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Tuscany, Italy: Beautiful Countryside, Art, History and Wine

Updated on February 3, 2015

Tuscany, Umbria and Chianti Regions of Italy

Tuscany is beautiful part of Italy; a favourite destination for British and American tourists. The many picturesque medieval hill towns are relatively close together, separated by beautiful countyside, rolling hills, olive groves and vineyards making the region and neighbouring Umbria ideal for a driving holiday. The bigger cities of Florence, Pisa and Siena are each, also worth visiting for a few days.

Map of Tuscany, Italy - Where are Tuscany and the Chianti Regions in Italy?

show route and directions
A markerpisa, italy -
pisa, italy
get directions

B markerflorence, italy -
florence, italy
get directions

C markersiena, italy -
siena, italy
get directions

D markergreve in chianti -
greve in chianti
get directions

E markermontepuluciano, italy -
montepuluciano, italy
get directions

Getting to Tuscany

Getting to Tuscany: Pisa - A good place to start your tour

Many visitors to Tuscany from the UK or elsewhere in Europe fly into Florence or Pisa, but coming from the U.S. Or Canada involves flying to Milan or Rome first then getting a connecting flight or train to Florence.

Pisa, Siena or Florence all make a good starting point or base for a trip to Tuscany. There isn't a great deal to see in Pisa, except for the iconic leaning tower and beautiful Duomo. Florence however has enough art, architecture, excellent food and culture to keep you busy for days.

A good place to stay in Pisa is The Royal Victoria Hotel: old hotel with views of the river and antique furniture. An ancient tower. Good location a short walk from the main square in the historic centre. Pleasant small 4th floor roof terrace. No bar but drinks can be ordered at reception and served in the room, 'hall' or roof terrace

Duomo, Pisa, Italy

Duomo, Pisa, Italy
Duomo, Pisa, Italy

More About The Region

San Gimignano

Places to Stay in San Gimignano: Hotel l'Antico Pozzo, Via San Matteo 87, San Gimignano: a 15th C palazzo once visited by Dante, with antique furniture Euro 110 to Euro 135 for doubles

Places to eat in San Gimignano: Dorado "the city's top restaurant": Euro 75 for starter and main course and a bottle of wine.

"The Manhattan of Italy"

"The Manhattan of Italy"
"The Manhattan of Italy"

Getting Around

Getting Around - Driving in Italy

It is possible to explore Tuscany and Umbria by train and bus and I have sucessfully travelled all over Italy by train in the past, as a student. Most trains go in and out of Florence, so you may get bored of Florence station after a few visits. A car is probably the best way to get around as distances are small and scenery very enjoyable to drive through.

Driving in Italy is relatively easy on the main Autostrade roads, although is more difficult on the small road. A small car is a good idea for some of the medieval towns. Driving in cities is more difficult. I rented a Fiat 500 - a modern version of the classic 1960s Italian Car

Fiat 500 - Classic Italian Car

Fiat 500 - Classic Italian Car
Fiat 500 - Classic Italian Car

Montepulciano

Montepulciano

The medieval hamlet Montepulciano is the highest hill town in Tuscany at nearly 2000 ft and has excellent views of the local vineyards. Famous for the excellent red wine of the same name. There are many places offering 'free' wine tasting

Places to Stay in Montepulciano: Mueble I'll Riccio Euro 116 a palace built in 1280 with a roof terrace overlooking Valdichiana Valley. Small to medium sized double rooms. Nicely decorated and wonderful lounge/breakfast room with high ceilings downstairs.

Montepulciano

Montepulciano
Montepulciano

Cortona

Cortona

A nice easy drive from Montepuluciano to Cortona via Castiglione del Lago in Umbria (not much to see there apart from the castel on the hill and the lake Lago Trasimeno, but Cortona is another beautiful historic hill-town.

There is free parking on the way up the hill so it is easiest to dump the car and walk to the entrance of the walled town. Hotel San Luca just outside the town-wall, overlooking the lake in Umbria.

View from Cortona

View from Cortona
View from Cortona

Tuscan Food

Tuscan Food
Tuscan Food

Tuscan Food

Tuscan Food
Tuscan Food

The Chianti Road (Wine Region of Italy)

Chianti Wine Region

The "Chianti Road" to Greve In Chianti via Radda In Chianti is an excellent route to take through the Chianti vineyards of this famous wine region. Greve In Chianti is the biggest town en route, but staying at a vineyard could be a more pleasant experience.

e.g. Hotel and restaurant Fattoria di Montagliari where you can drink their wine (Fattoria di Montagliari Chianti Classico bottled in Italy by David Migliorini, Panzana www.montagliari.it)

Chianti Vineyards

Chianti Vineyards
Chianti Vineyards

Volterra

I drove to Volterra via the rest of the Chianti Road and Strada in Chianti. Easy drive with beautiful scenery and parked in underground carpark just outside Centre Storica. Checked into hotel right next to carpark: Albergo Nazionale, for convenience.

Places to Stay in Volterra: Albergo Nazionale. Basic room, but with a balcony overlooking an excellent view down the hillside. No mini bar, fridge, or icemaking facilities, unpleasant staff and awful breakfast, but very close to lots of good bars, cafes and restaurants.

Places to Eat in Volterra: Web and Wine Cafe for lunch. Excellent pizza and wine at this internet cafe (although it doesn't feel like an internet cafe)

Volterra has Roman ruins inside the city walls and the usual piazza Duomo etc. Surprisingly large amount of traffic negotiating the narrow streets.

Roman Ruins at Volterra, Tuscany

Roman Ruins at Volterra, Tuscany
Roman Ruins at Volterra, Tuscany

Lucca

Lucca is bigger than many of the other hill-top Tuscan towns and is the best place to go shopping, but still has the charm and history and big tree lines town walls and the famous tower with trees growing out of the top.

Places to stay in Lucca: Hotel: Alla Dimora Lucense, Via Fontana, 19 (0583 495722) guest house associated with La Luna Hotel (which was full) very comfortable room. Good decoration and bathroom.

Lucca Duomo

Lucca Duomo
Lucca Duomo

Well Fed Italian Pidgeon

Well Fed Italian Pidgeon
Well Fed Italian Pidgeon

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    • livetech lm profile image

      livetech lm 5 years ago

      Italy is certainly a great place to visit if you're a fan of wines! I've currently got a taste for South African red wine.

    • CanadaRed LM profile image

      CanadaRed LM 5 years ago

      Tuscany looks and sounds like a great place to visit.

    • SayGuddaycom profile image

      SayGuddaycom 5 years ago

      Another great lens

    • profile image

      vinc18 5 years ago

      I am italian, nice lens, thumb up !

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Today's wine comes from mostly old bush vines in the Helderberg area of Stellenbosch, not far from Capetown. These hand-picked grapes were grown in mineral soil in vineyards facing the ocean where the days are hot and sunny and the evenings are really cool. The 2006 version of this wine was ranked 6th in the international top 100 BEST BUYS in the American publication, The Wine Enthusiast. But now we are talking about a 2008. Our companion wine is a 2005 Verdelho from a major Australian producer.

      Wine Racks

    • CastleRoyLisa profile image

      Lisa 6 years ago from Rhode Island

      beautiful travel lens and very informative Love it

    • profile image

      reasonablerobby 6 years ago

      Me too Tuscany is one to 'tick off' - Montepulciano Di Nobile is a great wine to try.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Tuscany is on my bucket list of places I have to go, now I want to go even more after reading your wonderful lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I love Tuscany and have made lenses on Tuscan decor. The country side is beautiful.

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 6 years ago

      Wow LOTD TWICE and a Purple Star - well deserved! Great lens.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 6 years ago

      It's been years since I've been to Italy. I would like to go back one day.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 6 years ago

      I like all your lenses, but this one is very close to my soul, I was vacationing on Cortona and Arezzo and Firenze, so you have my blessing.

      And by the way, the food and wine is supper in Tuscany

      Regards Michey

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

      I love it when HouseHunters International does a Tuscany show and we get to see inside the houses.

    • LouisaDembul profile image

      LouisaDembul 6 years ago

      Good food, wine and beautiful country- you've captured it! Not to forget the history and art. Everything is found in Tuscany.

    • EditPhotos profile image

      Edit Photos 6 years ago from Earth

      Great travel lens - blessed!

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 7 years ago

      My next trip will include Tuscany...great lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      This lens is awesome. I love it. I am going to tell my editors on my Thai News website to write something about this lens and probably feature it.

      I will comment here again once we do.

      Great Work

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      This lens is awesome. I love it. I am going to tell my editors on my Thai News website to write something about this lens and probably feature it.

      I will comment here again once we do.

      Great Work

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 7 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Fabulous travel lens! Italy is #5 on my bucket list :)

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 7 years ago

      Re-blessing... this lens is so gorgeous!

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 7 years ago

      Ah, let's you and I toast the beauty and art of Tuscany! Hoping that you have a remarkable journey this year. Happy New Year and hugeroonies!

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 7 years ago

      Have a wonderful Christmas and may the joy follow you through the New Year.

    • profile image

      kimmanleyort 7 years ago

      Wonderful photography! I think I took a photo of the same boar.

    • AlisonMeacham profile image

      AlisonMeacham 7 years ago

      This region is definitely on my list of places to see - maybe next year.......

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 7 years ago

      I love Italy, I was born not far away. Tuscany is a region to fall in love with it! the food and wine are exceptionally good.

      Thanks

      Michey

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 8 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Faqntastic lens Andy. Some of your best photos yet. 5***** I would love to go to Italy, never had the chance - yet...

    • profile image

      Taddeo 8 years ago

      Awesome! You have a great lens. Lots of nice pictures of Italy, I hope to go someday!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Another visit to this beautiful lens, what a treat! I wonder if the Tuscan's have an unusual fasination with wild boars--they do make an unusual table base. The head on the wall is nice if one has limited space.

      Thanks for acting as my tour guide!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Absolutely breathe taking country sides to gaze upon for hours days at a time. I would have to say that this too is a part of God's Country! I'm glad to see this in local, makes more sense because you will most often have higher ratings...shhhh! There will be a lot of local lens coming out this week because that's the assignment for Giant Squid Summer School and to do a review of a place etc. Should be interesting. Keywords and tags are very important to work on for traffic, details. This is a great lens! :)

      You are a blessing! (hello to the better half)

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 8 years ago

      This lens is featured on A Day of 100 Squid Angel Blessings.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my lens

      Lizzy

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      We have been to Italy several times, but spend most of our time in Southern Italy. There is so much more to explore. We need to go back...again

      Thanks for sharing

      Lizzy

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Okay, I'm having a little attack of jealousy for what you get to do! Once again the AndyPo eye view is a delight to behold as are your personal notes to us--you do make it a special experience for those of us on this side of the screen. Couldn't help notice that the Tuscans sure do like to display their boars--not quite my cup of tea for decor, but for them it works!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      You do know that this is an excellent lens, Andy. - I love it!

      Will be waiting for this summers adventures from you! :D

      Susie

    • ssuthep profile image

      ssuthep 8 years ago

      This is so beautiful - I want to go. Love the work you ave done here - amazing pics and great information. bookmarked, rated and Blessed. I am putting this in my list of places to visit. :)

    • Rich-H profile image

      Rich 8 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

      Another wonderful lens, Andy. Somewhere else to add to my must visit list! 5*s

    • Bellezza-Decor profile image

      Bellezza-Decor 8 years ago from Canada

      Great lens and gorgeous photography 5* and lensrolled into Tuscan Patio Styles; a little bit of Tuscan Heaven on Earth!

    • Terry Boroff profile image

      Terry Boroff (flipflopnana) 8 years ago from FL

      What a wonderful tour!

    • nightbear lm profile image

      nightbear lm 8 years ago

      Your lenses make me feel like I have seen the places you travel too. They are all so beautiful.

    • debnet profile image

      Debbie 8 years ago from England

      I'd love to go to Tuscany... or Florence... or Rome... anywhere in Italy actually! I love the 'food' shots :)

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 8 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      Ever since I watched that Diane Lane movie centered in Tuscany I've wanted to go. :)

    • fotolady49 lm profile image

      fotolady49 lm 8 years ago

      This is on my list of places to go before I leave the planet! I guess you can say it's on my bucket list...LOL!

      NICE lens! Good wine, good food, beautiful countryside and architecture, museums, taking pictures of all that, what more can one ask for?n5*

    • Lynx92 profile image

      Lynx92 8 years ago

      Great lens again Andy. I would like to visit Tuscany some time soon. Not sure how I will fit in the trip though. 5*

    • ArtByLinda profile image

      Linda Hoxie 8 years ago from Idaho

      Beautiful lens Andy, very nicely composed, and beautiful photographs! Linda

    • profile image

      jaye3000 8 years ago

      LOL loved you and the bird! Very good lens, just beautiful. Wishin' I was an angel right now :)

    • oneskms profile image

      oneskms 8 years ago

      Great lens Andy, it looks like you enjoyed your trip

    • Sensitive Fern profile image

      Sensitive Fern 8 years ago

      Beautiful photography and interesting highlights of the area. Now I want to go! 5*

    • SylvianeNuccio1 profile image

      SylvianeNuccio1 8 years ago

      Ah Italy, very close to home for me since some of my roots are from there. Beautiful lens. five* to you!

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 8 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      really a lovely lens. grand display and well informative too. 5*

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 8 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I had to share this with a couple of my friends who have traveled to Tuscany and fell in love with it. It looks like you enjoyed another wonderful trip and I sure appreciate your sharing your adventures. Great work.

    • rewards4life info profile image

      rewards4life info 8 years ago

      Thank you, Andy, for taking me on a trip to Tuscany! That place looks wonderful. As always, very beautiful lens layout. I love Fiat 500, it looks so cute! =)

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      That's one big Italian Pigeon!!! Tuscany is very beautiful. Nice lens.

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 8 years ago from Massachusetts

      Beautiful photos, I'd love to visit Tuscany. Nice work!