Tuscany has got to be one of the prettiest places on earth with its awe inspiring beautiful landscapes and hill towns. It truly captivated me and I know I will be back for more doses as I definitely left a little piece of my heart somewhere in the Tuscan countryside. It is the perfect destination for a long weekend, the weather is glorious and the people are absolutely amazing. Here are some of my suggestions of things to do there.
Nothing like eating an ice cold gelato from one of Tuscany’s many gelaterias to cool you down in the Italian sunshine. They are dotted around everywhere but the one I loved most was Gelateria Dondoli found in the quaint medieval town of San Gimignano, which is worth a detour for! You can read all about my favourite gelato spots here.
Visit the town of San Gimignano
San Gimignano, the city of the belle torri (beautiful towers), is one of the few Tuscan areas that focuses on white grapes, known as Vernaccia wine.
It’s famously seen as Italy’s ‘Medieval Manhattan’, and is one of the most beautiful hill towns of Tuscany. Its town centre happens to be home to my favourite gelateria and it has the most amazing views! Its cute cobbled streets are lined with various shops and gelaterias.
Have lunch at a Saffron farm
Ivan and Carmela welcomed us to their farmhouse called Il Castagnolino with such warmth and amazing hospitality. On their farm they grow saffron, olives, herbs and some vegetable produce.
We had the most wonderful lunch, the highlight of which was the saffron gelato, whilst Ivan educated us on saffron. They has the most gorgeous dog called Runa too. You can read about my experience in depth here.
Marvel at the Duomo from Piazzale Michelangelo
Soak up the whole view of Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo where the panorama is just amazing. It is incredibly busy due to the immense views but it is definitely a must visit! It was my favourite spot to see the Duomo from.
Take a stroll on Ponte Vecchio
It is so lovely to walk across Florence’s stunning Ponte Vecchio. The views from this landmark bridge are extraordinary and there are lots of shops, restaurants and bars nearby.
Stop and smell the flowers at the Rose Gardens
This is located right next to Piazzale Michelangelo so it makes sense to combine the two.
The gardens are beautiful and peaceful and full of pretty flowers and plants and if you are into horticulture this would be heaven!
Enjoy rooftop drinks at the Westin Excelsior Florence
The rooftop bar at the Westin not only has fabulous cocktails, it offers an alternative view of the Firenze skyline and the Duomo.
Highly recommend for cocktails or a glass of bubbly.
Sip Cocktails at Four Seasons Hotel, Florence
For a more magical experience, head to the Atium bar at the Four Seasons Florence, where you can enjoy signature cocktails whilst listening to the Pianist, who is amazing.
There is also an outside terrace at the Four Seasons hotel, perfect for those warm Tuscan evenings.
Eat one of the best pizzas in Florence
An integral part of Italian gastronomy is the pizzas and for what we think is the best pizza in Florence (a future trip will involve a pizza trail), head to Industria on Borgo Ognissanti 45 Rosso, 50123, Florence, Italy, and you won’t be disappointed.
Visit a vineyard
Visiting a Tuscan vineyard is a must.
I have fallen in love with Italian wine even more after my trip. We visited an organic vineyard run by a young couple. It was the most idyllic place and we were fortunate to try lots of different wines. The majority of the wine produced at this vineyard is the white Vernaccia wine. The vineyard was gorgeous, the views were epic and it was really close to the saffron farm and the medieval town of San Gimignano so its worth combining the 3 in one day. I booked a full day tour through Grape tours, who I recommend with all my heart.
Go explore in the Food market
The nineteenth-century Mercato Centrale is a must visit and has two floors full of amazing foodie finds. On the ground floor you will find a conventional marketplace with vendors selling produce such as wine, limoncello, fruit, meat, fish, cheese, oil and spices, while the upstairs food court is the perfect stop for coffee or snacks.
I would suggest going really early in the morning as it is less busy then and definitely negotiate prices a little bit, although at most of the stalls they are pretty decently priced. I came back with Limoncello, pastries and chocolate.
Go Truffle hunting
One of the best experiences in Tuscany was going Truffle hunting and our dog, Two Socks, actually managed to find some black truffles. It was inspiring and awesome to see the Truffle hunter and his dog work together and how they had such an understanding of each other.
Definitely an experience I would recommend to anyone! You can read about it in more detail here.
Dine al fresco
One of my favourite experiences for lunch, or dinner, was eating at a quintessential trattoria terrace. It is the best place to people watch as well as indulge in Italian wine and pastas. Oh and don’t forget to order the Tiramisu!
Visit The Leaning tower of Pisa
In addition to Florence, Pisa is a must visit to see the famous leaning tower and the Piazza dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles), a UNESCO World Heritage site. A token photo with the leaning tower is a must and I would recommend spending a couple of hours here soaking up the sights, having wine and lunch and of course gelato.
It is incredibly busy (understandably). We flew into Pisa and then decided to visit the leaning tower on our return leg of the trip and headed straight to the airport from there.
- If you fly into Pisa, you can leave your luggage at the airport at the left luggage facilities and then you are free to wander.
- To get to Florence from Pisa, you can get a bus at the airport which costs 10 euros and is so easy and convenient.
- At main sights, walk a little further to find restaurants and bars. They are generally more authentic, cheaper and lovelier.
- Do lots of research before booking a tour as some can be really pricey! I recommend Grape Tours and they have a whole range of tours so there is bound to be one that stands out for you.
What are your favourite things to do in Tuscany if you have been? I would love to know in the comments section below.