When it comes to exploring one of Europe’s most impressive destinations, what could be better than a Tuscany road trip? With so much to see, do, taste and experience, hitting the road is a great option – it’s time to start planning!
Planning Your Tuscany Itinerary
With its stunning landscapes, charming villages, incredible food and wine and a cultural heritage that’s one of Europe’s richest, Tuscany has it all. To help get the most out of a Tuscany trip, here are some key points to bear in mind:
Must-Visit Destinations in Tuscany: Routes and Hidden Gems
You simply can’t do a road trip around Tuscany without visiting the capital, Florence, which is the perfect starting point. With iconic landmarks like the Ponte Vecchio and Florence Cathedral, Il Duomo, Firenze is Italy at its most jaw-droppingly beautiful and most culturally fascinating.
The next stop is stunning Siena, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its beautifully-preserved mediaeval architecture. Take in the Piazza del Campo, climb the Torre del Mangia and marvel at the panoramic views, before visiting the magnificent Siena Cathedral, and wandering around the historical, narrow streets.
And to round off Tuscany’s embarrassment of riches, you can swing by none other than the city of Pisa. As well as its iconic Leaning Tower and the Piazza dei Miracoli, it boasts a whole host of other attractions, including the Pisa Cathedral and the Baptistery.
Finally you can end up in Lucca, a charming city in Tuscany, Italy. It is known for its well-preserved Renaissance walls that encircle the historic centre. The city offers a mix of mediaeval and Romanesque architecture, picturesque squares, narrow streets, and beautiful churches. Lucca is also famous for its annual Puccini Opera Festival and its vibrant local food scene.
Along with the more instantly recognisable destinations, Tuscany is of course replete with hidden gems. Don’t miss the Saturnia Hot Springs, famous for their warm, therapeutic waters, or the Abbey of San Galgano, a roofless Gothic treasure near Siena, famous for its magnificent architecture and a legendary sword in the stone. Or why not explore the unspoilt region of Maremma, located along the Tuscan coast, with its beautiful beaches, nature reserves, and gorgeous seaside towns like Castiglione della Pescaia and Porto Ercole? Get off the beaten track and love it!
A Tuscany Road Trip with Culinary Delights
Known for its simplicity, the incredible quality of its ingredients and its robust flavours, Tuscan cuisine is simply heavenly. Some unmissable delights to be enjoyed in the Trattorias and Osterias are the Bistecca alla Fiorentina, Robollita, a hearty Tuscan soup, Pecorino cheese or Salami – delicious Tuscan cured meats like prosciutto and finocchiona. And of course no road-trip to Tuscany is complete without sampling the legendary gelato topped off with Cantucci – Tuscan almond biscuits – buon appetito!
The wines from the region are of course legendary: Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and Vernaccia di San Gimignano all taste even better when you can savour them at the beautiful wineries where they’re made.
At Lucca Apartments and Villas we also offer you a blog post where you can see the best Tuscany wine Tours. Indulge in the enchanting experience of visiting the vineyards of Tuscany. Taste the exquisite wines, immerse yourself in breathtaking landscapes, and create unforgettable memories.
Immersing in Tuscany's Cultural Heritage
With Florence the birthplace of the Renaissance, it’s no surprise that any road trip to Tuscany will be a real cultural feast. Every city, town and village holds treasures from over the ages, like San Gimignano, with its ‘Medieval Manhattan’ of ancient towers. Or visit the Accademia Gallery in Florence to see what is maybe the world’s most famous sculpture, Michelangelo’s David. Tuscany also boasts a significant Etruscan legacy which you can explore through a range of archaeological sites and museums, including the Etruscan Museum in Florence, Baratti Archaeological Park, Populonia by the sea and the Etruscan tombs in Volterra.
A road trip itinerary in Tuscany full of natural wonders
With so much culture to explore, you’d be forgiven for thinking that outdoor delights would come second place, but a Tuscan road trip is a fantastic opportunity to see the absolutely stunning countryside that Tuscany is also so famous for, and enjoy some outdoor fun! The Alpi Apuane Regional Park is simply perfect for hiking. Located near Lucca, it boasts stunning mountain trails and incredible panoramic views. The Apennine Mountains which run through Tuscany also offer incredible opportunities for outdoor activities including mountain biking, horseback riding, and even winter sports when the weather turns colder. The Casentino Forests, near Arezzo, are also a great place for hiking and spotting local wildlife. And for a unique outdoor experience combining nature and art, the Chianti Sculpture Park displays works by contemporary artists in a gorgeous woodland setting. Tuscany’s outdoor pursuits are the perfect complement to its rich cultural heritage.
Practical Tips, Travel Essentials and Car Rental
With a bit of forward planning, driving on your Tuscan itinerary should be a cinch, but there are a few things to bear in mind. Many historic centres have restricted areas where driving requires a special permit, so it’s best to check you’re not driving in a Limited Traffic Zone (ZTL) to avoid a fine. It can get very hot in summer so take plenty of water and sunscreen. Likewise in winter, especially higher up, you could be in for extremes of cold, or even snow, so make sure vehicles are well-prepared.
A Tuscany road trip is the perfect way to take in the many incredible sights this stunning region has to offer – get the car started!