The 13 Best Towns and Villages to Stay in Tuscany
Tuscany is one of Italy’s most popular regions, filled with historic Renaissance architecture, rolling vineyards, rustic little hilltop towns and villages and distinctive cultural elements that allude back to its prosperous past. You can find plenty of recommendations for what to see and where to visit in Tuscany, but it can be harder to work out which town or village is best to stay in during your vacation.
If you’re planning a visit to Tuscany but haven’t yet decided which part of the region you’d like to stay in, here’s our guide to thirteen of the best towns and villages to stay in Tuscany.
The Val d’Orcia is one of the most beautiful places in Tuscany, and Pienza is a tiny, picturesque village in the hills of the valley. Located only a few kilometres west of Montepulciano, many visitors refer to this location as the ‘ideal city of the Renaissance’ because it was historically transformed by Enea Silvio Piccolomini into what he believed was a utopian city that embodied all of the values of Renaissance culture.
As well as its impressive architecture, Pienza is also known for its famous sheep’s milk Pecorino cheese, which is best enjoyed in the popular local dish pici con cacio e pepe.
Stay in Pienza: If you’re a big fan of classic Renaissance architecture and history, you’re looking for a Tuscan vacation spot that is quiet and peaceful, or you want a base from which to explore the Val d’Orcia.
San Gimignano is often recommended as one of the best towns to visit in Tuscany if you’re looking for natural and architectural beauty, and it’s also an incredibly popular place to stay for this reason. The town is a historic location surrounded by medieval walls that has a charming and ageless beauty, and is known for the fourteen distinctive towers that were originally built to represent the wealthy families who lived in the area.
Staying in San Gimignano gives you plenty to see and do around the town, with markets, cafes, restaurants and shops all lining the quiet, winding streets. You’ve also got acres of stunning scenery right on your doorstep, so walks are a popular pastime for those staying here.
Stay in San Gimignano: If you’re looking for small towns in Tuscany near Siena and want to stay somewhere that is brimming with history and ancient architecture.
Pitigliano is one of the best places to stay in Tuscany if you want to spend your holiday in an incredibly unique and dramatic location. Found right on the border between the region and nearby Lazio, Pitigliano was built by Etruscan settlers on the top of a rugged tuff cliff, making it one of the most distinctive towns in Tuscany that offers incredible views of the surrounding countryside.
A highlight for those staying in Pitigliano is the chance to explore the town’s old Jewish neighbourhood, where communities were welcomed into the area in the 14th century and stayed for many years, building homes and places of worship amongst the existing Italian architecture.
Stay in Pitigliano: If you’re a keen walker who wants to be based in a town surrounded by walking trails, or if you’re looking for a really unique location that’s a little bit off the beaten path.
Travellers who would prefer to stay in small towns in Tuscany that won’t see too many other tourists will fall in love with Barga. Nestled between the Apuan Alps near Lucca and the Tuscan-Emilian Apennine mountains, it’s a beautiful little settlement that retains an authentic atmosphere and is ideal for visitors wanting to get away from it all and just enjoy the Tuscan countryside.
Despite its small size, Barga has several piazzas, churches, a castle and the beautiful Cathedral of San Cristoforo to explore, although it’s recommended that you abandon trying to use a map and just wander through the winding streets at your leisure.
Stay in Barga: If you’re looking for somewhere to stay that hasn’t been altered by tourism at all, you just want to switch off and relax, and you don’t mind having to mainly speak Italian when communicating with the locals!
If you’ve been dreaming of a classic Italian hilltop location for your vacation, Certaldo is one of the best towns in Tuscany to stay. This is a part of the region with a history that stretches back all the way to the 12th century, and there are examples of buildings and monuments from across the ages scattered throughout.
Certaldo is found in the Florence province of Tuscany between the city of the same name and Pisa. It’s a scenic, medieval walled town with several ancient churches, towers and museums, and below the peak of the hill is a more modern, industrialised area.
Stay in Certaldo: If you want to be near enough to Florence to make the most of its transport connections, but are looking for a more rustic, historic place to stay in the countryside.
Cortona is another of the best places to stay in Tuscany if you’re after peace and quiet during your vacation. Found in the southeastern part of the region in the Arezzo province close to the border, it doesn’t see as many tourists as more central locations but has plenty of merits that make it an excellent place to base yourself for a vacation.
The town is perhaps best known for its inclusion in the book and film Under the Tuscan Sun, but also has a long history of viticulture and has been producing red wine since the Etruscan times.
Stay in Cortona: If you’re a wine lover, are looking for a peaceful vacation, or are looking to stay in a classic Tuscan hilltop town surrounded by preserved stone walls that offers beautiful views of the valley it sits in.
The charming town of Lucca is one of the most popular places to stay in Tuscany because it’s known as one of the most beautiful parts of the whole region. It’s a large town full of pretty white and yellow houses and is surrounded by fortified walls that were built in the 16th century and provide a fourteen-kilometre circuit around the historic centre.
This is an ideal location for travellers staying in Tuscany who want to see a variety of the region’s scenery, as the town is at the foot of the Apuan Alps and only a short drive from the coast.
Stay in Lucca: If you want to enjoy a large and lively Tuscan town that is close to both the mountains and the sea; ideal if you want to take a lot of day trips from where you’re staying on your vacation.
Many people have heard of Montepulciano because of the famous red wine that comes from the vineyards in the area, but it’s also one of the best places to stay in Tuscany’s countryside because of the beautiful views enjoyed from most places in the town. With rustic charm, gorgeous nearby countryside and plenty of elegant Renaissance architecture, it’s a lovely part of the region to base yourself for a holiday and visit some of the other, popular nearby destinations.
A highlight of Montepulciano is the Piazza Grande, which has been used as a film set for several famous movies and hosts outdoor concerts and performances in the summer months.
Stay in Montepulciano: If you want to base yourself near Siena and Montalcino for your trip, or are a particular fan of red wine.
SAN CASCIANO DEI BAGNI
Once you’ve got your tongue around the name, you’ll find that San Casciano dei Bagni is a fantastic town to stay in in Tuscany. Found close to both Florence and Siena, it’s a location with a small population that makes it favourable among travellers who don’t want their holiday overrun with other tourists.
San Casciano dei Bagni is best known for the naturally occurring thermal pools that have been bringing visitors to the town since Roman times. There are four different thermal baths in the town that are supplied by these pools, and are a must-visit if you’re staying in the area.
Stay in San Casciano dei Bagni: If you’re looking for a quiet part of Tuscany that is close to some of its busiest cities, or you want to enjoy several different trips to thermal baths during your stay.
One of the best villages in Tuscany to stay in whilst you’re visiting the region is Monteriggioni. Perched right on top of a hill surrounded by quintessential Tuscan countryside, this charming village has a fascinating history of being caught in the struggle for power between Florence and Siena, prompting high stone walls to be built around the settlement in the 1200s.
Despite its small size, Monteriggioni is full of things to see and do and is an excellent place to stay in Tuscany if you’re looking for a small but lively destination.
Stay in Monteriggioni: If you enjoy learning about a place’s history on your vacation, are looking for a village on the route of the Via Francigena, or just want to stay in a picture-perfect Tuscan village on your vacation.
Visitors to Tuscany frequently refer to Suvereto as one of the most beautiful villages in the region, so if you’re looking for a charming place to stay on your vacation then you should definitely consider coming here. Located between the hills in the Val di Cornia on the Etruscan Coast, it’s a medieval village that is brimming with art and culture as well as history, so you won’t find yourself short of things to do even if you never leave to travel further afield.
High on the list of popular attractions are the Convent of San Francesco, the Church of the Madonna di Sopra la Porta, the Museum of Sacred Art and the nearby Montioni Natural Park.
Stay in Suvereto: If you’re looking for a quiet but cultural place to stay in Tuscany that isn’t ever overrun with tourists but has a wide range of activities on offer to those who do visit.
For the ultimate historic place to stay in Tuscany, Fosdinovo ticks all of the boxes. Inhabited since prehistoric times, the town was once the gateway to the Lunigiana territory of the region and its position in the mountains make it a popular spot for hikers and mountain bikers, as well as travellers who want to enjoy stunning views of the surrounding scenery whilst they’re staying in Tuscany
The main attraction for visitors and guests in Fosdinovo is the famous Malaspina castle; one of the best castles in all of Tuscany. Overlooking the whole town, the fortress was built in the 12th century and has been extended and redesigned through the ages, making it a real architectural marvel.
Stay in Fosdinovo: If you’re a serious fan of historic holiday locations, or want to spend your trip in Tuscany hiking and cycling through the countryside
Volterra is situated in the west of Tuscany and is a relatively short journey from Florence, Pisa and Siena, making it an ideal place to stay in the region if you want to see some of its most famous cities but would prefer to stay somewhere a little quieter. Surrounded by 13th-century walls and filled with classic red-roofed stone houses, there are plenty of examples of stunning Italian and Renaissance architecture around Volterra, as well as an Etruscan acropolis.
Stay in Volterra: If you’re a fan of ancient Roman and Renaissance architecture, or you’re planning trips to some of Tuscany’s most popular cities during your stay.
If you’re planning a vacation to Tuscany and are still wondering which town or village you should stay in, get in touch and speak to one of our Italian travel experts about some of the best places to stay in the region.