Most beautiful places to visit in Tuscany

Charming Tuscany with its fertile valleys, rich vegetation and pleasant climate is located in central Italy at the Tyrrhenian Sea. To the north it borders with the provinces of Emilia-Romagna and Liguria, to the east with Umbria and Marche and to the south with Lazio.

There is probably no other place in the world, which would have at the same time a high level of civilization, history, art, culture, architecture and wonderful landscapes, such as Tuscany. In addition, the variability of the Tuscan landscape is really wide. Find accommodation and hotels in Tuscany:  book_hotel_2 travel via italy

Apuan Alps, Tuscany, Italy
Apuan Alps by Lorenzo Antiga

Region extends from the high and sharp peaks of the Apuan Alps, through gentle hills of Chianti – the birthplace of the famous wines, to the coastal beaches, the sea and the islands. Really amazing on Tuscany is complete and permanent harmony between city and countryside, between the peasant and urban sceneries.

Tuscany is a region famous for art, history and impressive scenery. Cities are often surrounded by Etruscan walls. Beautiful palaces are proof of the wealth of this region and the medieval town halls show the age-old tradition of democracy and self-government.

Pienza, Tuscany, Italy
Pienza, Tuscany by Steve

It is always useful to find out the main towns and attractions while visiting a region for the first time. This is true particularly for Tuscany that is completely loaded with extraordinary places to visit, the credit of which goes to its long history featuring numerous works of art and traditions followed since centuries.

Therefore, here are top 25 places to visit in Tuscany for making your holidays in Italy diversely fascinating!

Florence – The Early Renaissance Hub

For those who wish to explore the Italian Renaissance in deep, Florence is the ideal place to be! It is one of the significant Renaissance art and architectural hubs, which becomes evident while exploring its museums, churches, and palaces.

Florence Cathedral (Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore), Tuscany, Italy
Florence Cathedral (Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore), Tuscany by Kuster & Wildhaber Photography

While the Duomo, Baptistery and charming bridge Ponte Vecchio with goldsmiths shops are the most popular attractions remaining crowded with tourists, the Uffizi Gallery showing the largest collection of Italian Renaissance art, Accademia, Bargello, Santa Maria Novella Church, and the San Lorenzo library housing Michelangelo’s architectural showpieces are always on the visiting list of any traveler.

Some more attractions worth exploring include the Basilica of Santa Croce, Boboli Gardens, large piazza, the Oltrarno (New Florence), and ancient streets up to the Arno River.

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Tuscany, Italy
Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Tuscany, Italy by Joan Campderrós-i-Canas

Read more about Florence, learn more about one of its most interesting sights Ponte Vecchio or visit the most beautiful gardens of Florence.

Pisa – The Home of Leaning Tower

Nestled in northern Tuscany, Pisa never fails to incline you with its leaning tower. However, there is lot more to see and admire in this university town.

As a traveler, you will be happy to explore its medieval center, Piazza dei Miracoli housing the baptistery and tower, Camposanto, Museum of Sinopie, and Opera del Duomo museum.

Piazza dei Miracoli, Tuscany, Italy
Piazza dei Miracoli, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy / Photo by Julius

Pisa in the Middle Ages managed to take advantage of overseas trips to enrich both municipal treasury, as well as education and culture of the city and region.

Proof of this are the buildings in the city center, the most famous is definitely Leaning Tower on Campo dei Miracoli “Square of Miracles”.

A few steps away is the historic heart of the Piazza dei Cavalieri, which was an erstwhile powerful place in the city before being the control centre of the Knights of St. Stephen. At present, it is the cultural and learning centre.

Palazzo dell Orologio, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy
Palazzo dell Orologio, Piazza dei Cavalieri, Pisa by Julius

Siena – Living Testimony of Medieval Italy

Nestled over three hills, Siena is a typical but loveliest medieval hill town that is admired for its huge shell-shaped piazza called Piazza del Campo, one of the largest squares in Renaissance Europe. The piazza is the venue for Palio, a horse race held twice every summer as well the tall bell tower accessible with 500 steps to enjoy the reward of charming views of the city.

The other worthwhile attractions include the Duomo of Siena, the civic palace housing municipal offices, and an internal courtyard giving way to the bell tower and Civic Museum, and Palazzo Pubblico with gorgeous frescoes.

Even Sala del Concistoro preserving magnificent works of Domenico Beccafumi and ceiling frescoes along with the Sala del Mappamondo and the Sala della Pace taking you back into medieval age are adorable. If you are in Italy only for a few days, a visit to Siena is worthy of your time and money.

Siena, Tuscany, Italy
Siena, Tuscany, Italy by ho visto nina volare

Here is the city guide to Picturesque Tuscan Hill City of Siena

Lucca – The Renaissance-era Walled City

Make sure to also explore the city of Lucca and its historic center, bordered by ancient walls.

Nestled on a plain at the Apuan Alps’ foot, the city is accessible in just 30 minutes from the Tuscan shore apart from quick reach from Florence and Pisa. If you wish to see how an intact walled city of Renaissance used to be, a visit to Lucca is necessary.

Atop its best-preserved walls are beautiful gardens as well as walking and cycling tracks to explore the historic centre with fun. Because it is not on hilltop, the town is perfect for any traveler having mobility issues but wish to experience the climbing adventure. Other attractions include well-preserved towers offering great city views and shopping spots.

Lucca, Tuscany, Italy
Lucca, Tuscany, Italy by Hidde de Vries

Read more about Lucca – Tuscany’s Well Preserved Medieval Town

Arezzo – The Rich Antique Town

Arezzo is one of the richest cities in Tuscany, which prospers from manufacturing of jewelry. One of the unique sights of this city are the frescoes in the church of S. Francesco.

It is surprising that Arezzo is usually not on the tourist map although it is one of the richest towns in the region. Tucked on a hilltop in southeastern Tuscany, the town resides at the crossroads of valleys. The town is the home of ancient stone tools and the famous Man of the Elm belonging to the Paleolithic era. Founded in 9th century B.C., Etruscan Arretium soon became one of the most vital Tuscan towns for its strategic location besides the Via Cassia.

The Medieval center was completely ruined during the World War II but the tourists has several sites to fall in love with, such as the Church of San Francesco with the amazing Early Renaissance fresco cycle showing the Legend of the True Cross, Medicean Fortress uphill, Roman Amphitheater, and the San Domenico Church with the wooden Crucifix.

Piazza Grande, Arezzo, Tuscany, Italy
Piazza Grande, Arezzo by Monica Arellano-Ongpin

Read more about Arezzo – one of the most important Etruscan cities!, visit the most beautiful towns around Arezzo or check what else to do in Arezzo province.

San Gimignano – A Gorgeous Medieval Countryside

Furthermore you can find here a medieval Manhattan which is located in San Gimignano. The whole town is surrounded by the medieval walls and has a very picturesque and romantic character, striking from afar due to its high medieval towers.

Tucked high on the hills, this medieval town is a small walled hamlet between Siena and Florence and reveals the life of San Gimignano’s noble families. It is known for its medieval architecture and almost 14 tower houses offering great views of the city.

The main attractions here are Duomo di San Gimignano, Palazzo Comunale housing medieval art sites, climb to the tallest tower named Torre Grossa, gelato in Piazza della Cisterna, Montestaffoli fortress, and white wine.

Medieval Manhattan, San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy
Medieval Manhattan, San Gimignano by Gail

Pistoia – The Naturally Blessed City

Accessible in less than an hour from Lucca or Florence, the hilly province of Pistoia is full of flat valleys and mountains. The province is admired for cultivation of flowers and plants demanded from across the globe, while the small Quarrata town is famous for its quality furniture.

Similarly, the thermal baths of Monsummano and Montecatini are known for therapeutic effects, whereas the outdoor fans prefer hiking and skiing on the Pistoia Mountains housing the ski resorts of Val di Luce and Abetone.

For the travelers of all ages, the Pistoia city offers the most famous Italian chocolate, the Zoo of Pistoia at 10 km outside the town, and Pinocchio Park with its adjacent Garzoni Garden.

Baptistery in Pistoia, Tuscany, Italy
Baptistery in Pistoia by Sonja Pieper

Livorno – The Tuscan Seaside Town

Livorno is the choice of those who love to experience the Tuscan seaside life. Do not consider it to be a medieval town but recognize it as a port city having canals and beaches.

Accessible from Pisa by train in 15 minutes, the town is known for its seafront aquarium and Piccola Venezia, a bustling hub of parks, canals, and monuments. You can explore the Synagogue at Piazza Benamozegh with prior appointment, the Cathedral, canals, shopping street Via Cairoli known for its clothes and bags.

Although Livorno is the second largest Tuscan town, one-day trip has the potential to trigger the feeling of satisfaction in you. Well, but the key for it is to include the major attraction while on the tour.

Piazza della Repubblica, Livorno, Tuscany, Italy
Piazza della Repubblica, Livorno by Luca Aless

Prato – The ‘Off the Beaten Path’ Town

Accessible in an hour from Florence, Prato is the official address of the Modern, Medieval, and Etruscan gems. Despite this, it is not famous amongst the majority of visitors to Tuscany. This makes Prato ideal for those who wish to go off the standard route.

Prato is a bustling textile sector that encompasses historic and artistic treasures such as frescoes within the Duomo, the pulpit, charming Palazzo Pretorio and Piazza del Comune housing the relics of the Castle of the Emperor.

Cathedral of Prato, Tuscany, Italy
Cathedral of Prato by Massimilianogalardi

Chianti – The Wine Destination

Chianti is a classic wine region is between Siena and Florence, and attracts wine lovers the most although it even boasts scenic villages and beautiful countryside. The wine area stretches beyond the two cities and up to Arezzo, Montepulciano, and Pistoia.

Look for the references such as Sienese Chianti and Florentine Chianti to get to the closest areas originating in the Chianti region. However, an ideal place for wine tasting is probably Brolio Castle and Barone Ricasoli vineyard along with the municipalities of Radda, Castellina, Panzano, Greve, and Gaiole.

The town is even ideal for photographers for its unique landscape combining gentle hills draped in vineyards and groves of olives, countryside homes, and small stone villages. By the way, these scenes have already been the background of different postcards across the globe.

Chianti region, Tuscany, Italy
Chianti region by David Barrie

Mugello – The Naturally Enthralling Territory

Located in northern Tuscany and near Florence, Mugello boasts a wide and green valley crisscrossing the Sieve River at different parts. Surrounded by several peaks and mountains, the area has several interesting sights in its characteristic villages, such as Medicean villas and castles of the Medici family and Renaissance era.

Other attractions include the Park and Villa Demidoff, Palazzo dei Vicari, and Villa di Cafaggiolo. The Mugello Race Circuit in Scarperia attracts international motorcycle race lovers, diverse peaks attract hikers and bikers, and the Bilancino Lake in Barberino attracts swimmers, windsurfers, and canoers.

Lago di Bilancino, Mugello, Tuscany, Italy
Lago di Bilancino, Mugello by Visit Mugello

Maremma – The Naturally Diverse Territory

Found in southern Tuscany and stretching between Livorno and Grosseto, the Maremma region is naturally diverse with its long blue beaches, marshes, black rocks, wooded mineral hills, archeological sites, natural reserves, flat lands, and thermal baths.

For tourists, several art cities, natural parks, churches, museums, Etruscan sites, and medieval villages await along with activities such as wind surfing, kite surfing, biking, and hiking.

Maremma Toscana, Italy
Maremma Toscana by Giovanni

Casentino – The Castle Valley

Consider this part of Tuscany if you love to have a mix bag experience by including historical, foodie, artistic, and outdoor attractions. Located at 50 km from Florence, the remote valley is full of exciting opportunities for all ages.

Of all, the castle tour is most thrilling, which includes Poppi, Porciano, and Romeno. Apart from that, you can even enjoy visiting the Franciscan sanctuary of La Verna, the Camaldoli monastery, and towns of Pratovecchio, Stia, and Castel San Niccolò.

Poppi Castle, Casentino, Tuscany, Italy
Poppi Castle by Michele Zaimbri

Garfagnana – The Adventurous Valley

Perched high on the Serchio Valley in north Tuscany, Garfagnana is rich in tradition and history but is the most undiscovered tourist destination despite being close to Florence, Pisa, and Lucca.

This is the region to be explored on foot, horseback, or on mountain bike to explore several historical, residential and natural treasures namely, fortress of Verrucole, Wind cave, Calomini hermitage, Botri ravine, Vagli Lake, Campocatino for camping, Ethnographic museum in Alps, Monte Alfonso fortress, and Archaeological Museum.

Grotta del Vento, Tuscany, Italy
Grotta del Vento, Garfagnana by John W. Schulze

Val d’Orcia – The Town with Charming Landscapes

Welcome to the UNESCO World Heritage Site that is less known amongst distant travelers! Rolling hills, medieval castles, beautiful farmhouses, remote hilltop towns, olive groves and wheat fields, and cut off rural homes adorn the pleasant landscapes.

Nestled in southern Tuscany along Siena and Grosseto, the area is a protected natural park. The castles, abbeys, and towns tell their own ancient tales. Some of the charming attractions include Pienza as a Renaissance jewel, Castiglion d’Orcia with its citadel, Radicofani on a cliff top, walled city of Montalcino, and thermal baths of Bagno Vignoni.

Val d'Orcia, Tuscany, Italy
Val d’Orcia by Ivan Borisov

Island of Elba – The Biggest of Tuscan Archipelago

Elba is the third largest island in the country after Sardinia and Sicily as well as a part of the National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago, Europe’s largest marine park. Historically, this was where Napoleon was harbored during his exile in 1814.

However, the history dates back to prehistory during the time of Liguria’s Ilvati tribe. You will surely enjoy the museums, notable fortresses, martial constructions, charming Napoleonic residences, diving and snorkeling, hiking, biking, sailing, and bathing in thermal waters of San Giovanni.

Island of Elba, Tuscany, Italy
Island of Elba by Bruno Barral

Volterra – An Ancient Roman Testimony

Despite being put on tourist route by the Twilight series, Volterra is still an off-the-beaten-path town having attractive medieval streets and stunning views from its hilltop location.

With history dating back to 8th century B.C., the town is famous for its relics of Roman amphitheatre and bathhouse, Museo Etrusco Guarnacci, and Alabaster museum.

Volterra, Tuscany, Italy
Volterra by laura.foto

Cortona – The Small Sunny Town

Nestled in the Arezzo province, Cortona is a charming sun town surrounded by stonewalls built during Etruscan and Roman times. Perched atop a hill, the town is known for its spectacular views reaching up to Lake Trasimeno, Piazza della Repubblica, town hall, Diocesan Museum, City Museum, Santa Margherita Sanctuary, Girifalco Fortress, and the Franciscan hermitage Le Celle built by Saint Francis of Assisi as the first monastery in 1211.

Cortona, Tuscany, Italy
Cortona by ho visto nina volare

Anghiari – A Beautiful Medieval Hamlet

Accessible in 30 minutes from Arezzo, Anghiari is a small medieval gem on a hill with a historic fame of being the venue of Battle of Anghiari in 1440.

Today, it is a characteristic hamlet surrounded by giant walls that preserve the original medieval atmosphere. It features narrow streets and stone houses with colorful entrances and balconies due to which Anghiari is the Orange-flag receiver for being the most beautiful village in the country.

Anghiari, Tuscany, Italy
Anghiari by Adam Heath

Colle di Val d’Elsa – The Glass City

Colle di Val d’Elsa – a town that is worth a visit for a day from Siena if you wish to see how crystal glass is made.

Divided into two parts as new area and the old historical center atop the hill, the town offers great vistas of Tuscany, good restaurants, a medieval atmosphere, Crystal Museum, a charming Duomo, the Guiseppe Garibaldi street, stone tunnel, Archeological Museum, and the historical center hosting open-air demo of glass at Via della Misericordia on every month’s first Sunday.

Colle Val d' Elsa, Tuscany, Italy
Colle di Val d’Elsa by GIOVANNI VOLPATO

Montepulciano – A Rare Medieval Beauty

Located close to Siena, Montepulciano is a medieval city of rare charm that reflects from Renaissance palaces, hidden corners, squares, and churches. From here, you enjoy vast panoramas up to the surrounding Val di Chiana and Val d’Orcia valleys.

The town is an ideal base to reach the charming Pienza, Bagno Vignoni thermal baths, and Montalcino in a very short time. Main attractions here are the Piazza Grande holding various contests, medieval streets, free wine, cheese, and churches.

Piazza Grande, Montepulciano, Tuscany, Italy
Piazza Grande, Montepulciano by Phillip Capper

The Etruscan Coast – A Wholesome Etruscan Shore

Stretching from Livorno to Piombino, this charming coastal area preserves the Etruscan civilization relics that settled here since the 9th century BC.

The key attractions here are the Archeological Park of Baratti and Populonia holding a large necropolis, Populonia Alta on a hill, parks of the Val di Cornia, and festival of Blue Night in June to welcome summer.

Archaeological Park of Baratti and Populonia, Tuscany, Italy
Archaeological Park of Baratti and Populonia by Glen Bowman

Montaione – A Pure Medieval Town

Nestled in Florence province, this charming medieval village is on a green hill and is flanked by olive groves, vineyards, and woods to reflect a genuine Tuscan countryside. The town is known for its glass making art just as Colle Val d’Elsa but differs from the latter in terms of creating flasks, bottles, and cruets.

For the historians, a visit to this town is charming to explore the historical center and partial fortified wall, important museums, and churches. Nearby the town are the Via Francigena pilgrimage road and the Holy Mount of San Vivaldo, regarded as the Jerusalem of Tuscany. You can even choose to hike and bike in the territory, which is simply thrilling.

San Regolo church in Montaione, Tuscany, Italy
San Regolo church in Montaione by sailko

Fiesole – The Archaeological Town

Accessible in 20 minutes from the city center of Florence, Fiesole on a hilltop is known for its scenic view of Florence while climbing to the monastery of San Francesco.

The primary attraction here is the Etruscan-Roman archeological area preserving the relics of Roman baths and theater, the Civic Museum housing artifacts from Etruscan and Roman period including the Antiquariam Costantini as a set of more than 150 pieces of ceramics, and Bandini museum housing Florentine paintings. The main square is the Piazza Mino that sells antiques on first Sunday of each month.

Roman theatre in Fiesole, Tuscany, Italy
Roman theatre in Fiesole by Nikater

The Walled Town of Monteriggioni with A Charming Castle

Monteriggioni reflects the clear picture of a walled castle village with towers and walls left intact and streets without any traffic in the Siena province. Come here in summer (first weekend of July) if you really wish to be a part of a party that is more thrilling here than anywhere else.

It is even more enjoyable than Il Palio in Sienna, particularly if with parents and kids. The locals are seen in medieval costumes to play the role of magicians, merchants, farmers, singers, soldiers, astrologists, and cross-bowman friars. For the rest, the town features attractive 14 towers, Piazza di Roma, and the Church of Santa Maria.

Monteriggioni, Tuscany, Italy
Monteriggioni by Vignaccia76

Agritourism – a new tourist trend in Tuscany

Vacationing in beautiful, elegantly restored farmhouses which are immersed in a rural area is intelligent and relaxing way to discover the essence of this region. Hundreds of beautiful rural stone villas that have originally inhabited by farmers, have been completely restored, offering swimming pools and all the comforts.

In the artistic country of Italy, Tuscany stands apart for its diversity where both nature and man have rendered their own creativity. While the manual creativity is seen in the form of stunning architectural charms and historic preservations, the natural innovation is admired in the form of spectacularly rolling green hills, vast plains, and lucid beaches facing a spotless archipelago. Regarded as one of the major regions for populace and size, the region is flanked by the Apennine Mountains in the east and north.

Tuscany, Italy
Tuscany by mxgirl85

However, the unique aspect of is its hilly landscape full of foliage and forests interspersing with beautiful medieval villages, ancient churches, fabled castles, artistic treasures, great food, and the major towns soaring there up on the mountainous terrain. If you are planning to visit Tuscany from inside out, it is best to know and include the towns that never cease to attract even the most discerned traveler.

As seen Tuscany offers much more than great artistic and architectural heritage of Florence, Siena and Pisa. It has varied landscapes, delightful towns, clear azure sea, thermal baths, mild climate and its famous cuisine delicacy and noble wines.

Today they are a popular place for sophisticated tourists who come from around the world to discover the beauty of this landscape, taste the Tuscan cuisine and its fine wines. They offer quiet place, away from the tourist chaos of the city.

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