Have you watched Under the Tuscan Sun? Even though the film came out in 2003, we can’t stop thinking about Tuscany, which was portrayed as a place of romance, wine, olives, and tons of sunshine. While it may not be as popular as Rome or Milan, Tuscany, Italy is one of the most picturesque places in Europe with its vineyards, olive groves, and cypress trees. There are even castles that have been turned into wineries that have then been turned into hotels. We can’t think of a better place to sit back and unwind. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to plan your trip to Tuscany.
Best Time to Visit
Late September and October and between April and May are the best times to visit Tuscany. The temperatures are more enjoyable and the major touristy spots are less crowded. Summer has high temperatures and big crowds.
How to Get Around
Getting around the Tuscan valley via public transportation is rough due to the rolling hills. The best way to get to the wineries is with a car or Vespa. Taxis and public transportation are expensive, so your best option is to walk or bike. Most of the towns in Tuscany are small and walkable.
Where to Stay
Rosewood Castiglion Del Bosco
Situated in the heart of an 800-year-old 5,000-acre country estate that has ancient castle ruins, a medieval church, and a historic village, this 5-star hotel located in Montalcino is near Val d’Orcia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The suites and villas of the hotel are housed in historic buildings that have antique furniture sourced from local textiles and artisanal pieces. There are two restaurants on-site, two bars, a fitness center, an infinity pool, bike and hiking trails, and a cooking school.
Belmond Castello di Casole
Located in Casole d’Elsa, Belmond Castello di Casole was restored from a castle built in the late 10th century. The 5-star hotel is surrounded by farms and vineyards. In addition to the on-site restaurant, spa, and bar, the hotel offers activities including biking, horseback riding, hiking, truffle hunting, golf, cooking classes, and art classes.
Hotel Le Fontanelle
This 5-star hotel is situated on a hilltop in the small village of Castelnuovo Berardenga. The gorgeous surrounding landscape is what sets this hotel above others—it’s amongst the nature of Chianti and there’s a botanic garden. There’s an on-site restaurant, two bars, two pools, and a spa.
What to Do
Tuscany’s capital city, Florence is known for Renaissance art and architecture. To get a feel for the 13th through 16th centuries, visit Duomo, the Uffizi Gallery, the Galleria dell’Accademia, and the Boboli Gardens. There are also amazing restaurants, adorable shops, and luxurious hotels in the city known for its red roofs, cobblestone streets, and narrow alleys.
Another city in Florence you shouldn’t miss is Siena, which is known for the Gothic era. One of the main attractions is the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Piazza del Camp, a city square that’s on three hills. There are also tons of museums to check out like Museale di Santa Maria della Scala and the Museo Archeologico. Churches that shouldn’t be missed include the Siena Cathedral, the Cathedral of the Assunta, and the Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore.
Sovestro in Poggio Winery
This farming estate is full of grape and olive fields and they even produce wines like the Tribolo and Chianti and its own extra virgin olive oil called Bagatto. You can stay overnight and enjoy the breathtaking views and delicious food.
What to Eat
This cold salad has unsalted bread, tomatoes, basil, olive oil, vinegar, red onions, and salt. Some versions use tuna and capers.
Pappa Al Pomodoro
Pappa al pomodoro is a comfort food and it’s a soup made with stale Tuscan bread, tomatoes, garlic, and basil leaves.
Castangnaccio is a traditional cake made with chestnut flour and it’s served both warm and cold. The cake has pine nits and sultanas and it’s drizzled with olive oil and rosemary.