You may have been enticed by this region’s lush greenery and rich history of, but are you aware of all the best things to do in Tuscany? Known chiefly for its vibrant capital, Florence, this corner of Italy is filled to the brim with distinguished cuisine and Renaissance art.
Tuscany is a renowned crowd-pleaser for its varied landscapes, from bustling cities to tranquil countryside. Whether you’re looking for rustic charm or designer brands, Tuscany is built for every traveler. In this article, I will walk you through the top things to do in Tuscany, which include visiting some of the most famous landmarks in the world. After exploring the better-known landmarks, I’ll introduce you to some more rural, unusual, and romantic activities to try out when you arrive in Tuscany.
So, are you curious to explore Leonardo da Vinci’s home or pose beside the leaning Tower of Pisa? In addition to its iconic attractions, Tuscany has many more unforgettable experiences. Keep reading to find out more about them!
You can also learn how to get to Tuscany through our linked article.
First, let’s dive into the most revered destinations within the Tuscany region. Here are ten riveting things to do in Tuscany, Italy that you won’t want to miss.
1. Explore Renaissance Art
Tuscany is often considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, with Florence sitting right at the heart of it. The Uffizi and Accademia Galleries offer a glimpse into world-class art, with masterpieces by Michelangelo, Botticelli, and Leonardo da Vinci draping its halls. Here, you can witness the beginnings of a significant movement that shaped European culture. Because Tuscan art history is unparalleled to that of other destinations, its galleries are admired by art connoisseurs from around the world.
2. Take a Photo at the Tower of Pisa
The Tower of Pisa is known for its nearly four-degree lean, the result of an unstable foundation. You’ve probably seen dozens of Instagram posts of tourists seemingly “holding up” the tower. However, the fact that it’s been done before doesn’t make it any less fun! After capturing the iconic snapshot, you can take a climb up the tilted steps of the building. Additionally, the nearby Piazza dei Miracoli has several other architectural marvels in store.
3. Visit the Galleria degli Uffizi
As mentioned above, the Galleria degli Uffizi features world-famous works, including da Vinci’s “Annunciation” and Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus.” The gallery occupies the entire first and second floors of the building designed by designed by Giorgio Vasari, which was constructed between 1560 – 1580. In addition, the corridors of the gallery are adorned by an “invaluable collection” of ancient statues and busts from the Medici family. I highly recommend that you book tickets in advance to avoid long lines.
4. Visit Porto Ercole and Porto Santo Stefano
Nestled along the Tyrrhenian coast, the seaside gems of Porto Ercole and Porto Santo Stefano await your arrival. If you’re looking to relax in a beach lounger on seemingly untouched shores with a drink in hand, these towns are the spot for you. After unwinding under the sun, make sure to taste Porto Ercole and Porto Santo Stefano’s delectable seafood.
Still want to find out more? Learn about the beachfront towns of Tuscany.
5. Luxury Shopping in Ponte Vecchio
If you’re looking for the perfect souvenir, shopping on Florence’s historic bridge of Ponte Vecchio is one of the best things to do in Tuscany. This ancient bridge is lined with quaint little jewelry shops. Indulge in a dash of Florentine luxury by admiring- or even purchasing- the glittering creations on display.
If you’re curious to learn more about what to buy in Florence, read our linked article.
6. Visit Castellina in Chianti
Castellina in Chianti is a quiet yet historically vibrant commune tucked between vineyards and rolling hills. Sample the authentic flavor of Tuscany through a class of the region’s local wine. If you’re hoping to treat yourself this holiday, consider staying at a luxury villa. The Pieve Aldina Relais & Châteaux prides itself in the celebrity treatment of its guests, equipped with room service and an outdoor pool.
Find out more about Castellina in Chianti and its bewitching vistas.
7. Admire the Florence Cathedral
Completed in 1434, the Florence Cathedral is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. Filippo Brunelleschi’s Renaissance design stands tall over the city. This staple of Tuscany offers panoramic views of Florence. I highly recommend that you witness the stunning interior of this structure. The lines can get long, though- the earlier you arrive, the better!
Discover more: Cathedrals in Italy – Exploring Italy’s Historic Treasures
8. Leonardo da Vinci’s Home
One of the most enchanting things to do in Tuscany is to travel back in time by stepping into Leonardo da Vinci’s house in Vinci, a small Tuscan town. The famous Mona Lisa painter even has a museum in his hometown dedicated to his inventions and artistic genius. This visit will provide you with a genuine taste of the Renaissance times, as this corner of the Tuscan countryside has hardly changed since then.
9. Visit Montecristo Island
A small island in the Tuscan Archipelago, Montecristo Island is a large wedge of granite with three main peaks: the Monte della Fortezza, the Cima del Colel Fondo, and the Coma dei Lecci. You will find many fans of Alexandre Dumas on the island, as his famous novel The Count of Montecristo inspired a slew of films. Take a hike through the island’s pristine nature and secluded beaches.
10. Explore the Etruscan Cities
Tuscany additionally possesses a rich Etruscan heritage. Fascinating history, tombs, and artifacts lie in the ancient cities of Volterra, Tarquinia, and Populonia. These cities will allow you to gain insight into Italy’s pre-Roman civilizations. Explore the real Etruscan legacy through their ancient tombs.
For more information on the Etruscan cities, read up on its captivating history.
If you’re a traveler who fixates mostly on bustling cities, you might miss out on the gorgeous Tuscan countryside. Now that you know what Tuscany is known for, there’s so much to experience beyond that. Below are the five best things to do in Tuscany, more specifically, in the countryside.
Read up on the Tuscan countryside if you’d like to learn about it in more detail.
11. Enjoy the Val d’Orcia and its Rolling Hills
For an ideal photo opportunity, stop by the Val d’Orcia. This striking green valley encompasses the Orcia River and offers a picturesque landscape of the surrounding homesteads and olive groves. Stretching between the provinces of Siena and Grosseto, the entire area is protected as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
12. Admire the Tufa Towns of Pitigliano, Sorano, Sovana
Pitigliano and its little sisters Sorano and Sovana are the so-called “tufa towns” of Tuscany. Their name originates from the volcanic porous rock called tufa, which is the material that the buildings lining the twisting laneways are made of. Built right into the hill, these mesmerizing structures are hard to tell apart from the rock they were constructed on. Pitigliano, in particular, is known as the “Little Jerusalem” for its historic Jewish community.
13. Explore the Wild Maremma and its Towns
The Southern region of Tuscany is enriched by the wild and unspoiled Maremma. Traverse this area’s natural parks, rugged coastlines, and history-packed towns such as Massa Marittima and Castiglione della Pescaia. Hiking through such diverse territory is one of the most enthralling things to do in Tuscany. It includes crystalline waters, long shores, black rock, forest-covered hills, marshes and flat lands, green hills, and natural thermal baths.
14. Hiking in Tuscany
To both locals and tourists alike, Tuscany is a hiker’s paradise. Its varied terrain makes it so, from verdant woodlands to medieval wineries. Whether you’re an amateur or an expert hiker, Tuscany offers trails for all levels. I recommend the paths on Via Francigena and the Chianti hills in particular.
15. Wine Tasting in Local Wineries
The great thing about wine tastings is that they provide both unforgettable scenery and unmatched culinary experiences. Through this Small-Group Wine Tasting Experience in the Tuscan Countryside, you will get to visit two top-rated wineries in the Chianti Classico wine country. Tour the cellars, sample the meats and cheeses, and soak in Tuscany’s stellar wine culture between cypress trees.
For the best wineries in Tuscany, read our linked article.
16. Explore the Tuscany Castles
Tuscany is dotted with spectacular castles that transport you to a bygone era. Visit Castello di Brolio and Castello di Volpaia for tours that include wine tastings. Each castle’s story is notable and unique- inspect their halls to uncover their pasts.
Once you’ve checked off all the classic attractions on your itinerary, it’s time to seek out the less traditional, more unique finds. Here are the best things to do in Tuscany if you’re more keen on wandering off the beaten path.
17. Make Pasta as an Italian
Do you know how to make pasta from scratch like a real Italian? It’s time for you to master the time-honored art of pasta-making through the Pastamania pasta-making class. Learn how to craft ravioli, tagliatelle, and tortelli, including a fresh tomato-based sauce. Conclude the chef-led workshop with a sit-down dinner featuring your creations.
18. Learn to Cook Pizza and Make Gelato
Perhaps you have more of a sweet tooth. Conquer the flavors of Florence through this Florence cooking class, where you’ll get to make your own pizza and gelato. Before the workshop, you’ll be able to savor several traditional flavors of Florentine cuisine. Once you’ve composed your creations, you will be gifted with a recipe booklet to impress your family and friends at home!
19. Explore Tuscany with Vespa
A more underrated way to explore the Tuscan countryside is by Vespa. In this Tuscany Vespa Tour, you’ll get a short riding lesson and a chance to feel the wind in your hair along scenic country roads. Your guide will inform you on local history and culture and even wrap up the tour with a traditional Tuscan lunch and wine tasting.
Check out more Tuscany tours if you’re interested in seeing the area in a different way.
Romantic things to do in Tuscany
There’s a reason why Italy is often considered one of the most romantic countries in the world. This vacation, explore the Italian countryside with your partner and relish in the most romantic things to do in Tuscany.
20. Relax in Natural Hot Springs
The natural hot springs of Bagno Vignoni and Saturnia are the top spots to enjoy Tuscany’s serene environment. These soothing, therapeutic waters are sure to rejuvenate your body and brain. Although this isn’t the first activity to cross the average Tuscan tourist’s mind, it is certainly an underrated one. Soak in the silk blue pools that are kept warm by a nearby volcano.
21. Stay in a Luxury Villa
If you’re planning to visit one of the most beautiful places in the world, you might as well splurge on an all-out lavish stay in a luxury villa. The Borgo Scopeto Wine & Country Relais is the ideal spot for this, as restored 13th-century hamlet has turned into a sophisticated homestay. Elegance graces every inch of this property and its amenities, including a gastronomic restaurant, two swimming pools, and a bike rental service.
If you’re seeking other accommodation options, check out the best places to stay in Tuscany.
22. Relax at the Tuscan beaches
Out of all the things to do in Tuscany, going to the beach should be at the top of your list. The Tyrrhenian coastline has an impressive array of beaches for every kind of traveler. It’s time to sunbathe, swim, or stroll down soft sandy shores. There are so many beaches to choose from, it may become overwhelming. The most popular ones are on Elba Island, Viareggio, and Forte dei Marmi. For a more quiet retreat, go to La Feniglia beach.
23. Visit Elba Island
Allow the ferries from the Tuscan coast to whisk you away to Elba Island, the largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago. There are several ways to reach this island, as there are many ports to depart from- it all depends on whether you’re looking for the fastest or most scenic route. The fastest ferry is the one from Piombino, which has four different shipping lines you can choose from: Moby and Toremar, Blu Navy, and Corsica Sardinia Ferries. To take in your surroundings more, take the ferry from Porto Santo Stefano through the Maregiglio shipping company.