Things to do in Tuscany

Must-see Tuscany sights

Tuscany retains a traditional element with its wine estates, medieval towns and architectural wonders. This central Italian region appeals to visitors from all over the world for a whole host of different reasons, with a tempting range of things to do, see, eat, shop and more. It perpetuates an enviable way of living, and is home to some of the greatest (Renaissance) art in the world, as well as ancient artifacts and contemporary artworks that are housed in numerous museums and galleries. So, no matter what Tuscany holiday packages you’re after, with so much to choose from you’re bound to find the perfect one.

  1. San Gimignano
  2. Leaning Tower of Pisa
  3. Wine-tasting in the Chianti
  4. Siena
  5. Uffizi Gallery
  6. Elba

In collaboration with
Rough Guides

1. San Gimignano

San Gimignano can be best described as quintessential Tuscany, what with its quaint hill towns, medieval ‘skyscraper’ towers and harmonious vineyards. This Tuscan time capsule is a well-preserved medieval town, with its bold towers telling its own story of the area’s prestige and prosperity. While you’re here, join the other tourists around the Piazza del Duomo and Piazza della Cisterna for great views, and access to some of the remaining towers. There are four intriguing museums well worth visiting: the Museo d’Arte Sacra, Museo Civico, Museo della Tortura and the Museo San Gimignano 1300. If you’re looking for things to do in Tuscany that don’t involve museums, then pop along to the free Vernaccia di San Gimignano Wine Experience, which is the place to come to for sampling local wines; there’s also a multimedia wine tour.

Best for: Quintessential Tuscany

While you’re there: Walk along the city walls to the 14th-century fortress for views over tiered gardens, olive groves and vineyards.

2. Leaning Tower of Pisa

One of the best things to do in Tuscany – and arguably the most iconic – is to pay a visit to the UNESCO-listed Leaning Tower of Pisa. This 12th-century landmark is something of a phenomenon, although it’s been restored in recent years to prevent threats of collapse. It’s very safe to visit now; ascend the 300-odd steps up the narrow spiral staircase and pause at the observation galleries over several floors, before reaching the top floor, which provides amazing panoramic views over the square, red-roofed Pisa and verdant rolling hills beyond. Visitor numbers are strictly controlled, so plan your visit in advance; you can book online or on the day from the Campo dei Miracoli ticket offices.

Best for: Architectural genius.

While you’re there: Visit the neighbouring glittering Duomo cathedral.

3. Wine-tasting in the Chianti

Surrounded by vineyards and wine estates, you won’t need to spend much time wondering what to do in Tuscany, when there’s ample wine to be tasted! The Chiantigiana, otherwise known as ‘Chiantishire” sits in the hills between Florence and Siena, and its chequered landscape is home to cypresses, vineyards and Medicean villa gardens. There’s a delicious-sounding Chianti Classico wine trail that every wine-lover should take; the Chianti, after all, covers such a large region that it has seven different wine ‘zones’. Grand, castle-like estates are home to rolling vineyards and gastronomic restaurants; make sure you book onto a tasting (degustazione) combined with a tour of the vineyards and cellars.

Best for: Wine lovers.

While you’re there: Stop off at the market town of Greve (in Chianti), with its abundance of local produce shops and rustic Piazza Matteotti.

4. Siena

It can feel as if Siena is enfolded in its own private, romantic world, what with its hidden gardens and conservatism. It’s often considered as the feminine foil to Florentine masculinity: while Florence features masculine statues and innovative art, Siena opts for soaringly vertical buildings and sensitive paintings. Amongst the dazzling basilicas, fascinating archaeology museums and art galleries, there’s a rather tempting Sienese sweet scene for those with a sugar craving. Sienese pastries are renowned for their exotic spices and intense flavours; they even have their own San Lorenzo to watch over them. Opt for a panforte, a 12th-century rich cake including honey, orange peel and nutmeg; a panpepato is a spicier version; while a ricciarelli is a small almond biscuit for a lighter taste.

Best for: Pick and mix your way through Siena.

While you’re there: Visit Nannini, Pasticceria Bini or Antica Drogheria Manganelli to buy some of the good stuff.

5. Uffizi Gallery

Florence’s Uffizi Gallery is home to the world’s greatest collection of Renaissance art; a visit here will see you take in the likes of masterpieces by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and other masters. Wind your way through the ground floor, and western and eastern corridors; while there might be restoration going on, there are plenty of rooms to fill you time.

Best for: Renaissance art.

While you’re there: Make time for Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Leonardo da Vinci’s Annunciation.

6. Elba

This beautiful island is ideal for sun-worshippers. With rocky roads, sandy bays and crystal-clear waters, the beautiful island of Elba is perfect for history-, wildlife- and sun-lovers. Make the short sea crossing to this small island and you won’t be disappointed. Amongst the sights to see are Marciana Alta, a well-preserved medieval town with an Antiquarium housing sacred Etruscan objects; the elegant resort of Marciana Marina; the protected wild beauty of northwestern Elba; and the golden resort region in the south.

Best for: Families

While you’re there: Visit Porto Azzurro, the main east coast town, for designer shopping and succulent seafood.

Find your perfect destination

2 adults
Price Match Guarantee

Connect with us