If you are spending some time in Italy then a visit to the central region of Tuscany is an absolute must. As someone who regularly travels to Italy and someone who has indulged in all of many of the luxury accommodations in Tuscany, I can honestly say that this region of the country offers its visitors the very best of Italy packed in to its borders and for those who are wishing to experience Italy, Tuscany should be the first stop.
The more time that you can spend in Tuscany, the better in my opinion but if you are doing like many others, and touring the country across a 2 week or more journey, then I would recommend that a weekend should be spent in this region at least. If you are fortunate enough to be able to get to Tuscany, but unfortunate – in my view – enough to only have a few days there then this is how I would recommend that you spend your weekend in order to get the best out of the region.
My recommendation would be the you start your weekend in Tuscany in the rolling green hills of the stunning Orcia Valley. This UNESCO registered World Heritage site is a large, open valley with lots of those tiny, classic Italian villages that you will have seen in the movies, real Italy as I like to refer to them. This will be your perfect introduction to Tuscany and driving through this scenic region is simply breathtaking.
Friday afternoon can be spent with one of the many wine tours that takes place just outside the Occia valley, this region of Italy offers some of the World’s finest red wines, from Chianti to Montepulciano. Tuscany’s climate is perfect for grape growing and there is no better way to spend your Friday afternoon than taking a tour of one of the fabulous vineyards and then sampling some of the beautiful wines on offer here.
Friday Night in Siena
Just north of the wine regions of Tuscany lies the city of Siena, a city which can easily be described as an open-air art museum. Here you will be surrounded by gothic and medieval buildings as you sit in the Piazza del Campo and enjoy some of the finest Italian cooking with a fresh glass of local wine. This is the perfect place to spend your Friday night, plenty of hotels, lots of restaurants and quiet bars and a true slice of Italian culture.
Art Trip to Florence
After some breakfast in Siena, take the hour long journey up to Florence for late morning, a city with more Renaissance art than anywhere else in the World. Just walking around Tuscan’y capital city is a delight, you can see some of the country’s finest architecture here in buildings like the Duomo, the city’s cathedral and the impending bell tower designed by Italian artist Giotto. This city has a very relaxed feel about it and I’d recommend hitting at least one of the many art museums on show here.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
After a late lunch in Florence, why not head down to Pisa, around 1 hour 30 minutes away, to see the iconic leaning tower. The lean was never intentional, it was caused after an earthquake but the results of the affects on the foundations have turned the cathedral’s bell tower into one of Italy’s most iconic attractions. Pisa itself is a beautiful city and offers far more than the tower. The coastal location allows tourists the chance to walk along the coastal pathway and enjoy some fine Italian ice cream as you look out to the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Sunday by The Sea
After a night in Pisa why not head down the coast to the city of Livorno and spend a Sunday by the sea. Livorno is, like many cities in Tuscany, packed with artistic buildings and multi-colored houses that sit overlooking the beautiful coastline. Despite being a port city, Livorno has plenty of beautiful beaches where you can relax the day away in glorious sunshine. Many of Livorno’s beaches are very active and offer lots of activities across the water, after a hard few hours surfing you can sample some of Italy’s finest seafood in any one of the cosy restaurant in the city. Enjoying seafood as the sun sets over the sea will perfectly round up your incredible weekend in Tuscany, bliss.
There is much more to do in Tuscany that what you can do in a weekend but this short guide should ensure that you hit the very best of the region and get a good enough sample of what Tuscany is all about. Next time you consider a vacation in Italy, make sure that you have sufficient time set aside for this wonderful central Italian region.