Tuscany blue sky landscape

Tuscany is more than just a popular place to visit in Italy. It is a brand.

When planning an itinerary for Italy, many travelers want to go to Tuscany and soak up that Tuscan sun they’ve heard so much about.

So what is Tuscany? And what can you see once you get there?

This post hopes to answer those questions as simply as possible.

What Is Tuscany?

Tuscany is the fifth largest region in Italy. Its area is 22,987 km/8,877 mi, which makes it roughly the size of the state of New Jersey or the country of Belize.

Florence is the capital of Tuscany.

Cities, Towns, and Subregions in Tuscany

Popular places to visit in Tuscany include:

  • Arezzo
  • Cortona
  • Florence
  • Lucca
  • Montepulciano
  • Pienza
  • Pisa
  • Siena
  • Chianti subregion
  • Tuscan islands, including Elba

What Can You See in Tuscany?

Tuscany is home to some of the most famous symbols of Italy, including the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Michelangelo’s David statue (located in Florence).

Tuscany is also home to some of the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Italy. In fact, entire cities in Tuscany are UNESCO sites. These include:

You could easily plan a one-week itinerary visiting only Tuscan UNESCO sites. But there are many ways to tackle a Tuscany itinerary. Here are some typical ways to plan a one-week stay in Tuscany.

Itineraries for Tuscany

Some of the following itineraries include two to three days in Florence. You can read more about what to do in Florence here.

Florence, Siena and Chianti countryside. Siena is about one hour away from Florence by car and 1.5-2 hours by train or bus. In between them lies one of the most famous areas in Italy for wine — Chianti. Spend at least one night in Siena in order to experience its medieval mood by night. Greve in Chianti, Castellina in Chianti, and Radda in Chianti are three of the best-known villages within Chianti (sometimes called Chiantishire in English).

Florence, Siena, and San Gimignano. See itinerary above. But instead of stopping in Chianti, go further south to San Gimignano. This city of medieval towers — “medieval Manhattan” — is a UNESCO site.

Florence, Pisa, and Lucca. Pisa is well-connected to Florence thanks to it being Tuscany’s international airport hub. A lot of people do a day-trip to Pisa, but I recommend spending at least one night there, even though you can see the Leaning Tower and nearby sites in a few hours. Pisa is a pretty town and home to a large university, so there is often a buzz here at night that you won’t find during the day. Lucca is an elegant city, surrounded by walls. Its center is based around the plan of a Roman amphitheater that was once here.

Florence, Cortona, and Arezzo. East of Florence is Cortona, the town made famous by the book Under the Tuscan Sun. Many tourists are drawn to Cortona because Frances Mayes’s vivid, loving descriptions of the town, so it can get packed in the high season. Nearby is the town of Arezzo, whose San Francesco church has an unmissable fresco cycle by Piero della Francesca. You may also wish to combine this itinerary with side trips to Sansepolcro and/or Anghiari.

Posts About Tuscany
Destinations / Florence & Tuscany / Food & Wine / Tuscany / Umbria

Keeping Up With the Antinori

Italian wine enthusiasts (that includes most of us, right?) may find this past weekend’s 60 Minutes story on Italy’s Antinori family intriguing. Considered one of Italy’s premier winemaking clans, the Antinori have been in the wine business for more than 500 years. Today, even the Antinori daughters are in on…

15 October 2008
Accommodations / Destinations / Emilia-Romagna / Featured Articles / Florence & Tuscany / Italy News / Milan & Lombardy / Rome & Lazio / Tuscany

Italian Fashion Designers and Their Hotels

Fashion designers have known for a long time that it’s good to diversify. Not only have Italian fashion houses like Armani, Versace, and Dolce & Gabbana ventured beyond clothing to include perfume, accessories, and restaurants among their branded items, they’ve also gone into the business of designing and/or maintaining luxury…

5 October 2008
Destinations / Florence & Tuscany / Tours / Tuscany

Kid-Friendly Tours of Florence

Florence may feel like a fairy tale city for adults, but kids aren’t always impressed. That’s mostly because they’ve yet to study or appreciate the art, architecture, and history that have made the Tuscan town one of the world’s most favored destinations for generations. Enter Context Travel. The walking tour company,…

25 August 2008