Tuscany Travel Guide What to Do and See in Tuscany Italy
General Information About Tuscany
Tuscany is the largest region in Italy, and is undoubtedly one of the most famous in the wonderful country of gondolas and spaghetti. You've almost certainly seen pictures of Italian terracotta block country houses, or dreamed of wonderful Florence and its Renaissance history.
With a population of less than four million, Tuscany has a lot to offer its visitors. Art is scattered in every corner of its cities, and its landscapes will take your breath away. All this together with the spectacular wine and the unique gastronomy of the region, which will make you feel that you are in paradise.
If you are looking to spend your holidays in the fields of vineyards and agriculture, or if you prefer to get lost in the many museums that Florence offers you, at Greca we will guide you with our recommendations to get the most out of your visit to Tuscany.
Location of Tuscany
Next, we show you where Tuscany is located:
Map of Tuscany on Google Maps
What to See in Tuscany?
Tuscany is full of treasures, and the options are never exhausted while visiting this beautiful part of Italy.
The main attraction of the region is undoubtedly its capital, Florence, with its wonderful emblematic sites such as the Ponte Vecchio or the Uffizi Gallery.
Florence is considered the cradle of Renaissance, and was a commercial nexus in Europe. You can easily stay a week here and appreciate the wonders it offers you. From the San Lorenzo Market, the famous Cathedral of Santa Maria dei Fiori, to the Oltrarno neighborhood, Florence will make you fall in love.
In Tuscany you can find thermal waters known for their healing properties. The Montecatini thermal waters offer a wide variety of treatments. Here is the elegant Terme Tettuccio, and it is accessible via the train line that connects Lucca with Florence.
Things to Do in Tuscany
The Tuscany region offers wonderful attractions and things to do for all types of travelers, whether for those who enjoy a pure adrenaline holiday, those who enjoy relaxing and contemplating the most beautiful landscapes, or the curious, lovers of history and culture.
Here we mention some of the most entertaining activities that you can carry out in this picturesque area.
Wine Tasting Day in Tuscany
For those who love good wine, the Tuscany region offers various vineyard tours, in which to taste and buy the best selection of local wines, especially Chianti wine, a variety that gives the region its fame and great position in the market.
Whether you are traveling with your partner or alone, this activity is a great opportunity to connect with sensory pleasures and immerse yourself in a long tradition of artisan production full of rituals and mysticism.
After all, what is good wine if not bottled poetry?
Explore the Art and Architecture of Tuscany
The Tuscany region is home to many Renaissance artists, such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Botticelli. Visit cities like Florence and Siena to see the art and architecture of this period; we assure you that you will be fascinated.
In addition, this region has fallen in love with thousands of contemporary artists, who have decided to make cities like Florence their home.
For this reason, you will see that as you walk the streets and appreciate the Renaissance architectural treasures or head to a museum to see works from this era, you will find on every corner an artist of our era adding to the local scene.
And it is that the cities of Tuscany are spaces where the past and the present come together in a work of art that is constantly updated.
Scenic Tours in Tuscany
Tuscany is known for its hills, its cypresses and an absolutely enchanting landscape, with which you cannot help but fall in love.
Take a walk in the countryside and enjoy the panoramic views!
Culinary Experiences in Tuscany
If there is something that is taken very seriously in Tuscany, it is good food, as this region is famous for its delicious cuisine.
That is why we recommend you not only visit one of its local restaurants and have the best meal of your life, but also take a walk through the local markets to appreciate the warmth with which they treat their raw materials, and why not, Take a cooking class with locals!
Thus, you can bring the cuisine of Tuscany to your own table wherever you are.
Spa and Thermal Springs in Tuscany
Tuscany has several natural hot springs that have been used for therapeutic purposes for hundreds of years. Visit one of the region's spas to relax and rejuvenate with this old-fashioned secret.
Hiking and Outdoor Activities in Tuscany
Tuscany has many natural parks and reserves where you can go hiking, camping, horseback riding, riding a rented bike and many other activities.
The Parco Naturale della Marema is one of these very popular destinations to do outdoor activities and enjoy the good weather of Tuscany while moving your body with the best views in the background.
Shopping in Tuscany
Shopping in Tuscany can be a unique and enjoyable experience. Here are some tips to make your shopping trip more memorable:
- Plan ahead: Research the types of products you want to buy and the best places to find them. For example, if you are interested in leather goods, consider visiting a leather market in Florence.
- Explore the local markets: Tuscany is home to many local markets offering a wide range of produce, including fresh produce, clothing, and handmade items.
- Look for traditional products: Tuscany is known for its traditional and handmade products, so look for items made in the region.
- Haggling: Haggling is a common practice in Tuscany, especially in markets and street vendors. Don't be afraid to negotiate the price, especially if you're buying multiple items.
- Enjoy the atmosphere: Shopping in Tuscany is not just about buying products, it is also about experiencing the local culture and atmosphere. Take your time to explore the markets, chat with the vendors, and try the local food and drinks.
- Remember to bring cash as some smaller stores and markets may not accept credit or debit cards. Overall, shopping in Tuscany can be a fun and enriching experience, giving you a taste of local culture and the chance to take home unique and memorable souvenirs.
What to Eat and Drink in Tuscany
Tuscany is the ideal region for those who enjoy excellent food, together with a good wine, in front of wonderful views.
The gastronomic offer of this region stands out for a perfect communion between typical Mediterranean recipes and the use of fresh products harvested a few minutes before reaching your table.
A traditional dish that we recommend you try is Fettuccine del pescatore, a typical recipe from the Tuscan Maremma, with prawns, oysters, rocket, salt, pepper, garlic and extra virgin olive oil.
In addition, we invite you to taste the white bean soup seasoned with garlic, oil, sage and tomato sauce.
Also, meat in particular is very popular in the region, with options such as bistecca alla Fiorentina, a T-bone steak served in a very different and typical way, or pappardelle al cinghiale, a rustic boar ragù pasta perfect for be accompanied by a red wine.
Other must-try dishes are panzanella (a salad of tomatoes, onions, stale bread, and olive oil) and ribollita (a soup made of beans and kale).
As for the drink, you cannot visit this area of important vineyards without trying one of its wines, some of which stand out the most with Chianti and Carmigiano.
One of the vineyards that we recommend you visit is the modern Antinori nel Chianti Classico, located in Castello Banfi, a medieval fortress that includes a renowned restaurant.
And as for dessert, try the Castagnaccio, a chestnut flour cake that you will love.
You know, visit Italian Tuscany and Mangia bene!
Festivals in the Tuscany Region
Tuscany has a great calendar of festivities, among which gastronomic, historical and artistic events stand out, in which each town in the region takes center stage depending on the occasion and dresses up to celebrate.
Some of the best known festivities are:
- The Carnevale di Viareggio, which is celebrated on the Tuscan coast and is not only the most famous in the region, but one of the main ones in all of Italy. In this carnival, elaborate floats with frequent themes of political satire parade.
- Festa di Anna Maria Medici, in which the death of this woman who donated her great art collection to Florence is commemorated. That day the museums are free.
- San Gimignano Estate, during this celebration there are battles between knights, archery contests, falconry exhibitions and street theater, which evokes the Middle Ages.
How to Get to Tuscany
Travelers can reach the Tuscany region by traveling to Amerigo Vespucci Airport in Florence, or Galileo Galilei Airport in Pisa. Both are relatively small but well located. Numerous international flights from Paris, London, Athens, Madrid, Amsterdam or Munich stop there, also offering local connections from Rome, Catania or Palermo.
Many travelers opt to travel directly to Rome, rent a car, and drive to Tuscany.
How to get around Tuscany?
Tuscany is a large and spread out region, so renting a car is the best option. If you do not plan to visit the small surrounding cities but focus on the larger cities, you can choose to travel by train.
Best Time to Visit Tuscany
The best season to visit Tuscany is from April to October, but they are also the months with the most visitors. If you decide to visit in November, you may find moderate weather and fewer visitors. Also, it's truffle season!
What to Give If You Travel to Tuscany
If you are planning a trip to Tuscany and would like to bring a gift to your loved ones but you don't know what, we have some proposals for you.
A great option is to give away art. Tuscany is an artist's paradise and that is why you will run into them at every corner, whether they are painting a piece, sculpting a piece or being the piece of art themselves during a performance presentation.
So don't hesitate and take a little piece of Tuscany with you by buying art from a local artist.
Another great alternative are wines and delicatessen products. If Tuscany stands out for something, it is for its excellent cuisine and its excellent quality raw materials. Bring one of these gift products and your honoree will be able to experience Tuscany from home.
Cultural Aspects of Tuscany
Tuscany: A Coveted Region
One of the communities that inhabited Tuscany in ancient times was the Etruscans, of whom archaeological evidence has been found since the second millennium BC.
From there derives the name of the region, due to a word used by the Greeks and Latins to refer to the Earth where this community lived: Etruria, which later became Tuscia and, finally, Tuscany.
Then the Etruscans were absorbed by Rome, through a militia. The Romans founded Florence and other cities in order to dissolve the Etruscan reminiscences.
The disputes for this Land are due to the fact that its privileged geographical location has favored the economic development of those who inhabited it and, if you decide to visit it, you will see why everyone wanted a part of beautiful Tuscany with your own eyes.
Talking With Hands
If you are planning a trip to Italian Tuscany and you are worried about how to communicate in this beautiful city, you should know, first of all, that its inhabitants are very friendly and welcoming, so they will do their best to understand each other and make themselves understood.
And, secondly, that the Italian language is not their only language, because they have a whole language of gestures and you will notice that people not only speak with their words but also express themselves by making gestures with their hands at the same time.
The reason for this expressive gestural language is explained from different theories. Some argue that this non-verbal communication developed during the centuries when Italy lived under foreign occupation by Austria, France and Spain, as a way of communicating with each other without sharing information with the occupiers.
Others consider that this custom began when the merchants had to carry out their transactions with speakers of these languages. In any case, the result is a series of signs that represent much of the Italian cultural heritage itself.
Some gestures you should know are:
When asking if there is a product, your interlocutor forms a kind of "L" with the index finger and thumb, and rotates the wrist, indicating that there is nothing or there is nothing left.
The index finger twisted on the cheek means that something is delicious and you will make the cook very happy if you do it.
Two open hands ask a question, "What's up?"
Is It Worth It to Visit Tuscany?
Definitely yes! Tuscany is a region famous for its ancient architecture and its picturesque landscapes.
You also have day tours of the sites of interest in Tuscany. Do not wait any longer to book your excursions through the beautiful Tuscany!