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Tuscany has everything to attract art lovers, history lovers and people who simply enjoy life. Where else could you find such a large amount of everything that makes life worth living? Wonderful wine, fantastic food, art wherever you look, magnificent historical buildings everywhere and all in the most beautiful surroundings imaginable – the Tuscan countryside.
It is often hard to choose from this sumptuous buffet and the risk of rushing blindly from sight to sight is always present: Florence, Chianti, Pisa, Fiesole, Lucca, Arezzo, Cortona, Ponte Vecchio, San Gimignano and Volterra to name but a few. There are so many places to see that it is hard to decide which are the "best" and therefore most worthy of a visit.
Most people who visit the region choose to rent a cheap car during their holiday, and car rental is also the easiest and best way to experience Tuscany. Get information, tips and advice on cheap car hire in Tuscany
Why not ask the advice of one of our Tuscany Travel experts to help plan your ideal holiday in Tuscany? Since 1999, In-Italia have been working in travel and tourism in Tuscany and all over Italy, and we know it well! Email us using the contact link at the top of the page, call us using the number on the right, or chat to us using the chat box to the bottom left of the page. Alternatively, you can search through our collection of hand-picked holiday accommodation including self catering apartments, villas and hotels in charming locations throughout Tuscany and see what takes your fancy.
Read more about Tuscany
In the meantime, we advise that Tuscany must be enjoyed slowly, so we suggest that you concentrate on smaller areas of the region and not try to see "everything" in a week. - As a first time visitor you could choose to see the central, classic Tuscany between Siena and Florence, from where you can easily reach both cities, numerous Chianti vineyards and small towns such as San Gimignano, Volterra, Colle Val d'Elsa and much much more. - Your next visit can be to the northwest where you can experience Lucca, Pisa, Carrara with its marble quarries, San Miniato, the wonderful mountains over Lucca etc. etc. - The third visit could concentrate on central southern Tuscany with Montalcino, Chiusi, Montepulciano, Pienza, Monte Amiata and more than these few lines allow.
- Your fourth visit might be to go to eastern Tuscany where Arezzo and Cortona stand out as the most interesting towns culturally, but where the many small towns and churches in the Casentino area, in Val d'Arno and in Val di Chiana provide plenty to occupy you with. Southwest Tuscany should not be forgotten, the so-called Maremma, where the scenery is quite different to that of the central hills of Chianti. Here the landscape is more rugged, but there is lots to see and fewer tourists, plus the wines from Scansano and the surrounding area are starting to seriously compete with the other Tuscan wine stars. And we could continue...
If you are looking for cosy old streets visited only by locals and you want to experience a fascinating local culture then Tuscan has it all. If you wish to experience the warm hospitality of the locals and see how family life really is, as opposed to being in a 5 star hotel, then you will feel right at home in Tuscany.
Maybe you will have to go without a pool or air conditioning for example, and perhaps there won't be anyone who speaks English at reception, but if you are "brave" and are ready for an adventure, then we recommend a holiday in the "real Tuscany".
Holiday for two
Bring your loved one to Tuscany - a region that is brimming with romantic possibilities. Experience the exquisite beauty of the countryside, the majestic cities, the atmospheric medieval villages, the quaint restaurants and more.
You can even mix and match a few days in Florence for example, then a few days south in the Chianti Wine District where you'll find cosy wine towns surrounded by vineyards. The choice is yours, the possibilities are endless!
Tuscany has everything your heart desires from exciting cities. Roman monuments, medieval fortresses and castles, and not least the magnificent Renaissance buildings and fascinating museums. Many of the cities, we all have more or less heard of, but there are also other less explored cities in Tuscany which are worth a visit.
Arezzo, Colle Val d'Elsa, Cortona, Florence, Lucca, Montalcino, Montepulciano, Pisa, San Gimignano, Siena, Volterra are just some of the exciting towns and cities worth visiting in Tuscany. For more detailed descriptions of Tuscany's great cities, we recommend that you click on the link for each city.
The history of Tuscany is very old and there are monuments from both the Etruscan and Roman periods of greatness. However, much of Tuscany's history is centred on the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, which is also richly represented in this beautiful region. Figures such as Dante, Leonardo da Vinci and Machiavelli were all Tuscan and are people who have not only been significant for the history of Tuscany but also those that have had an impact on the whole world.
The history of the region bears witness to many brutal internal power struggles in various towns, and Dante's divine comedy shows dramatically some of these quarrels, or rather the fates that met the villains and heroes. Tuscany has not had as many foreign rulers as many of the other Italian regions, but here you find coherent and exciting historical evidence, the likes of which few other places in the world can boast.
If you are looking for a beach holiday you will not have travelled in vain to Tuscany. There are many lovely sandy beaches along the coast although some areas are more touristy than other places in the region. However, a beach holiday in Tuscany can easily be combined with some of the region's interesting sights and the beautiful Tuscan landscape.
You can experience a wealth of nature along the Tuscan coast; however, parts of it have unfortunately been spoilt by the many buildings and communication links that were established during the industrial explosion following the second World War. That being said there are still some exceptional unspoilt parts worth seeing especially outside of the Italian's peak holiday period which is August.
High points include the sandy beaches of Forte dei Marmi, Viareggio, Pietrasanta and all the way up to La Spezia Gulf of Liguria. From the beach in these areas you have a view of the underlying hills, marble quarries and the Tuscan islands on the horizon ... but you definitely find more nature and peace and quiet by heading south on the other side of Livorno.
To the south of Grosseto lie the Maremma beaches and hills which are somewhat more desolate than the rest of the region. This is partly because there are fewer people, partly because there are fewer tourists ... except during August where all beaches and mountains throughout Italy invaded by the Italians themselves.
You will find a broad selection of accommodation types including self-catering apartments / vacation rentals, private villas with pools, agriturismo - farm holiday apartments, hotels and cute bed and breakfasts in our collection. All are handpicked and regularily inspected by our specialist travel team. There is something to suit everybody"s tastes and budget. We know Tuscany well, so why not contact us and let us help you find your holiday accommodation in Tuscany?
Whether you are looking for an apartment, or perhaps you would prefer to stay in a hotel, why not choose something from our great collection, or let us help you choose?
Tuscany also has lots to offer here. Lovely rolling hills, rivers, forests and mountains – not forgetting the numerous magnificent vineyards.
If we consider the "classic part of Tuscany (thus considered as the triangle between Siena, Florence and Pisa), there are rolling hills and narrow valleys covered alternately with cornfields, forests, olive groves and vines. For most people, the idea of Tuscany has been formed with images that you find from this area, where the landscape has been cultivated over thousands of years. Take a drive on the SS 222 through Chianti up towards Volterra and you will be mesmerised by the picturesque beauty of this region. Note that the SS 222 is also called Chiantigiana road.
In the northern and eastern part of Tuscany you will find more dramatic and desolate landscapes as mountains, canyons and valleys here dominate the vista. The distances between towns are greater and the roads are more intricate; therefore it takes more time to travel from place to place. However, with such beautiful scenery, the pleasure is as much in the journeying as it is in arriving. Up in the mountainous areas of Linigiana and Garfagnana you will find an even more un-spoilt and authentic Tuscany, where there are also fewer tourists.
In the Casentino valley, located between Florence and Arezzo, you will find the classic Tuscan medieval towns with impressive castles and fortresses surrounded by large forests and olive groves that cover the high mountain slopes and plateaus. The natural beauties of the Casentino are also of special interest, so much so that much of its territory constitutes the National Park of the Foreste Casentinesi, Mount Falterona and Campiglia. The ancient woods of pines and beech trees are still populated by deer and numerous other wild animals, and remain a treasure for nature lovers to explore.
It is in the south of the region that you will find Monte Amiata, which with 1783 meters is the highest in Tuscany. A now extinct volcano, Monte Amia dominates the territory of Maremma, thus offering a suggestive landscape rich in interesting specimens of flora, fauna and a multitude of important historical remains. During more recent historical times, it has been primarily known for mining but the last mines closed decades ago. Now it is known for it's large pristine forests, skiing activities on top and not least the many fascinating medieval towns further down the slopes. In addition to some tourism, wine (primarily the new star Montecucco), cheese production, chestnuts and breeding of the traditional free-range pig Cinta Senese contribute to bringing income to the area.
Tuscany offers an abundance of delicious and exciting dishes and ingredients. Despite the fact that it is normally France that is seen to have shaped modern gastronomy, Tuscany has more than played its part and should get more of the credit.
Had it not been for a certain Catherina of Medici, the French would not be as famous for many of the various techniques and preparation methods as they mistakenly are today.
Fish and seafood
In Tuscany you can eat eel, shrimps, squid and other typical Mediterranean fish. Fish soup from Livorno has taken a special place in Tuscan gastronomy. Naturally mussels and other seafood are also wonderful. Anglerfish and skate are common Tuscan ingredients.
Meat, game and poultry
There are many different types of good meat in Tuscany. The local pig breed, Cinta Senese, has particularly delicious and succulent meat. Veal from Chianina is also good quality. Tuscany also has its own breed of sheep called Agnello di Zeri, which is wonderfully tender and tasty.
Wild boar, hare and duck are among game favourites in the Tuscan kitchen. You will find these luxuries everywhere prepared in both the traditionally rustic as well as the more modern and creative way.
Tuscany also has its own breed of chicken - Pollo del Valdarno that has especially fine meat.
Sausages and ham
Here for the sake of space we can only name a few of Tuscany's wonderful sausages and hams:
Finocchiona (pork sausage with fennel), Lardo di Colonnata (spiced pork fat), Mortadella di Prato, Prosciutto del Casentino (ham from the Arezzo province), Prosciutto di Cinghiale (wild boar ham), Prosciutto Toscano Dop (air-dried ham), Rigatino (air-dried bacon).
Additionally there are also many sausages and hams produced from both wild boar as well as the Cinta Senese breed of pig.
Cheese: A particularly good Tuscan sheep's cheese is called "Pecorino della montagna pistoiese" and is eaten both fresh as well as matured. Other good cheeses from the region include Pecorino di Garfagnana (sheep's cheese), Ricottine della Lungiana (small ricotta cheeses which must be eaten very fresh), Marzolino (sheep's cheese from Chianti). There are also a great number of varieties of pecorino with added ingredients such as rocket and nuts.
Some of Tuscany's most famous sweetmeats, such as cantuccini and panforte, are also famous in northern Europe. Desserts with fruits and berries are also often seen on Tuscan menus.
Wine and vineyards
Where to start when presenting the fantastic wines of this region? Tuscany's own black grape type Sangiovese (which varies from area to area) gives substance and character to some of the greatest wines available: Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and, of course, Chianti are all wines created from the Sangiovese grape. But Tuscany is also known for the so-called "Super Tuscans", which are mainly produced in the southern part of the region around Bolgheri. Super Tuscans are often created from Cabernet sauvignon or Merlot. You also find combinations of French grape varieties and Sangiovese.
The following list is a selection of some of our destinations in Tuscany where the wine is produced on the place: Cantine Cesani, Palazzo Bandino, Fattoria di Castiglionchio, Fattorie Santo Pietro, Agriturismo Collelungo, Fattoria Castellina, Riserva di Fizzano, Rocca di Cispiano, Le Fonti a San Giorgio, Tenuta Cantagallo, Villa Buoninsegna, Fattoria Poggio Capponi, Fattoria Sant'Appiano, Fattoria Piecorto, Podere La Casa, Azienda Agrituristica Marrucola...