1. Visit Florence
You will probably want to come back for a weekend trip but a trip to Tuscany without visiting Florence would be disappointing.
Soak up a day of architecture and fine art with a visit to Florence’s Accademia Gallery, home to Michelangelo’s masterpiece, 'David.', visit the Duomo, have a tour of the Uffizi Gallery and marvel at the Ponte Vecchio and endless piazzas and monuments. An absolutely stunning City.
Hit the beach
Tuscany may not be thought of as a beach destination but it would be a real shame to visit the region and miss the coast. Tuscany offers around 250 miles of coastline and a real blend of opportunities; Viareggio, Forte dei Marmi and the other Versilia resorts to the north around Pisa are more traditional deckchair and lido Italian beaches apart from the Migliarino-San Rossore nature reserve east of Pisa.
However if you travel further south you will find a completely different picture. The southern Tuscan coastal region of the Maremma offers a great blend of uncrowded beaches, relatively unspoiled scenery and good places to eat and drink. The island of Elba is beautiful with pretty ports, quaint beaches and is full of history. Monte Argentario, a rocky island offers similar coastal picture-perfect landscapes to those found in Sardinia.
3. Visit a vineyard
Some of Italy’s finest wines are produced in the well-known vineyards between Florence and Siena. This region is the epitome of perfect wine country, boasting some of Italy’s most famous wines including Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti Classico and Nobile di Montepulciano. Wine touring here is not about a five-minute tasting but a full on experience – you will learn about history and innovations behind the wine.
The chianti region is an amazing place to visit a vineyard; undulating landscape, picture-perfect hill-towns, a great climate and some serious wine tasting. You can find half-day and full day tours or just drive through the countryside and stop at a winery along the way.
4. Discover the medieval towns
You will be spoilt for choice in terms of medieval gems but if you head to central Tuscany from Florence you will really have a great opportunity to see some of the most beautiful hilltowns in the region. Marvel over the medieval castle of Monteriggioni; explore the architectural wonders of historic Siena, which is one of our favourite towns in Tuscany and a must as well as a visit to the striking hilltop town of San Gimignano.
Other must-see locations are the gorgeous walled City of Lucca and Cortona, the location of the much-loved novel and film ‘under the Tuscan sun’.
5. Play Golf
You may not think about golf when you think of Tuscany but it’s a great region for the sport and a perfect opportunity for a day away from sightseeing or the pool. There are 30 golf clubs in Tuscany, which demonstrate why Tuscany has emerged as a golf holiday destination with considerable added value.
In terms of clubs you will be spoilt for choice, try Ugolino Golf Club south of Florence, Punta Ala Golf Club in grosetto, Casentino Golf Club in Arezzo, Montecatini Golf Club and Circolo Golf L’Abbadia and Royal Golf La Bagnaia in Siena.
6. Try horse riding
You may be surprised to know that you can horse ride close to most villas in Tuscany, especially in central and southern Tuscany. There are a wide range of riding centres throughout the region all of whom can provide mounts and guides for excursions to suit all levels of ability. A day horse riding is a fun activity for all the family – the beautiful unspoiled Chianti region between Florence and Siena is the perfect setting for rides through the lovely countryside of rolling, forested hills, vineyards, picturesque villages and ancient castles.
In the Maremma in the south, which is often referred to as the wild west of Tuscany, you can ride along Mediterranean paths, hills, rivers and even the beach.
7. Go fishing!
Fishing is a popular activity amongst the locals in Tuscany and you will find fishing shops in most towns. In the Arezzo area, you will find the river Alto Tevere which is a great place to fish. The Serchio is well-known for its fly fishing – this is located in the beautiful Garfagnana area which is north of Lucca. You can even fish further south – try Lago di Chiusi and Lago di Montepulciano in the district of Siena.
If fishing isn’t your thing, then a lot of the restaurants in these areas will offer a great selection of fresh fish on the menu – buon apetitito!
8. Go to the spa or springs
Tuscany has some of the best spa towns in Italy – Bagno Vignioni offers natural hot springs in a beautiful village setting with a pretty piazza. If you travel north of Lucca, you will find the beautiful spa town of Bagni di Lucca which runs along the banks of the river Serchio and dotted around the hills are thermal springs whose healing properties have been been known since Roman times.
Italian spas offer a blend of therapeutic and medicinal treatments – a massage with scented oils is a perfect treat during a holiday in Italy and a visit to a spa town will give you a real insight into an Italy of the past. Try the wilderness pool in Petriolo south of Siena, Saturnia south of Grosetto and Montecatini Terme spa town east of Lucca.
9. Hit a trail on foot or bike
If you are looking for an active day away from the pool, Tuscany is well-known for its hiking opportunities. The Alpi Apuane in northern Tuscany offer beech and chestnut forests, great walking paths and stunning scenery with hundreds of species of birds to spot. Gargagnana, north of Lucca is perfect for hiking with remote towns and villages and fantastic backdrops.
For an easy-to-moderate trek, the local unsurfaced roads in central Tuscany offer a perfect day of wallking through vineyards and olive groves, along cypress-lined roads and through oak, beech and chestnut forests with pretty hamlets. Cycling in this area is also a joy!
10. Book a cookery course
You don’t need to go on a cooking holiday these days as Tuscany is the perfect region to get a day’s course in. Expect to visit food markets and peruse stalls with the region’s freshest ingredients, including cured meats, olives, cheeses, balsamic vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes and other Tuscan delicacies. You normally will get the opportunity to select the ingredients before heading to a rustic farmhouse for the cooking class.
Under the guidance of an expert chef, most good courses will help you to prepare a full Tuscan meal and discover some of the culinary secrets behind famous Tuscan dishes. Most courses end with a group meal where you get the opportunity to feast on your dishes with wine in a fantastic rural location.
Help with accommodation in Tuscany
Holiday Homes in Italy offer a wide range of apartments, villas and farmhouses to rent in Tuscany. Further details on vacation rentals in Tuscany below:
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View holiday rentals in Pisa and Lucca region
View holiday rentals in Florence, Siena and Chianti
View holiday rentals in Arezzo and Cortona
View holiday rentals in Grosetto and Maremma