In Tuscany there is also the opportunity to buy souvenirs from skilled craftsmen, finely-crafted creations that include red terracotta clay tiles, wrought-iron furniture, gold jewelry, leather jackets and bags, and hand-painted ceramic plates. For something smaller, there’s also the option of taking home unparalleled extra-virgin olive oil harvested from charming Tuscan orchards.
Unique Things to See and Do in Tuscany
- Explore the Tuscan hills (preferably while riding atop a classic Italian Vespa)
- Learn how to make fresh pasta
- Sip Chianti in Chianti, and picnic under olive trees
- Soak your well-worked feet in Tuscany’s natural hot springs
- Channel your inner Michelangelo in an art class
Getting Around Tuscany
Grazie to a moderate terrain and a trusty public transportation system, Tuscany is easy to get around. But don’t be fooled: it’s not flat; hills make up two-thirds of the region! To cover the most ground, travel by car, to spend maximum time soaking in the environ, ride a bike, to feel like a local (and to improve your Italian…), make use of the reliable buses and trains, and to visit the charming islands scattered off shore, hop on board one of the many ferries.
Debating between train and bus? Bear in mind: buses will usually drop you off at the town center, whereas train stations are sometimes on the outskirts. Buses are slower, whereas high-speed trains connect Tuscany’s larger cities, allowing you to reach the unique attractions sooner.
Cultural Highlights of Tuscany
If you’re travelling to Tuscany, one can only hope you love to eat. Tuscan cuisine varies from the truly unique — a popular street food in Florence is lampredotto, a sandwich consisting of the broth-cooked fourth stomach of a cow — to the more familiar, with dishes like fresh, fresh, fresh crostini and home-made ravioli making an appearance at almost every noon and/or evening meal.
But while it’s hard not to fill up on all the full-bodied cheeses and wines, be sure to save room for dessert: gelato! Indulging in Italian gelato makes going back to regular ice cream tough, but it’s oh so worth it, especially when flavors include the likes of Nutella.
Secondary to the exquisite food, a Tuscan cultural highlight is the architecture. Stunning villas dot the countryside, and some are available to rent, a must if it’s an option. Tuscan architecture, with its warm beiges and big windows, is so appealing that Lebanese rulers and English princes have commissioned architects to design dwellings in their home countries that reflect the Italian style.
Did you know…?
Tuscany is where the Italian language came to being!
Did you ALSO know…?
The Leaning Tower of Pisa leans because it’s built on marshland, not because the architect was ill-skilled…
Best Time of Year to Travel to Tuscany
Most tourists head to Tuscany mid-April through September, and while those may be the most pleasant months to travel weather-wise, to avoid crowds, it’s best to go between April and June, or in October. Bonus: during the off-season, entry fees to museums are often reduced too!
Tuscany’s climate is mild, and, on average, November sees the most rain. Summertime temperatures can reach into the 80s (ᵒF), and it’s important to be aware that many places might not offer air conditioning. The coolest (and coziest) months are January and February, but to be prepared at any time of year, always travel with layers.
Ready to plan your visit to Tuscany? Check out these popular guides and trips.