A Guide to the Most Beautiful Cities in Tuscany
Located in the high hills, this town can be found just 40 miles from Siena. It offers stunning views of the iconic, Tuscan countryside, but also has a main hub for dining, drinking, and exploring. Spend some time walking down the Corso, the main street, which leads up to the top of the hill. It’s a scenic walk that ends in a vantage point that’s perfect for photos. Check out the small shops, cafes, and eateries around the town if you want to pick up some souvenirs or try local dishes. Highlights include the Piazza Grande, the main town square, which is a great place to rest your feet and watch the locals go about their daily routines. Try climbing the Palazzo Comunale tower if you’d like some of the best views the city has to offer. And, definitely don’t leave the city until you have a class of the famous white wine, Nobile de Montepulciano, which is known all over the world.
This charming medieval town is a lesser-known gem that should definitely make your Tuscan itinerary. It’s quite small but still offers a charming atmosphere and intriguing architecture. Check out the city wall and take in the views of the city. Some of the highlights on a visit to Volterra include the Museo Civico, Baptistery, the Palazzolo dei Priori, and the Pinacoteca. History lovers will thoroughly enjoy a visit to the Roman remains like the Medicean Fortress and Roman Theatre.
This small, medieval city can be found on the fringes of Tuscany. It’s a maze of winding, cobblestone alleyways, colorful gardens, and charming homes. It looks out over the Valdichiana plains so expect fantastic views and great photo opportunities. You’ll also get incredible views of Lake Trasimeno, the historic architecture, and the rugged valleys below. Highlights here include the bustling weekend markets, Garibaldi Square, and the Santa Maria Cathedral. It’s also a nice place to stay a while and enjoy some wine so make sure to enjoy a glass.
If you’re spending some time in Pisa or Florence, make sure to add a day trip to Lucca. In fact, spending a night here will do you good as you can avoid the day tripping crowd. This historic city is known for its history and culture, and features a city wall that is loved by visitors. It’s 80 feet wide and 2.5 miles long, so you can spend half a day exploring Lucca from above. Walk or bike the wall and stop off at a picnic area, park, or a cafe. This is one of Lucca’s main highlights so take your time and enjoy the view. This city is sprinkled with historic churches so make sure to visit as many as you can on your own self-guided walking tour. Other highlights to check out include San Michele in Foro, Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, and Duomo di Lucca. Lucca is also famous for its opera so try to catch a show if you can.
This small city can be found among the Apuan Alps. It is known for its terracotta buildings and is home to a 12th century castle that brings in lots of tourists. Other highlights include the historic citadel that can be explored while looking out over the Tyrrhenian Sea. This city is a bit off-the-beaten-path so the best thing to do is just wander around, take in the seaside views, and leisurely dine on wine and local cuisine.
This Tuscan city is exactly what you’d expect from the countryside of this region. It’s flanked by rolling hills and is full of natural beauty. The locals take the natural beauty seriously, and take pride in their home-grown food. You’ll find plenty of farm-to-table restaurants in Montaione, not because it’s trendy, but because that is how the locals live. Take in the beauty of the olive groves, forests, and historic buildings that dot the city. Foodies will love a visit to this city as the food is fresh and the wine is bright. Make sure to try some handmade pasta, which shouldn’t be too hard to find as most of the restaurants here offer it.
Need a change of scenery? Swap the rolling Tuscan hills for the coastal town of Punta Ala. It’s a real beauty, with seaside views instead of rolling hills. It’s mostly untouched, so the natural beauty is there in a big way. Visitors will find forests of pine, calm beaches, rocky outcrops, and mostly locals enjoying the views. This spot is not a big place for tourists so you can bring a book, a bottle of wine, and enjoy the sun in peace and quiet.
This is one of the top cities to visit in Italy as it’s packed to the brim with art, culture, food, and beauty. You’ll definitely need a few days to fully experience Florence, especially if you love museums. Make sure to stop at the Uffizi Gallery to check out the impressive collection of Renaissance era artworks. The Accademia is the spot to visit if you want to see the original David statue by Michelangelo. There are so many museums in Florence that you won’t have time to see them all so make sure to do your due diligence to figure out which ones are best for you. Spend some time wandering the city center as it’s filled with impressive architecture and even considered a World UNESCO Heritage Site. If you can find a high vantage point, spend some time up there overlooking the landscape of the city. Photographers, don’t forget your camera. Make sure to check out the San Lorenzo Market, Piazza Della Signoria, the Duomo, and Ponte Vecchio. And whether you’re a foodie or not, don’t forget to spend time taste testing the various gelato shops and pizzerias. The food in Florence is incredible.
Elba can be found in the Tuscan Archipelago. It’s the largest of the islands that make up the national park here. It’s history dates back to the time of the Etruscans, The Romans, and even Napoleon who was once exiled here. Now, people flock to this destination because of its sunny atmosphere and crystal clear waters. Some even compare the water here to that of the Caribbean! Highlights include visits to Napoleon’s former residences as well as the historic fortresses.
Siena is one of the larger cities that Tuscany has to offer. While it’s smaller than Florence, it’s absolutely brimming with culture, beauty, and charm. The city center is considered a World UNESCO Heritage Site, making it a great place for history lovers to wander. Highlights include the Piazza Del Campo at the heart of the city as well as the Siena Cathedral. This medieval city has a lot to offer in the way of architecture so make sure to look up every once in a while to check out the buildings and houses. Don’t leave Siena without visiting the Piazza del Campo, which is one of the most famous public squares in all of Europe. The people watching here is pretty fantastic.
Tuscany is a beautiful and culturally rich part of Italy. If you’re visiting, expect to be kept busy exploring the Tuscan cities and all they have to offer. Between the food, wine, culture, and architecture, you’ll be too busy to even think about Italy’s other regions.
Rem is the owner of Italy4Real and the original Italy enthusiast! If you need inspiring or want to know about anything travel, he’s your man.