Tuscany, facts and travel tips
Wine from Chianti, cheese and meat fresh from the farm. A stunningly varied landscape. Vibrant centers of art, culture, and architecture. These all come together to create the beauties of Tuscany.
Use our Tuscany travel guide and useful travel tips to get the most out of your Tuscan adventure.
What are the best things to do in Tuscany?
Sprawling across the countryside of central Italy, Tuscany is a compelling destination. Lovers of the outdoors can revel in the beauties of the Apennine Mountains or the beaches of Elba while the Chianti region is home to olive groves and vineyards, perfect for tasting sessions and leisurely lunches.
Hill-top towns like San Gimignano take you back to a medieval era and Siena hosts the annual excitement of the Palio horse race while Pisa, of course, has its famous Leaning Tower.
Tuscany's capital, Florence is a cradle of Renaissance art and at Lucca, you'll discover Renaissance walls surrounding a bustling center of narrow cobbled streets. The works of Botticelli are the crowning glory of Florence's Uffizi Gallery while Michelangelo's statue of David can also be seen in the town. For popular galleries, like the Uffizi, we recommend buying tickets online to beat the queues. In contrast, the street art of towns and sculpture parks keep Tuscany's culture right up to date and as firmly rooted in the 21st-century as in the past.
Part of the joy of any holiday is sampling the local cuisine and with its fertile landscape, Tuscany provides the perfect gastronomic destination. Sip award-winning wines like Brunello di Montalcino, tuck into Bistecca Alla Fiorentina (Florentine beef steak) or simply enjoy a biscotti with your morning coffee.
Tuscany is perfect for combining city culture with the outdoor life. The Ring of Renaissance Trail encircles Florence and you can dip into this well-marked path on foot or by bike. It takes you through cultivated fields and wild woods as well as through pretty villages like Fiesole and Calenzano. En-route, you'll visit historic castles, churches, and monasteries.
In contrast, high in the Apennines, the ancient marble routes north of Sassalbo take you past fascinating marble formations before delivering you to the town of Camporaghena with its red sandstone buildings. The perfect stopping-off point for a hearty mountain lunch.
If you're traveling in Tuscany with children, they'll find plenty to delight them at family-friendly beaches such as Forte dei Marmi and Marina di Pietrasanta, both in Versilia. And, introducing youngsters to city culture is easy when you head to Florence's Leonardo da Vinci Museum. Here weird and wonderful machines from his notebooks, many of which can be operated by visitors, have been carefully created in wood. The newly revitalized Innocenti Museum, also in Florence, gives both adults and older children a fascinating glimpse back into the lives of Tuscan youngsters through the centuries.
What is the best time of year to visit Tuscany?
Cities like Florence and Pisa are popular all year round so be sure to book your tourist accommodation in plenty of time. Many Italians take their summer vacation in August and so many shops and restaurants will be closed. This does mean, however, that the cities are less crowded.
Wine-lovers should visit in May to catch the Cantine Aperte when wineries throw open their doors. Vibrant celebrations mark the Feast Day of San Giovanni in mid-June, the official start of summer.
As the year turns to autumn, the autumnal browns and reds of vines and chestnut trees bring a fiery splash of color to the Tuscan countryside. The Italians love Christmas and towns across Tuscany are popular with visitors making the most of their Christmas markets and the seasonal tastes of roast chestnuts and the temptingly delicious honey and spice Cavallucci cakes from Siena.
What is the weather and climate like in Tuscany?
Tuscany has many regional differences in weather but is generally hot and humid from June through to August, especially away from the refreshing coastal breezes.
Winters can be cold and wet with some risk of snow in higher areas. You'll find April to June, along with September and October the best months for outdoor activities and city exploring. Although there is some risk of rain, temperatures are pleasant without being too hot or cold.