things to do in Tuscany, Italy

A destination that has inspired artists, poets, thinkers and dreamers; Tuscany is the epitome of an Italian Eden.

From the countryside to the coastline, its breathtaking landscapes are laden with rolling hills, endless valleys, olive groves, fruit orchards, hilltop towns and sparkling bays.

Escape into the vineyards and sample the most delicious wine in Italy, explore medieval hamlets and relax under the Tuscan sun in a picturesque seaside village.

Boasting a rich history that traces back to the Etruscan civilization (the region’s first people), the architecture and ruins to explore will blow your mind, with structures and facets dating to the prehistoric ages through to the Romans, and of course, the infamous Medici family.

Marvel over stunning cathedrals, antiquated fort walls and palaces decorated in old-fashioned Italian splendor. The art in these parts screams of the Renaissance… See real-life works by masters like none other than Leonardo Da Vinci (who was born in Tuscany), Michaelangelo and more.

Situated in Central Italy, its capital city is Florence and Rome is three hours away. With so many things to do in Tuscany, you’ll wish for at least three days in the region.

Start off by becoming familiar with its cities, villages, towns and parks. Here are some of the best listed below.

1 – Make your first stop Val d’Orcia

Val d’Orcia, Tuscany

Tuscan dreams are made of these and arriving at Val d’Orcia feels like stepping into a picturesque Italian postcard — cue the roads lined with tall cypress trees and rolling green hills.

Situated in the Siena Province between Grosseto, with the Orcia River running through the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the rural and rustic landscapes dotted with farmlands, vineyards, groves and medieval structures date back centuries.

Considered a prime example of the Renaissance periodical features, the agricultural villages around here will take your breath away. Castiglione d’Orcia, Montalcino and San Quirico d’Orcia are towns in the area worth seeing, and of course, Pienza — home to some of the yummiest pecorino cheese you’ll ever taste!

(Whilst in Pienza, don’t miss checking out Pienza Cathedral, Piazza Pio II (the town square) and the Renaissance-style palace, Palazzo Piccolomini.)

A foodie hotspot too; indulge in tasting the best extra virgin olive oil, truffles, saffron, olives, chestnuts, wine and cheese from the region, and cheese and wine tastings are popular during Orcia Valley tours from Florence.

Other bucket-list sites to discover in Val d’Orcia include the iconic Cipressi di San Quirico d’Orcia (San Quirico cypress trees) and the lonely Cappella della Madonna di Vitaleta, i.e. Chapel Vitaleta.

2 – Stay, explore, and eat your way through Florence

Florence, Tuscany

It’s funny how many think that Tuscany is part of Florence, when in fact, it’s the opposite way around for the capital city of the region, but who can blame you when there are endless things to do in Florence?

Established by Julius Caesar circa 59 BC, it was during the 15th and 16th centuries amidst the Medici reign that Firenze (as it’s also known) garnered its famous status as a city of artists, birthing the Age of the Renaissance.

Today, thousands flock here to run their hands over antiquated buildings and landmarks and to revel in a world of art and wonder. Erected between 1296 and 1436, visit the Florence Duomo (Florence Cathedral) and the other buildings within the religious complex including St John’s Baptistery; spot the Donatello statues around the city and explore the Uffizi Gallery where work by Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael and Michelangelo is on display.

Other historic sites to add to your sightseeing itinerary are Piazza della Signoria, Santa Maria Novella church, the Basilica of Santa Croce and the Ponte Vecchio, i.e. the Old Bridge, crossing the Arno River.

There are many other great museums in Florence like Dante’s House Museum, the Accademia Gallery and the Palace of Bargello, or get involved in other cultural tours and activities in Florence.

Hit up the iconic San Lorenzo Market (the best place to buy leather goods); catch a live concert of your favorite international artist or band with Firenze Rocks and embark on food tours for a true taste of the capital city.

3 – Bathe in the healing waters of Saturnia

Saturnia, Tuscany

Keep your camera close on hand for a trip to Saturnia where terraces of milky-colored hot springs cascade into pools surrounding stone houses and in between wild sun-kissed shrubbery.

A designated hot spring locale (that not many know about) within the Maremma region, Saturnia itself is a tiny ancient town with its origins dating to 60 BC. Its earliest settlers can be traced to the Greeks, then the Etruscans, followed by the Romans and it’s intriguing to witness the amalgamation of styles in the village.

Scope out the Aldobrandeschi Fortress, the Santa Maria Maddalena church and the Archeological Museum for in-person timelines. However, it’s the natural thermal pools that visitors come to marvel over and there are a few in the area, some open to the public, others forming part of spa resorts.

Comprising seven geothermal pools and a waterfall, Cascate di Mulino is the most popular as it’s free and open to all.

Terme di Saturnia is another hot spring, but this one is part of a private resort — an idyllic destination for couples. The property boasts a main hot spring pool reaching temperatures of 37.5 degrees Celsius and its Thermal Park is right next door to the stay. There are five thermal pools here.

4 – See the famous parade in Viareggio

Viareggio, Tuscany

Swap countryside terrains for a coastal setting down at the seaside resort town of Viareggio — but it’s not its beaches that have put it on the map, but rather its famous Carnival!

Located in northern Tuscany and forming part of the Versilia Riviera, the town boomed as a fishing village centuries ago and then later a holiday hotspot.

With its origins in the 11th century, there are plenty of historic buildings and places of interest to hunt down, and during the latter centuries, a slew of modern Art-Deco-style structures popped up around the city, for example, the Villa Argentina and the Villa Paolina.

Investigate the Alberto Gianni Maritime Museum and take a stroll along the Viareggio Promenade where dozens of cafes, boutique shops and bars line the cobbled streetways, including the famous Gran Caffè Margherita.

Since 1873, the annual Carnival of Viareggio has colored the city streets where tons of artsy floats and masks made from paper mâché parade through town.

To commemorate the globally-recognized folk festival, the La Cittadella del Carnevale complex opened in 2001. The Viareggio Carnival Museum is here too with some of the coolest paper mache creations on show, along with a bookshop and paper mache workshops.

5 – Make Lucca your base in northern Tuscany

Lucca, Tuscany

Travel back in time when visiting historic Lucca — famed for its ancient walls preserved in the old town.

From the Romans to the Renaissance era, fourth times the charm, and the final construction of the Lucca walls was between the 17th and 19th centuries. Enrwapping the old town for 4.2 kilometers, the fortified ‘Mura di Lucca’ holds the title of one of the best-kept city walls in Europe.

Among the things to do in Lucca, you can walk the entirety of the walls along a footpath that connects 11 stone and brick bastions. The city itself was founded by the Romans in 180 BC, and its rich history is heavily admired, evident in the varying structures and monuments from different eras.

Explore Piazza dell’Anfiteatro (once a Roman amphitheater-turned-town square in later years), climb 230 steps to the top of the 45-meter-tall 14th century Guinigi Tower; and imagine life in the early days when exploring the many churches, cathedrals and towers.

As the birthplace of Italian composer Giacomo Puccini, the Puccini Museum is dedicated to the life of one of Italy’s most famous musical geniuses. Furthermore, if you’re here in July/August, don’t miss the annual Puccini Festival — celebrating some of Puccini’s greatest opera performances.

Another epic festival held every year is the month-long Lucca Summer Festival where international acts are the stars of the show like Robbie Williams, Placebo, Norah Jones and Kiss.

Located at the foothills of the Apuan Alps, make the town your base or visit on a day-trip, for example, during Lucca tours from Florence or Lucca tours from Livorno.

Read more: Fun things to do in Lucca.

6 – Relive childhood dreams at Collodi

Collodi, Tuscany

Feel the magic in the air in the teeny hilltop town that inspired one of the greatest children’s stories of all time; Pinocchio.

Published in 1883 by Italian author Carlo Lorenzini (who changed his penname to Carlo Collodi), the storyline chronicles a woodcarver named Geppetto who lived in a tiny Tuscan hamlet, making a wooden puppet that comes to life.

Carlo Lorenzini’s father worked in the grand Villa Garzoni, and it’s believed that the village inspired the tale that led to The Adventures of Pinocchio.

Adding extra authenticity, visit Pinocchio Park with its interactive museum and themed rides and attractions. The 17th-century Villa Garzoni and its manicured Italian Garden are located here, as well as the Collodi Butterfly House.

Considered a medieval village, the town itself is minute, with houses and narrow stone streets built upwards into the hills. The Antica Rocca (ancient castle) acts as a fortress to the start of the hamlet and Collodi is in the Lucca region.

7 – Day trip to San Miniato

San Miniato, Tuscany

If you’ve chosen the capital city as your base for Tuscany, the town of San Miniato is an excellent stopover in between a day trip from Florence to Pisa.

Arrive for the world-class valley views, historic architecture and… white truffles (famous to the area)!

Built across three separate hills in between the Egola and Elsa Rivers, the origins of Etruscan and Roman civilizations are evident throughout its forts, towers, cathedrals, churches and museums.

Named after a Roman Emperor, the Rocca di Federico II tower was erected between 1217 and 1223, then later destroyed during WWII and rebuilt in 1969. Climb a set of stairs to the top for stunning vistas of the town, Arno River and sweeping vales below.

Other important landmarks to check out here include the 13th-century Cathedral, Piazza del Seminario, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta (built in the 12th century), the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art of San Miniato and the Conservatorio Santa Chiara (the Santa Chiara Conservatory).

In recent years it’s become a popular destination for leather work, as well as truffle hunting, foraged in the nearby forests, and don’t miss the annual National White Truffle Exhibition in San Miniato if you’re here in November time.

8 – Tick UNESCO-listed Pisa off your itinerary

Pisa, Tuscany

A place that needs no introduction; Pisa is a bucket-list spot for many travelers, sitting on the west coast of Italy at the mouth of the Arno River. Thinking of things to do in Tuscany? This one is a no brainer.

Laden with UNESCO Heritage sites, the things to do in Pisa are incomparable to many other towns and villages around Tuscany, most notably its Leaning Tower of Pisa, and fun fact; the city of Pisa itself is dubbed a university town and the prestigious University of Pisa is here.

Kick things off at the Piazza del Duomo (nicknamed the “Square of Miracles”) where four of the most prominent landmarks sit.

These include the Romanesque-style Cathedral of Pisa (established in 1064), the stunning Pisa Baptistery of St. John constructed completely from marble between 1152 and 1363, the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo (opening in 1986) and of course, the world-famous Leaning Tower.

Climb 273 steps to the top of the 56-meter-high bell tower — right next door to the cathedral — which took around 200 years to build. Its famous leaning frame is due to soft ground shifting underneath its surface which began moving five years into construction, hence its tilted appearance.

Stroll along the Arno River, visit the museums (for example, the Opera del Duomo Museum and the Sinopie Museum) and pass by the Piazza dei Cavalieri with its Clock Palace.

There are Pisa tours from Florence (Florence is a 1.5-hour drive away) as well as half-day Pisa tours from Livorno (30 minutes from the city).

Read more: Fun things to do in Pisa.

9 – Explore the Apuan Alps Regional Park

Apuan Alps Regional Park, Tuscany

If you’ve drunk enough wine, eaten way too much and explored the endless antiquated landmarks, revel in a day (or couple hours) out in nature, tackling the hiking trails (which open for ski-time in winter season) and arid terrains inside this UNESCO Global Geopark.

Bordering 19 municipalities (including Versilia, Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, Fivizzano and Montignoso) between Lucca and Massa Carrara, the Apuan Alps Regional Park is every adventure-loving soul’s dream.

Favored for its unique biodiversity, trekking inside Parco Alpi Apuane opens up to a world of unique fauna (spot golden eagles, roe deer and foxes) and flora like beech and oak trees, chestnut groves, and of course, the Apuan Alps.

The main mountains within the regional park are Monte Corchia, Monte Pisanino, Monte Cavallo, Monte Tambura, and Pania della Croce.

Looking around your surroundings expect a vision of marbled quarries, rugged hillsides, lakes (like Lago di Isola Santa) and an extensive collection of 1,300 caves!

There are three caverns open for guided tours. Antro del Corchia (in Levigliani) is the most frequented and well-known and is located in Corchia Park with over 20 different entrances into the cave system comprising 70 kilometers!

Explore the karst caves at the Grotte di Equi Terme (Equi Terme Caves) with a world of activities, or check out the Grotte del Vento in Fornovolasco.

Orto Botanico delle Alpi Apuane “Pietro Pellegrini” botanical garden is a fabulous place to start!

10 – Visit the famous Montecatini Terme spa town

Montecatini Terme, Tuscany

It’s time to relax and rejuvenate in the romantic town of Montecatini Terme where thermal baths are a first priority in one of Italy’s top five spa towns.

Also referred to as the Parc des Thermes, this is one of those places to get a true sense of what Roman life was like back in the day, however, it was only later on in the 18th century that the first spa complexes open to the public began taking shape.

The healing, naturally heated waters in these parts are mineral-rich, and not only can you enjoy a restorative soak, but you can drink the water too.

Today, there are public spa baths as well as dozens of spa hotels that contain their own private thermal baths for guests.

Utilizing waters from the Tettuccio, Regina, Leopoldine and Rinfresco springs, the Excelsior Thermal Complex is at the center of Montecatini. Inside the complex is Terme Tettuccio — which focuses on water-drinking therapies — and the indoor Terme Redi baths where you can soak in waters heated to 33 degrees Celsius.

Other activities in Montecatini Terme to try include riding the old-school Montecatini Funicular up the hill to the medieval village, Montecatini Alto, exploring Grotta Maona (a karst cave roughly one kilometer from the town center) and shopping Montecatini Market or its fancy boutique stores.

11 – Watch motorsports in Scarperia e San Piero

Scarperia e San Piero, Tuscany

Just 25 kilometers northeast of Florence discover one of Tuscany’s latest towns, only established as a municipality in 2014! Prior to this, Scarperia e San Piero was two separate neighborhoods, each a medieval village but the two converged together a decade ago.

Situated in the Mugello countryside, Scarperia and San Piero now act as one and the town is a treat for architecture aficionados.

Around the Scarperia areas check out 14th century Palazzo dei Vicari (the main square), then head to the banks of San Piero and visit the Parish of San Pietro and the Medici ‘Villa del Trebbio.’

Chefs and avid home cooks; Scarperia is also famed for its knife-making or motorheads, the revered Mugello Circuit is in Scarperia e San Piero — home to the Italian Grand Prix!

Busting its first races back in 1914, you can catch all sorts of motorsports along its 5.2-kilometer-long track like car and motorcycle races, and events are held here throughout the year.

12 – Go wine tasting in Chianti

Chianti, Tuscany

Honeymooners, couples in love and wine connoisseurs… Chianti is calling your name, located in the heart of Tuscany and known for its famous wine region. The most fabulous experiences for wine tasting in Tuscany are right on your doorstep…

Picture unending green rolling hills, valleys dazzled in vineyards, stone farmhouses, dreamy villas and town-cobbled streets with plenty delicious eats that go down well with a glass of vino.

(Note, Chianti is a region between Florence and Siena and there are multiple day trips from Florence as well as Chianti tours from Siena to this unreal locale.)

The main towns around the region encompass Greve, Castellina, Radda, Gaiole and Panzano.

Spend your day touring the vineyards, lapping up cheese and wine pairings, and going behind the scenes and into the cellars to learn about the manufacturing process from grape to bottle during the best Tuscany wine tours. There’s even a wine resort; Meleto Castle!

Notable wineries include Castello di Brolio, Castello di Querceto, Fattoria di Montecchio and Viticcio winery. As one of the most visited parts of Tuscany, there are Chianti tours from Livorno, Lucca and Pisa.

Read more: 17 Best Chianti Wine Tours from Florence to Discover the Heart of Tuscany,

13 – Check out famous frescoes in Prato

Prato, Tuscany

Welcome to Tuscany’s second biggest city — a mere 30 minutes outside of Florence — where its historic center is a treasure trove of the kind of historical and culturally enriching findings that make you fall in love with the very essence of Europe.

Castles, forts, towers and frescos date to the long-forgotten Etruscan and Medieval times such as the Castello dell’Imperatore built between the years 1237 and 1247, and the grand Medici Villa La Magia.

Tour the inner city starting at St. Stephen’s Cathedral (the masters Donatello and Michelozzo designed its pulpit and inside contains frescoes by Filippo Lippi) and its plaza in front of the church.

Enjoy a moment around the Fontana del Bacchino fountain, and inside the Medieval Palazzo Pretorio is the Museo di Palazzo Pretorio with works by many famous Italian artists.

More historic sites worth investigating are the Church of San Francesco, the Emperor’s Castle, Santa Maria delle Carceri, the Church of San Domenico and the Museum of Mural Painting.

14 – Wander in the same footsteps as the genius in Vinci

Vinci, Tuscany

Any guesses as to where the town of Vinci gets its name? As the birthplace of one of the greatest artists to ever live; Leonardo da Vinci, the small Tuscan municipality of Firenze is centered around all things Da Vinci.

With undulating banks of olive groves as a backdrop, it’s what’s in the town that counts. Fall into a world of mechanics, design, art and history as you not only unravel real works by the master, but also get to take an introspective look into the life of the inventor, architect, technologist, artist and man of the Renaissance.

Head directly to the Museo Leonardiano di Vinci (the Leonardo da Vinci Museum) which is spread out and set up between two main buildings: the Conti Guidi Castle and Palazzina Uzielli.

The primary theme inside the Palazzina Uzielli building is ‘Leonardo the Technologist and Engineer’ with video installations, and focuses on machinery, textile technology, mechanical clocks and anatomical studies.

His interests in war, architecture, mechanics and flight are highlighted inside the Castle and include sections dedicated to his landscape drawings, interest in hydraulics and his childhood.

Three kilometers from Vinci center is the farmhouse where Da Vinci was born in 1452 and grew up as a child, with projections, exhibitions, recreated scenes and his life’s story displayed in his childhood home.

In summertime, the biggest fantasy festival in Italy is held here, Festa dell’Unicorno, and dressing up as fairies, elves, and all sorts of mystical creatures imaginable is encouraged.

15 – Get romantic in San Casciano in Val di Pesa

San Casciano in Val di Pesa, Tuscany

Welcome to the gateway to the Chianti Region, conveniently situated a short 15 kilometers to the south of Florence, and San Casciano in Val di Pesa was once one of the major roads for traveling between Florence, Siena and Rome.

Centuries ago it operated as a small trading village, but the city of Florence employed it as an extra defense force in the 15th century, when its stone brick city fort walls were erected.

Very local and steeped in traditions, it’s the art, food and culture you’ll most want to enjoy.

Inside the Giuliano Ghelli Museum (located at the Church of Santa Maria del Gesù) are three primary exhibitions: the sacred art collection, contemporary art and an archaeological section.

The 14th-century Church of Santa Maria del Prato is another spot that houses a wonderful art collection by acclaimed artists.

En route to Chianti, break here for a caffè, and grab a gelato or light lunch at a traditional trattoria.

Couples, hot air balloon rides in Tuscany swoop over the quaint town, boasting bird’s eye angles of the Chianti Region below.

16 – Explore the tower city of San Gimignano

San Gimignano, Tuscany

Spot San Gimignano from a mile away — all you have to do is look out for the tall towers on the hillside stretching up toward the heavens.

Considered Tuscany’s “tower town” this is every architecture admirer’s dream with its impressive 13 fourteenth-century towers remaining, as well as medieval palaces and excavated structures and remains dating to the year 63 BC during the Roman Conquests.

From a booming trading town to a general decline in economic freedom, the city has an interesting past. 13 of the 72 original towers (erected by the elite of the city as a symbol of their wealth and power) remain.

Examples are Torre Grossa (the tallest of the towers), Campanile della Collegiata (known as the Bell tower of the Collegiate), Torri degli Ardinghelli, Torre dei Becci, Torre Campatelli, Torre Chigi, Torre dei Cugnanesi, Torre del Diavolo (Devil’s Tower) and Torre Ficherelli.

The Duomo of San Gimignano is another piece of impressive medical architecture, and visitors are always blown away by the friezes, frescoes, paintings, altars and chapels inside.

Day tripping from Florence (55 minutes away) or Siena (a 40-minute drive) get to explore over 10 churches and cathedrals, its civic museums and even ancient ruins just outside of the city.

There are San Gimignano tours from Pisa and Livorno, and take advantage of the local fresh products in this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

17 – Venture around the Apuan Riviera

Apuan Riviera, Tuscany

As temperatures soar to up to 40 degrees Celsius in Tuscany during the peak of summer, beat the heat along the Apuan Riviera extending for 20 kilometers towards Liguria.

Found between the Versilia Magra Rivers with the Apuan Alps in the background, the calm shoreline sits on the Tyrrhenian Sea, becoming a hotspot for water activities and lazy beach days from around April to September.

Interior designers, the sought-after Carrara marble hails from this area, and you can enjoy exciting jeep tours to the heart of the white marble quarries in Colonnata, or embark on a bike excursion here instead.

The main Carrara quarries to explore are Fantiscritti, Gioia, Torano and Ravaccione, and photograph super cool modern “street art” illustrated around the spaces.

There are a few museums worth visiting that shine a light on marble art and history, like the unmissable The CARMI – Carrara and Michelangelo Museum, the Civic Museum of Marble and the Gigi Guadagnucci Museum.

Hoping to spend the night? Marina di Massa is the perfect base sitting on the coastline. Go fishing off of the Pontile di Marina di Massa or feast on the freshest seafood. Speaking of food, don’t miss sampling Colonnata lard — procured right here in Colonnata.

Other popular cities in the region to explore (or stay at) are Antona and Montignoso.

18 – Canyon in Garfagnana and Mid Serchio Valley

Garfagnana and Mid Serchio Valley, Tuscany

Why not choose the road less traveled? Navigate your way to an area between the Apennines and the Apuan Alps where the Garfagnana region sits — with the Serchio River crossing its lands.

Thanks to its location amidst the Mid Serchio Valley, this part of Tuscany truly feels worlds away and is considered one of the country’s most exquisite hilltowns with plenty of villages to explore and outdoor adventures to be had from hiking to biking.

Dating to the Romans and boasting heavily Medieval-influenced buildings, Barga is a perfect town to start in (or stay over). Meander the cobbled streets, spend hours photographing ancient walls and piazzas, and there are a handful of artisanal boutiques in town.

Next, discover Borgo a Mozzano village and its famous Ponte della Maddalena (also known as the Devil’s Bridge), then make your way into the capital of Garfagnana and explore Castelnuovo Garfagnana.

Abandoned Vagli di Sotto and Coreglia Antelminelli (home to the Museum of Plaster Figurines and Emigration) are worth visiting too.

Surrounded by ravines and lakes, top nature spots to inspect are the wind caves, i.e. Grotta del Vento, Strette di Cocciglia where you can go canyoning down its limestone formations, or make your way to nearby Lucca and enjoy rafting on the Lima River.

19 – Witness the famous horse race in Siena

Siena, Tuscany

It’s safe to say that the UNESCO World Heritage Site city of Siena is an architectural masterpiece in its own right, with Italian cities and other European countries taking influence from its (painstakingly preserved) Gothic structures and design, used as inspiration by many artists.

Thousands flock to the historic destination to scope out the special medieval city built within its Piazza del Campo walls. The seven-kilometer-long fortification was established over three Tuscan hillsides, connected by three main streets, creating its Y-shaped piazza.

If parts of the city look familiar it’s because its famous Palio di Siena was featured in the 2008 James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace.

Held annually in the Piazza del Campo since the 6th century, this historic horse race takes place on July 2 and August 16 where various Senese areas (known as contrades) compete against one another.

Among the things to do in Siena, dedicate a couple of hours to investigate the 17 city districts and monuments, including the Piazza del Duomo, the Pubblico Palace, the Duomo di Siena and the Santa Maria della Scala museum.

Search for the famous sword of Galgano stuck into a stone which remains intact inside the San Galgano Abbey (Abbazia di San Galgano), and day trips to Siena from Florence (one hour away), Livorno and Lucca (1.5 hours away) are some of the most popular tours in Tuscany.

Read more: Fun things to do in Siena.

20 – Appreciate the serenity surrounding Chiusi della Verna

Chiusi della Verna, Tuscany

Catholics, religious devotees and even lost souls; discover a moment of silence and deep contemplation when traversing to Chiusi della Verna — famously known as the place where Saint Francis of Assisi received his stigmata, and for centuries, it has been a pilgrim destination for many.

Located inside the Casentinesi Forests National Park, the atmosphere is always extra fresh — with snow covering its land in winter — and beech and fir trees grow in abundance surrounding the hamlet.

Built on top of Monte Penna, the La Verna – Franciscan Sanctuary is where Francis ‘met’ God and his miraculous crucifixion wounds appeared.

Uncover art and a museum at the Sanctuary of San Francis, and in front of the monastery is the Church of San Michele Arcangelo and the ancient Castello dei Cattani.

There are annual events and festivals that happen in the village as well as surrounding areas. In August, don’t miss the craft market or truffle and mushroom festival, and every July the International Festival of Organ Music is set up in the Sanctuary.

21 – Enjoy Livorno’s salty air

Livorno, Tuscany

Established by the Medici family as a port city in 1606, Livorno is a melting pot of culture, trade and delectable foods.

Flooded with canal systems and bridges, it’s garnered the nickname “Little Venice” and straddling the Tyrrhenian coast, it has a distinctively different atmosphere to most places. Plus, munch down on some of the best and freshest seafood!

Tuscany’s third-largest city forms part of the Livorno Region (sharing the same name) and is just a 15-minute train ride from the famous Pisa.

As such, the city is also favored as a landing dock and entry point for travelers arriving from other regions around Italy via boat.

Embark on wine tasting tours from Livorno to the nearby town of Bolgheri, or flit around the city and trek down must-see monuments and landmarks.

Stroll along the black and white checkered Terrazza Mascagni square promenade overseeing the ocean; visit the Old Fortress (i.e. Fortezza Vecchia) and float past the Fortezza Nuova (New Fortress).

Just outside of the main city is the Sanctuary of Montenero religious complex, opening less than 30 years ago in the Montenero Livorno Hills.

22 – Get your winter sports on in Pistoia

Pistoia, Tuscany

Ever-changing with the seasons, no matter what time of year you visit Pistoia far up north, you’re blessed with breathtaking natural scenery!

As the capital city of the Pistoia Province, get your fix of historical sightseeing before venturing further inland to explore its surrounding Pistoia Mountains decked with many winter activities.

Awarded the title of Italian Capital of Culture in 2017; eat, drink and gallivant your way through the town’s must-see attractions, restaurants and cultural events.

Pilot your way underground the dug-out passageways of the 13th-century medieval Ospedale del Ceppo hospital, examine the monuments around the Piazza Del Duomo town square, bring the kids to the Pistoia Zoo and grab lunch from a cafe or trattoria around the bustling Piazza della Sala.

The Pistoia Blues festival and the Pistoia Dialoghi sull’uomo (Dialogues On Man) event are held here annually.

Leave behind the city feels and adventure into the Pistoia Mountains (running from the Alpe delle Tre Potenze to La Croce), dotted with traditional villages. On the eastern side, ski resorts open up in winter, such as Doganaccia 2000 and the Abetone Val di Luce skiing area.

23 – Keep your eyes peeled for “vampires” in Volterra

Volterra, Tuscany

Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the oldest city in all of Italy, it’s none other than ancient Volterra where one footstep inside the antiquated town will pull you back in time before most of the world even formed!

Fascinatingly, it’s now one of the smallest-populated towns, but that doesn’t tear away from its historical significance.

Situated in the province of Pisa, it’s one of the first places where Etruscan civilizations began and much of this early Italian empire remains evident within the city walls.

(The Etruscans hailed from Etruria — what is now most of Tuscany — ruling between 900 to 500 BC. The Roman empire period proceeded it and so the city boasts an amalgamation of both eras.)

Founded in 1761, the Volterra Etruscan Museum “Mario Guarnacci” is a fantastic starting point, then move to the Piazza dei Priori (Tuscany’s oldest town hall).

Uncover Roman Ruins at the Roman Theater which was built in the 1st century CE and investigate the remains of the 4th-century Roman baths (behind the amphitheater).

During day trips to Volterra from Florence or Siena, be guided to the old Etruscan Walls and its six fortified entrance gates, tick the Etruscan Acropolis off of your bucket list and mosey around the Medici Fortress for the best views of the city.

24 – Ride up the hill in Certaldo

Certaldo, Tuscany

The picturesque setting of Certaldo town — whose homes and buildings flit up a hill — is a stand out from the rest, and unlike most of the cities and villages around Tuscany, this one is void of a town square.

The result? The monuments and sights to see all scrape the edges of the main narrow street that acts as the center of Certaldo.

Whilst its origins date to the Romans, the town is divided by two parts: the old town (known as Certaldo Alto) and the new Certaldo (referred to as Certaldo Basso).

At the very top of the high-rising hill is the ancient part of the city — make sure you wear comfortable shoes as you’ll be doing some walking, or alternatively catch a funicular ride to the top.

Points of interest to sweep through here are the Palazzo Pretorio (situated at an intersection of the two main streets, Via di Boccaccio and the Via del Rivellino) and run your hands along the Porta Alberti, Porta al Sole and Porta al Rivellino fort walls.

Certaldo Basso sits toward the bottom of the hilltop and is home to the famous Boccaccio’s House museum where the acclaimed 14th-century poet, Giovanni Boccaccio lived for many years, as well as the Ente Nazionale Boccaccio chronicling his life and work.

If you’re visiting here in July, don’t miss the Mercantia street art festival. Running for 34 years and counting, it’s a celebration of creativity and a night market pops up too during the event.

25 – Hike to waterfalls around Colle di Val d’Elsa

Colle di Val d’Elsa, Tuscany

Bohemian souls; find yourself dazzled by the local craftsmanship and art in the charming town of Colle di Val d’Elsa — literally translating to the ‘valley above the Elsa River.’

Flashback to the end of the 16th century and the art of crystal glass-making began booming in this town. Today, it’s still the country’s largest mass producer and the Museum of Crystal is totally worth checking out for a deeper understanding of the trade, as well as to scope out some of the coolest works made completely from crystal.

The Civic Museum of Sacred Art (also known as the San Pietro Museum) and the Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli Museum archeological museum are also worth popping into.

Don’t end things with a tour of the town, rather head into its gorgeous surroundings, specifically Parco Fluviale Alta Val D’Elsa below the town. Here is the four-kilometer Sentierelsa Trail leading you through a forestry of streams and wispy trees along the Elsa River.

Eventually, you’ll end up at the 15-meter-high cascading Diborrato Waterfall with its breathtaking turquoise blue waters… Keep your camera close by!

26 – See the ancient jousting sport in Arezzo

Arezzo, Tuscany

Another town used as a filming location in Tuscany (this time for the local Oscar-winning 1997 blockbuster, Life is Beautiful, or ‘La vita è bella’), Arezzo is the perfect fusion of old-meets-new Italy, and it’s often compared to Florence because of its similar city outlay and buildings, as well as its art-focused offerings.

Opening every first Sunday and last Saturday of the month, pick up treasures from The Antiques Fair (one of the oldest of its kinds in Italy); stand in awe at the Basilica of San Francesco where the famous Renaissance frescoes by Piero della Francesca cover the walls, and people watch whilst sipping on Italian coffee in the Piazza Grande square.

This Tuscan town is separated by its old and new districts, brimming with Medieval and Renaissance styles.

Add the Casa Vasari (with its collection of Mannerist paintings), the National Museum of Medieval and Modern Art, the 12th-century Santa Maria della Pieve church and the compelling Medici Fortress Park to your Arezzo itinerary.

An event not to be missed; during the months of June and September, the Saracen Joust festival pays homage to the ancient sport where live jousting is the main attraction!

27 – Meander through the castle town: Poppi

Poppi, Tuscany

Located in the Arezzo Province and close to Arezzo city, enjoy a day trip to Poppi and travel back to the Middle Ages when wandering the stone staircases, passageways and once-grand halls and rooms inside the Castle of the Counts Guidi.

Constructed by the Guidi family in 1274, it’s the main attraction in this sweet little hamlet, and the village is situated inside the Casentinesi Forests National Park… Its surrounding landscapes are super pretty!

Steeped rich in medieval history, hunt down the Rilliana Library containing medieval manuscripts and about 700 incunabula; the courtyard leading to the protective city walls and marvel over the 13th-century frescoes inside the Chapel of Conte Guidi.

More stunning landmarks to visit are the Baroque-style Oratorio della Madonna del Morbo church and the San Fedele abbey.

Close to Poppi and worth your while to visit whilst in the area, spend an hour or two at the Camaldoli Hermitage monastery and the Chestnut Ecomuseum in Ortignano Raggiolo (15 minutes from the village).

28 – Discover a different side of Tuscany in Sansepolcro

Sansepolcro, Tuscany

Nestled in the Valtiberina Valley, Sansepolcro rose to fame as the birthplace of Early Renaissance Italian painter and mathematician, Piero della Francesca!

As such, art reigns supreme in the city, and there are plenty of places to admire this famous artist’s work.

Start at the Museo Civico di Sansepolcro (Civic Museum) housing four of Francesca’s paintings including the famous ‘The Resurrection,’ and the museum itself is a beautiful building worth exploring.

Working at the Cathedral of San Giovanni Evangelista (also called the Duomo of Sansepolcro), the artist’s body was buried inside its chapel upon his passing in 1492.

However, that’s not the sole reason why tourists love the mysterious ancient town, and bordering the Umbria and Marche regions, its terrains and buildings differ from the rest of Tuscany.

Displaying collections of ancient herbs, laboratory tools, ceramics, mortars, glassware and ancient books detailing medicinal plants, the Aboca Museum is epic!

The Bernardini-Fatti Museum of Antique Windows is another fascinating stop and search for the bronze statue of the Adele and Ginna Marcelli sisters who made lacemaking a recognized pastime.

29 – Pretend to be the Cullens in Montepulciano

Montepulciano, Tuscany

Attention die-hard Twilight fans; walk in the footsteps of Bella and Edward during an exciting trip to Montepulciano where there are even special Twilight tours available!

Fun fact: The Italian scenes for the sequel, The Twilight Saga: New Moon were all filmed in the city (even though in the books and movies the Volturi coven technically live in Volterra — also in Tuscany, the actual city is one hour and 45 minutes away).

Twilight business aside, Montepulciano has a real regal feeling about it, with classic Renaissance-style palaces bountiful, grand squares with cobbled corner cafes, vineyard views and wine tastings.

With the Val d’Orcia and Val di Chiana valleys framing the town, you have to try the region’s famous red Vino Nobile — a prized grape around the world. Naturally, it’s a perfect base to go wine tasting around the treasured vineyards with an option to tour via ebike!

Head into the cellars and indulge in vino and cheese pairings too. You’re in Italy after all…

Add the 13th-century fortress Fortezza Medicea and historic Porta al Prato city gate to your must-see landmarks during day trips from Florence (1.5 hours by car) or Siena (under one hour away).

30 – Don’t overlook Anghiari

Anghiari, Tuscany

Ask any local about the Battle of Anghiari and they will tell you the story with pride! Occurring on June 29, 1440, it was this monumental crusade that helped keep the Republic of Florence (and the lower Tuscany region) a separate state back then from Milan.

For art historians and curators, they might answer differently… Fascinatingly, a painting by none other than Leonardo Da Vinci depicted this battle but it’s believed (and argued) to have gotten lost in the centuries. It’s also known as ‘The Lost Leonardo’ and some believe the painting never even existed!

More to the medieval village than just that, photograph its pointed stone tower tops and houses with vineyards and iconic Tuscan hills acting as the best backdrop!

Wandering down its narrow stone streets you’ll see artisans selling woodwork, textiles and gorgeous ceramics, and snap dozens of photographs of intriguing ancient homes made ever more eclectic and eye-catching because of their somewhat “derelict” features.

Piazza Mameli is the major town square where the Renaissance-style Palazzo Marzcocco and the Medieval-style Palazzo Taglieschi both stand.

31 – Dive into the world of scuba… literally!

scuba diving in Tuscany

While this region may not be the most famous scuba center, it certainly offers its own underrated charms!

And with such clear, gentle waters, it’s easier than ever to learn this addictive sport!

Plus, with amazing scenery and cool wildlife, you’ll find wonders on even the shortest dives!

32 – Admire Monteriggioni

Monteriggioni, Tuscany

Closed off by fort walls built in a circular shape, all of the buildings and landmarks that have been erected within Monteriggioni work in perfect harmony in Tuscany’s “walled city.” Even the road circling the town winds around the village.

The teeny hamlet dates back to the Middle Ages and its tall ancient medieval fortifications still enshroud the city today. This makes it feel like you’re really in worlds before your time — like way, way back!

Situated in the Siena Province, the masses flock here on day trips from Florence (or enjoy Monteriggioni tours from Siena if this is your base) for the chance to see the captivating setting.

Built as a castle, its archaic defense towers and fort walls are the main attraction and you can traverse the walls along a walkway even climbing up certain parts!

The annual July Monteriggioni Medieval festival is one of the most authentic in all of Italy!

33 – Follow the Tuscan sun in Cortona

Cortona, Tuscany

This is one of Tuscany’s must-visit hilltowns situated in the south, and it never fails to win over every romantic’s heart.

Stroll through narrow streets and alleys where cobblestone houses are designed on a slope, intersecting one another, and the likes of bright red doors or blue shutter windows stand in stark contrast.

Plus, with the filming of the movie Under the Tuscan Sun taking place here, you can only imagine how dreamy the locale is.

Visit the main Piazza della Repubblica in the middle of the historic center and scope the landmarks here like the Palazzo Comunale, the Palazzo del Capitano and the town clock tower.

The city’s rich history stretches far back to the earliest days in Italia, and evidence found by historians points back 2,000 years ago with some of its first settlers, the Etruscans.

Deep dive into its past at the gorgeous, old-school MAEC – Museum of the Etruscan Academy (also called the Etruscan Academy), profiling and exhibiting collections starting from the 2nd century BC. Swap artifacts for artwork and check out the Diocesan Museum filled with religious paintings, frescoes and motifs.

Cortona tours from Florence always make sure to stop over at the Fortress of Girifalco (Fortezza del Girifalco) as well, and the fort walls have stood the test of time since the earliest centuries.

34 – See a town carved from stone in Sorano

Sorano, Tuscany

There is so much about Sorano that makes it so fascinating, captivating many curious travelers when they hear of its ancient history and unique makeup for Tuscan standards.

Perched on a hilltop, the entirety of the ancient city was built out of stone, well, a type of rock known as ‘tuff’ which forms from volcanic ash, garnering the nickname “The City of Tufo.”

Sometimes referred to as “the Matera of Tuscany,” similarly Sorano appears carved out of the earth.

Its past is as historic as they come, and before the Etruscan people, its earliest civilization links to the Villanovans from the Iron Age. As you can expect, the landmarks, monuments and points of interest here are some of the most venerable in all of Tuscany.

Spend hours (or days) wandering the ancient streets, running your fingers over some of the world’s oldest structures. Also discover “newer” buildings from the 15th century onwards and plenty medieval references.

Hunt down the old city gates (Porta di Sopra and Porta dei Merli), the famous Masso Leopoldino, the Orsini Fortress (the Museum of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance is located inside) and the Cortilone.

35 – Lap up the TLSea in Cecina

Cecina, Tuscany

Laid-back, void of tourist crowds and situated on the coastline, Cecina is an idyllic beachside escape for lovers, families and even solo travelers craving time out by the ocean.

Thanks to its positioning in the Livorno Province, many Tuscan towns and villages boasting completely different scenery aren’t far to reach if you do want some time out in the vineyards or to explore a typical hillside town.

Kicking things off at the beach, find your classic European beach clubs along the sands of Marina di Cecina where you pay to rent umbrellas and loungers, or chill out at Spiaggia di Andalu without paying a dime. Bau Beach and Quercetano Bay are two more free beaches close by.

Leading the way to another wild and rugged oceanic terrain; amble through a pine forest with bright poppies, sea lilies and juniper bushes lining the pathway inside the Tomboli di Cecina Nature Reserve. Its nature trail walks are popular.

Traveling here with kids? Enjoy even more fun in the sun at the Acqua Village Cecina water park equipped with rides, slides and pools.

Surfing around the beaches and bays of Cecina is well-favored and local surfers flock here in the winter when the best breaks roll in.

36 – Sample some of Italy’s most famous wines at Montalcino

Montalcino, Tuscany

As pretty as a postcard or the cover of a travel magazine, Montalcino brags that typical Tuscan scenery you’ve been dreaming of.

Cypress trees grow on hilly crests, oak trees spurt in between the outskirt buildings, vineyards surround you and winding roads lead to the top of this photogenic hilltop town.

Majestic landscapes aside, if its name sounds familiar, you’re probably a wine snob and its famous Brunello di Montalcino and Rosso di Montalcino reds are imported (and savored) around the world — all cultivated in the winelands below.

Take advantage of the wine-tasting opportunities, and walking on foot through the Montalcino centro storico (historic center), stumble upon many wine bars that offer tastings and even food pairings.

Inside the old town is the Piazza del Popolo town square, Palazzo dei Priori and the surrounding Fortress of Montalcino (erected in 1361).

Whilst not in the epicenter of Montalcino, there are two awe-inspiring religious sites close by worth visiting! Founded in 1313, Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore is a stunning monastery complex and the Romanesque-style Abbey of Sant’Antimo was established in the 12th century.

37 – Visit the famous Bagno Vignoni spring!

Bagno Vignoni, Tuscany

An Italian wonder; Bagno Vignoni is the only town plaza in Italy where the center of the square has no ground but is instead filled with a hot spring!

That’s right… Created and first used by the Romans, the 49-meter-long by 29-meter-wide pool is indeed a thermal spring and is the star attraction in this hilltop hamlet.

Swimming may be forbidden inside the naturally heated ancient Roman bath, however, there are free hot springs to take a healing soak around the village of Bagno Vignoni, like Parco dei Mulini.

There are also small streams running down the hillsides that flow from the main thermal pool and here you can take off your shoes and dip your feet into the sulfur-rich waters for a foot soak.

Completely car-free, stroll through the tiny alleys and passages where stonewall cafes, bars and trattorias line the sides. Crowd-pleasers are Osteria del Leone and La buca di Enea.

Perched above Val d’Orcia, it’s a great place to stop over while wine-touring the region.

38 – Relax and rejuvenate in Chianciano Terme

Chianciano Terme, Tuscany

One more famous thermal spa town destination to know about is Chianciano Terme.

Since the early ages and Roman times, these hot springs have been utilized for their special healing properties, with waters flowing from the Sillene spring.

Around the Senese commune are numerous thermal baths, the most popular being Piscine Termali Theia (the Theia Thermal Pools).

Dip in its main Etruscan bath (high in carbon dioxide, calcium carbonate, bicarbonate and sulfates) built with some modern features like a whirlpool and jets, and there is an on-site spa here too.

Visit the Terme Sillene where they employ hydro and drinking water therapies using water from the spring to help ailments like IBS and indigestion.

Parco Acqua Santa and Parco Fucoli are two public parks with thermal springs running through them.

Other interesting things to see and explore are the Museum of the Collegiata, Castello dei Conti Manenti monastery and the Archaeological Museum of Water.

39 – Head to Italy’s famous hot springs; Bagni San Filippo

Bagni San Filippo, Tuscany

Feeling hungover from all the wine drinking going on in Tuscany? Soak your muscles, soothe your aching heads and let all the wine worries from the day before slip away inside Bagni San Filippo — an insane Instagram moment that’s for sure!

The setting of these natural hot springs and its waterfalls feels like you’re on a different planet! Plus, you can visit the famous thermal pools for free!

Positioned inside the Monte Amiata forest in Val d’Orcia, take a short 10-minute walk along a pathway leading to the natural wonder.

Arriving at Fosso Bianco (as the springs are called), marvel over the calcium-rich waters that have bundled together over water cascades to form these unique, white rock formations and pools of thermal waters — which reach temperatures between 25 and 40 degrees Celsius.

Falling into terraced pools, one of the terraces is nicknamed “White Whale” because, from certain angles, it looks like the mouth of a whale!

In the minute town (with a total population of fewer than 100 residents), there are one or two restaurants and cafes, and the hot springs can easily be accessed from the village.

40 – Appreciate religious wonders at Abbadia San Salvatore

Abbadia San Salvatore, Tuscany

Travel to the 7th century during a trip to Abbadia San Salvatore — a municipality centered around an abbey founded in 743.

Enshrouded by chestnut woods, the San Salvatore Abbey is one of Tuscany’s earliest monasteries, believed to have been established by Ratchis, King of the Lombards. The underground crypt is super impressive, sporting 32 columns, each with a different design.

The crypt holds extreme religious importance as it housed the oldest version of the Christian Bible (The Codex Amiatinus) for over 1,000 years!

The Italian name for the monastery is Abbazia di San Salvatore and the medieval village built around it takes its title from the abbey.

Near to the village is dormant Monte Amiata — once a volcano, the mountain became well-known toward the end of the 1890s when the mineral cinnabar (used to make mercury) was discovered in its underbelly.

Mining complexes were set up and the mineral was excavated until the 1970s. Stop by the Mining Museum Park to learn more. At the peak of Monte Amiata is the iconic Croce del Monte Amiata (appearing similar to the base structure of the Eiffel Tower).

Hiking Monte Amiata and summiting to the top, you’ll be able to investigate the cross up close.

41 – Have fun in the sun in San Vincenzo

San Vincenzo, Tuscany

From snorkeling to kayaking, fishing, peddle-boating and sailing, the oceanic activities and outdoor adventures are tenfold in this idyllic seaside town along the Etruscan Coast.

The beaches are plentiful, the weather always great and it’s a destination treasured by couples and families.

Some of the best beaches in San Vincenzo are Rimigliano Beach (part of the Rimigliano Nature Reserve), Princess Beach, Spiaggia la Conchiglia and Nido Dell’Aquila Beach (also called Eagle’s Nest Beach).

At the Marina di San Vincenzo, enjoy a glass of vino from one of the cafes along the port promenade (Passeggiata del Marinaio).

Protecting its coastline from pirate attacks in its heyday, there are two tall towers that once guarded the city; Torre di San Vincenzo and Torre Vecchia di Campiglia.

For more fun, games and action, make your way to Tuscany’s biggest theme park Cavallino Matto — just 10 minutes north of San Vincenzo.

With rides and attractions designed for all ages, the family will want to spend at least half the morning here. Whizz around on rollercoasters, hit up the 4D Cinema, try not to get wet on the Corsair Slash riding water dinghies and catch one of the live shows or performances. With 18 holes to play, the Cavallino Matto Minigolf is also here.

42 – Enjoy great views and great company while horseback riding

horse riding in Tuscany

As you travel through lush vineyards and rolling hills, you’ll have a pretty cool means of transportation: a trusty horse!

These leisurely rides are a great way to explore the Tuscan countryside at length; and with tastings for olive oil and wine along the way, you can enjoy a full experience while you settle into the saddle!

43 – Head to Cosmopolitan Beach for some snorkeling

snorkeling in Tuscany

Near the city of Tirrenia, this sparkling shoreline is the perfect place to begin your next snorkeling adventure!

Head into the balmy Tyrrhenian and admire the beauty below the surface, where plants and animals move in perfect unison.

You may never want to come back up!

44 – Day trip to nearby islands from Piombino

Piombino, Tuscany

Also situated in the Livorno Province on the tip of a cape overlooking the Ligurian and the Tyrrhenian Seas, make your next stop Piombino after your time in San Vincenzo (25 minutes apart via car).

Among the slew of seaside towns and villages that dot the Etruscan Coast, the port town is the last spot that makes up this coastline which starts in Livorno and ends in Piombino.

A popular day trip destination, that’s because from its port many tours and boat trips embark from here, especially ones to Elba Island (just 10 kilometers away), as well as to the Mediterranean islands of Corsica and Sardinia.

Hot tip; Don’t miss our selection of fun things to do in in Sardinia, and things to do in Corsica.

If you’re not keen on a boat trip, head to its special town square built on the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean, known as Piazza Bovio. From its terraced lookout point, sweep up views of Elba Island.

Naturally, you’ll find some of the most delicious and freshest seafood at the restaurants around town.

45 – Go beach hunting between Follonica and Punta Ala

Follonica and Punta Ala, Tuscany

It’s impossible not to come across ancient ruins and structures anywhere in Italy which is why the city of Follonica stands out from the rest.

The moment you arrive you’ll immediately notice its rather modern-looking buildings and city center, so much so it’s joked that it’s “the Miami of the Maremma.” Great for shopping, eating and partying, it has a fabulous nightlife scene too.

Tick off the sightseeing first, like the 9th-century castle, Follonica and the Chiesa di S. Leopoldo di Follonica (Church of Saint Leopold) which was built in the 19th century — prime examples of its contrasting old and new buildings.

Found on the Gulf of Follonica, there are dozens of places to explore and things to do in Tuscany revolving around the Deep Blue, and in between Follonica and Punta Ala municipality, there are great beaches to scout.

Off the beaten track, Cala Civette beach is free from the hustle and bustle and great for snorkeling but takes some trekking to reach. Cala Violina is another quiet reprieve and you can also access the beach on foot, bike or horseback. Cala Martina is an awesome family beach.

Torre Mozza and Giardino Beach are two popular beaches in Follonica or swap salt for freshwater at the Hawaiian-themed Acqua Village Follonica with its Surfing Hill, Kamikaze and Anaconda water rides.

46 – Witness medieval towns and the ocean in one go in Castiglione della Pescaia

Castiglione della Pescaia, Tuscany

Buildings dripping in bright bougainvillea, the beach on your doorstep and with plenty of cobbled archways and stoney alleys to navigate your way through, Castiglione della Pescaia is absolutely breathtaking, considered one of Tuscany’s most scenic coastline towns!

Translating its name from Italian to English, it quite literally means the castle (castiglione) and fishing port (pescaia), and that’s exactly the type of vibe and makeup to expect…

Moving from the seafront up its hill, this is where the old town is situated and the medieval village is another fortified by ancient walls. Visit the castle for breathtaking ocean vistas, but the castle itself (now a private residence) is closed to the general public for inside viewing.

Outside the historic center sits Casa Rossa with access to the Riserva Naturale Diaccia Botrona where avid bird-watchers, cyclists and nature enthusiasts find sheer delight in its beauty and wildlife splendor.

Dedicate an entire day (or afternoon) to beach hopping, with loads of great options close to the town, such as West Beach (Spiaggia di Ponente), East Beach (Spiaggia di Levante), Spiaggia delle Rocchette and Roccamare beach.

47 – Visit the cathedral in Grosseto

Grosseto, Tuscany

Not every traveler vacationing in Tuscany wants to stay in the middle of the vineyards (or at least not the entire time), and if you’re a total beach babe that always needs the ocean nearby, think about making Grosseto your base during your time in Maremma (Tuscany’s main coastal area).

Despite being the capital of the province it’s not as touristy as you might think and is quite the opposite, usually devoid of major crowds.

Interestingly, the original city walls were rebuilt by the Medici family in the 14th century and you can trample past the 2.9-kilometer-long barricade on an outlined walkway.

The beating heart of the city is its Piazza Dante (also called Dante Alighieri Square) where the Cathedral of San Lorenzo is located.

Whilst this city doesn’t have as many antiquated and historic landmarks as others around, there are two great museums for a cultural fix. Pop into the Natural History Museum of Maremma (focusing on the region’s biodiversity, natural habitats and typography) and the Archaeological and Art Museum of Maremma.

Best beaches around Grosseto are Spiaggia Arenella, Spiaggia delle Cannelle, Caldane Beach and Spiaggia Rocchette.

48 – Travel way back in time in preserved Sovana

Sovana, Tuscany

Bravery outshines size in the persistent little tuff helmet known as Sovana, standing the test of time for thousands of years, prevailing through Roman conquests and managing to keep its original culture alive and strong.

Unlike many of the towns and villages that gave way to newer styles suited to empires centuries ago, the Southern Tuscan village seems to remain untouched by the “modern” world.

The epitome of a medieval commune, its past is rich in Etruscan heritage and you’ll probably want to photograph every single building you pass, all made from tuff stone.

Around the Piazza del Pretorio enjoy the boutique shops, and relax at one of the cute cafes in the square, and the Cathedral of Sovana is another one to give you goosebumps once touring inside.

Outside the city is the Città del Tufo Archaeological Park and this living outdoor museum is fascinating! Here, discover the Etruscan necropolis and check out the tombs built into the tuff.

Also in the archaeological park is the 2,500-year-old Vie Cave, and the famous Saturnia Springs are just 30 minutes away from Sovana — one of the best things to do in Tuscany!

49 – Experience different cultures in Pitigliano

Pitigliano, Tuscany

Literally next door to Sovana is another volcanic rock town, and Pitigliano and its neighbor both form part of the “borghi del tufo” area in Tuscany (meaning towns carved from tuff stone).

From the Etruscans to the Romans to the Medicis, the city’s history is a fascinating one — and we haven’t even got to the 1600s yet — which plays a pivotal role in Pitigliano.

Circa the early 17th century and the Grand Duke of Tuscany at the time (Ferdinando I) designated the city as a Jewish settlement. Today, you can explore the ancient Jewish quarter dubbed “Little Jerusalem” and the Jewish Ghetto has been converted into a walking museum.

Visit the old synagogue and along Via Zuccarelli are local shop fronts selling traditional foods, for example, sfratti — this long stuffed honey walnut biscuit originates from Pitigliano.

Before the arrival of the Medicis, the influential Orsini family ruled the city and once the family residence, Palazzo Orsini is also now a living museum. There are 21 rooms/sections to plow through in the fort-palace.

50 – Get ready for endless beach days around Monte Argentario

Monte Argentario, Tuscany

Giving off similar vibes to Italy’s prized coastal towns like Cinque Terre, Monte Argentario is a beautiful destination to relax at for a few days if your time is limited but you still want a taste of a typical Italian Riviera.

(Useful to know: Monte Argentario is a peninsula forming part of the Grosseto Province and there are towns and villages scattered throughout. Once a separate island, the land is connected by a series of three narrow man made landforms.)

Light terracotta and soft pastel pink houses line the waterfront in Porto Santo Stefano, and the buildings behind construct into the verdant hills.

Porto Ercole is the second most popular town to visit in the region with similar landscaping but on a smaller scale.

You’ll become mesmerized quickly by the stunning beaches in the area where the water is so crystal-clear you can see straight to the bottom!

Spoiled for choice when it comes to ocean spots, there are handfuls of incredible beaches to choose from! Pinch yourself to believe the waters are really this see-through at L’Acqua Dolce beach and Il Purgatorio, and Cala Galera with its protective cove is great for families.

Chill on the soft sands of Spiaggia di Chiarone just in time for sunset hour, or head to the coastal Duna Feniglia Nature Reserve where La Feniglia beach is situated.

51 – Adventure through Parco Regionale della Maremma

Parco Regionale della Maremma, Tuscany

Magical woodlands, mountain ranges, wetlands, vineyards, olive groves, fruit orchards, forests, caves and coastlines — all this is possible to witness in one spot at the Maremma Regional Park (Parco Regionale della Maremma).

Since 1975, its 8,902 hectares of land (out of a massive 18,000 hectare-space) has remained a protected reserve, and the Regional Park stretches from Principina a Mare to Talamone, with the Ombrone River running through it.

Inside the park, pinewoods line the Ombrone River (which opens into the sea) and its coastline is dipped in rocky cliffs, dunes and sandy bays. Near the river mouth is where the wetlands prosper, like the Trappola marsh.

Trekking through the forests spot ancient holm oak trees or wild asparagus growing; hiking Uccellina Mountains you’ll find myrtle, strawberry bushes and lavender blooming.

Visit the Talamone Acquarium where the Sea Turtles Rescue Centre is located. There are 20 caves inside the park, for example, Grotta dello Scoglietto, Buca dell’Anselmi, Grotta dei Cenci and Pozzo del Granduca.

There are many ways to navigate your way through and you can tour the reserve on foot, by bike, on Canadian canoes (down the river), or for something extra special, ride through on horseback. Guided night tours are available as well.

52 – Walk the whole of Orbetello in a few hours

Orbetello, Tuscany

Famed for its lonely tower in the middle of a lagoon, that’s not even Orbetello’s most interesting facet… The municipality is formed on one of three strips connecting the Monte Argentario peninsula to the mainland and is situated on the middle one, with two lakes on either side of it.

These are the Laguna di Ponente to the west and the Laguna di Levante to the east, and they both form part of its larger Orbetello Lagoon, where plenty of activities revolve around the water.

In fact, the lagoon’s wetlands and surroundings have been under official protection since 1971 by the World Wildlife Federation, known as the WWF Orbetello Lagoon Oasis (Oasi WWF Naturale di Orbetello).

There are also two beaches (Feniglia and Giannella) to spend the day and with shallow waters, they are very child-friendly locales.

From the Orbettello bridge, admire the only survivor of nine Spanish windmills from the 15th century (Mulino Spagnolo) in Lake Orbetello, and check out other city sites like the “Guzman” Archaeological Museum and the town square where more of its Spanish influence is prevalent.

53 – Find the tarot garden in Capalbio

Capalbio, Tuscany

In a country that’s inspired some of the greatest creatives and authors our world has ever seen; writers, poets and lyricists find yourself totally inspired when visiting whimsical Capalbio — the type of Italian destination you imagine conjured ideation for folk stories.

Undergoing numerous reigns throughout the centuries, this magical little hillside village in the Province of Grosseto has managed to retain its Medieval charm, and it’s interesting to see the varying styles of structures — hinting at the century they were constructed.

Enter the historic center through its two ancient entrance gates: Porta Senese and Porticina. From here, venture to the 15th-century La Rocca Aldobrandesca di Capalbio (known as Palazzo Collacchioni) and the Romanesque Church of San Nicola containing art of the Renaissance.

Those interested in the metaphysical — or anyone searching for unusual things to do in Tuscany — The Tarot Garden (Il Giardino dei Tarocchi) is simply magical!

This mosaic sculpture garden featuring the different decks from the fortune-telling playing gardens (which originated in the 15th century), was created by French-American sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle and took 20 years to complete.

Opening up in 1998, there are 22 mesmerizing sculptures reflecting the 22 major Arcanas.

54 – Boat trip over to the Tuscan Archipelago

Tuscan Archipelago, Tuscany

Did you know that surrounding Tuscany is a set of seven islands known as the Tuscan Archipelago?

Located west of Tuscany between the Ligurian Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea, these islands comprise Elba, Pianosa, Giglio, Capraia, Giannutri, Gorgona and Montecristo.

Elba is the largest of the isles and can be spotted from many a hilltop in Tuscany. It also happens to be the most popular and is frequently busy. It’s notorious in the history books for shielding the infamous Emperor, Napoleon during his exile from France in 1814.

Closest to Elba is Pianosa and its bays are exquisite! A former prison, the island is deserted but day trips are available for explorers.

Stay overnight on romantic Giglio (the second-largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago) or on its third-biggest, pretty Capraia. The waters around both are sparkling see-through and favored for snorkeling and boat trips!

Catch a ride from Giglio to Giannutri, loved by scuba divers, and Gorgona (the smallest of the islands) is known to have the best wildlife.

Before you visit the mysterious Isle of Montecristo you’ll first need permission. Completely different from the others, if flying over it in a plane it looks like a giant chunk of granite (which most of the terrain is made up of) lodged in the middle of the ocean.

The islands are easily accessible from various towns/ports around Tuscany.

How to get to Tuscany?

Tuscany’s major airport is located in the capital city of Firenze, and for travelers flying either international or domestic, you’ll fly into Florence Airport, Peretola.

Skip the hassles of trying to speak Italian to communicate with taxis where you want to go, whether it’s the Tuscan countryside or its coastline, and pre-organize airport transfers for your day of arrival in Tuscany.

When you land, have your private driver waiting for you holding a placard with your name on it — fancy right? — and be whisked away in comfort and style to your pre-booked destination.

Where to stay in Tuscany?

It doesn’t really matter where you stay in Tuscany, because everything around you is gorgeous. Stay in the middle of the vineyards, a hilltop town or on the coastline in centuries-old villas, farmhouses or hotels.

Located in the famous hot spring town, Saturnia, Terme di Saturnia Natural Spa & Golf Resort has its own private thermal baths! Plus, it’s done up to the nines in luxury.

Walking distance to many of Firzenze’s must-see sites, Palazzo Niccolini al Duomo is a stunning spot with all the old-school Florentine feels. Couples looking for a stay in Chianti? Palazzo Leopoldo Dimora Storica & Spa is a 4-star hotel in Radda, or feel like royalty at Hotel Villa Sermolli.

Agriturismo in Tuscany refers to its traditional (gorgeous) farmhouses among the vineyards and mountains. Fattoria Pratale, Castello La Leccia, Tenuta Croce di Bibbiano and L’Andana Tenuta la Badiola are amazing!

Visiting Tuscany on a budget?

If Tuscany isn’t the only destination on your Italian itinerary, save a few extra bucks where you can, like with free walking tours.

From Florence, learn of the city’s influential Medici family and facts and history about the Renaissance during two-hour Medici and Art tours, or investigate iconic monuments and landmarks during classic walking tours lasting 1.5 to 2.5 hours.

See sites like the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Piazza della Repubblica, the Uffizi Gallery, the Baptistery of San Giovanni and plenty more!

Alternatively, opt for the road less traveled and amble your way into the ‘Dark Side of Florence, Mysteries & Legends tour.

Where to go next?

If you’re the type of traveler that enjoys sightseeing more than one place, there are many other great places to visit in Italy.

Splashed across Instagram feeds and one of Italy’s most famous cities to the travelworld, Cinque Terre is iconic. Picture colorful houses sitting in between sea cliffs overlooking the ocean… Plenty of villages to explore, the top five are Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Monterosso, Manarola and Vernazza.

Or, head up north to Bologna in the Emilia-Romagna region (roughly 1.5 hours away). This historic city isn’t just famous for its food, but it’s filled with history too, including the UNESCO-listed Porticoes of Bologna.

It would be silly to travel to Italia and not visit historic Rome, even if it’s just for two days. From the Vatican City to the art to the museums to the food, this is one Italian city you simply cannot miss.

Depending on your location in Tuscany, Rome is 2.5 to three hours away.

Final thoughts

Honeymooners, art-appreciators, wine-lovers and families after an authentic Italian vacation, this part of the country is just perfect.

If you’ve traveled to Central Italy before, what were some of your favorite things to do in Tuscany or your most memorable moments? Wine tours? Hot air balloon rides? Bathing in accent thermal baths? Share with us in the comments!

As always, happy travels!

“I live to travel, and travel to live.” With gypsy blood running through her veins, Shannon is a freelance travel writer who has lived on five continents and counting, and is endlessly inspired by new cultures, countries and landscapes. Inscribing words onto paper, since she could talk, she lives and breathes delicious words and stories. Hailing from sunny South Africa, she has an affinity for Southeast Asia and all things spiritual, and is also a qualified Reiki practitioner. When not with her head buried in storytelling (or books) or watching sunrises in new lands, you’ll find her in the kitchen or with a paintbrush in hand. Shannon has written for major travel publications such as TripCanvas.