Best Family Vacation Spots for Tuscany
There are many great vacation ideas for Tuscany, a land of breathtaking towns and countryside.
Tuscany is one of the most wooded areas of Italy. You can find a mixed forest of beech, oak, sweet chestnut and fir trees in the Apennines.
The hinterland coastline is covered with pine forests, while the Mediterranean Macchia is blanketed by an impenetrable scrubland of holm oak, myrtle, gorse, Erica, strawberry tree, and blackberry.
High Above the Valley of Val d’Orcia Tuscany, at San Simeione Hotel, you can see the Breathtaking Scenery of the Tuscan Forests
In the area extending from Lucca to the southern Maremma, major geothermal activity has created thermal baths.
A Typical Fascinating Tuscan Countryside Scene in the Summer
There is a great variety of wildlife in Tuscany, including deer, roe deer, wild boar, badgers, foxes, martens and polecats. Some areas there are porcupines and land tortoises, and occasionally in the Apennines you may come across a wolf.
Consider hiking on walking trails as part of your great vacation ideas, as Tuscany is known for its beautiful landscapes, rich artistic legacy and great culture. Rent Tuscany villas and experience the history, culture and breathtaking beauty of the ancient architecture and manicured landscape.
Incredible Tuscan Countryside Scenery in the Fall
Widely regarded as the true birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, it has been home to some of the most influential people in history, such as Petrarch, Dante, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, Vespucci and Puccini.
The region of Tuscany is one of the best family vacation spots as it has many churches, palaces, art galleries, villages and piazzas, and museums to explore such as the Uffizi and the Pitti Palace in Florence, and others which can be found in towns and smaller villages.
Tuscany Italy is full of spectacular medieval walled towns to discover, such as Siena, San Gimgnano, Pienza, and Radda in Chianti.
There are many breathtaking and beautiful towns on top of hilltops, such as Montalcino, Montepulciano, and San Quirico d’Orchia with fantastic treasures of ancient cultures.
Great Vacation Ideas Explore Six World Heritage Sites in Tuscany
- The historical center of Florence
- The historical center of Siena
- The square of the Cathedral of Pisa
- The historical center of San Gimignano
- The historical center of Pienza
- The Val d’Orcia
Wonderful San Antimo in Val d’Orcia Southern Tuscany near Montalcino
Great Vacation Ideas – Feast on Tuscan Cuisine
Eating in Tuscany is an experience of indulgence. Each region has its own specialties form fish to game, mushrooms, green asparagus, artichokes, and chestnuts prepared fresh in the traditional Italian style.
Tuscany is well-known for its olive oil, which is made from the Moraiolo, Leccino, and Frantoiano olives.
Another specialty is the tasty pecorino cheese (made from sheep’s milk).
Tuscany Offers Fantastic Views for the Coolest Dining Experience
Along the coast, you can enjoy a variety of seafood dishes.
A favourite delight in Florence is the thick and succulent steak from the Chianina cattle, seasoned and grilled over a wood fire.
From Siena to Maremma, the locals prepare sausages made from wild boar and seasoned with fresh tarragon, pine nuts and raisons.
A Tuscan delicacy is the white truffles found around San Miniato, which appear in October and November.
Great Vacation Ideas – Savour the Mouth-Watering Tuscan Wines
Tuscany is famous for its wines, with the most famous being Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Morellino di Scansano and Brunello di Montalcino.
One of my favourite wines in Tuscany is Vin Santo (holy wine), an Italian dessert wine made from white grape varieties such as Trebbiano and Malvasia, and Sangiovese.
Vin Santo is not usually indicated on the menu and you may have to ask for it. The real treat is that Vin Santo is served with biscotti cookies which are intended for dipping into the glass of wine. Feel free to dip!
Outstanding Vineyards of Tuscany
Tuscany has a diversity of trades, not only wine-making, with an industrial sector in mining due to the abundance of underground resources.
Industries include textiles, pharmaceuticals, metalworking and steel, glass and ceramics, clothing and printing–publishing, leather and footwear in the south-west part of the province of Florence, hot-house planting area in Pistoia, scooters and motorcycles production in Pontedera, the manufacture of wooden furniture in the Cascina area, marble in Carrara, and ceramics and textile industries in the Prato area.
Include Monasteries, Wine Road and Tuscan Cuisine Tours in Your Great Vacation Ideas
If you are staying in Florence, start your trip by taking the Via Cassia, SS2 (Strada Statale 2), the old Roman road from Porta Romana in Florence.
A View of Ponte Vecchio and the River Arno in Fascinating Florence
This takes you in a southerly direction toward Siena through ancient landscape of vineyards, cypress-lined roads, fortified hamlets, medieval castles, secluded monasteries and lovely churches.
You can choose to go to Siena, or once you reach Colle di Val d’Elsa, head toward the Etruscan city of Volterra and then on to San Gimignano.
A View of the Stunning Medieval Siena City Hall
Along the way, you will find a range of several excellent trattorie and be able to sample some exquisite culinary delights.
You can also purchase wine and olive oil directly from the actual producers.
Start early in the morning, as these are full day trips.
Great Vacation Ideas for Wine Road Day Tours in Tuscany
On these road tours you can stop in and visit towns and villages to sample local wine and cuisine, and also stop in at the vineyards and wineries to sample and purchase the wonderful wines of this famous terroir (a group of vineyards sharing the same type of soil, weather conditions, grapes and wine making).
A Chianti Villa and Vineyard With Cypress Trees and Olive Groves
Currently, there are 14 wine roads in Tuscany:
Province of Arezzo
- Strada del Vino Terre di Arezzo
Province of Florence
- Strada del Vino Chianti Colli Fiorentini
- Strada del Vino di Montespertoli
- Strada dei Vini Chianti Rufina e Pomino
Province of Grosseto
- Strada del Vino Monteregio di Massa Marittima
- Strada del Vino Colli di Maremma
- Strada del Vino di Montecucco
Province of Livorno
- Strada del Vino Costa degli Etruschi
Province of Lucca
- Strada del Vino Colline Lucchesi e Montecarlo
Province of Massa
- Carrara: Strada del Vino Colli di Candia e di Lunigiana
Province of Prato
- Strada Medicea dei Vini di Carmignano
Province of Pisa
- Strada del Vino delle Colline Pisane
Province of Siena
- Strada del Vino Vernaccia di San Gimignano
- Strada del Vino di Montepulciano
My Top Picks – Great Vacation Ideas for Tuscany
Abbey of San Galgano (Abbazia San Galgano)
Summer concerts, grand operas and theatrical performances in a Gothic church and nave with a roofless cathedral, open sky, flooded with sunlight during the day and full of stars at night.
San Francesco in Arezzo
See the frescos by Piero della Francesca.
A medieval Neolithic settlement and an important Etruscan center. Visit the Pinacoteca (Art Gallery) in Palazzo Minucci-Solaini, founded in 1905 and consists mostly of works by Tuscan artists from 14th to 17th centuries.
Visit the Etruscan walls, including the well-preserved Porta dell’Arco (3rd-2nd centuries BC) and Porta Diana gates. Outside the city, in the direction of Lajatico, is the Medici Villa di Spedaletto. Also in the neighbourhood, in the Valle Bona area, are excavations of Etruscan tombs.
Take a drive through the wooded hills, sprawling vineyards, fortresses and castles.
Scene of Wooded Hills, Medieval Village and Fortress in Val d’Orcia Tuscany
This is an enchanting medieval city with tall towers and set in a beautiful countryside.
The Enchanting and Magical Medieval City of San Gimignano
The Duomo is an architectural marvel of Tuscan Gothic style. The city itself is a medieval gem, and the Palio is the largest festival in Italy.
The Extravagant Palio Festival is Held Here in the Piazza Il Campo Siena
The Uffizi Gallery in Florence
Florence is a must, and a visit to the Uffizi Gallery is a must. Plan early to avoid the crowds. Buying tickets online may be a good plan.
This is the place to come for an elegant spa experience in a nostalgic Belle Epogue setting. The presence of man in the area of Montecatini Terme is very old. Probably since Paleolithic times, the region was inhabited by nomadic hunters.
This is Leonardo’s birthplace and here you will find a museum with displays of his designs and inventions.
This is a beautiful medieval city and an ideal starting point for hiking trips to the Garfagnana and Apuan Alps.
Grotta del Vento
Europe’s longest limestone caves at 3,500 metres, with stalactites and stalagmites, near Fornovolasco.
Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci (Centre for Contemporary Art Luigi Pecci) at 277 Via della Repubblica, Prato near Florence, Italy, should not be missed by any lover of modern art. The centre is devoted to the contemporary arts of the last three decades. The building is designed in the shape of “U” having at its centre an outdoor amphitheatre which can seat up to 800 people.
This is “marble city” set between the quarries of the Apuan Alp and the elegant seaside resorts of the Versilia. You can see the marble in the quarries as you drive by.
Campo dei Miracoli in Pisa
Visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Duomo and Baptistery, which form a monumental religious and architectural heritage in Pisa.
The Unmistakable and Intriguing Leaning Tower of Pisa
The largest marine Park in Europe.
Tuscany Climate for Your Great Vacation Ideas
Tuscany generally enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate and the winter months are largely sunny. There are also some very cold days with the Tramontana winds blowing in from the mountains and the temperature can drop to -12C (10F). Snow is rare except in the higher mountainous areas.
Pleasant Weather in a Southern Tuscany Village (Rocca d’Orchia) in October
Spring and autumn tend to be very mild and are perfect for travel but also tend to be precipitous. July is the hottest month with temperatures soaring to 35C (95F) and above.
The humidity in the lower lying areas such as Florence and the Arno Valley can be oppressive but along the coastland and in higher altitudes the evenings cool down nicely.
Tuscany in the Early Fall – Great Weather – Great Views of the Countryside
During August, the entire coastline becomes full of vacationers, but by September and October the coastline and the island of Elba are once again peaceful and a great time to visit.
Around this season, grape-picking is just starting and is a perfect time to stay at a Tuscany castle and visit vineyards in the region such as Chianti, Montepulciano and Montalcino.
When you are deciding on accommodations, do consider renting a suite or an apartment in one of the stunning Tuscany villas as one of your great vacation ideas.
Experience the antiquity, history, beautiful gardens and vistas. Tuscany villas are what dreams are made of and to be included in your great vacation ideas.
Want Adventure? Rent a Villa, Apartment or Farmhouse Accommodation Tuscany
Another of the great vacation ideas in Tuscany Italy is the agriturismo.
You can stay in a farmhouse accommodation Tuscany, which are farmhouses converted into lodgings whereby the farms offer meals made of ingredients grown on the property and you get to visit the regions’ countryside and enjoy more of the genuine local gastronomy and wine.
Tuscany is Divided into Ten Provinces
I guarantee you will find many great vacation ideas in Tuscany. Here is a list of the provinces and their main artistic and historical centers to help you with you great vacation ideas:
|Arezzo: Arezzo, Castiglion Fiorentino, Cortona, Lucignano, Poppi, Sansepolcro
Florence: Florence, Fiesole, Certaldo
Grosseto: Grosseto, Massa, Marittima, Orbetello, Pitigliano, Roselle, Sorano, Sovana
Livorno: Campiglia, Marittima, Livorno, Piombino, Populonia, Suvereto
Lucca: Barga, Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, Castiglione di Garfagnana, Lucca, Pietrasanta, Viareggio, Villa Basilica
|Massa-Carrara: Massa-Carrara, Pontremoli, Fivizzano
Pisa: Pisa, San Miniato, Volterra, Vicopisano
Prato: Carmignano, Poggio a Caiano, Prato
Pistoia: Pescia, Pistoia
Siena: Colle di Val d’Elsa, Pienza, Montepulciano, Montalcino, San Gimignano, Siena
Cypress Trees, Fields and Flowers of Tuscany