These are our most highly recommended vacation accommodations in Tuscany
Many of the valleys and wine zones of Tuscany are fabulously interesting places to visit
Here are just a few of the many things to do for visitors to Tuscany, Italy
Introductions to various aspects of the history, languages and peoples of Tuscany in Italy
Pontremoli is situated in the Province of Massa and Carrara very near the border with Emilia Romagna, making it the northernmost town in Tuscany. It is located at north-western end of the Lunigiana region in the high valley of the Magra river, at the confluence with the Verde stream and the Valle del Verde.
The charming little town of Santa Fiora is located in the eastern extreme of the Maremma on the slopes of Monte Amiata and, along with Arcidosso, is well worth a visit by anyone visiting this area. Santa Fiora is located about 40 km east of the provincial capital Grosseto and about 110 south of Florence, on the river Fiora and in close proximity to Monte Calvo, to Monte Labbro in the west and to Monte Amiata in the north.
Montebenichi is located in the municipality of Bucine in the Province of Arezzo of Tuscany. The village is situated on a hilltop between the Chianti Aretino and the Chianti Senesi, dominating the Valdambra, right on the border with the municipalities of Gaiole in Chianti and Castelnuovo Berardenga. The views from the village are truly splendid, sweeping across the Crete Senesi to Monte Amiata in the south, Cortona in the east and Sienna and beyond in the west.
The fortress of Ceserana is located in Garfagnana (Province of Lucca). It is located on a hill on the left bank of the Serchio river. Inside it is a Romanesque church dedicated to Sant’Andrea
Fiesole is actually an older settlement than Florence but was long ago overtaken by its former rival in the Val d’Arno below. For centuries Fiesole has been the favoured retreat of Florentines during the hot summer months and it still provides cool summer air and magnificent views.
Castellina in Chianti is situated on a ridge along the Chiantigiana highway between Florence and Siena, at the turn-off for Poggibonsi. Castellina has an attractive old town centre marred by a grotesque formation of industrial silos and an abandoned warehouse
Panzano is located at the highest point and almost exactly midway along thescenic Via Chiantigiana road from Florence to Siena. Parts of the original castle remain, incorporated into the church and also as an independent tower.
Monteriggioni is one of the most famous and attractive castles in all Tuscany. Its curtain wall and fourteen towers are virtually intact, and the interior is now occupied by a small and peaceful village.
Chianciano Terme is a municipality famous for its hot springs, situated in the Province of Sienna, Tuscany, about 90 km southeast of Florence and about 50 km southeast of Sienna, between the Valdichiana and the Val d’Orcia.
Today the most significant sight within Lari is the Renaissance fortress (Castello dei Vicari), formerly the residence of the Florentine Vicars. This well-preserved complex is open to the public throughout the year. Visitors may view Etruscan, Roman and Renaissance objects (glazed terracottas of the Della Robbia), mediaeval and Renaissance frescoes, the “Hall of torments”, the prisons, and underground chambers known as “the hell”.
Rapolano Terme is situated in one of the most fascinating parts of the Siennese countryside – the Crete Senesi. This spa was known to the Romans, as can be seen at the archaeological site of Campo Muri, and was still in use in the Middle Ages. Today, Rapolano Terme offers modern bathing and spa facilities based around its numerous hot springs.
Greve in Chianti is a small town situated in the valley of the Greve stream, half-way along the scenic Chiantigiana highway (SS 222) that runs from Florence to Sienna. Greve has an attractive, arcaded, triangular piazza with several ceramics and wine shops
Sienna (Siena in Italian) is second only to Florence as a Tuscan “art” town, and, for many, its much smaller size and the absence of traffic in the historical centre make it more than the equal of Florence as a place to enjoy the treasures of Romanesque and Renaissance Italy, as well as the modern Italian lifestyle.
At Casciana Terme the first thermal baths date from 1311 and were built by command of Federico da Montefeltro. In 1824, a new façade was added to the building by order of Ferdinand III of Lorraine. At the same time, the various baths were improved and heating stoves were installed for drying the towels and thus the place became known as “the pearl of Italian spas”.
Pontassieve is a small town located about 14 km east of Florence at the point where the River Sieve joins the Arno. Pontassieve was severely bombed during WW II but the small historical centre has been well-restored
Pistoia is the capital of the Province of Pistoia in Tuscany and is located equidistant between Lucca and Florence. Despite its attractions, Pistoia seems to be unjustly neglected by visitors to this part of Tuscany.
San Giuliano Terme is a municipality and famous spa in the Province of Pisa, located about 5 km northeast of Pisa. Definitely worth a visit.
Bagni di Lucca has been famous for its thermal springs since the days of the Etruscans and the Romans. The place was noted for the first time in an official document of 983 AD as “Corsena”, with reference to a donation by the Bishop Teudogrimo of the territory of Bagni di Lucca to Fraolmo of Corvaresi.
Montepulciano is famous for not just one but two excellent wines, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Rosso di Montepulciano. However, it is often underestimated in terms of the interest of its art and architecture.
Lamole is a small village high up in the Chianti hills, accessed from a turnoff between Greve and Panzano. While Lamole is a charming little place in itself, the main reason for a visit is the beautiful drive up, passing by the famous renaissance Villa Vignamaggio and the Castello di Lamole along a road lined by cypresses and offering spectacular views.
Montecatini Terme and its thermal resorts are located in the Valdinievole which is also the area of some small but attractive art towns such as Pescia and Monsummano Terme. The Valdinievole forms a small but significant part of the Province of Pistoia. The most important attractions of Montecatini are the thermal spa facilities themselves.
Florence, the art and architecture capital of Tuscany and one of the most important art cities in the world. Probably the best months to visit Florence are May, June, September and October. July is very pleasant in terms of weather but is already crowded with tourists. August can be very hot and humid because Florence is located in a valley that traps heat.
The beautiful and intriguing Ponte della Maddalena is a bridge crossing the Serchio river near the town of Borgo a Mozzano in the province of Lucca, located some 24 km north of Lucca and 5 km from Bagni di Lucca.
Volterra is an archetypal Tuscan hill town. Its very high and isolated location have preserved much of its original character. Part of its walls, the acropolis and the Porta dell’Arco gate are Etruscan and the Guarnacci Etruscan Museum is one of the best in Italy.
Cortona has seen its fame increase over the past few years with the publication by Frances Mayes of “Under the Tuscan Sun” and other books about her life in this area. However, Cortona, Italy has always rightly been a popular Tuscan “hill town” destination – Tuscan “hillside town” would better evoke Cortona’s steep, narrow mediaeval streets.
Arezzo is an attractive town located high on a hill above the upper reaches of the River Arno in eastern Tuscany. The cathedral, the town hall, the Medici Fortress and numerous other architecturally interesting structures are in the ancient higher area of Arezzo.
San Gimignano is famous for its Tuscan tower houses. These were a common sight in Tuscan towns during the late middle ages but most city rulers ordered them to be torn down as a measure to reduce intramural discord.
Bagno Vignoni (sometimes Bagni Vignoni) is famous for its thermal baths. It was popular with the Romans (and probably the Etruscans) and rose to prominence again during the middle ages because of the proximity of the Via Francigena, the north-south pilgrimage route through the Italian peninsula.
The environs of town of Poggibonsi are well worth a visit by anyone travelling from Florence to Sienna via Colle di Val d’Elsa and Monteriggioni. The modern business centre of Poggibonsi is not especially picturesque but there are numerous interesting and important historical sights in the neighbourhood.
One of the finest sights in the Province of Pistoia outside of Pistoia itself is a baroque library, the Biblioteca Capitolare di Pescia, located in the little town of Pescia.The Biblioteca Capitolare di Pescia was designated a canonical library in July 1666 by Pope Alexander VII (Chigi) and traces its origins to the bequest of the Canon Romualdo Cecchi, a famous treasurer of the Prepositura nullius of Santa Maria at the pieve (parish church) of Santa Maria.
Pistoia, the city from which the province takes its name, is probably the principal not-to-be-missed sight in the province and yet it is unjustly neglected by visitors to Tuscany. Pistoia is just 40 km from Florence and from Lucca. More about Pistoia.
Ponte Colandi is considered to be among the most beautiful bridges in the Turrite Secca valley. Colandi Bridge is located in Fabbriche di Vallico (now Fabbriche di Vergemoli), and is also called the Ponte della Dogana because it was indeed once a customs post.
Radicondoli is a tranquil Tuscan hill town that lies well off the beaten tourist track in the northern part of the “Metalliferous Hills” on the borders of the Alta Maremma, between the Val d’Elsa and the Val de Cecina.
Populonia is the location of some of the best-preserved Etruscan tomb structures and other remains in Tuscany, plus a small Etruscan museum. It was an important metalworking city for the Etruscans and one of the few of their cities built right on the coast.
Vinci is located in northern of Tuscany near Florence, on the slopes of Montalbano, an area of classic Tuscan hills carpeted in vineyards and olive groves on terraces supported by dry stone walls. Top view, suggests a boat with two masts (where the two trees would be the tower of the fortress of the Guidi and the bell tower of the church of Santa Croce). The historic center of the village of Leonardo is known, for this reason, as the “Castle of the ship.”
The town of Pescia is a charming place that is well worth a brief visit if you are in the area. Pescia is situated in the Province of Pistoia, very near the ancient border separating the Republics of Florence and Lucca, on the banks of the Pescia river.
Pisa is a city of unique and to some extent under-rated beauty. Pisa is of course one of the most famous towns in the Region of Tuscany. Many tourists arrive at Pisa airport en route for Florence and neglect to visit anything except the Leaning Tower. In fact, Pisa is well worth a stay of a few days and even makes a good base for a vacation in NW Tuscany. Pisa is only 20 minutes from the coast and has excellent transport links to Florence, Livorno and La Spezia.
Volpaia is a well-restored mediaeval village located in central Chianti. Part of the walls and two of the original six towers of Volpaia are preserved, the largest of the two housing the Castello di Volpaia wine shop and osteria. Volpaia was the hometown of a famous Florentine family of clock- and instrument-makers and is now an attractive tourist destination with three restaurants, a small grocery and some vacation rental apartments.
San Donato in Poggio is a mediaeval village of great charm located near the Via Cassia, the highway that runs along the western boundary of the Chianti Classico wine zone from Florence to Sienna. In modern times, the Via Cassia has been superceded by the Florence-Sienna motorway
Colle di Val d’Elsa is located in the province of Sienna on a high hill overlooking the valley of the river Elsa, in central Tuscany. The town was probably founded during the Dark Age, sometime before the 10 C when it was first documented. During its early history,
San Miniato is an attractive town half-way between Florence and Pisa formerly known as San Miniato al Tedesco to distinguish it from San Miniato al Monte, the beautiful basilica just above Florence.
Montelupo Fiorentino is historically and also today one of the most famous centres of painted majolica and ceramics production in Tuscany, and is within easy reach of Florence.
The city of Lucca is located in western Tuscany and should at the very least be included in any tour of Tuscany. Lucca also makes an excellent base for your stay in Tuscany. The city is flat, compact and relatively uncrowded making it a very pleasant place to stay.
Here’s an interactive map of Tuscany with links to the best websites for many of the most interesting cities, towns, villages and sights of Tuscany.