Tuscany is a land of many wonders. From world-famous wine to fabulous food, stunning landscapes, and fascinating history, this remarkably beautiful central-Italian region offers a little of everything.
If you’re looking for the best of Tuscany, these are the very best things to do in Tuscany for your unforgettable dream vacation. Whether you wish to immerse yourself in the culture, relax your mind and body, or quell your appetite for adventure, when you visit Tuscany you’re in for an incredible trip.
1. Visit the Region’s Wonderful Wineries & Vineyards
Winemaking is a way of life in Italy and an essential element of the Tuscan culture. The central-Italian region of Tuscany, in particular, is famous for its red wines, including Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti, and Nobile di Montepulciano.
While winetasting is one of the top things to do in Tuscany, regardless of location, one of the best places to sip and savor is the romantic hilltop town of Montepulciano.
This storybook town is known for the wine that shares its name, the Nobile di Montepulciano. This varietal is highly sought after for its fruity aromas and medium body.
A tour of the unique wineries in Montepulciano will provide an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at how this beloved wine is produced. Under the direction of an expert sommelier, you’ll discover the sprawling landscapes that give life to the area’s coveted Sangiovese grapes and the ancient winemaking secrets that await underground in historic cellars.
Tuscany also has plenty of unique spots for agritourism beyond winemaking. You’ll find ancient farmhouses with farm-to-table cuisine, tour groves of olives, and even stay enjoy unforgettable agritourism stays near Siena and beyond.
2. Savor a Special Stay at a Wine Hotel
If vino is the central focus of your trip, then you can’t miss an unforgettable stay at one of the wonderful wine hotels in Tuscany!
These fantastic resorts are an absolute dream come true for oenophiles. Wine hotels are all located on or adjacent to a vineyard for convenient access to the most precious fruits of the region. During your stay, you can enjoy a memorable wine tour and taste right from the comfort and convenience of your resort!
Whether you’re looking to sip wine at an authentic farmhouse, a dreamy Tuscan villa, or an ancient hilltop castle, you’ll enjoy a special experience to cherish for a lifetime.
3. Explore Fascinating Gothic & Medieval Towns
Beyond the wine culture, Tuscany is beloved for its many historic cities and towns. Siena is among the most famous cities in the region, known for its beautiful Gothic architecture. Located just an hour south of Florence, it’s one of the most visited cities in Tuscany.
Pisa is another favorite destination, with the opportunity to admire the Leaning Tower up close. Located just over 90 minutes from Florence, it is a great day trip option.
Beyond the most heavily-touristed hot spots, there are plenty of wonderful small towns in Tuscany and hidden gems, such as Montepulciano. Situated on a hilltop, this fairytale town looks like something straight out of a storybook.
Yet, despite its intimate size, there are many things to do in Montepulciano, from strolling the streets of the historic fortified old city, exploring the historic underground wine cellars, to indulging in pici, the delicious local pasta.
4. Eat Your Way Through Tuscany on a Food Tour
While discussing the best things to do in Tuscany, it would simply be in poor taste to skip over one of the most important elements – the food! Although it’s common knowledge that Italy has some of the most wonderful food in the world, Tuscany certainly holds its own in the cuisine department as well!
This Italian region is a true foodie’s fantasy, from the delicious Pappa al pomodoro (bread tomato soup) to Crostini Toscani (Tuscan-roasted bread with chicken liver pâté), to Cacciucco (Tuscan fish stew), to Acquacotta (vegetable soup with a poached egg), to Tagliatelle al tartufo (pasta with truffles).
5. Learn How to Prepare Tuscan Cuisine at a Cooking Class
If you’d prefer to be more hands-on with your culinary experiences, consider joining a cooking class. Many of these wonderful tutorials are held in local homes, providing an authentic behind-the-scenes look at how to prepare traditional Italian specialties.
You’ll have the opportunity to discover neighborhood markets, work from an authentic Italian kitchen in a local’s home, and create lifelong memories with local Italian families. But, of course, the icing on the cake will be indulging in all of the delicious food you prepare!
6. Photograph the Spectacular Landscapes
The breathtaking landscapes of Tuscany are some of the most beautiful in Italy – and around the world. Therefore, it should be no surprise that Tuscany is a destination where you’ll want to have a trusty camera with you.
In fact, you probably won’t be able to put it down! There are so many wonderful gems to capture here, from the postcard-perfect rolling hills to the iconic Cypress trees.
While there are photo opportunities awaiting around nearly every turn, you definitely won’t want to miss Agriturismo Baccoleno in Asciano, Poggio Covili in Castiglione D’orcia, and both Cipressi di San Quirico d’Orcia and the Chapel of the Madonna di Vitaleta in San Quirico d’Orcia. The soft light around sunrise and sunset is ideal for capturing these spectacular landmarks in all their glory.
That said, don’t forget to stop, take stock, and record some mental snapshots. While pictures can provide future keepsakes, there’s truly no substitute for the in-person experience of standing amongst the rolling hills surrounded by such indescribable beauty.
7. Hike the Rolling Hills
In addition to photographing the spectacular landscapes, why not explore them on your own two feet? Hiking is one of the best ways to familiarize yourself with the region – and discover beautiful views along the way!
While there are several hiking trails and pathways to enjoy throughout the region, some of the most popular are the Volterra loop, the San Gimignano loop, and the hike from Palagnana to Monte Croce.
8. Soak in the Region’s Natural Hot Springs
Hot springs and thermal baths have been trusted since ancient times to foster both physical and mental health. These warm baths are rich in elements such as magnesium and bicarbonate, which are known to aid circulation, ease muscle stiffness and joint pain, and help reduce stress. So it’s no wonder that soaking in one of these magical baths is one of the best things to do in Tuscany!
There are many natural hot springs throughout Tuscany, but the Saturnia Hot Springs (Terme di Saturnia, in Italian) is the most famous.
Located in Saturnia, this formerly hidden gem has become tremendously popular given its constant promotion on social media. As a result, you’ll want to arrive as early as possible – ideally around sunrise – before the crowds take hold.
In addition to the many natural hot springs throughout the region of Tuscany, there are also plenty of spas offering thermal baths, such as the Terme di Montepulciano Spa.
9. Enjoy a New Perspective from a Hot Air Balloon
You should consider a fun hot air balloon ride if you’re after a bit of adventure and you’d love to see Tuscany from a new perspective. After all, there’s no better way to observe the rolling landscapes that the region is known for than by soaring above them!
One of the most popular companies offering this magnificent experience is Ballooning in Tuscany, providing unforgettable rides over Cortona, Montisi, Montepulciano, Montalcino, Siena, and more. This can be a great way to escape the crowds in Italy during high-season travel.
10. Experience the Incredible Culture & History of Florence
While the Tuscan countryside is undoubtedly beautiful, you can’t miss a visit to the region’s famous capital city. Fortunately, even just one day in Florence, you can cover a lot of ground. That’s because this city is incredibly walkable and relatively small, as far as European cities go, something to consider as you contemplate adding Florence vs. Rome to your itinerary.
Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, a lover of culture, or a combination, you’ll find plenty to keep you occupied in the stimulating city of Florence.
For a single day, you definitely can’t miss a visit to the beautiful Piazza del Duomo, Florence’s famous square featuring the incomparable Brunelleschi’s Dome and Florence Cathedral.
Lovers of history will also appreciate Piazza della Signoria, another famous square featuring a unique public sculpture gallery with a replica of David and the Fountain of Neptune. Another iconic square not to be missed is Piazzale Michelangelo, an incredible 19th-century piazza featuring spectacular skyline views.
While you’re there, be sure to visit Giardino Delle Rose, located just below it. This beautiful rose garden is one of the best free gems in the city, particularly in May when the roses are in full bloom. In addition, nature lovers will find plenty of wonderful gardens throughout the city, including the Boboli Gardens and Bardini Garden.
Head indoors to one of the city’s many amazing museums for a rainy day in Florence. The Galleria dell’Accademia is a popular choice, as it’s home to Michelangelo’s world-renowned David.
The Best of Tuscany
As you can see, there are so many wonderful things to do in Tuscany, regardless of your travel style. So whether rest and relaxation are a top priority or you’d prefer to renew your spirit of adventure, there’s always something to satisfy in this magical Italian region.
This post originally appeared on Planner At Heart.