For visitors and residents, Tuscany represents true Italian life. With jaw-dropping landscapes, eclectic art, and delicious farm-to-table food, this central Italian region is a place where every type of traveler will find something to love.
If it’s your first time in Italy, make this culturally-rich location your first stop. While Italian culture is diverse, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a province as influential as Tuscany to the European experience.
Beauty, whether natural or man-made, can be found in any corner. When not wine tasting in its fabled wineries or prancing over gorgeous silver olive groves and rolling hills in the Tuscan countryside, travelers are gawking over stunning masterpieces in its art-rich cities or snagging designer items from any of its modern-fashion powerhouses (Ferragamo, Gucci, Pucci, and Cavalli all find their roots in this fashion-loving region).
And then there’s the food. Tuscan residents spend unreasonable time discussing and thinking about food and wine. Food is a religion, and Tuscans are incredibly proud of their local, seasonal, or sustainable gastronomy. From iconic wines like Vino Nobile di Montepulciano to family-run restaurants where pasta is cut by hand, there is plenty to delight the palate, especially if you love everything Italian.
Tuscany is a vast region, from the magical Tuscan countryside with beautiful villages to the old cities rich with history – it can be difficult to choose a place to stay. That’s where we come in!
We’ve compiled a list of the best towns and cities to stay in Tuscany, their best hotels and things to do. So get comfortable, grab a glass of Chianti, and let’s get into the best places to stay in Tuscany.
Show Table of Contents
- TL;DR: Best Places to Stay in Tuscany
- Best Areas to Stay in Tuscany
- Where to Stay in Tuscany, Italy
- 1. Florence
- 2. Siena
- 3. Pisa
- 4. San Gimignano
- 5. Monsummano Terme & Montecatini Terme
- 6. Saturnia
- 7. Lucca
- 8. Arezzo
- 9. Volterra
- 10. Livorno
- What is the most centrally located town to stay in Tuscany?
- Where to go in Tuscany for 5 days?
- What is the nicest area of Tuscany?
TL;DR: Best Places to Stay in Tuscany
- Best Luxury Hotel in Tuscany – St. Regis Florence
- Best Mid-Range Hotel in Tuscany – Grand Hotel Duomo
- Best Budget Hotel in Tuscany – Hotel Manzoni Wellness&Spa
- Best Vacation Rental in Tuscany – Villa Volterra
- Best Resort in Tuscany – Terme di Saturnia Natural Spa & Golf Resort
- Best Family-Friendly Hotel in Tuscany – Best Western Grand Hotel Guinigi
Best Areas to Stay in Tuscany
- Best area for first-timers/tourists – Florence
- Best area for budget travelers – Pisa
- Best areas for luxury travelers – Monsummano Terme & Montecatini Terme and Saturnia
- Best area for safety – San Gimignano
- Best areas for families – Siena, Lucca
- Best area for history buffs – Volterra
- Best area for shopping – Arezzo
- Best area for food – Livorno
Where to Stay in Tuscany, Italy
Florence is one of the best places to stay in Tuscany. With picture-perfect museums, palaces, and churches, this is a splendid location to visit for Italian cultural fanatics and art lovers. The city is a major center for trains and buses across Tuscany, so you can easily access the surrounding countryside and other major cities like Milan and Rome.
Spend a few days in Florence and then take day trips to places like Siena, Pisa, Lucca, San Gimignano, and Arezzo, just to name a few. Some are best accessed by bus or car, while others are best reached by train. A guided tour is an ideal option for journeys into the Chianti region, as neither buses nor trains can readily deliver you to the small towns or vineyards you want to see.
The Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia Gallery are two of the world’s most important art museums in Florence, popularly known as the Cradle of the Renaissance. If you’re a fan of Renaissance art, there’s nowhere better in the world to visit than Florence.
To see all Florence’s main sights and landmarks, you’ll need to spend at least two full days here. Florence is a relatively small city, but there are so many historical sites and important works of art to behold. Here is a list of Florence’s most visited sites and the best things to do in this lovely city:
- Santa Maria del Fiore: Also known as the Florence Cathedral, this breathtaking church is Florence’s top attraction and definitely something you should not miss during your visit. It’s located in the center of the city and cannot be missed.
- The Duomo Skywalk: Take your trip to the Florence Cathedral one step further and get exclusive access to the terraces of the Duomo. On the way, you’ll gain access to rooms and corridors that were off-limits to the public for centuries.
- Ponte Vecchio: Enjoy the views and shopping of the famous Ponte Vecchio, one of the most recognizable landmarks in Florence. It was the only bridge in Florence that wasn’t destroyed during World War II.
- Art and history: Visit the famous Uffizi Gallery on your own, or take a small group tour of the Uffizi and Accademia (admission tickets included). Famous works include Raphael’s Self-Portrait, Michelangelo’s statue of David, and Sandro Botticelli’s Primavera.
- Capella Brancacci: Visit the Capella Brancacci in the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine, which is known as the “Sistine Chapel of the early Renaissance.” It features a painting cycle of scenes of the life of Saint Peter, most of which were painted between 1425 and 1427.
- Piazzale Michelangelo: Located on a hilltop, Piazzale Michelangelo features some of the most stunning panoramic views of the city. The best time to visit is during golden hour when the entire city is cloaked in hues of orange, gold, and red.
- Take a day trip: There are several day trips that can easily be done from Florence, either on your own or with a group tour. One of the best and most popular day trips is to Cinque Terre National Park, a collection of five picturesque fishing villages.
- Pitti Palace: Art lovers must visit the Pitti Palace art museum, known for its expansive collection of Renaissance art. It’s located south of the Arno River near Ponte Vecchio.
- Boboli Gardens: Stroll through the marvelous Boboli Gardens. It’s located just behind the Pitti Palace and is the largest park in Florence.
- Salvatore Ferragamo Museum: Learn the history behind the Salvatore Ferragamo brand at the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum. Exhibits include the history of Salvatore Ferragamo’s life, the shoes he’s created, and contemporary fashion culture.
Florence is the best place to stay in Tuscany for first-time visitors. Not only will you find the most attractions, city sights, and art galleries along the city’s cobbled streets, but it’s also extremely easy to access other towns in the Tuscan countryside from Florence. Here are just a few of our favorite hotels in Tuscany, ranging from charming boutique hotels to romantic luxury hotels:
- Best Budget Hotel in Florence: Hotel Esperanza – This budget-friendly option puts you right in the historic center of the city without breaking the bank. It’s just a short walk away from Santa Maria del Fiore and Via de’ Tornabuoni.
- Best Mid-Range Hotel in Florence: 25hours Hotel Florence Piazza San Paolino – This charming hotel is perfect for those who appreciate modern design and amazing architecture. It is located in the picturesque Santa Maria Novella district.
- Best Luxury Hotel in Florence: St. Regis Florence – This romantic hotel has an aesthetic mix of Renaissance and contemporary design. Gilded mirrors, marble halls, frescoed ceilings, and glass chandeliers are just a few examples. The spacious rooms and suites are lavishly appointed with a combination of antique furniture and contemporary furnishings.
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Siena is one of Tuscany’s most popular and visited cities. It is a city rich in history and art with strong local traditions related to its 17 districts and the famed Palio di Siena, a horse race that is the city’s most famous event held twice each summer.
As one of the best walking destinations in Tuscany, the city center is restricted to traffic, so you’ll have to get around Siena on foot or by public transportation if you come by vehicle. Although the train station is located outside of the city, buses connect it to the city center. Unless you’re a local with a permit, cars are not allowed inside the city walls, so you’ll have to park in a garage outside of the old town.
If you’re visiting Siena for the first time, it’s strongly suggested that you head right to the city’s heart, the lovely Piazza del Campo, one of the city’s most famous attractions. The Torre del Mangia, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, and the Opera Del Duomo Museum, all of which are accessible by foot, should also be on your agenda.
The most convenient method to travel to Siena is by train, which can be accessed from Florence or any other Italian city. Siena is also served by frequent buses from a number of Italian towns. Once in the city, explore some of these top landmarks and sights in and around this charming town:
- Piazza del Campo: Spend some time in the famous Piazza del Campo. It is the main square in Siena and is touted as Europe’s greatest medieval square.
- Take flight: Take in the breathtaking views during a scenic hot air balloon ride over the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside.
- Duomo di Siena: Visit the majestic Siena Cathedral, built in 1348 and one of Siena’s most stunning landmarks.
- Siena’s rich history: Go on a guided walking tour of the city with an expert local guide. Your guide will show you some hidden gems of Siena, and you’ll also get priority access to the Siena Cathedral.
- Torre del Mangia: Visit the Torre del Mangia, located in the Piazza del Campo. Built between 1325 and 1348, it was the largest secular medieval tower in Italy.
- Basilica of San Domenico: This is one of the most important churches in Siena. It features stunning frescoes, medieval art, and delicate altars.
- Fontebranda: This is one of the last remaining parts of the original medieval walls of Siena. Its main feature is a fountain that dates back to 1246.
- Take a tour of the Chianti wine region: Tour the Chianti region, complete with Tuscan wine tasting. Siena is located in the heart of Chianti, making it the perfect base to tour some of the area’s best wineries.
- Visit Santuario Casa di Santa Caterina, an art-filled sanctuary and former home of Saint Catherine of Siena.
Siena is the best place to stay in Tuscany for visiting wineries but also for families. There are places to visit for all interests and ages. Additionally, since the city is practically car-free, you can rest assured that you won’t get caught up in heavy traffic. Here are some of our top recommendations for hotels for all budgets in Siena:
- Best Budget Hotel in Siena: Il Chiostro Del Carmine – This former 14th-century monastery has been beautifully and carefully restored. Guests can enjoy the gorgeous medieval architecture and a cellar built in typical Tuscan style.
- Best Mid-Range Hotel in Siena: Grand Hotel Continental – The historical Grand Hotel Continental features elegant rooms decorated with a romantic atmosphere in mind. Four-poster beds, frescoed ceilings, and luxurious furnishings are what you can expect from this fantastic hotel. It also features two hotel restaurants, one more casual and the other for gourmet fine dining.
- Best Luxury Hotel in Siena: Borgo Santo Pietro – Staying 40 minutes outside of the city center may not be ideal for everyone, but we think this resort is worth it. Borgo Santo Pietro is the dreamiest Tuscan escape in the Siena province. The Baroque-style villa dates back to the 1200s features elegant rooms. This infinity pool overlooks the surrounding countryside, and over 12 acres of private gardens for guests to stroll through, all with a romantic atmosphere.
The Leaning Tower, or Torre Pendente, is Pisa’s most famous landmark and quite an architectural wonder. It quickly ran into issues during its construction due to its unstable foundation. The city’s greatest attraction is the Leaning Tower, but tourists will quickly learn that Pisa has much more to offer once they visit this awe-inspiring Italian city.
The city’s main features include a centuries-old top university. The shopping options range from flea markets to upscale boutiques, with excellent examples of medieval, Gothic, and Renaissance architecture lining major streets and piazzas. Though the city may be small, there’s no shortage of incredible bars and clubs either.
Pisa is located to the west of Florence and close to the Mediterranean Sea. The Arno River flows steadily through the town, making it an ideal location for wine production. Pisa is great to visit year-round but is especially magical when you have warm weather during your visit. Here are just some of the top attractions and things to do in Pisa that you shouldn’t miss:
- Piazza dei Miracoli: Of course, you must visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Pisa Cathedral.
- Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina: a Gothic-style church built in 1230.
- Borgo Stretto and Corso Italia: Two of the main shopping streets in Pisa, where you’ll find colorful buildings, great shopping, and lively restaurants.
- Tuttomondo mural by Keith Haring: The mural is located on the rear wall of the Sant’Antonio Abate church and was one of Haring’s last works of art before his death.
- National Museum of San Matteo: This museum features an expansive collection of religious works of art from the medieval period to the 16th century.
- Go on a Pisa Food Tour: Need I say more? During this tour, guests will learn about Pisa’s culinary history while sampling local delicacies, including cured meats, wine, and soup.
- Museo delle Navi Antiche di Pisa: Check out the ancient ships and artifacts at the Museum of Ancient Ships.
- Giardino Scotto: A garden and former fortress built in the 11th century.
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Pisa is one of the best places to stay in Tuscany for budget travelers. This medieval town features accommodations to fit all budgets and travel styles. You’ll find that you can get a better bang for your buck in terms of room rates in Pisa over the larger cities of Florence and Siena. Check out some of the best hotels in Pisa:
- Best Budget Hotel in Pisa: NH Pisa – The NH Pisa is just across from the Pisa Centrale railway station’s main entrance. Piazza dei Miracoli, with its UNESCO-listed complex of ancient landmarks – the cathedral, baptistery, cemetery, and Pisa’s major attraction, the Leaning Tower – is only a short walk away from the hotel.
- Best Mid-Range Hotel in Pisa: Grand Hotel Duomo – This affordable hotel boasts the most incredible views of the Duomo and Leaning Tower from its rooftop terrace and bar. It’s just a few minutes from the Pisa airport and a 20-minute walk from the central train station.
- Best Luxury Hotel in Pisa: Palazzo Cini – The hotel is in a peaceful and accessible location: Corso Italia, a major retail street. Inside, there’s a sense of polished luxury and understated elegance, accentuated by modern art and a few antique pieces.
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4. San Gimignano
If you want to experience the old-world charm of an incredibly beautiful medieval town, you’ll want to check out San Gimignano, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of several beautiful hilltop towns in Tuscany. Rolling hills surround this elegant old town and is famous for its breathtaking medieval architecture and its tower-filled skyline.
San Gimignano is the perfect place to bask in the Tuscan sun while exploring endless olive groves or enjoying wine tasting and the surrounding vineyards. San Gimignano is perfect for those who love slow travel and just want to wander and sightsee. Make sure to pack your camera because you’ll certainly capture the dreamiest shots of the Tuscan countryside here.
While San Gimignano is a tiny village compared to the other towns of Tuscany, there are still quite a few enjoyable things to do and see within its city walls. Known as the “Medieval Manhattan,” you can climb the town’s tallest towers, like Torre Grossa. After your intrepid adventures, reward yourself with some of the most mouthwatering gelatos from Gelateria Dondoli. To recap, here are some of the best things to see and do in San Gimignano:
- Take a guided walking tour: This incredible UNESCO-listed town is best seen through a private tour, where you can learn about the town’s rich history. Art lovers can enjoy contemporary art installations located throughout the town.
- Torre Grossa: The tallest remaining tower, which was built in 1298.
- Duomo of San Gimignano: The San Gimignano Cathedral was built in 1468, though the original structure was built in 1148. UNESCO describes the cathedral’s frescoes as “works of outstanding beauty.”
- The world-famous Gelateria Dondoli: Known for its inventive flavors such as Vernaccia wine, gorgonzola with walnuts, and olive with cheese.
- Food and wine: Indulge in food and wine tasting at a family-run organic farm.
- Vernaccia di San Gimignano Wine Experience: This giant vineyard offers its visitors an experience unlike any other. Learn about the history of Tuscan wine, take a two-hour masterclass, or simply stop by for an easy wine tasting.
- Galleria Continua: Mix in a bit of modern art while enjoying the medieval atmosphere of San Gimignano at Galleria Continua.
Not only is San Gimignano one of the most beautiful places to stay in Tuscany, but it’s also one of the safest. It’s a very quiet part of Tuscany, so you won’t be bothered by the hoards of crowds that you’ll find in the larger cities. Accommodations in this medieval town range from charming boutique hotels to agriturismos, which are farms that host visitors (no farm work required!) Here are a few of our favorites:
- Best Budget Hotel in San Gimignano: Hotel L’Antico Pozzo -This charming boutique hotel is located in the heart of San Gimignano. It features elegant rooms furnished with beautiful antique furniture and is within walking distance of the town’s top attractions.
- Best Mid-Range Vacation Rental in San Gimignano: Tuscan Loft – This one-bedroom loft boasts a central location and brings a modern world aesthetic into this medieval town. It features all the necessities like wi-fi, air-conditioning, and a washer and dryer.
- Best Luxury Accommodation in San Gimignano: Agriturismo Mormoraia – This farm stay is unlike any farm you’ve seen before. It features incredible amenities like an outdoor pool, sauna, and incredible finishings. Enjoy the farm’s own wine and olive oil during your time at Agriturismo Mormoraia.
5. Monsummano Terme & Montecatini Terme
You’ll find a ton of culture and history in the major, well-known cities of Tuscany, like Florence, Pisa, and Siena. But there’s a centuries-old tradition that’s tucked away in the countryside, fueled only by nature and ripe for relaxation: thermal waters.
The small, side-by-side villages of Montecatini Terme and Monsummano Terme sit in the mountains and right in between Florence and Pisa. They might seem unremarkable if you were to pass through. But these are places where mineral-rich water rises from deep in the earth, naturally warm in temperature, and collects in pools.
People have been visiting these places since the time of the Romans to soak in these pools and relax. But Monsummano Terme and Montecatini Terme are still relatively off the beaten path, keeping it quiet and exclusive. Today, luxury hotels and wellness centers operate on these natural hotspots, offering visitors a combination of spectacular Tuscan scenery, excellent Italian food, and relaxing spa days.
Any visitors to these places are surely here for swimming and spa days, and it wouldn’t be recommended to come here if you aren’t into that. However, there are a number of other fun adventures to have around here that you might not expect, too. Put these activities on your list during your days of pampering:
- The Spa at Grotta Giusti: This is Monsummano Terme’s main wellness attraction and is attached to the hotel we’ll discuss below. However, it also offers day passes to its several thermal pools and hot tubs, toasty-warm year-round. They also have great massages and other treatments.
- Parco delle Terme: On the Montecatini Terme side, this park contains its main thermal attractions. It’s a vast area with several wellness centers. Attractions include swimming pools, mud baths, inhalation and massage therapies, and relaxing gardens.
- Cave Diving: There are very few places where you can scuba dive in a deep cave complex in water that approaches 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Grotta Giusti Divers can take you on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure if you are scuba-certified and can handle the stress of diving in confined spaces.
- Grotta Maona: If you aren’t a diver (or you are but don’t want to be upside down shimmying between rocks in a dark cave), there’s another one that’s not submerged nearby. Grotta Maona is in the hills above Montecatini Terme and represents an interesting chance to see stalactites and karst formations.
- Vinci: Around 30 minutes away from these towns, the even smaller village of Vinci has a much better-known story – this is the birthplace of Leonardo Da Vinci. There’s a museum dedicated to his life and work here, and exploring the town he walked in centuries ago is interesting.
If you are searching for peace, quiet, relaxation, and the unique experiences listed above, the twin towns of Monsummano Terme and Montecatini Terme could be your perfect Tuscany escape. Here are a few of the top hotels in the area:
- Best Budget Hotel in Montecatini Terme: Hotel Manzoni – Located steps from the center of Montecatini Terme and the famous Parco delle Terme, you’ll be shocked at the affordable prices to be found at this hotel with several swimming pools and a hot tub.
- Best Mid-Range Hotel in Montecatini Terme: Grand Hotel Bellavista Palace & Golf – This large resort is just outside of Montecatini Terme and directly beside its famous park. It has a large swimming pool and an especially popular Italian restaurant.
- Best Luxury Hotel in Monsummano Terme: Grotta Giusti Thermal Spa Resort Tuscany, Autograph Collection – This is my top choice in the area, and I return here at least once a year. It has a massive thermal water swimming pool, as well as a giant hot tub with many jets and bubble chairs. It’s built on a cave flooded with thermal water accessible via the spa. There’s free parking, and the Italian restaurant is excellent.
You might’ve seen photos and videos on social media of seemingly out-of-this-world hot springs with milky blue water and bright white rocks that look like they’re on a different planet. It’s most likely that these pictures and videos were taken at Cascate del Mulino in Saturnia, a naturally occurring hot spring located in southern Tuscany. This is certainly one of the best places to visit in Tuscany and should be added to your must-see list!
The world-renowned hot springs have been used for centuries by Italians as healing thermal baths. Legend has it that lightning bolts thrown by Jupiter formed the baths. The best time to visit Cascate del Mulino is in the early morning, preferably before 8:00 a.m.
Any later and you’ll be with the crowds pouring out of tour buses from Florence and Siena. It’s also a wonderful place to visit year-round, but my favorite time is in spring or fall.
Saturnia has a lot to offer besides its incredible thermal baths, though that is the main draw. You can find stunning ancient cathedrals dating back to the Etruscans and, in true Tuscan fashion, many Instagram-worthy wineries and rolling hills. Here are a few things to add to your list of things to do and see around Saturnia:
- Podere Santa Francesca: Tour a winery and taste some fantastic natural wines.
- Necropoli Etrusca del Puntone: An ancient tomb dating back to the 5th century BC.
- Cascate del Mulino: Spend a morning at the most famous Terme di Saturnia. This naturally occurring hot spring is absolutely stunning as it is fascinating. The water stays at a comfortable 98°F year-round and is free to enter. Be sure to get there early for the best experience!
- Porta Romana: This ancient entrance to the city of Saturnia is said to be over 2,000 years old and one of the oldest ruins in the area.
- Saturnia Day Spa: Relax and unwind at the Terme di Saturnia Day Spa. Visitors can indulge in thermal baths and whirlpools. There are also kids’ pools so the whole family can enjoy the warm thermal waters.
- Golf: Enjoy a round of golf at Terme di Saturnia Natural Spa & Golf Resort.
Saturnia is another incredible place to stay in Tuscany if you’re craving a bit of rest and relaxation during your travels. It’s also one of the most unique places to stay in Tuscany, as you can find many natural hot springs throughout the surrounding countryside. Here are just a few of the best accommodations in Saturnia:
- Best Budget Accommodation in Saturnia: Agriturismo La Meria – When my husband and I were in Saturnia, this agriturismo was recommended to us for dinner, and I can agree that they offer phenomenal freshly-made Italian food with a dining room boasting the most amazing views. This accommodation also features an outdoor pool, free parking, and spacious rooms.
- Best Mid-Range Hotel in Saturnia: Hotel Saturno Fonte Pura – Hotel Saturno features its very own multi-level thermal swimming pool filled by the natural spring on the property. A restaurant is on-site, and sun loungers can be found throughout the property. Immerse yourself in the Tuscan countryside by renting a bike from the hotel.
- Best Luxury Hotel in Saturnia: Terme di Saturnia Natural Spa & Golf Resort – As part of the Leading Hotels of the World, this luxury resort is undoubtedly one of the best hotels in Tuscany. The property features its own thermal spa, Roman baths, a wellness center, and its own golf course.
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If you want to stay somewhere between the bustling city of Florence and the rural village of San Gimignano, the picturesque town of Lucca might just be what you’re looking for. This fairytale town is known for its Renaissance-period city walls and tree-lined cobblestone streets.
In Lucca, you can find many pedestrianized piazzas, such as the historic Piazza dell’Anfiteatro and Piazza Napoleone, which are perfect if you need a break between sightseeing in the city. St. Martin Cathedral, Guinigi Tower, Chiesa di San Michele in Foro, and the Puccini Museum are just some of the top landmarks to visit.
There are many centuries-old sites throughout Lucca that have been impeccably preserved, so there’s no shortage of sightseeing to be done in this town. You’ll also find amazing authentic restaurants, such as Ristorante Cantine Bernardini Lucca, Buca di Sant’Antonio, and Trattoria da Giulio, that will delight your tastebuds with simple but delicious flavors. These are some things you need to add to your list to do and see in Lucca:
- Wine tasting: Go on a wine-tasting tour starting in Lucca. This tour has at least two stops at various wineries throughout the area and lasts for approximately four hours.
- St. Martin Cathedral: This cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Lucca and the largest cathedral in the city.
- Biking: Enjoy a relaxing bike tour around Lucca. During this guided tour, you’ll make a few stops to enjoy some tasty treats that the city has to offer, like cured meats and wine.
- Guinigi Tower: Climb the 232 steps to the top of the Guinigi Tower. It truly stands out within Lucca’s skyline and is one of the few remaining defense towers built in the 14th century.
- Cooking class: Learn how to make pasta and tiramisu from scratch! Then, enjoy the fruits of your labor with a glass of local wine.
- Puccini Museum: Located at the birthplace of Italian opera composer Giacomo Puccini, this museum displays artifacts, handwritten letters, and other items important to the famous composer’s life.
- The Palazzo Mansi National Museum: Visitors to this national museum can admire the stunning frescoes and tapestries owned by the city of Lucca.
- Orto Botanico Comunale di Lucca: The botanical garden of Lucca is a perfect place to take a relaxing stroll.
- Rent a Vespa: Ride around in fashion by renting a Vespa for the day.
While you can certainly visit Lucca on a day trip from Siena or Florence, it’s also a great place to be based while visiting Tuscany. The town is lively but sees fewer crowds than Florence, making it an ideal place to stay in Tuscany for families. Here are a few great accommodation options in Lucca:
- Best Budget Vacation Rental in Lucca: The Lucca Palatial Suite – This luxury suite is located in a gorgeous Renaissance building and is a great value for the price. It features a charming kitchenette, a cozy bedroom area, and romantic furnishings.
- Best Mid-Range Hotel in Lucca: Best Western Grand Hotel Guinigi – This hotel was made for families staying in this gorgeous Tuscan town. Equipped with family rooms, a kids’ play area, and kid-friendly meal options, you can rest assured your family will have a comfortable stay in Tuscany.
- Best Luxury Hotel in Lucca: Villa Sardi Luxury Boutique Hotel – Enjoy life under the Tuscan sun at this gorgeous boutique hotel located in Lucca’s countryside. The hotel features family rooms, free wi-fi, and free parking and is surrounded by hiking and cycling paths.
Arezzo is an old, beautiful little city ticked in the Tuscan hills between Florence and Perugia. This is a relatively off-the-beaten-path destination in the countryside, great for travelers who want to escape the crowds of the tourist hotspots – but that doesn’t mean Arezzo has no claims to fame.
One of the town’s reputations comes from its wealth of gold, silver, and antique shopping. It’s a place to find treasures if you like shopping for jewelry, clothing, art, and other antiquities. But along with all of the old, there are a ton of modern boutiques selling the high-end fashion items Italian designers are known for, and you can find big-name brands alongside one-of-a-kind pieces.
Being an ancient, medieval city, it also has a reputation for heritage and art. The Piazza Grande is a central square lined by stone buildings dating from the 1500s, today hosting cafés, wine bars, and shops. The Medicean Fortress towers above the town blocks away and has recently been restored to its 16th-century glory.
Be sure to visit the Church of San Francesco, the city’s main cathedral. It may be an unassuming stone building from the 13th century, but it holds the Legend of the True Cross fresco inside. The Basilica San Domenico is another with its famous wooden crucifix by Cimabue from the same period.
All of this, plus countless more day trips into the beautiful landscapes of the surrounding countryside, make Arezzo a fantastic Tuscany destination. Here are the top things to do around here:
- Piazza Grande: Explore the main square of Arezzo that will transport you back to medieval times. Dine and shop at the places that line the square.
- Fortezza Medicea: Once belonging to Italy’s most prominent family, this fortress will not only take you back into history but will also provide sweeping views of the city and surrounding hills.
- Basilicas and churches: See sculptures, paintings, frescos, and more at the churches of San Francesco, San Domenico, and others. A walking history tour will reveal the most important places, including the previously mentioned things.
- Take a cooking class with a local: Rather than a souvenir, bring home the knowledge of how to make Italian food like the Italians do and enjoy a meal of regional specialties in the process.
- Street food tours: If you don’t have the patience to cook, let a local foodie take you to the best spots to be served tasty Tuscan food.
- Vineyard tours & wine tasting: Visit surrounding villages to explore the picturesque vineyards fueled by the Tuscan sun and taste their products.
Arezzo may not be the first place to stay in Tuscany that comes to tourists’ minds, but few travelers regret their choice. If you decide to make this your spot, here are some of the top accommodation choices in Arezzo:
- Best Budget Hotel in Arezzo: Etrusco Arezzo Hotel – This brand-affiliated hotel is located just over a mile from the historic city center and offers very comfortable rooms at great prices.
- Best Mid-Range Hotel in Arezzo: La Striscia Wine Resort – Up on a hill just outside of the city, this resort sits on a vineyard; its fountains, swimming pools, and spectacular scenery will make you feel like you’re in your own palazzo.
- Best Luxury Hotel in Arezzo: Hotel Continentale – Located steps from the train station and historic center, this hotel has modern rooms and a rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the city.
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Tucked in the middle of the Tuscan hills southwest of Florence, Volterra is a medieval hilltop town that boasts incredible ancient frescoes and expansive views of the surrounding valley. It is probably one of the most well-known former Etruscan settlements in Tuscany and is the perfect place to visit for history buffs, as it’s one of the oldest cities in Italy.
The walls of the city date back to the third and fourth centuries and include two gateways from the Etruscan civilization and a tomb from the sixth century. Other major archaeological wonders in Volterra include its Roman Theater, which is touted as one of the most well-preserved Roman theaters in Italy and dates back to the first century BC. Another great site is the Palace of the Priors, which is currently the town hall and features incredible frescoes and a bell tower.
Volterra is just about as authentic as it gets in terms of history, culture, and food. Osteria La Pace Volterra serves up traditional Tuscan fare and regional meats and cheeses, all at an affordable price. If you’re looking for something more upscale, the Michelin-guide featured Enoteca Del Duca delights guests with their refined menu and over 400 kinds of wines.
With its incredible views, art, history, and food, Volterra is hard to beat when determining your Tuscany itinerary. Here are a few of the best things to see and do:
- La Valle del Diavolo: Travel south to The Devil’s Valley, which gets its name from the steamy volcanic vents found throughout the area.
- Roman Theater: Explore Volterra’s Roman Theater, one of the most well-preserved Roman theaters in Italy. The theater was built in the first century BC.
- Etruscan Museum “Mario Guarnacci”: Visit the Etruscan Museum, which is home to a large collection of ancient archaeological items, including pottery and sculptures.
- Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta: The main Volterra Cathedral was erected during the 12th century. Throughout the centuries, it has collected incredible frescoes, beautiful sculptures, and many more works of art.
- Palace of the Priors: Located in the heart of the old town, the Palace of the Priors dates back to the 13th century and currently acts as Volterra’s town hall. Some parts of the palace are open to the public, including rooms with well-preserved frescoes and the bell tower.
- Volterra City Museum and Art Gallery: This museum is a great place to view Renaissance art from the local area.
- Palazzo Incontri Viti: If you’d like to experience the wealth of a noble family back during the 1500s to 1800s, this palace is a must. It features breathtaking relics from the noble Viti family, and your admission ticket here includes a wine tasting!
Overall, Volterra makes a fantastic base during a trip to Tuscany. It’s not far from some of the region’s other top cities like Florence, Siena, and San Gimignano. If you love to admire real-life ancient archaeological sites, this is the place for you. These are some of the best places to stay in Volterra:
- Best Budget Hotel in Volterra: Hotel San Lino – With its amazing swimming pool, panoramic views, and comfortable rooms, this hotel provides incredible value for the price. It’s within close walking distance of the Palace of the Priors but is just outside of the city center, so you can count on a quiet and tranquil atmosphere.
- Best Mid-Range Hotel in Volterra: Hotel La Locanda -Located in the historic city center, this hotel offers guests a comfortable stay in the heart of Volterra. The hotel features a calming inner garden, a buffet breakfast, and an on-site Tuscan restaurant.
- Best Luxury Vacation Rental in Volterra: Villa Volterra – If luxury and seclusion are of the utmost importance to you during your Tuscan vacation, Villa Volterra has you covered. This stunning villa features its own swimming pool and is tucked away within the olive groves. It has three bedrooms and three bathrooms, making it a wonderful place to stay with friends or family.
While many tourists swear that the best places to stay in Tuscany are up in its hills, they probably haven’t discovered the magical city of Livorno on the seaside. This is Tuscany’s main port city, and where most cruise ships will dock for the region. But beyond that, it hasn’t nearly been as discovered by tourists as the other cities around.
Livorno is another centuries-old place steeped in history from the Renaissance period and even earlier. At the entrance to the port from the Mediterranean Sea, the Fortezza Vecchia (meaning Old Fort) has been standing guard since the 11th century. A bit further back, a newer version called the Fortezza Nuova (meaning new fort) has been doing a similar job since the 16th century – quite new!
The historic city center is based on a network of beautiful canals, much like Venice, earning the neighborhood the name Venezia Nuova. This area and its surroundings are packed with traditional restaurants, serving the local seafood specialty from the city’s shores.
One of the most famous attractions in Livorno is its famous aquarium on the seafront. It’s surrounded by a waterfront promenade called the Terrazza Mascagni, which is fitted with many gazebos and benches, making it an excellent gathering place for the sunset and sea views. If you decide to stay in or visit this hidden gem of a city, here are some of its top attractions:
- Acquario di Livorno (Aquarium of Livorno): In this world-class sea life center, you can learn all about the inhabitants of the Mediterranean, as well as ocean residents from much further afield. Buy your tickets in advance to skip the line.
- The Terrazza Mascagni: This is an easy add-on before or after your visit to the aquarium, but a do-not-miss either way. Enjoy an espresso, a gelato, or just the sunset from this famous promenade.
- Explore Venezia Nuova: Stroll the canals of the charming city center and see sights like the Fortezza Vecchia, Fortezza Nuova, Piazza della Republica, and more. A guided tour will reveal the best of the city to true history buffs, while the hop-on, hop-off bus is a great option for independent explorers.
- Mercato Centrale: If you love Italian food (and we know you do), don’t miss a chance to see one of the country’s largest public markets selling it. A local guide specializing in the market and its delicacies can ensure you taste all the best and appreciate all the heritage and history.
- Gorgogna Island: This day trip really takes you off the beaten path to a tiny island set well off the coast. Be one of the few tourists to make the trek and explore on your own, or join a guided hiking exploration of the island that includes your ferry tickets.
- Pisa: It’s just under 30 minutes by train to this iconic city packed with its history and heritage. That makes it easy to DIY a day trip or to simply book a bus transfer to the leaning tower.
While it may not have the reputation of some of the other Tuscan hotspots, Livorno should certainly be a candidate for a spot on your itinerary and potentially even as a place to stay. These are some of the best hotels in the city:
- Best Budget Hotel in Livorno: Max Hotel Livorno – You’ll be surprised at the convenience and quality for the price you pay at this boutique hotel. Furnishings and amenities are new and modern, and it’s a quick walk to the city’s main train station, making this a great spot to stay if you plan to venture further into Tuscany and don’t mind not being in the center of it all.
- Best Mid-Range Hotel in Livorno: Hotel Gran Duca – On the other hand, this hotel puts you right in the old town, meaning you won’t have to wander far to find historical sites and great food. Rooms are basic and comfortable, the restaurant is highly rated, and there’s even a gym.
- Best Luxury Hotel in Lirovno: GH Palazzo Suite & SPA – It has “palazzo” in the name, enough said. This beautiful property is located close to the aquarium and features a seasonal outdoor pool, as well as beautifully-appointed guest rooms and a spa.
What is the most centrally located town to stay in Tuscany?
As the capital of Tuscany, Florence is the most well-connected city in the region. Therefore, it’s the most centrally located. Italy boasts a fabulous high-speed train system that connects most major cities in just a few hours.
Where to go in Tuscany for 5 days?
Five days is a great amount of time to explore Tuscany. If you don’t want to move from hotel to hotel, base yourself in Florence or Siena. From these cities, you’ll be able to explore the surrounding countryside with ease. Make sure to spend at least two days in Florence, with day trips to San Gimignano, Saturnia, and the Chianti wine region.
What is the nicest area of Tuscany?
Truthfully, there isn’t an area of Tuscany that’s not nice. The rolling hills, breathtaking views, and medieval hilltop towns can be found throughout the region. The most iconic parts of Tuscany are Saturnia, Lucca, and Siena.
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Brittney is a lifelong traveler from Oahu, Hawaii. She has visited more than 35 countries and is continually researching new places to explore!