I have travelled throughout the intriguing nation of Italy several times and the one place that I will always, always come back to is the region of Tuscany. Having stayed in hotels, hostels and some luxury accommodations in Tuscany, I can honestly say that nowhere in Italy has treated my quite as well as this region has and if you want to see the very best of Italy then here is where you can do it.
I meet a lot of tourists who decide to do a little tour around Italy which gives them a little bit of time in each location and whilst you could easily spend weeks on end in Tuscany, here is a guide to how you can spend a weekend in this wonderful region if you are a little pressed for time
An Afternoon in Val d’Orcia
The snapshot you will often see of Tuscany complete with rolling green hills is the valley of Orcia, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a tranquil and breathtaking setting to introduce you to the region. Throughout the valley there are lots of quaint villages and photo opportunities aplenty as you roam through the valley.
Sample Some Tasty, Local Wine
From Chianti to Montepulciano, Tuscany has a climate that is absolutely perfect for growing wine grapes and there are vineyards dotted across the region. Why not enjoy your Friday afternoon in style and take a wine tour before sampling some of the region’s finest wines. Many of the vineyards offer free tours and there are some designated wine routes throughout Tuscany.
Head to Siena For The Night
As you head north from the valley of Orcia, you should spend your Friday night in classically beautiful Siena. This city is like an art museum in itself and throughout you will find sculptures and intricately designed buildings in both gothic and medieval styles. For dinner, head down to the Piazza del Campo and dine with the locals in any one of the delicious terrace restaurants that you will find. If you want to see true Italian culture then this is where you will find it, music playing, people dancing, wine on tap and some of the finest food in the country.
Saturday Morning Art Trip
On Saturday morning, why not head north to the Tuscan capital of Florence to indulge in the largest collection of renaissance art on the planet. Just an hour away from Siena, Florence is a relaxed city that is best seen on a Saturday morning. The art alone here is worth going for and I’d recommend that you take in at least one of the many art museums that can be found in the city. A visit to the cathedral is also a must, the Duomo was designed by famed Italian architect Giotto and is truly a feast for the eyes.
The Iconic Tower of Pisa
After spending some hours in Florence, take the hour and a half journey across to Pisa where you will find one of Italy’s most iconic attractions, the leaning tower. The tower was never intended to lean at a ll but after an earthquake interrupted the foundations, there was little that they could do about it. The lean proved to be very beneficial for the city and the tower attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. There is much more to Pisa than just the tower and this coastal city provides lots of walks along the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea as well as some enchanting Italian beauty which you can see throughout the city’s mazy streets.
Finish your weekend off by the sea and head down the coast from Pisa to the port city of Livorno. this city offers the mandatory classic Italian beauty and colorful houses, which are set against the wonderful backdrop of the glistening sea. despite being a port city, Livorno has some very attractive beaches where you can bask in the Mediterranean sunset as you wile away your final hours under Tuscan skies. If you are looking for a bit more adventure then you will also find many activity beaches offering surfing, windsurfing and boat trips. At the end of your Sunday in Livorno, the perfect way to end your weekend is to indulge in some of the country’s finest seafood in one of the seafront restaurants, watching the sunset as you sip on a local white wine. The perfect end to any weekend in Tuscany.
If you haven’t been to Tuscany yet then I cannot recommend it enough and if you have a limited amount of time in Italy as part of a bigger tour then Tuscany should be top of your list for places to visit. There really is no other region in Italy which encapsulates everything that there is to love about the country.