My name is Agnieszka but please call me Aga. Welcome to my travel guide on the best things to see and do in Tuscany. I come from Poland and this is where I spent most of my life. A few years ago, I took on an adventure to live abroad and moved to Hamburg, Germany where I spent four great years.
However, since staying in the same place for too long is not in my veins, I moved again – this time to Manchester in the UK where I currently live. But secretly, or not that secretly, I’m already planning my next move!
I discovered my passion for travel a long time ago. Since I was young, I have always been “on the run” and even a simple train journey would excite me. This passion was passed down by my parents who used to organise trips for our family to the Polish mountains or to the seaside every holiday break.
Now, I can’t imagine my life without having my next trip booked!
Inspiration to Visit Tuscany
Tuscany was on my bucket list for a while before first visiting. Since I love Italy, I’m trying to visit this amazing country at least once a year and each time discover another beautiful Italian region. Actually, I was supposed to go there in spring this year but then we all know what happened.
So I was super happy when my boyfriend and I finally managed to get there. My trip was inspired by amazing pictures of spectacular Tuscan scenery – endless hills, picturesque fields and rows of cypress trees.
There’s a reason why Tuscany is said to be one of the most beautiful regions in the world and I can confirm that it deserves this title. Everything that you see in the photos looks even more spectacular in person. Plus, you can experience the calmness that the Tuscan countryside brings.
Five Beautiful Days in Tuscany
My boyfriend and I went to Tuscany for five days. We flew to Bologna, rented a car at the airport and headed south to Tuscany. Just a disclaimer though: our Tuscan road trip was a little bit insane – so unless you’re extremely motivated, I wouldn’t recommend repeating it!
Our trip was fast-paced, included lots of driving and we stayed at different locations almost every night. But we like travelling this way and wanted to see as much as possible. We visited 14 Tuscan cities, towns and villages.
This included the medieval wonder of Siena, the beautiful Montepulciano, the charming Pienza, the medieval art centre of Volterra, San Gimignano, the medieval fortification of Monteriggioni and a few smaller yet equally delightful towns like Asciano, Bagno Vignoni and Monticchielo.
This time, we didn’t go to the capital of Tuscany – Florence – because we visited this incredible city during another Italy trip. But we couldn’t miss the most famous and wonderful Tuscan hot springs in Saturnia and we also checked off many Tuscan must-visit photo locations.
Agriturismo Baccoleno Viewpoint
I think my favourite place in Tuscany was one of the famous Tuscan photo locations – the viewpoint overlooking Agriturismo Baccoleno. A meandering road flanked with cypress trees leading to a spectacular looking mansion – it’s one of the most captured Tuscan views.
Even though it was windy when we were there, we liked this place so much that we came back later the same day to have a little sunset-watching picnic. And I’d recommend that to anyone. Just buy a pizza and a bottle of wine, bring a blanket and enjoy the beautiful colours of the sunset.
5 Best Things To Do in Tuscany
Whether you’re spending just two days in Tuscany or plan on exploring for two weeks – there’s never a shortage of incredible things to do, especially in the middle of summer. Below you can find my top 5 recommendations:
1. Admire the Views of Agriturismo Baccoleno
For the reasons mentioned above, take in the spectacular views overlooking Agriturismo Baccoleno. This is the perfect place for sunset gazing and taking classic photos that sum up everything about Tuscany.
2. Take Photos at Capella della Madonna di Vitaleta
Cappella della Madonna di Vitaleta, otherwise referred to as just “Chapel Vitaleta”, is another stunning Tuscan photography spot! This little chapel located on a hill in the middle of the fields will delight you with its beauty.
3. Visit the Super Cute and Charming Pienza
Pienza is personally one of my favourite towns in Tuscany. It’s a super cute and charming place. As with many of Tuscany’s towns, Pienza is located on a hill and is surrounded by city walls from which you can admire the beautiful Val d’Orcia – the most picturesque region of Tuscany.
4. Discover Siena, the Medieval Pearl of Tuscany
Siena is similar to Florence but smaller and less crowded. There, you can admire the most funny shaped market square – Piazza del Campo – and literally sit in the middle of the square with your gelato in the sun.
5. Go Wine Tasting in Tuscany’s Vineyards
Tuscany is famous for its fine wines. No matter if you’re a wine lover or not – you can’t visit Tuscany and not check out a vineyard or two. The most famous regions for wine productions are the area of Chianti (for its Chianti Classico) just south of Florence and the area of Montalcino for its Brunello.
Amazing Food Scene of Tuscany
Since we’re plant based, food was the part of the trip we struggled with a bit. I’d describe Tuscan cuisine as “farmed based” – lots of meat and cheese. Almost every restaurant offers meat from wild boar or deer to ragù.
No matter what your dietary requirements are though, you have to try pici – a kind of pasta native to Tuscany – served with a variety of sauces, and ribollita – a traditional Tuscan soup that is vegan. Otherwise, you can never go wrong with pizza and bruschetta made with Tuscan tomatoes.
Best restaurants and cafes in Tuscany that I highly recommend:
- Caffe Dante di Bonifacio Marcello in San Quirico d’Orcia – great pizza in slices. This place saved us a few times! It’s located close to one of the main roads in Val d’Orcia and is the perfect place to order a few slices of pizza for takeaway and continue driving to your next viewpoint.
- Caffe Poliziano in Montepulciano – an atmospheric cafe with tradition. I suggest sitting close to the window/balcony and enjoy the views!
- Vineria Le Potazzine in Montalcino – delicious food, kind and fast service. It was a perfect place for a warm meal on a rainy day.
- Osteria Antico Travaglio – family-run place with tasty food and super chatty owners. I had a ribollita soup and it was absolutely delicious!
Best Places to Stay in Tuscany
To have a full Tuscan experience in Italy you have to stay in an agriturismo. These are independently-owned farms that the owners have decided to use for accommodation and tourism purposes. They’re usually secluded, often with swimming pools, decorated in a traditional Tuscan style.
We stayed in Agriturismo Bonello Pienza – Siena, Val D’Orcia and I wish we spent more than two nights there. The owners were kind and the room was nicely decorated. Also, the views from the pool were spectacular.
Cascate del Mulino in Saturnia
There were many situations from my trip to Tuscany that will stay with me forever – including trying to take pictures in the pouring rain in front of Cappella della Madonna di Vitaleta. But my favourite would have to be the morning spent in the famous Cascate del Mulino in Saturnia.
We went at 6am before the sunrise in order to take photos and avoid the crowds (by the way, I don’t think crowds can be avoided) but we didn’t rush off. It was such an amazing place that we decided to stay longer and enjoy our time. Three hours flew by. I’ll always cherish this experience.
Need to Know Before you Go
The main tip I would give for Tuscany would be renting a car. You can’t really see what Tuscany has to offer without a car. There are many places that public transport simply doesn’t reach. Driving is not the easiest – many narrow and winding roads, but you’ll be rewarded with amazing views.
I’d also recommend having cash on you, especially coins to pay for car parks. If you’re plant based, I suggest you plan the locations of your meals in advance and ask the waiters if they can prepare anything without meat and dairy. Otherwise, Tuscany is a very easy and pleasant region to explore.
If you want to take a slower pace and enjoy every moment of the trip to the fullest, I’d consider spending two weeks here. Relaxing by the pool while sipping wine and admiring the views – does life get better than that?