The Charming Less-Known Towns in Tuscany
Tuscany is well known for being one of the most beautiful regions in Italy. The first things that come to mind when talking about Tuscany might be the big cities such as Florence, Pisa, or Siena. However, the region will surprise you with small but charming towns spread all over the 23,000-quarter-kilometer area.
Tuscany has a strong cultural identity; it feels like you are visiting a country within a country. A good thing about Tuscany is that the region offers different landscapes for all kinds of tastes—that goes from medieval and Renaissance cities to simple but pretty villages filled with vineyards, greenery, and hills.
When planning your trip to Tuscany, you can limit yourself to visiting the top destinations mentioned before, or go a step further and explore the wonders of the less-known villages and discover their charm. They are simply magical!
At Greca, we created a list of towns that we recommend visiting once you are in Tuscany.
1. Abetone Cutigliano (Pistoia)
This medieval village is located on the Pistoia Apennines at 678 meters above sea level. This town was founded in the year 1000 and has a rich history with ancient buildings and main attractions such as the towers of Montestuccioli and Cornia, the town hall, the historic courthouse, and the church of Madonna di Piazza, where you will find a beautiful work in glazed terracotta in the interiors of it.
2. Anghiari (Arezzo)
This hill town was home to intense battles between the Republic of Florence and the Duchy of Milan back in 1440. This hidden gem offers a lot of greenery and a beautiful landscape of Valtiberina, and the main sights of the town are the Palazzo Pretoriano, Badia di San Bartolomeo, Villa La Barbolana, Castello di Galbino, and the Anghiari Festival, a festival of classic music held each July.
3. Barberino Tavarnelle
Barberino is a medieval town located in the Chianti area, about 25 kilometers south of Florence. The centuries-old walls and the round-shaped historic center, which retained its medieval structure, are the main sights of this municipality. Barberino’s main sights are the beautiful basilica of Sant’ Appiano, the Florentina and Sienese gates and their towers overlooking the Drove valley, and the Santa Maria a Marcialla church.
4. Barga (Lucca)
Overlooked by the village of Albiano, Barga is a medieval town and a beautiful stop to see when visiting northern Tuscany. The location of Barga makes it special, as it is dominated by the Pania Della Croce, a mountain in the Apuan Alps, surrounding the town with beautiful greenery, trees, and olive groves.
5. Casale Marittimo (Pisa)
About 50 kilometers southeast of Pisa, you will find Casale Marittimo, in the Pisan Maremma. This town borders the municipalities of Bibbona, Cecina, and Guardistallo, and offers a beautiful natural mix with medieval villages. It is close to the Tyrrhenian coast, and it is the perfect place to feel the fresh scent of the sea breeze.
6. Casciana Terme Lari (Pisa)
Located in the Pisan hills, an area inhabited since Etruscan times, it is the result of the merging of three former municipalities: Casciana, Terme, and Lari. This medieval commune of green hills with ancient houses offers different activities for everyone, and it is visited by many, especially for the Casciana Terme, a great spa of thermal springs with therapeutic qualities.
7. Casole d’Elsa
This authentic village was once a historic Etruscan settlement, and it is located between Colle and Volterra. Once reaching Casole d’Elsa, you will see that the village is situated along the spine of a hill, offering you a panoramic view of the Sienese countryside. The historic town of the village is filled with traditional shops and local products.
8. Castelnuovo Berardenga (Siena)
This charming area is close to Siena, and it was a historic settlement area built in 1366 for its strategic position. This castle settlement has a rich history and it is interesting to discover it once visiting the area, where you will also find the Landscape Museum, located inside a late 19th-century building and giving you a perspective of how the world is being transformed and the relationship between man and nature.
Certaldo is the perfect place to visit if you want to get away from Florence and Pisa. This hilltop town is filled with local shops and ancient buildings with Etruscan origins. It is one of the most charming villages in Tuscany, receiving many visitors yearly to explore its charm. It is also famous for being the birthplace of the poet-writer Giovanni Boccaccio.
Some sights in Certaldo are the historic village, the Palazzo Pretorio, and the inside walls, accessible by centuries-old gates called Porta Alberti, Porta al Sole, and Porta al Rivellino.
Cetona is also considered one of Italy’s most beautiful towns, and it is located in the southern area of Siena, at the base of Monte Cetona. Messing around in the Piazza Garibaldi and the narrow stone streets is just amazing.
This town is known for its wine and olives, but also for the many archeological spots found there. You can visit the Parco Archeologico Naturalistico del Monte Cetona, the Chiesa di San Michele Arcangelo church, or the Convento di San Francesco.