Last updated on January 14, 2024 by Stefano Ferro, founder of MEL365, following extensive travelling in Tuscany

Three days in Tuscany, itineraries with things to do based on your type of holiday

It can be quite difficult to plan the activities for 3 days in Tuscany.

Why?

Because Tuscany spans over 22,000 square kilometres (nearly 9,000 square miles)

In fact, this is the 5th largest region in Italy with hardly any straight road, except the highway and a few coastal roads

In this guide, you will find a few tips and itineraries to enjoy three days in Tuscany, whether you are a countryside lover, on a family trip or a romantic getaway, after historic sites or just with a bit of everything.

Now, without further ado, let’s get into it

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Three days in Tuscany – in a nutshell

With only three days in Tuscany, you won’t be able to see everything in the region, as you might imagine. 

My recommendation is to stay in an area close to your airport of arrival.

For this reason, the cities of Pisa, Lucca and Florence are the best fit. However, I have introduced a few exceptions in this guide

Pisa is the easiest destination if you fly in the low-cost Pisa Airport

Lucca is a surprise, so unique and different from the other Tuscan towns.

Florence is the most iconic city in Tuscany, and one of the most known in the world, really unbeatable.

Map with Tuscany itineraries and attractions
Map with Tuscany itineraries and attractions
  • 3 days in Tuscany for art & history: Florence is the place to be for a short stay in Tuscany full of art and culture. It’s not only about the museums, the cathedral, the antique bridges and buildings but also about the beautiful historical centre. Getting lost in the maze of streets and lanes should be your primary goal. Read more below for the art & history 3 days plan in Tuscany
  • Three days in Tuscany countryside: with just 3 days I highly suggest renting a car in Tuscany if you plan to stay in the countryside. The alternative is to grab a taxi but it will not be cheap. The Chianti Area, south of Florence, is the best place to stay. Read more below for a countryside 3 days itinerary.
  • For couples: you have two possibilities, based on which airport you arrive at. The first one is to stay in Pisa, a more economical destination, and maybe visit Florence and/or Lucca on a day trip. The second possibility is to book your accommodation in Florence and explore from there. Read more below on a full romantic itinerary
  • For families: Also in this case I suggest two options, the surprising Lucca and the iconic Florence. You will have a completely different experience. Read more below on a family short stay
  • For a bit of everything: In this plan, you will be able to enjoy an array of activities including art, culture, the countryside and of course some wine tasting too. Read below for more details

If you fly to Tuscany, you will land at either the main airport of Florence or the low-cost airport of Pisa.

The Florence Airport is well connected to the city centre.

The Pisa Airport is just a few minutes away from the centre of Pisa. You can also catch a direct bus to Florence (1h15m) with Autostradale Bus or Sky Bus

In addition, you can rent a car to visit the countryside at your own pace.

I usually book my vehicles on DiscoverCars.com, a price comparison site that offers the best rates (read cheapest)

As part of every itinerary, I also suggest a few organised experiences.

Many (if not all) of them offer a free cancellation policy. You might want to consider booking and cancelling at a later stage if your plans change. 

My suggestion here is to book well in advance the popular experiences like the Uffizi or Michelangelo’s David Accademia because the queues can be a real nightmare

Three days in Tuscany for art and history

Florence is surely the winner if you have only 3 days.

The mere quantity of art and historical attractions in the city can actually keep you busy for a week or more

3 days in Tuscany for Art and Culture
3 days in Tuscany for Art and Culture

I wrote a full post of the best areas to stay in Florence, however, in short, with only 3 days, I highly suggest staying in the San Giovanni neighbourhood.

This is the historical centre of the city, easily reachable by foot or public transportation from the Santa Maria Novella Train Station.

Keep in mind that Florence is a walkable city and you will not usually need public transportation unless you decide to book more economical accommodation in the Campo di Marte neighbourhood (20/30 minutes by bus/foot to the historical centre).

I personally suggest focusing on Florence, however, I have added also an alternative day trip in case you want to explore beyond the city.

  • Day 1: Start big in the morning with a visit to the Uffizi Gallery, one of the most important art museums in Italy, and the world. My suggestion here is to join the Priority Entrance Tour, a great time-saver besides having a fantastic guide that will explain all you need to know in a small group. Have lunch at Panini Toscani and then have a walk to explore the old city centre, from the surprising Piazza Antinori to the Basilica of Holy Trinity, then take the narrow medieval Via delle Terme to Piazza della Signoria. Keep walking into the beautiful Borgo dei Greci street direction of Piazza di Santa Croce. From there head north direction of Piazza del Duomo. It will be an intense afternoon wandering around the Historical centre.
  • Day 2: Another big day starting from Piazza Duomo where you will visit the Cathedral but before doing that I highly suggest the Dome Climb with the Priority Entrance, again skip the main queue, a real-time saver. The tour guide is also a big plus to understanding so much more about the Cathedral (that you will visit after the Dome) and why it took 2 centuries to build the dome. In the afternoon, have a walk to Ponte Vecchio, the Roman/Medieval arched river bridge, absolutely a must-visit in Florence. Oltrarno is the name of the neighbourhood on the other side of the Arno River. From there, turn right on the picturesque Borgo S. Jacopo Street up to the St Trinity Bridge. Cross again the bridge to go back to the Historical Centre and visit the Gothic Basilica of Holy Trinity. From there get lost in the maze around Borgo Santi Apostoli Street.
  • Day 3: In the morning visit the Palazzo Vecchio, the 13th-century building home of the Medici Family, a powerful family ruling during the Republic of Florence. This building today hosts some of the most exceptional works of art in the world. I suggest for this visit again buying the ticket in advance to avoid the queue and you will enjoy a complimentary audio guide that will help a ton. Lunch at the PizzaBar Gustarium. In the afternoon you have a couple of options. You keep exploring Florence and more specifically the Santa Croce neighbourhood (east of San Giovanni) where you will experience more of a local life with small markets and local shops. Try to make it to the National Central Library (they have currently a free Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition, check the website for the latest info). Otherwise, you can have a walk around Oltrarno to the Forte di Belvedere (free entrance), a 15th-century fortress on a hill with a stunning view of Florence and art exhibitions on a regular basis.
  • Day 3 (alternative): have a trip to Siena, Pisa, San Gimignano and the Chianti area. This a great day tour that will allow you to cover some of the most beautiful art destinations in Tuscany. There are two tour operators offering it, Tour & Travel (small groups) and CAF Tour.

Accommodations and experiences:

Read more options on where to stay in the Florence area.

Three days in Tuscany countryside

Renting a car in Tuscany is a must if you plan to visit the countryside.

The Tuscan towns are well connected by either train or bus, however, moving in the countryside with public transportation can be challenging

As an example, moving around the Chianti area by bus is almost impossible or it would require way too much time. 

3 days in Tuscany Countryside
3 days in Tuscany Countryside

With just 3 days I would suggest focusing on the Chianti area

  • Day 1: Collect your car from the airport (Florence or Pisa) and drive to the Chianti Area. The first place you should visit is the town of Greve in Chianti, the gateway to the Chianti Area and head to the Piazza Matteotti, right in the centre of the town. Wander around the streets and stop by one of the many wine shops for some tasting. Have lunch at Il Vinaio, where you can of course taste more wine. In the afternoon have a walk to the Azienda Agricola Manetti Leonardo, one of the best wineries right in town. You will have the possibility to learn more about the area, besides of course more wine tasting. If you have still enough energy, head to the Wine Museum, where, of course, you can taste even more wine. Alternatively, drive to the Castello di Uzzano for a visit and a nice walk between the wineries.
  • Day 2: This is a day dedicated to the drive in one of the most beautiful areas in the world. In the morning, head back to Greve in Chianti and drive to Montefioralle, a picturesque village between medieval walls perched on a hill. Absolutely spectacular. Then take the road SR222, direction south (Siena) to the Castello di Panzano in Chianti and the town of Panzano where you can have your lunch. In the afternoon keep driving on the iconic SR222 to Castellina in Chianti, another lovely medieval village to explore, door by door. Pay a visit to the local Archaeological Museum of the Chianti Area for the interesting exhibition and of course some wine tasting.
  • Day 3: Another great day to experience the Chianti Area by car. Drive to Albola Castle for a nice walk in the beautiful hills. You can also visit the winery, including some wine tasting. Then head to the Castello di Brolio, spectacular view and one of the best wines to taste in the region. Organise your lunch at the hard-to-find Locanda del Tartufaio and in the afternoon drive to the Chianti Sculpture Park for an arty end of the trip. 

Accommodations:

  • Castello di Bibbione, one of the most amazing accommodations in Tuscany, is a real castle with a refreshing pool for those hot days
  • The Viticcio is an agriturismo set in a winery where you can spend your time relaxing at the pool and tasting the local wine and oil
  • Are you in a big group? Why not reserve the entire Villa La Coccola to feel like a celebrity?

Three days in Tuscany for couples

You have a couple of options, based on your budget and style

3 days in Tuscany for couples
3 days in Tuscany for couples

Florence (romantic but more expensive)

The first possibility is to stay in Florence, easily accessible from both the Pisa and the Florence airports.

This is one of the most romantic places on earth, especially with the nightlights.

True, Florence is the most expensive place in Tuscany, however, you can always find a few budget accommodations if needed (see a few options in my Florence guide).

In 3 days, you can visit most of the city as I described in “Three Days in Tuscany for Art and History” above.

You may want, however, to swap one of the days with a Tour in the Chianti Area, where you get to see the picturesque wineries, and rolling hills, and taste some wine while you are there. There’s more to it than drinking, it’s about understanding the culture of the area.

Accommodations and experiences:

Ponte Vecchio at sunset
Ponte Vecchio at sunset

Pisa (practical on a budget)

Pisa is a great base if you are on a budget or you are on a second or third trip to Tuscany.

It works also very well, of course, if you fly to the low-cost Pisa Airport.

Pisa is a University town, with a nice young vibe around. 

It is not as picturesque as Florence, far from it, however, it has one of the most iconic attractions in the world, the Leaning Tower.

Prices of accommodations and restaurants are usually cheaper than in any other town in Tuscany.

  • Day 1: visit Pisa with a nice DIY walking tour. Start with a tour of the iconic Leaning Tower and, of course, the Cathedral. These are both popular attractions and I highly suggest buying a skip-the-line ticket to not waste any minute in the long queues. Another possibility is to book a fully guided tour and add the Leaning Tower after that. For lunch head into town at I Porci Comodi, a small bar offering fantastic sandwiches and lovely antipasti dishes with cured meats and local products. In the afternoon, you can either explore the old part of town starting from Piazza della Pera and the Museo della Grafica, or you can take a Self-Guided Bike Tour with a handy App.
  • Day 2: catch the train (1 hour) to Florence, for a day trip to explore the lovely and picturesque city. Start the visit with the Uffizi Gallery, however, remember to book in advance the Priority Entrance Tour to skip the line and avoid spending the day queueing at the door. Then have a walk to the Cathedral for the Dome Climb with the Priority Entrance, again skip the long queue, a real-time saver. The last iconic place to visit for the day is the Ponte Vecchio, the Roman/Medieval arched river bridge. Such a romantic and unmissable spot.
  • Day 3: catch the train (30 minutes) to Lucca, a Renaissance town with medieval walls transformed in a gigantic pedestrian area. Start your visit from Piazza Napoleone with the 15th-century Ducal Palace. Make sure to add to your must-visit list the Tower Delle Ore, Guinigi Tower, the oval Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, the boutique Domus Romana Lucca and, of course, have a walk along the walls.
  • Day 3 (alternative): visit the Chianti area and a few wineries for some oil and wine tasting with this Guided Tour.

Accommodations and experiences:

The leaning Tower of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa

Three days in Tuscany for families

Not too far from the 2 airports, you will find Florence and Lucca, probably the most family-friendly town in Tuscany.

3 days in Tuscany for families
3 days in Tuscany for families

Florence

Florence is definitely a busy destination, however, so accessible to families and kids, even if you have a pram.

The Oltrarno area is quite hilly, sometimes steep, but the historical centre is pretty flat and easy to walk around.

With 3 days you can think to explore the city for a couple of days and rent a car on the last day to explore the Chianti area.

I would not particularly suggest joining an organised Chianti Tour with kids because you would spend too much time wine tasting and the children would get bored straight away.

AirBnb/Holiday Homes in Florence:

Lucca (only if you fly to Pisa)

Lucca is an amazing town, flat and with a huge pedestrian area running over the medieval wall around the old centre.

You can leave the kids running around without being too worried.

It works great if you fly to Pisa (30 minutes by train), however, I would not consider it as an option if you fly to Florence (too far away)

In summer, from Lucca, you can also think to take a train to Viareggio (25 minutes) for some beach time in one of the trendiest locations in Italy.

AirBnb/Holiday Homes in Lucca:

  • The Casa Paolina is a great property (1 and 2-bedroom apartments) with all you need for a short stay with kids.
Lucca main square
Lucca main square

Three days to explore everything

From historical sites to the countryside, you’ll find a bit of everything in this itinerary.

3 days in Tuscany for everything
3 days in Tuscany for everything

The best place to be based is without any doubt Florence, rich in culture and a stone away from the amazing and iconic Tuscan countryside.

This is probably the most tiring itinerary of all, however, you get to experience a lot

    • Day 1: The Uffizi Gallery should be the first stop on the tour, but make sure to book the Priority Entrance Tour in advance to avoid spending the entire day queuing. Then skip the long queue for the Dome Climb at the Cathedral with the Priority Entrance; another great time-saver. Ponte Vecchio, the romantic arch bridge over the river Arno, is the last sight of the day. 
    • Day 2: You can visit the picturesque wineries of the Chianti Area, enjoy the rolling hills, and even taste some local wine. It’s not just about drinking, it’s about experiencing the local Tuscan life.
    • Day 2 (alternative): Rent a car and do the Chianti Tour on your own. Take the SR222 to explore Greve in Chianti. Continue your trip on the SR222 and stop at Castello di Panzano in Chianti and Panzano to have lunch. Then drive to the picturesque Castellina in Chianti and take the time to visit the Chianti Archaeological Museum where you will find interesting exhibits and you will have the possibility to taste the best wines in the area.
  • Day 3: Take the train (1.5 hours) to explore the second most popular destination in Tuscany, Siena. Alternatively take this organised tour to Siena, Pisa and San Gimignano, a great way to explore some of the most beautiful destinations in Tuscany. It’s going to be a very long, however beautiful, day.

Accommodations and experiences:

Siena - Palazzo Pubblico & Torre del Mangia
Siena – Palazzo Pubblico & Torre del Mangia
Stefano Ferro - MEL365.com Founder and Editor

About the Author

Stefano is a seasoned travel expert and the visionary founder of MEL365.com, a leading travel website with traffic across 6 continents. With a rich background in the travel industry, Stefano spent four pivotal years at Amadeus Travel Distribution System, gaining invaluable insights into travel technologies and distribution.

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