14 Very Best Places in Tuscany To Visit – Hand Luggage Only

14 Very Best Places in Tuscany To Visit - Hand Luggage Only

Hands down, Tuscany is easily one of the best places in Italy to visit – especially if you love a good mix of historic towns, rolling hills and the most delicious food and vineyards that you can’t miss. Tuscany is totally special and perfect for a road trip around the region, or even a city break! That being said, it can be tough to whittle down a firm list of all the best places in Tuscany to visit as they’re all dotted around this iconic region of Italy. 

So, to make things a little easier (and you’re not bogged down with too much planning), I wanted to share some of the gems we loved visiting in Tuscany. 

Some are gorgeous little towns that date back thousands of years and some are little retreats that I’m hoping you’ll love. Whatever the case, I just know you’re going to be spoilt for choice on where to visit in Tuscany. 

Take a look, below, at the best places in Tuscany to visit. Have the best time in Italy! 

1.) Florence

Best Things To Do In Florence (7)

Okay, let’s start with one of Tuscany’s most iconic cities, Florence. Honestly, there are so many epic things to see in Florence that you’ll need at least a few days,if not more, to see them all. 

Truth be told, it needs little introduction and is known the world over for its centuries of historic, art and totally stunning streets. Over the years, we’ve visited many times and never not enjoyed our time in the city. In fact, I’d go as far as saying it’s one of our favourite cities in Italy to visit. A bold statement, I know! 

It’s no coincidence that Florence is called the jewel of the Renaissance, especially with its contribution to the enlightenment that historically brought the city to the centre of the world. Nowadays, you can see works from the likes of Michelangelo and Da Vinci alongside world-renowned spots that have stood for centuries. 

Once here, make sure to stop and enjoy some of the free things to do in Florence and also take in the views across the city from Piazzale Michelangelo. We loved going just before sunset (with gelato in hand) and watching Florence glitter. It sounds kinda cheesy, but it really is lovely. 

Oh, and don’t forget to stroll over Ponte Vecchio (the iconic bridge) and The Piazza della Signoria, too. If you want to see the masterpieces by Michelangelo, Da Vinci, and others, make sure to book these Uffizi Gallery skip-the-line tickets. You can’t miss it in Florence. 

If you’ve got a head for heights, visit the top of the Duomo and see the views across the city. Just be warned, queues can build quite quickly.

You can easily book this amazing Dumo, Baptistery and the iconic Florence Cathedral guided tour ticket that’ll get you inside in no time. It’s such a great way to explore this iconic sight, all with a qualified guide by your side. 

Fancy getting away from the city? Book this incredible Tuscan day trip tour that departs right from Florence itself. It’ll allow you to explore the iconic city of Siena, Pisa and time in the Chianti Hills. Not only that, you’ll get to visit an authentic Tuscan farmhouse for lunch and try some of the wines from the local vineyards, too. It’s incredible and perfect if you want to make the most out of your time in Tuscany. 

Read more: Best things to do in Florence

2.) Pisa

Best Places in Tuscany To Visit

Around a 90-minute drive from Florence (or a 50-minute train), Pisa is another one of the best places in Florence to visit if you want to visit world-renowned sights (like the Leaning Tower of Pisa) on an easy day trip.

We all know the Leaning Tower of Pisa, right? Well, it’s actually part of a much larger complex of the cathedral that’s so stunning to visit.

To make sure you get inside, book this reserved entry ticket to climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Best of all, it’ll be all at your own pace – so there’s no need to rush. 

Afterwards, take a wander around the cathedral itself and explore Piazza dei Miracoli and Piazza dei Cavalieri, too.

Oh, and don’t forget to try some tasty local dishes, too! Like Pappardelle al Cinghiale. It’s a wild boar dish in a rich tomato sauce with, typically, homemade ‘flat’ Pappardelle pasta. It’s so good. 

Read more: Things to know before visiting Pisa

3.) Siena

Best Things To Do In Siena (2)

The beautiful Tuscan city of Siena is an absolute gem to visit, especially with the historic centre. After all, the centre of Siena is a UNESCO-listed Heritage Site and it’s like stepping back centuries.

For me, one of the best ways to explore Siena is by foot. It’s a totally lovely city to stroll in, though, take some comfy shoes (you’ll thank me later).

Once here, you can visit some of Tuscany’s most iconic spots like the Palazzo Pubblico, the Cathedral of Siena, Palazzo Salimbeni and the Basilica of San Domenico. Plus, you can also check out the impressive Piazza del Campo where you will be transported back in time.

Finally, you can scale to the top of Torre del Mangia if you’re feet are feeling up to it! Just be warned, it can get pretty busy in the summer months and quite warm when walking up. 

Read more: Best things to do in Siena

4.) Lucca

Best Places in Tuscany To Visit

The neighbour of nearby Pisa, Lucca is one of the best places in Tuscany to visit if you’re near the west coast. It’s totally beautiful and kind of feels like a Tuscan time capsule when you’re exploring all the amazing Romanesque architecture and renaissance buildings.

Once here, be sure to check out the winding streets and get to the top of Guinigi Tower. It’s not quite as hard as it looks (if you take it nice and slow).

If that’s not your thing, head over to the iconic Puccini Museum which showcases all the worldly knowledge about the composer that was born here. 

Speaking of composers and opera, make sure to book these Puccini rehearsal tickets inside the Church of San Giovanni. It’s thousands of years old and the experience is just incredible. 

5.) Cortona

Best Places in Tuscany To Visit

Featured in the book Under the Tuscan Sun by Francis Mayes, Cortona has been one of the best places in Tuscany to visit for quite some time. It might be a relatively small town, but it packs a mighty punch when it comes to being a great place to visit. 

Surrounded by the Etruscan walls, which are almost 3,000 years old, so much of the history of the place can be observed through the structures you will find in the province of Arezzo. 

After arriving, you can check out the Chiesa San Francesco and the Abbazia Farneta which is stunning to see.

Not only that, there are marketplaces between the Santa Maria Cathedral and Garibaldi Square that you can explore to have a taste of their famous red wine varieties which makes this region so delicious. 

Best Places in Tuscany To Visit

Cortona is also a great stopping point if you’re driving from Florence to Rome (that’s not in Tuscany) as part of a wider Italian road trip.

It’s about 10km off the E35 Highway and really easy to visit.  

6.) Pistoia

Best Places in Tuscany To Visit

Considered the pistol firearm’s birthplace, Pistoia is a popular little haunt to visit when exploring Tuscany. It’s really easy to visit if you’re driving between Florence, Plato, Lucca and Pisa and the perfect little stop for a half-day trip.

Once here, be sure to check out the Cathedral of St. Zeno and its Baptistery, Montecatini Terme, the Museo Capitolare, Monte Cimone mountain range, the complex of San Giovanni Fuorcivitas, and Montecatini Alto. It’s all so beautiful. 

Oh, and if you can, grab a seat at Locanda del Capitano del Popolo. Their Minestra di Fagioli (a bit like a bean soup) and pasta are amazing. It’s such a cosy and informal eating spot, we love it.

7.) Arezzo

Best Places in Tuscany To Visit

Perched roughly between the Adriatic coast and the Mediterranean coast, Arezzo is one of the best places in Tuscany to explore as you meander the eastern fringes of the region. 

For me, Arezzo is all about its stunning historic centre, which is nestled at the top section of the hillside. It’s totally beautiful and well worth taking a gander if you’re exploring this area of Tuscany. 

As you get into the historic centre, be sure to see the Fortezza Medicea, Arezzo Cathedral (With its stunning Piero Della Francesca fresco) and the Teatro Petrarca.

Best Places in Tuscany To Visit

That being said, if you get caught in an unseasonal shower, check out the beautiful Museum of Medieval and Modern Art and the Museo Archeologico Mecenate. 

We love the city. 

8.) San Gimignano

Best Places in Tuscany To Visit

We fell in love with San Gimignano as soon as we visited! Trust me, as soon as you arrive, you’ll see what all the fuss is about.

It’s one of the best places in Tuscany to visit for a perfect snapshot of a Tuscan medieval town. It’s that perfect mix of quaint, accessible and totally charming. 

Best Places in Tuscany To Visit

Known for its ancient walls and medieval towers, make sure not to miss the chance to visit San Gimignano on your road trip around Tuscany.

Best Places in Tuscany To Visit

After you get here, be sure to pop into the Museo Archeologico, Sant’Agostino Basilica, and the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta.

The museums in the area are gorgeous, so you might want to consider visiting even one or two museums to complete your trip to San Gimignano (especially if the sun gets too hot outside). 

Read more: Our time visiting San Gimignano

9.) Montepulciano

Best Places in Tuscany To Visit

Another medieval hilltop Tuscan town, Montepulciano has a charm that’s too gorgeous to miss. Historically known as a place where powerful and noble families frequented and lived, the architecture in Montepulciano is just beautiful. 

Not only that, it’s surrounded by some of the tastiest vineyards in all of Tuscany (shhh, don’t tell the others). 

To try some of the region’s delicious wines, book this wine-tasting and cellar tour that’ll get you up close and personal with some of the town’s most delicious varieties. 

Afterwards, don’t forget to also visit Piazza Grande and the church of San Biago to complete your experience in Montepulciano. You can easily spend a relaxing day here (or longer).

Read more: Our time visiting Montepulciano

10.) Elba

Best Places in Tuscany To Visit

Noted as one of the most best places in Tuscany to visit for its beauty and because it is the region’s largest island. It’s totally gorgeous to visit for a few days and well worth exploring the island as much as possible whilst you’re visiting Tuscany. 

To reach the island of Elba, you need to ride the ferry from Piombino’s mainland port. Elba is around 10 kilometres away, so not too far at all.

Once here, be sure to spot Villa dei Molini, Via Napoleone and Piazza Napoleone. Oh, and don’t forget to visit some of the Tuscan island’s beaches, too. Nisportino and Spiaggia Cala Seregola are two firm favourites you can’t miss. 

Finally, take a wander through some of the towns, too. Notable places to visit are Monte Capanne, Porto Azzurro and Procchio. 

11.) Volterra

Best Places in Tuscany To Visit

The wall mountaintop Tuscan town of Volterra is gorgeous to explore. It’s the kind of place that’s perfect for a day trip and well worth taking a gander around the historic streets and seeing the beautiful vistas around the region. 

Once here, be sure to check out the Palazzo dei Priori (With its iconic tower). You’ll need to pay a small fee to enter and climb the tower but it’s well worth it.

Afterwards, see the ruins of the Roman Theatre and check out Volterra Cathedral that’s got the most ornate ceilings. 

12.) Pitigliano

Best Places in Tuscany To Visit

Perched within the province of Grosseto, Pitigliano is one of the best places in Tuscany to visit as you travel to the southern fringes of Tuscany. 

After parking up, make sure to explore the Museum of Palazzo Orsini and La Piccola Gerusalemme for all the history inside (and out). 

Yes, the town of Pitigliano is quite small, but it makes it perfect to visit for 2-3 hours as part of a longer trip. 

13.) Monteriggioni

Best Places in Tuscany To Visit

The iconic medieval walled town is around a 25-minute drive from the city of Siena and well worth a gander. 

After arriving, you can get inside the old town itself via the Porta Franca gate. Still, to this day, you can see the watchtowers and towering walls that once kept this town safe in the Tuscan hills. 

Inside, you should head straight to Piazza Roma and check out the gorgeous church and the quiet little houses that line the streets. 

Not only that, but from Monteriggioni, you can see some gorgeous vistas over the wider Chianti region in Tuscany. It’s a perfect morning trip to Siena and well worth stopping by for a few hours. 

14.) San Miniato

Best Places in Tuscany To Visit

Another historic town in Tuscany, San Miniato is a gem to explore. Although it’s pretty small, it’s well worth visiting for a long afternoon trip (and an early lunch). We loved it.

After arriving, be sure to check out The Tower of Frederick II, the Diocesan Museum and the cathedral which all make San Miniato so special. 

Again, like lots of the smaller towns in Tuscany, you can easily visit for a half-day trip and see most of the town itself. 

Read more: Best cities to visit in Italy

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