sectors. The piazza is encircled by cafes and other eateries which makes it easy to spend the majority of your day here.
Siena Restaurants: Where to Eat
Just like every other spot in Italy, Siena has plenty of dining options to choose from. Those seeking a delicious seafood dinner should be happy with a visit to Tre Cristi which is one of the top choices for dining in the region. The service is exceptional, and guests can start the meal with a complimentary glass of prosecco.
After dining on seafood, you may be in the mood for a little bite of something sweet which makes a stop at La Vecchia Latteria a must. This little gelato spot uses only the freshest and highest quality ingredients creating tasty treats you won’t soon forget.
Tuscany Holiday Rentals in Siena
The Tuscany villas that dot the countryside around Siena tend to feature a farmhouse style that ranges from quite rustic to chic and contemporary. The views from any of the properties are bound to have you staring out of the windows for a good portion of your stay.
The 5-bedroom property called Villa San Regolo is a popular spot for groups of couples wishing to have a friends’ holiday. Surrounded by the Tuscan countryside, the villa offers stunning views as well as plenty of comforts.
Villa Alfieri is snuggled into a vineyard with picturesque views of Siena pouring into the windows. It is ideal for families as it has been completely renovated. This sprawling country estate has five bedrooms to give everyone plenty of space.
Those seeking something a bit more contemporary will enjoy a stay at Villa Mimmi. This spot is a great Tuscany vacation rental for families as it keeps you within walking distance of the village.
A Visit to Florence
Those seeking a Tuscany vacation that is full of art and culture will definitely want to spend a good portion of their time in Florence. This is a city full of architectural gems, fantastic food, copious amounts of artwork, and plenty of wine to drink. The city is full of enchanting sights to behold.
A visit to the Florence Cathedral which is called the Jewel of the City is absolutely imperative. This building was built in 1436, but the gorgeous facade wasn’t actually completed for another five centuries. It is covered in white marble, and the interior has a magnificent fresco of the Last Judgement.
Most people choose to visit Florence because they have a love of art which means that a day or two spent in the Uffizi Palace and Gallery is in order. This world-renowned museum features work from Botticelli, Da Vinci, and Raphael.
Florence Restaurants: Where to Eat
Some of the best dining in the country can be done in Florence which is why it is added as a must-stop destination in a Tuscany trip. Many of the restaurants cook with local ingredients including the meats and cheeses that are known throughout the region.
Cibreo is often stated as being one of the best places to eat in the city, and it can be tough to get a reservation because it is always so booked. However, if you can’t manage to snag a table, there is a trattoria right next door that is run by Cibreo and offers some pretty amazing choices as well.
If you need fresh bowl of pasta before heading out to explore the city for the afternoon, Che Ti Garba is a solid choice. The ravioli and the tagliatelle are sure to delight your taste buds.
Tuscany Holiday Rentals in Florence
When finding a place to stay in Florence, the biggest choice is whether to stay in the heart of the city or move more to the outskirts. The outskirts offer plenty of relief from the city pace while still being in close proximity to all of the art and beauty. However, those that don’t mind the faster lifestyle will likely enjoy looking out at the cityscape from their bedroom window.
Villa Simonetta is a great choice for those wishing for a more relaxed pace. It is a five bedroom property that is located in a quaint village just a short distance from the city. It is a favorite among family visitors because it has plenty of space to roam.
A popular choice right in the mix of the city is Villa Opera. This three-bedroom property is often booked, so it is best to plan far in advance if you want to enjoy your Florence vacation from this gorgeous home.
A Visit to the Hidden Gem: Arezzo Chianti
This area of Tuscany is often overlooked which makes it a great spot for a Tuscan vacation. Arezzo Chianti is actually what most people think of when they imagine the Tuscan countryside because it is a popular spot for filming by international directors! It is known for its amazing food and exceptional wine.
There are plenty of sights to see in the area, even though a good portion of the historic buildings were badly damaged during WWII. There are still five-star frescoes to enjoy at the Chiesa di San Francesco. Plus, the home of Vasari is a sight to behold. Travelers to the area will find themselves in close proximity to the spas of Calcedonia.
There are large estates available for rent in the area, which makes it a great place to stay with larger groups of couples on a Tuscany vacation or a big family needing a Tuscany vacation rental.
Located on a hilltop overlooking the stunning countryside, Villa Cipresso is a 9-bedroom palatial home that would make the perfect backdrop for a family reunion.
For those that don’t need quite as much space, the converted farmhouse Villa Tullia may be a better option. This property has a more modern feel while still offering stupendous views of the Tuscan countryside. There are six bedrooms in this chic property.
A Visit to the Coastal Area of Tuscany
There are two coastal regions that deserve a visit: Grosseto and Portofino. Both of them offer picturesque coastline to enjoy. Grosseto is known as the Etruscan Riviera, and visitors to the area will find themselves overwhelmed by the breezes from the Mediterranean Sea and the medieval villages. Portofino is home to the rich and famous, and it is likely that you will see a yacht sailing by at any moment of the day. Both areas have their own special charm to offer travelers on their Tuscany trip.
Visitors to Grosseto will want to spend a little time at Cala Violina. This small cove is where you will find shimmering white sands and soothing calm waters. The water is so calm here it is an excellent place to go snorkeling. The cove isn’t accessible by car, so you have to take a walk or rent a bike to get yourself there.
In Portofino, you will want to make sure that you take out a little bit of time to grab a coffee in the Piazzetta which is in the heart of the city. There are plenty of cafes where you can sit outdoors and admire the picturesque views that surround you. Once you are ready to get on the move again, a visit to the terraced gardens may be in order. This eco-farm was created on abandoned lands, and now it features lemon and olive trees as well as other vegetables. However, the real reason for the trip will be the absolutely breathtaking views.
Tuscany Holiday Rentals in the Coastal Area
There is nothing quite like a seaside vacation, and these Tuscany villas along the coast will not disappoint. You will find that all of the amenities have been provided, and the homes are more than comfortable.
Villa Armonia offers a contemporary style just a short drive from the coast. This five bedroom property has plenty of room for families to spread out, and it is particularly popular with those families that have small children.
Those wishing to stay a little closer to the beach will enjoy the Tuscany vacation rental called Villa Maremmana. The classic Tuscan decor is very popular with families, and there is an abundance of space for everyone due to the seven bedrooms.
Within walking distance of Portofino is Villa Piazzetta which offers a gorgeous view of the port. This spacious property boasts five bedrooms which makes it an excellent choice for larger families or a group of friends.
Tuscany Vacation Planning Trips
The weather can be fairly hot and humid in the summer months like July and August. In fact, it is the time of year when most of the locals start fleeing for cooler parts. Florence may even see many of its restaurants and shops closed during this hot season. While a visit in the spring is much more pleasant weather-wise, it is also when most of the tourists tend to be hanging about. The best time to visit Tuscany and explore the cities like Florence is during the winter months from November to February. While you may need to pack a few warm sweaters and an umbrella, you will find the streets less crowded.
Getting to Tuscany
There are two international airports in the Tuscan region. One is located in Pisa, the Galileo Galilei International airport, and the other is located in Florence, the Amerigo Vespucci Airport. While the one in Pisa is larger, they both can handle flights from various European cities. It is also very convenient to travel to the area via train or by car.
How to Get to Tuscany