15 Best Places to Visit in Tuscany

Martina Rosado
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Map of the best places in Tuscany

Where to stay in Tuscany:

The main cities in Tuscany are Pisa, Siena and Florence, however the region of Tuscany is quite large so you will be able to see a lot of different itineraries in the Tarquinia Area, the Mendola Area, the Montalcino Area or in the Cinque Terre.

The region of Tuscany lies on the Mediterranean Sea and is one of the most environmentally-rich regions in the world; you’ll want to combine a tour of the region with a visit to waterfalls, water parks, historic sights and museums, or romantic villas, that can be found in Tuscany.

The main cities are Pisa,Tuscany’s capital, Siena, the main center of the region and Florence, the capital of the Tuscany region.

For a more extensive overview, you might want to consider a trip to the Castelnuovo Berardenga Area in the province of Arezzo, which will show you Tuscan Villas, the Tuscan coastline and a view of the Chianti Mountains.

Massa Marittima

(Maritsa’s Lands)

Tuscany has been keeping its treasures hidden in its hills for centuries, and so it is full of places that are a challenge to find. One of them is the Massa Marittima, a village that became ancient Roman colony that has remained unspoiled and even more mysterious by its hilly environment and by the malaria that used to strike travelers coming to the region.

Today the two most prominent touristic attractions of the region are Massa Marittima and the beautiful town of Montepulciano. Both of these are quite close: Massa Marittima is only 10 kilometers from Montepulciano.

The village itself has been undergoing a big renovation process for the past few years, and you will see that the streets are full of ancient churches and fountains, the latter of which can be seen on every street, with the exception of the Via di Villa.

You can check the historical heritage of the city at the Archaeological Museum of Massa Marittima which has numerous artifacts from Roman times, but also Etruscans and Greeks.

Pienza

Pienza is one of those small, beautiful Renaissance towns you can find tucked between 1200 and 1300 elevation in the center of the Tuscan countryside.

These charismatic places are often a great place to go for a short vacation; many are artists' colonies. The older towns tend to be constructed of or around a hill or piazza, with little canals and shops located throughout.

With that said, Pienza is not known for its architecture. It is known for its food, of which I've tried a few dishes. The first was a fantastic plate of trout in a buttery sauce, where the trout was served along with occasionally cooked vegetables and potatoes with a Balsamic vinegar sauce. This dish was fantastic.

The second dish was a type of meatball, where it was a mixture of beef, pork, and even a little lentils. It was served with a green sauce with spinach and parmesan cheese. This was a fantastic dish as well.

In general, Pienza can be described as a place that is a joy to visit. The beautiful works of art throughout the town will make you want to explore every inch of the place.

Any time that you are looking for a place to go for a short vacation, it will be worth your while to take some time to see this small town by the name of Pienza.

Viareggio

The city of Viareggio, Italy, is known as the City of Flowers, and for very good reason. It boasts more than 2,500 acres of green spaces, and spring through fall, the city hosts multiple festivals where flowers of all kinds are celebrated.

If the rose is your favorite type of flower, then Viareggio is the place for you. The city hosts events on a continuously rotating calendar that celebrates one country’s flower every few months.

During this time, the city is covered in a sea of roses, and it’s a great opportunity to visit Viareggio without experiencing too much of the high tourist season. The summer months are also a wonderful time to experience Viareggio with its most popular festival “Il Dante” in Viali Dante. During this festival, the city celebrates the poet who lived there and who wrote of his love for nature after living with a bear.

The Viali Dante will be lined with more than 400,000 roses, a mix of roses from the original roses planted by the poet and roses brought in from other regions of Italy. It’s one of the most important festivals in the country and features some of the most extravagant celebrations in recent years.

Ravenna, Italy…

Cortona

The refuge of the Medici in the park of Gualfonda is one of the most picturesque places of Tuscany.

The naturalist side of Cortona, with its oaks, maples, chestnut trees, willows and linden trees, makes it a unique and charming spot.

More than half of the population of the town is the province, which is also the most beautiful part of town.

This is the spot where the most luxurious resort hotels are located, along with charming hotels and old farmhouses.

The Rifugio Aiello di Tendone, ideal for picnics, is a place that is not to be missed, once you can see the complexity of the valleys.

Access to Cortona is via the Via Emilia, it’s possible to reach it by car and train by changing at Arezzo.

The trip is between 25 and 35 km. An itinerary should start from Cortona and take time to visit the most beautiful locations of residential Tuscany.

A day trip to Cortona is not complete without a visit to the ruins of the Chiesa di San Liberata that was built in 1180 and now the pantheon of the Ducal county in Brunelleschi’s designs and is a symbol of the city of Cortona.

Volterra

Tuscany, Italy
Most travel guides will tell you that northern Italy is known for it’s cheese and wine. But to find the Italian Riviera at its most Tuscan, all you have to do is head south.

Volterra is the gateway to the Chianti region and is repeatedly listed as one of the top scenic destination in all of Italy.

Volterra is the perfect mix of vibrant, urban city and unspoiled rural town all within spitting distance. The city of Volterra stretches across the ridge of a mountain with domed rooftops and a castle of the same name.

Inside the ancient walls are a few of the most impressive churches in all of Italy. Of them all, the Basilica di San Gimignano, which was actually consecrated in the fourth century, is particularly indicative of the style during this period.

Another of the best sights is the Chapel of Santa Maria della Catena, a crypt that exhibits the antiquity of the city.

Volterra’s best, though, is simply wandering the narrow streets and enjoying the historic atmosphere that has made it a perennial favorite. You can even enjoy a picnic in the park with a bottle of Chianti under a shady tree.

Volterra is just 60 kilometers southwest of Florence so those staying there have easy access to the entire Tuscan region.

Arezzo

Montepulciano

This hill town is a beautiful destination for a relaxing weekend.

Exotic architecture is visible in every street. The long history and large number of buildings from the Renaissance and baroque periods make this destination a dream for those who love history.

With its winding streets and romantic medieval look, Italy’s most famous hill town is the perfect place to enjoy a slow-paced city holiday.

The historic center is the perfect place to walk around and admire the treasures every few hundred yards. The stunning view of the surrounding hills is just as inviting. Montepulciano is the perfect destination for a walk in the woods, lunch at a typical hotel and shop.

With its winding streets and romantic medieval look, this destination is the perfect place to easily take a long break and enjoy the sights. More about Montepulciano

If you want to go to a place where you can leave behind the stressful chaos of modern life, and breathe in the mountains and forests of a quiet mountain real estate, Montepulciano is the best choice.

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Val d'Orcia

The beauty of Castellina Marittima is something that you must see. Though it is dramatically small, the small walled village is adorned with color and character.

This eclectic little town is home to organic markets and bakeries, gorgeous historical structures, and is called the "flower of the Val d'Orcia".

The area is famous for its plentiful wine production which complements the delicate, flavorful dishes of the local cuisine and the amazing array of ruins that you will find in the area.

While the streets of Castellina Marittima are more often than not enjoyed by cyclists, there are several paths which are perfect for walking along and the weather is mild throughout the year – even in the winter months.

It is worth noting that Castellina Marittima is surrounded by mountains, so be sure to take advantage of the cable cars which will transport you to the top of the mountains to truly enjoy the view which surrounds you.

For those who wish to purchase a home in the area, Castellina Marittima is noted to be one of the best havens for locals who wish to purchase a house in Italy.

The homes of Castellina are said to be small, but simple, and provide locals with premium views.

Elba

It wasn’t until 1866 when Elba Island became occupied by the Royal family. It has been inhabited since the Stone Age and the Etruscans, as Elba was the center of their civilization. They left behind lots of interesting discoveries. It has many museums in which the exhibits and ruins are kept especially for that purpose. Its position in the Tuscan Archipelago with its many sunny days make it a right spot for a vacation.

There are many places worth visiting on this island. Its coast is very rich and there are many palaces and ruins that have rich and interesting stories behind them. One of the most interesting ones is the Elba Fortress. It was here that Byron chose to spend some time. It was here that Napoleon set up a government after recovering from his exile.

A place you wouldn’t forget is Portoferraio. It has some of the best beaches on Elba and belongs to the UNESCO cultural heritage. It has the best facilities but you might not want to swim in the water as it’s too filthy for that.

In Portoferraio you will also find an old church dedicated to the Virgin Mary which is surrounded by an extraordinary landscape. Tuscan wines are well known and you have the opportunity to enjoy them on Elba.

Besides the many places to visit on Elba, there are also great events to enjoy.

San Gimignano

This UNESCO protected town is popular for its great architecture and age. It’s well worth the visit to explore the cobblestone streets. One of the main attractions that you will want to check out is the Via Francigena, a 500-year-old road that leads to Canterbury, England. This area also has a great restaurant scene with many great restaurants to choose from.

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Has history ever fascinated you? If it has, you are at the right place. Let’s take a look at the history of Tuscan villages such as San Gimignano.

Lucca

Chianti Region

Tuscany is the bohemian playground of Italy, boasting elegant wineries and deep green rolling hillsides. The Chianti region is home to the sparkling wines that have earned the reputation as a glass of the “sparkling world”, and its black and deep purple Pinot Noir wines are considered to be some of the most sensual and powerful red wines in the world. Snaking through the rolling hills that border the Chianti region are the roads that lead to iconic destinations such as the Tower of Pisa and Florence, the Cinque Terre, and Siena.

If you’re an adrenalin junkie looking to explore the famous rolling green hills and wine country of Tuscany, take a trip down to one of the most magnificent sights in the Chianti region. At 800-ft. high, the Tower of Pisa is one of the most renowned attractions in the world and is filled with the magic and wonder of scientific engineering invention. Overlooked by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, the Tower of Pisa is a magnificent work of engineering that has attracted people from around the world to see such a marvel of ancient architecture. The sight is awe-inspiring and drawing more than 9 million visitors every year, so be sure to book your trip to the Tower of Pisa to see this iconic symbol of Tuscany.

Pisa

Italy.

Located on the Tuscan coast between Livorno and Florence, the heart of the city is the old Roman Piazza del Duomo. It is a Venetian city. The baptistery was erected by the architect-engineer, Bonanno Pisano, who also designed the Arca di San Domenico and the Baptistery of the Carmine.

Begun in 1173, the Duomo and adjoining Campo Santo-are Italy’s largest building. “The Piazza was once the ‘Campo di Marte’, and, until the middle of the 14th century, was the ‘market of Mars’, possibly recalling the ancient Roman god who was said to protect Pisa.

The original Romanesque cathedral was constructed of brick, which deteriorates when subjected to rain and dampness. In 1210, for reasons that are still not certain, work began on the present Gothic Cathedral.

On 30 January 1837, a violent eruption of the Campanella crater on the south-west side of the square destroyed the bell-tower, stained glass windows, and some of the interior columns and marble.

Siena

Siena is one of the most famous Italian cities. It is famous for being the birthplace of the Renaissance. It was in this city where Florence got the first university.

It is also the only city to have been a on a moon in the European Union. In addition, Siena is known for their amazing shops, food, and wonderful churches.

When you are in Italy, you should definitely try their food. In Italy, you will have to try their wonderful cheese. Before you set out on your trip, you should get some cheese related items which will make your trip a delight.

Florence

Florence is the most recognizable part of Tuscany. You will find the most popular sites of the region, such as the City Hall and Piazza Vecchio as well as the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Florence also provides an important cultural aspect to the region. You’ll find intricate art, wall paintings as well as carvings of Roman origins.

A large Greek population means that you will also find sculptures and murals in the city. A few of the best works are the Medici Chapel by Filippo Brunelleschi, the Chapel of San Lorenzo and the Spedale degli Innocenti.

It’s also a good idea to note that Florence has a bustling and lively feel to it. One of the biggest reasons for this is the Ponte Vecchio bridge. This pedestrian bridge was reinforced in the 16th century to help control flooding.

Florence is a safe and convenient place to travel to. You will have very easy access to the winding roads of the countryside. Tuscany is known for its lack of hills, which makes for viewable scenery.

Florence is also very family friendly. Transportation options are endless, from the public transit to popular tourist options.