Things to do in Tuscany

Things to do in  Tuscany

The Italy of your dreams

Home to architectural gems such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Renaissance masterpieces including Michelangelo’s “David,” and some of the world’s finest wine, Tuscany is one of the world’s most visited regions—for good reason. The capital of Florence, also known as the Cradle of the Renaissance, boasts two of the world’s most significant (and busiest) art museums: Uffizi Gallery and Accademia Gallery (Galleria dell'Accademia). You can spend hours lining up outside, but in-the-know travelers get ahead of the crowd with skip-the-line tickets and early-access or after-hour tours. In Pisa, beat the timed-entry system for the Leaning Tower of Pisa with a tour, or see beyond the sights of Piazza dei Miracoli on a guided bike ride. Head to San Gimignano and Siena, both popular stops on day trips from Florence, and lose yourself in the charming historic centers for which they are famed. For a true taste of Tuscany, head for the region’s top gastronomic destinations and enjoy a cooking class in Lucca or Arezzo, paired with wine tasting in Chianti, Montepulciano, or Montalcino. Tuscany wine tours include samples of local vintages and allow you to hop from winery to winery without worrying about transportation or choosing where to go.

Top 15 attractions in Tuscany

Accademia Gallery (Galleria dell'Accademia)

Once one of Europe’s oldest drawing schools, Florence’s Accademia Gallery (Galleria dell’Accademia) is now one of the city’s most visited museums, home to Michelangelo’s 17-foot-tall (5.2-meter-tall) David. Other treasures on display include Renaissance paintings by artists such as Botticelli and Lippi, unfinished Michelangelo sculptures, and a collection of rare musical instruments.More

Uffizi Galleries (Gallerie degli Uffizi)

The Uffizi Galleries (Gallerie degli Uffizi) houses one of the world’s most significant collections of art, drawing in more than a million annual visitors who wish to cast eyes upon its many masterpieces. Set in the heart of Florence, the museum contains the works of artists such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio, Botticelli, and Giotto, among others. It is the premier place to view Italian Renaissance art and is the most-visited museum in Italy.More

Florence Duomo (Cattedrale di Santa Maria dei Fiori)

No matter where you walk in Florence, chances are you'll spot its famous Duomo—a defining element of the city’s history, geography, and identity—towering above. Beneath its red-tiled dome lies Florence’s largest church, officially known as the Cattedrale di Santa Maria dei Fiori. Together with the Museum of the Duomo, an opera museum, the baptistery of San Giovanni, and Giotto's Bell Tower, the Duomo complex has become the city’s most famous landmark.More

Brunelleschi's Dome (Cupola del Brunelleschi)

Towering above Florence, Filippo Brunelleschi’s dome (Cupola del Brunelleschi) is an important engineering and architectural feat. Completed in 1436, the fact that this symbol of the city still stands tall over the Duomo more than 600 years later is testament to Brunelleschi’s mastery. Climb to the top for some of the best views over Florence.More

Ponte Vecchio

The historic Ponte Vecchio, or Old Bridge, is perhaps the most recognized symbol of Florence after Brunelleschi’s soaring red dome topping the Duomo. The three lower arches of this 14th-century bridge span the Arno River at its narrowest point between the Palazzo Vecchio and the Pitti Palace, and a stretch of the famous Vasari Corridor runs along its top. Situated on street level, the Ponte Vecchio is lined with pocket-sized jewelry shops and packed with locals and tourists taking a stroll or snapping photos of the colorful palazzi lining the river bank.More

Piazza della Signoria

Home to the imposing Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria is the most important public square in Florence. The political heart of the city for centuries, today the square is also a vibrant social hub, where locals and tourists gather at the Loggia dei Lanzi and Neptune fountain to soak up the elegant atmosphere.More

Livorno Aquarium (Acquario di Livorno)

Livorno, one of Italy’s most important seaports, is also home to an excellent aquarium. Kids and adults can enjoy watching marine creatures like zebra and blacktip sharks, Napoleon and angel fish, rays, seahorses, tortoises, and other species of marine wildlife in tanks, tunnels, and touch pools.More

Piazzale Michelangelo

The most famous scenic overlook in Florence, Piazzale Michelangelo is beloved for its breathtaking views over the city’s rooftops. From this 19th-century square set on a hillside in the Oltrarno neighborhood, panoramic views stretch over the Rose Garden, Ponte Vecchio spanning the river Arno, the tower of the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence's iconic Duomo and bell tower, and the Tuscan hills beyond.More

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Perhaps one of the world's most beloved architectural mistakes, the Leaning Tower of Pisa's inimitable tilt has made the UNESCO World Heritage site an Italian icon. Travelers flock to snap photos of themselves “holding up” the tilted tower—originally intended as a bell tower for Pisa Cathedral—although you can also ascend the 294-step spiral staircase for stunning views over Pisa.More

Siena Cathedral (Duomo)

The Siena Cathedral (Duomo di Siena) is one Tuscany’s most beautiful churches, second perhaps only to Florence's Santa Maria del Fiore. The magnificent Gothic and Romanesque structure is hard to miss thanks to its tall spires, bold white-and-green stripes, and ornate facade. Inside, the cathedral is equally impressive with works of art by Donatello, Bernini, and Michelangelo.More

Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta (Duomo di San Gimignano)

San Gimignano’s Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta, known simply as the Duomo, is one of the most impressive sights in this Tuscan hill town’s UNESCO-listed historic center. The church’s plain façade belies the beauty of its exquisite 14th- and 15th-century frescoes inside, remarkable for their bold colors and painstaking details.More

Palazzo Vecchio

The 13th-century Palazzo Vecchio has been the symbol of this Renaissance capital’s political power for more than seven centuries. With its imposing crenellated roofline and defensive tower, it dominates Piazza della Signoria and is home to the luxurious chambers of the Medici family. Visiting Palazzo Vecchio for a peek into Renaissance Florence is a rite of passage for visitors.More

Pitti Palace (Palazzo Pitti)

Pitti Palace (Palazzo Pitti) was built by Luca Pitti in the 1400s. A century later, Duchess of Florence Eleonora di Toledo purchased the Renaissance palazzo for her husband, Cosimo I de' Medici, and it remained the official residence of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany until the early 20th century. Today, Pitti Palace is Florence's largest museum complex.More

Temple of San Biagio (Tempio di San Biagio)

This glorious Renaissance church is set below the hill town of Montepulciano, and its soaring dome and pyramid-topped bell tower turn heads from miles away. Designed in the 16th century by Antonio da Sangallo (Sangallo il Vecchio), the Temple of San Biagio (Tempio di San Biagio) has an elegant travertine exterior and airy pastel interior.More

Lucca Cathedral (Duomo di Lucca)

Art enthusiasts are drawn to the Lucca Cathedral for its paintings by masters like Ghirlandaio and Tintoretto; architecture aficionados appreciate the church’s unique mix of Gothic and Romanesque styles. But the Duomo di Lucca is revered by locals primarily as home to the city’s most precious relic: the Holy Face of Lucca (Volto Santo.More

Top activities in Tuscany

Small-Group Wine Tasting Experience in the Tuscan Countryside
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Skip the line: Uffizi and Accademia Small Group Hidden Highlights Walking Tour
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Pastamania - Pasta making class

Pastamania - Pasta making class

Pizza and Gelato Cooking Class at a Tuscan Farmhouse from Florence
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Electric Cart Tour Florence

Electric Cart Tour Florence

Skip the Line: Florence's Accademia Gallery Priority Entrance Ticket
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Chianti Wine Tour from Florence

Chianti Wine Tour from Florence

Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

All about Tuscany

When to visit

Sweltering in the summer (in particular Florence), Tuscany shows its best sides in the spring and fall. Fall is a great time to visit the slow food-obsessed region, when the cucina contadina (farm cuisine) comes to life with festivals dedicated to seasonal produce, local game, and foraged truffles. In June the Tuscans don medieval colors and compete in Roman-style horse races, Renaissance-era “football” games, and traditional boat races. Siena’s world-famous Palio horse race is held later, in July and August.

Getting around

The Trenitalia national rail network connects Tuscany’s major cities with fast, affordable, and reliable public transportation; though some cities, like Siena, require transfers to slower regional trains. Further afield, smaller villages can only be reached via buses, which don’t always have convenient schedules. Much of the countryside is best seen on indulgent drives along single-lane roads—which also happen to be perfect for cycling.

Traveler tips

To really learn the lay of the land on a “slow-travel” experience, visitors can discover Tuscany on foot. The Via Francigena is an old pilgrimage route that meanders through Tuscany on its way from Canterbury to Rome. With some advance planning, travelers in decent physical shape can easily tackle the sections—called tappe in Italian—from the medieval hill towns of San Gimignano, Monteriggioni, and Siena in three to four days, with lunch at local farms along the way.

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People Also Ask

What is Tuscany best known for?

That iconic photo of Italy you’ve seen—the one of a cypress-lined country lane zigzagging its way toward a hilltop villa through vineyards, olive trees, and sunflower fields—was snapped in Tuscany. This region is known for its postcard-perfect landscapes sprinkled with medieval villages, storied wineries, and Renaissance estates.

How many days should I spend in Tuscany?

Tuscany is a sprawling region, home to both Florence and Pisa. Spend at least three days to touch on the most famous towns and villages of Chianti and Val d’Orcia. To take in Florence’s Renaissance treasures and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, you’ll need at least two more days.

What wine is Tuscany known for?

Vineyards cover much of Tuscany, and the region produces a number of Italy’s most prestigious wines. Headliners include Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, nobile di Montepulciano, and Vernaccia di San Gimignano produced in the hills of Chianti and the Val d’Orcia, as well as the coastal Bolgheri reds.

Is Tuscany expensive to visit?

Not necessarily. Agriturismo (farm holiday) stays, casual trattoria meals, and tours of the smaller hill towns are ideal for budget travelers who are keeping their eye on the bottom line. Those looking to splurge can choose luxury wine estates, Michelin-starred restaurants, and the elegant city of Florence for sightseeing.

What is the prettiest town in Tuscany?

Tuscany has a collection of delightful hilltop towns to visit, all of which offer historic cityscapes and scenic views. Top options include San Gimignano, Montepulciano, Montalcino, Pienza, Pitigliano, Arezzo, and Cortona; the larger towns of Siena and Lucca are also known for their elegant historic centers.

What is the best town to stay in Tuscany?

Siena is the best option for a small town that offers A-list sights, dining, and shopping—plus convenient train connections. For a village atmosphere, Pienza is a great choice, though its lack of a train station makes getting around a challenge. City slickers should opt for Florence, Tuscany’s capital and transport hub.

Frequently Asked Questions