Not to be missed in Tuscany
The best luxury villas for vacation rentals set in the bucolic hills of Tuscany are the quintessence of the Italian dolce vita. The most exclusive Tuscan villas for rent make for a memorable Italian holiday.
Visit Florence, the region’s capital city, marvel at its Renaissance architecture, climb up to the top of the imposing Duomo, admire Botticelli’s artworks at the Uffizi, cross the unique Ponte Vecchio and stroll through the elegant Boboli gardens.
Head to Siena to admire superb Gothic architecture, don’t miss the breathtaking Unesco World Heritage site Piazza del Campo and climb to the top of Torre del Mangia for amazing views of the city.
Go on a unique bike ride atop the famous 16th-century walls of the town of Lucca, drive to the nearby Pisa and marvel at the iconic Leaning Tower and the other magnificent Romanesque monuments in Piazza dei Miracoli.
Picturesque towns, untouched landscape, world-renowned wines, the territory of the Val d’Orcia stretching along the provinces of Siena and Grosseto will never cease to amaze its visitors.
Experience authentic Italian living, join the locals in taking a passeggiata, a leisurely socializing stroll, in some of the most charming and unique Italian villages such as Volterra, Montepulciano, San Gimignano, Cortona, Monteriggioni, soak up all the history and feast on local Tuscan delicacies.
No visit to Tuscany is complete without a trip to the coast, head to Forte dei Marmi area for fine sandy beaches and a glamour vibe or enjoy the spectacular natural sceneries in the Maremma area where the beaches are protected by lush pinewoods.
Culinary wonders in Tuscany
Drink fine wine and indulge in the endless local culinary delights that this region has to offer.
Tuscan cooking is based on fresh and simple ingredients of the season including many legumes, cheeses, vegetables and fruits. Delight your taste buds with some typical first course dishes such as pappardelle a fresh, egg noodle pasta with either a hare or wild boar sauce.
Work up an appetite while sightseeing Florence and either pick one of the many Michelin-starred restaurants in the city or stop off at the indoor food market of San Lorenzo for a more authentic and local experience. Either way, don’t miss the lampredotto, significantly part of the city’s food identity.
Meat lovers cannot leave Tuscany without tasting the famous bistecca alla fiorentina which comes from a special cow breed, the chianina, and is usually served rare with roasted potatoes, beans or spinach.
Finish your Tuscan meal with some cantucci, hard almond flavored cookies served alongside the Vinsanto dessert wine for dipping, a simple yet mouthwatering match.
Last, but not least, engage in a cooking class and discover the secrets of Tuscan recipes.
Sports and leisure in Tuscany
Tuscany is the place to be if you are looking for an active holiday.
Explore the unique landscape on a horseback, there are a wide range of riding centres throughout the region all of whom can provide mounts and guides for excursions to suit all levels of ability.
Every area in Tuscany offers routes for cycling enthusiasts of all levels, rich in interesting places to visit as well as truly breathtaking sceneries.
Garfagnana, Casentino and the Florentine hills are perhaps some of the most famous trekking areas of the region, where both experts and beginners can head to for enjoying the Tuscan sun and the fresh open air.
Golf lovers will find some of Italy’s finest golf courses in this region immersed in the typical landscape of rolling hills. Some of the most famous ones are Ugolino golf club in Florence area, Punta Ala golf club in the coastal area and Royal golf la Bagnaia near Siena.
Take the time to relax and pamper yourself in thermal waters after a day of sightseeing, Tuscany offers a variety of enclosed spa centers as well as stunning outdoor natural hot springs.
The bravest ones cannot miss a balloon flight to admire the region’s beauty from a unique perspective.
Festivals around Tuscany
Tuscany is a very lively region and offers a myriad of annual events all year around.
Lucca hosts top Italian and international artists’ performances during the music Lucca Summer Festival in the month of July. Opera lovers cannot miss the unique Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago Puccini, taking place every summer, where it is possible to admire extraordinary conductors and stagings of Puccini’s operas such as La Bohème, Turandot or Tosca.
Listen to opera and classical music, watch ballet, theatre and much more in an amazing outdoor setting at the Tuscan Sun Festival in Cortona.
International blues artists are drawn in the main square of Pistoia in the first half of July for the famous Pistoia Blues Festival. Step back into medieval times and experience the jousting tournament Giostra dell’Orso in Pistoia at the end of July or the Saracen Tournament in Arezzo in June or September.
Head to Siena and witness the traditional and impressive Palio, a colorful, bareback horse race in the magnificent Piazza del Campo that takes place every July 2nd and August 16th and enjoy the massive feasts set up on long outdoor tables stretching around the medieval side streets.
Top 5 wineries in Tuscany
Tuscany boasts some of the world’s most famous wine appellations.
It is not only about tasting some of the world’s finest wines, by paying a visit to a Tuscan winery you will learn about the passion, history and tradition behind the production of that wine while being surrounded by the amazing Tuscan landscape.
1. Cantina Antinori: head to San Casciano Val di Pesa, taste excellent wines and discover the unique architecture of this winery. Their specialties are the dessert wine Muffato and the famed Brunello di Montalcino.
2. Tenuta Fanti: located in the Montalcino area, this winery is family-run and organize wonderful wine tasting experiences with delectable wines and local seasonal food.
3. Cantina Salcheto: situated in Montepulciano, this winery is particularly known for its biodynamic and sustainable winegrowing practices, not to mention its soft-textured, and full-flavored Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
4. Tenuta Avignonesi: probably one of the oldest wineries in Italy, dating back to the mid-16th century. This winery offers a wide range of wines including the famous Vin Santo and Vino Nobile.
5. Badia a Coltibuono: in the Chianti area, this estate used to be a monastery and is surrounded by elegant gardens. Well known for the prestigious Chianti Classico, and among other wines, for the production of wonderful olive oil.