Tuscany is undoubtedly one of the most famous, beautiful and popular destinations in Italy. And with good reason, because this beautiful region has it all. From the most beautiful beaches to the most delicious food to the nicest cities.
At the moment all of Italy is still on orange, except for the island of Sardinia, but hopefully that will change soon.
What is the best month to travel to Tuscany?
The best time to travel to Tuscany is from April-May or from September-October. Of course you can travel to Tuscany during the whole year but in those months the temperature is the most pleasant and you don’t have to walk over the heads of tourists. High season is June and July. Not only the busiest but also quite hot. So rather go in spring or autumn.
How much time do I need to discover Tuscany?
That’s not an easy question to answer. You can look around in Tuscany for a few days but also for a few weeks. So it all depends on what your wishes are and what you want to see in the time you have. Below is a suggestion for a route by car. If you fly to Tuscany to save time, renting a car at the airport is highly recommended.
Flying to Tuscany – which airport is best to choose?
The choice for which airport depends on the route you are going to drive. There are two main international airports in Florence; Amerigo Vespucci airport in Florence or Galileo Galilei in Pisa. Of those two, the one in Pisa is the biggest and both have connections to the most famous airports in Europe.
Siena is also called little Florence. Is Florence big and impressive; Siena is smaller and maybe even more beautiful than Florence. Both cities are of course a must see on a road trip through Tuscany, but Siena is smaller and less crowded.
Siena is known for the Piazza del Campo, the main city square where the Palio is organized. The Palio is a horse race that is organized twice a year (not counting in times of corona) in the piazza del Campo. If you are not there during this event, the piazza is also a very nice place to sit down on one of the terraces and enjoy an Aperol Spritz while you watch the people on the square.
Another sight not to be missed is the Cathedral of Santa Maria.
If you like cheese, then you should definitely not skip Pienza. You don’t like cheese but you want to come here? If so, keep in mind that there is a pungent cheese smell throughout the town. The most delicious pecorino cheese is produced and sold here.
Despite the fact that I love cheese and am a big fan of pecorino, even I found the smell quite intense. If you don’t like cheese then it’s like hell on earth. Pienza lies in the Vall d’Orcia valley and although the town itself is not very big, it is picturesque and worth a visit.
If you are a fanatic player of Assasins Creed (computer game) then you will undoubtedly recognize much of San Gimignano. Or so I’m told. It is a beautifully preserved medieval village. The only downside is that it is also incredibly touristy. You want to go to San G? Then go early or stay overnight so you can get up at dawn to explore the place without crowds.
San Gimignano is best known for the 14 towers that dominate the townscape. There used to be even 72 towers. Recommended to go but as said, keep in mind there might be loads of other people with the same idea.
Lucca is another gem of a town. It is one of the richest cities in Tuscany and you can stroll around. Lucca is especially known for its city walls which are still completely intact. Don’t forget to taste the local speciality of Lucca; buccellato.
This sweet, ring-shaped dish dates back to ancient Rome and its name comes from the Latin bucella or snack. Traditionally eaten on the Sunday and consumed with coffee, but the Italians do not shy away from eating it later in the day with some red wine.
It is a soft kind of cake, filled with aniseed and raisins.
Officially, Modena is not located in Tuscany but in the neighboring Emiglia Romagna. However, during our roadtrip through Tuscany, we hopped from one region to another so often that I lost track. Therefore I did include Modena as you really can not skip.
Certainly not if you are a fan of balsamic vinegar because Modena is the birthplace of balsamic vinegar. There is also a balsamic vinegar museum and of course you should not miss it when you are here.
You say Tuscany, you say Florence. Florence is the capital of Tuscany and that alone is a good reason not to skip Florence. Besides, it might be your starting point if you have flown to Florence.
When entering Florence you cannot miss the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge). It always attracts many tourists and the bridge is now filled with tourist shops. The bridge can be better admired from the quay than on the bridge itself. The bridge dates back to 1345 (!) but also the rest of the city is full of beautiful old buildings. Florence is considerably more expensive than any other place we have visited in Tuscany though. Something to consider. Especially the cafes at the square abuse the location.
At the edge of Tuscany lies the Cinque Terre. This world famous area consists of five fishing villages built on cliffs along the edge of the sea. The villages are Monterosse al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore.
Skipping is not an option because it is a beautiful area, but also incredibly touristy. It is true that most of the tourists stay on the Via d’ell Amore. So if you go for a walk, things will calm down.
If you go to the Cinque Terre you can only get here by train. Moreover, the train connects the five villages and you can buy a special card to visit the villages.
Tuscany is of course famous for its delicious Chianti wines, but the whole region is also a pleasure to drive through. The area is dotted with all sorts of small wine producers and it’s fun to visit some of them. We had a car full of the tastiest wines at the end of our road trip. If you are in Greve in Chianti, be sure to visit Macellaria Falorni. The most famous butcher in Tuscany. With the most delicious sausages!
Do you know the movie Twilight? Then the scene in Volterra must have stuck with you, where Edward wants to expose himself to the sunlight in the hope of being convicted by the Volturi. But Bella saves him just in time…
Now the confusing thing is that Montepulciano is the village where this was shot. And not in Volterra itself. Or at least so we were told by the bar owner who had the making off pictures hanging in his bar.
The fountain where Bella jumps through was built especially for the occasion (and is now no longer there) But the door you see above? That’s really the door Edward went through on his way to the sunlight…
Although there does seem to be a fountain in the Piazza Grande, but then again, I’m no Twilight expert. Anyway, this is another lovely little town to wander through.