The Ultimate Guide To Tuscany

The Tuscan region is arguably one of the most beautiful in the whole of Italy. It’s somewhere that’s right up there at the top of my travel bucket list and I’ll find myself searching through the #instatuscany hashtag on a regular basis.

In this post, I’m going to be breaking down Tuscany’s regions with suggestions of where to stay and eat and what to see and do. Whether you’re visiting one County for a few day’s break or are hiring a car and road tripping across the whole of Tuscany, this guide will hopefully help you plan your dream Italian adventure!

Arezzo

Arezzo is one of the wealthiest Counties in Tuscany and you’re more likely to find locals than tourists wandering the streets. A City of medieval charm, Arezzo is the place to be if you love history and culture. Lil fun fact: Dylan and Cole Sprouse were born in Arezzo.

What to do?

Piazza Grande: Arezzo’s main square is a must-see, where you can relax in one of the restaurants and cafes, or if you head down to the square on the first Sunday of every month, a bustling market draws in over 30,000 visitors to its 500+ stalls that spill out down the square’s side streets.

Arezzo Cathedral: Arezzo Cathedral sits at the top of Pionta Hill and hides intricate and awe-inspiring detail. Piero della Francesca’s mural of the Mary Madeleine is a stunning must-see when visiting the Cathedral.

 

Where to stay?

Hotel Minerva Arezzo

Hotel Minerva is a family run 4-star hotel ideally located close to the Old Town and is fantastic value. From £68 per night.

 Where to wine and dine?

Teorema Del Gusto 

Rated #1 on Trip Advisor, Teorema Del Gusto offers traditional Italian dishes at a reasonable price. According to reviews, service is excellent and the food is fresh and delicious. Via De’ Cenci 17 – 52100 Arezzo

 

Florence

The Capital of the Tuscan region, Florence is the birthplace of the renaissance.

What to do?

Uffizi Gallery: The gallery is home to the world’s greatest collection of Italian renaissance art. The collection was bequeathed to the City by the Medici family in the 1700’s, under the condition that it would never leave Florence. Open 8:15am-6:50pm, Tue-Sun. Entry from 8-12 euro.

Duomo: Experience the breath-taking architecture of Florence’s most iconic landmark, Duomo.

 

Where to stay?

Ad Astra

Ad Astra is a place that can only be described as something out of fairytales. Overlooking Europe’s largest private garden, Ad Astra  is a haven of sheer elegance that you’ll never want to leave. One look at the website’s gallery and you’re sold.

Where to wine and dine?

Essenziale

The restaurant is open for dinner Tuesday to Sunday and serves authentic Italian cuisine. Around 15 euro for a main meal. 

 

 

Grosseto

History and charm is present throughout the City of Grosseto. The City is home to some spectacular diving spots thanks to the population of colourful seabed fauna and the Giardino dei Tarocchi is a delightful mix of nature and art.

What to do?

Giardino dei Tarocchi: The renowned Giardino dei Tarocchi, or Tarot Garden, is a sculpture garden based on esoteric tarot, created by the French artist Niki de Saint Phalle.

Head to the Island of Elba and see the Relitto Cargo Elviscott: Take a trip to the Island of Elba. Elba is part of the Arcipelago Toscano National Park and is the third largest island in Italy. Dive into history and take a trip to the wreckage of the freighter Elivscott boat or admire views of the crystal clear waters from one of the many beaches.

Where to stay?

Ricci Hotel

Ricci Hotel is a resort of luxury and elegance. Located only 250 metres from the beach, the hotel boasts an exclusive beach bar, making it an ideal place to watch the sunset and relax after a busy day exploring Grosseto. The hotel’s restaurant offers exquisite meals, including the freshest seafood and authentic Tuscan dishes. From £73 per night.

Where to wine and dine?

Ricci al Fresco

Ricci Hotel’s restaurant offers traditional Tuscan dishes and desserts paired with fine local wines. The restaurant caters for children and is the perfect place to dine in the perfect setting.

 

Livorno

The port City of Livorno is the third-largest City in Tuscany and is famed all over Europe for its multiculturalism.

What to do?

Terrazza Mascagni: Marvel the magnificent sunsets with a stroll along the characteristic Terrazza Mascagni.

Cavallino Matto: If you’re after a bit of thrills and fun, head to the largest amusement park in Tuscany. Open from March to October each year, the park is a mix of family fun and for the adrenaline junkies, white knuckle rollercoasters.

Where to stay?

Grand Hotel Palazzo

If you want to bask in five-star luxury, the Grand Hotel Palazzo by Sofitel is the place to stay. the rooms are second-to-none and the spa and infinity pool are the perfect place to relax. Located just in front of the Terrazza Mascagni, the views are amazing.

Where to wine and dine?

Ristorante Oscar

Serving fresh seafood, Ristorante Oscar is popular amongst tourists and locals alike. 3 course tasting menu, 60 euro.

 

Massa Carrara

The province of Massa and Carrara has an array of character and is the perfect destination for any nature lover.

What to do?

Visit the Apuan Alps: The picturesque Apuan Alps are known all over the world for their precious marbles.

Massa Medieval Quarter: Made up of winding, narrow streets and a whole lot of history. The cathedral and the  Palazzo Ducale of Cybo Malaspina are particular areas of interest.

Where to stay?

Hotel Stella Della Versilia

Surrounded by pine forest, the prestigious Hotel Stella Della Versilia lays just 200m from the sea. The hotel features 3 suites finished with the best marble from Carrara. There are regular offers on rates.

Where to wine and dine?

Creperia Piadineria da Paolo

Serving up some of the best crepes in Italy,  restaurant is really popular so a long queue is expected, although the food is definitely worth the wait (and cheap!)

Pisa

Pisa draws its fame from an architectural project that went wrong…the Leaning Tower of Pisa!

What to do?

Leaning Tower of Pisa: A visit to Pisa wouldn’t be complete without snapping a few pictures in front of the world famous leaning tower. If you’d like to climb the tower, access is limited to 45 people at a time so to avoid disappointment, it is best to book in advance.

Where to stay?

Hotel Relais dell’Orologio

Situated in a prime location, Hotel Relais dell’Orologio was built in the 14th Century as a medieval ancient towerhouse. The hotel is an oasis of luxurious history and is within walking distance of all the sights in the City. Rates start at 109 euro including breakfast.

Where to wine and dine?

Pizzeria Il Montino

Pizza in Pisa? Yes please. An authentic pizzeria that is loved and recommended by locals. Tucked away down a quiet street, it’s a hidden gem. Via Monte Bianco 1, 56121, Pisa, Italy.

 

Pistoia

Awarded the status of 2017 European City of Culture, Pistoia is the perfect place for a day trip from Pisa, Lucca or Florence.

What to do?

Museo dell’Antico Palazzo dei Vescovi: The bishop’s palace provides an enticing tour of Pistoia’s past and urban history. Entry is 5 euro and is open Tuesday-Sunday.

Palazzo Fabroni: Take a breather from history and visit the contemporary-art museum. Highlights include the shadow wall painting Scultura d’Ombra (2007) by iconoclastic Italian artist Claudio Parmiggiani (b 1943) and rooms dedicated to Pistoia-born artists Mario Nigro (1917–1992) and Fernando Melani (1907–85). Entry 3.50 euro.

Where to stay?

Hotel Villa Cappugi

The 4 star hotel is complete with cosy rooms, tennis courts, gardens and a luxurious swimming pool. Rooms start at 69 euro including breakfast.

Where to wine and dine?

Bisteccatoscana

The restaurant specializes in steaks and offers a truly luxurious dining experience.

 

Prato

Prato is lesser known to tourists and is much quieter. Jump on a train from nearby Pistoia or Florence and explore the crowd-free town, which has an array of museums and a stunning cathedral.

What to see?

Cattedrale di Santo Stefano: The 12th-Century cathedral hides away many treasures including awe-inspiring art and magnificent architecture.

Where to stay?

Hotel Giardino

Hotel Giardino is in the heart of the historical Prato, the perfect location to explore the town. Rooms are pretty basic but are an excellent rate. Rates start at 40 euro.

Where to wine and dine?

Frari

A traditional pub and restaurant, Frari is a place for friends, food and fun. According to visitors, the wine is exceptional and is a must try.

 

Siena

Siena is described as a giant, open-air museum celebrating the Gothic. The City is a medieval masterpiece where history thrives.

What to do?

Duomo: Siena’s majestic cathedral showcases the talents of many great medieval and Renaissance architects and artists Giovanni Pisano designed the intricate white, green and red marble facade; Nicola Pisano carved the elaborate pulpit; Pinturicchio painted the frescoes in the extraordinary Piccolomini Library; and Michelangelo, Donatello and Gian Lorenzo Bernini all produced sculptures. (via Lonely Planet).

Where to stay?

Hotel Chiusarelli

Hotel Chiusarelli was renovated in 2013 and is in harmony of the original style of the former palace. The interior is sleek and sophisticated with a burst of colour and traditional Italian design throughout. Prices start at 86 euro including breakfast and free wifi.

Where to wine and dine?

Ristorante Tar- Tufo

Ristorante Tar- Tufo is fine dining is a cosy and intimate atmosphere. With an elegant interior and an extensive menu, the restaurant is perfect if you’re wanting a special dinner with loved ones.

 

There we have it! A round up of Tuscany and the places TO be.

 

Have you been to Tuscany? Where would you recommend?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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8 Comments

  1. 21st September 2017 / 10:04 am

    I’ve never been to Italy before, but Tuscany is definitely on my bucket list – it just looks so beautiful! x

  2. 21st September 2017 / 10:07 am

    I adore Tuscany, I travelled there a few years back with the husband pre-kids and it was absolutely beautiful – food was amazing too!

  3. 21st September 2017 / 2:16 pm

    I have only ever been to Pisa which I was fascinated with and I have friends who got married in Tuscany and it looked just beautiful x

  4. 21st September 2017 / 2:46 pm

    I’ve always wanted to go to Italy. I would be to explore the apuan alps and massa medieval quarter as history fascinates me so much.

  5. 21st September 2017 / 6:21 pm

    Tuscany has been on my must visit list for a long time. THis just makes me want to go more!

  6. 22nd September 2017 / 10:47 am

    these photos are beautiful!! never thought about visiting Tuscany before but now its on my list..

  7. 24th September 2017 / 5:15 pm

    Your photos are stunning and I definitely want to at some stage, visit Rome, I had never thought about Tuscany until now.

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