Where to stay in Tuscany [with or without a car]

I still remember my first trip to this lovely region of Italy, with no clue about where to stay in Tuscany. 

I have now spent a considerable amount of my life in this region. I just love it.

I ended up even buying a small house, a boutique (read tiny) hideout.

In this guide, you will find the best places to stay in Tuscany, including the best towns and the countryside too, to visit with or without a car. I have compared all of them below also with a handy table to quickly pick the destinations that work best for you.

You can even think to pick 2 or 3 destinations for a fantastic itinerary of Tuscany.

But let’s get straight into it

Tuscany rolling hills
Tuscany rolling hills

Best places to stay in Tuscany – In a nutshell

Here is a quick summary table that I am going to expand on below, after the map. The rating 1-5 is of course very subjective (5 for the best). You can also click on the destination name to just straight to a more detailed description. Shift left or right on the mobile to see the entire table.

DestinationSuggested HotelBest ForProsConsCharacter. Wine Tasting Museums Restaur.By Car
FlorenceCanto degli ScaliArt &
Short stay
Unique art and culture
A stone away from the Chianti area
It can be a bit chaotic and expensive
Headache with a car
54551
PisaRelais LorebianBudget &
Short Stay
Value for money
Flat, easy to walk
Not as beautiful and characteristic 22334
LuccaCasa PaolinaFamily &
Long Stay
Flat and Pedestrian Area
Unusual Renaissance architecture
Not the typical Tuscan town43442
SienaPalazzetto RossoCouples &
Architecture and history
Romantic medieval town
Unique horse race
Can be crowded and very touristy54551
ArezzoCasa PaolinaAuthentic experience and local cultureMore locals, fewer tourists
Excellent restaurants
Less dynamic than other destinations43453
MontepulcianoManilla House Romantic getaway & wine tastingPicturesque and romantic town
Great wine and food
Less cultural attractions 45244
MontalcinoLocanda FranciWine lovers and foodiesOne of the best wines in ItalyNot accessible with public transportation45254
San GimignanoSangi StudioWhite wine loversUnique towersBusy with tourism55243
Chianti AreaCastello di BibbioneNature and Red Wine Beautiful countryside
Popular wine
You need a carNature5255
Val D’OrciaIl MiraggioCountrysideUnique countryside
Amazing wine
You need a carNature5145
Tuscany Map with attractions, towns, villages
Tuscany Map with attractions, towns, villages
  • Best towns to stay in Tuscany: I personally have three favourites. The first one is Siena, the most gorgeous of all. It is, however, very popular with plenty of tourists around. The second one is Arezzo, still unknown to most and that’s probably part of the appeal. And finally, I want to add, of course, Florence, which is more of a small city (380,000 people), a must-visit for art lovers.
  • Where to stay in the Tuscany countryside: I suggest two areas. South of Siena in the Val D’Orcia for the most picturesque landscape. Alternatively, in the Chianti Area for its amazing wineries and the vicinity to both Florence and Siena. Read more tips on a countryside stay.
  • Where to stay in Chianti: this is a well-known area for its wine production and the best area to stay in Tuscany if you plan to book your accommodation in a winery. There are a few options of which the Viticcio is one of my favourites. You can read below more about Chianti and the true Tuscan life.
  • Best places to stay in Tuscany without a car: the best choice is to book your accommodation in a town and from there experience also the countryside with local day trips. Florence and Siena are popular spots. Arezzo is the hidden secret. Read more below for a stay without a car.
  • Best places to stay in Tuscany with a car: the easiest solution is to book in the countryside and take day trips to the towns. Otherwise, follow the unusual itinerary I list in the below chapter.
  • Where to stay in Tuscany for art, culture and history: you will find history everywhere in Tuscany, from the small medieval village perched on one of the many hills to the most renowned destinations. Florence is without a doubt the town/city with more art and cultural attractions, from the Cathedral to the Uffizi Palace. A must-visit for any trip to Tuscany.
  • Best areas to stay in Tuscany for a quiet weekend: the area south Florence is probably the handiest place to stay, close to most attractions and in the middle of the Chianti winery region
  • Where to stay in Tuscany for honeymoon: start with Florence and then go south to Montalcino, Montepulciano and Val D’Orcia, the most romantic part of Tuscany
  • Best winery stays in Tuscany: the Chianti area has probably the highest concentration of wineries that offer also accommodations, including a few stunning ones. The Castello di Fonterutoli is one of the best around, but often full (book well in advance). Another option is the Viticcio winery
  • Best wine towns in Tuscany: I could say all of them ๐Ÿ™‚ I think it goes down to personal choice and taste. I love Montalcino for its Brunello wine and Montepulciano for its Nobile. Both are expensive wines but so unique and amazing.
  • Best town to stay in Tuscany on a budget: I usually suggest Pisa, especially for a short stay. Why? Most of the low-cost airlines land in the Pisa Airport (well connected to the centre). You will have plenty of art and culture to experience around, of which the Leaning Tower is probably one the most iconic attractions of Tuscany (and Italy). Accommodations are cheaper than in many other Tuscan towns. Pisa is also so well connected to the expensive Florence (day trip) and Lucca, besides being a stone away from the beach, in case of a hot summer day.
  • Where to stay in Tuscany for couples: if you are after a romantic stay then head down to the Val D’Orcia area, really unique. Alternatively, book a room at Castello di Bibbione for a unique stay in a castle in the Chianti area. If you prefer to stay in a town, then you should check out Arezzo, off the beaten path, a great romantic destination close to Cortona, or Siena.
  • Best town to stay in Tuscany for a local experience: my choice here goes to Arezzo, so underrated, mostly unknown to mass tourism, but still as beautiful and unique as other more famous towns. It’s also very well connected to Florence and a stone away from Cortona.
  • Where to stay in Tuscany in winter: it’s a time of the year when temperatures can go below zero and you may experience also some snow. Most of the small/medium wineries are closed for business, however, the most popular ones are open on the weekend. In winter I suggest staying in the town centres where you will mostly have a local experience without the many travellers that visit Tuscany in spring and summer. Restaurants, bars and shops are typically open all year around.
  • Where to stay in Tuscany for wine tasting: Montalcino and Montepulciano are my favourite towns. You will have the possibility to organise your wine tasting in a few shops in the old centre or you can visit a few of the exceptional wineries around town. Siena has a few spots for wine tasting, however, they are more tourist-oriented. Greve in Chianti is also another option, being a beautiful town.
  • Where to stay in Tuscany for Family: I would personally suggest spending most of your time in the Tuscan countryside if you can drive. The farmhouses have usually playgrounds and/or swimming pools and you can leave your kids running around. Lucca is the most family-friendly town in Tuscany with its wide pedestrian-only area.
  • Where to stay in Tuscany with a toddler: Florence and Pisa are pretty flat and you will be easily able to move around with a pram. Lucca is also a great option as you will be able to walk over the huge walls (pedestrian area). Most of the other towns are more challenging. The Tuscan countryside is, of course, a good place to stay too.
  • Stay in Florence or Tuscany: this is a question I recently received. My guess is the question was more about staying in Florence or the countryside. If you are after art then Florence has to be (you can always organise a day trip to a winery region). If you are a nature lover, then book your place in the Tuscan countryside. Mix the two for the best experience.
  • Where to stay between Florence and Siena: I would say both ๐Ÿ™‚ but if I have to choose one then Florence for a first-time trip in Tuscany, Siena if you have been already in the region.
  • Agriturismo vs farmhouse vs hotel: the differences between an agriturismo and a farmhouse are so tiny but so important to understand. It’s mostly related to the food provided by the accommodation. If interested, read more on my full comparison short guide for Agriturismo vs farmhouse vs hotel.

Where to stay in Tuscany for art – Florence

  • ๐ŸŒŽ Where to stay in Tuscany for Art & Culture ๐Ÿฉ Canto degli Scali is the recommended accommodation in the area
  • ๐Ÿ‘ Pros: Unique art and culture, Short stay (up to 4 days), A stone away from the Chianti area, Base to visit other destinations (Pisa, Lucca, Siena, Arezzo, etc..) on a day trip
  • ๐Ÿ‘Ž Cons: It is a city and it can be a bit chaotic and expensive, although so beautiful, driving inside is challenging (not suggested), understanding where to stay in Florence is not easy, the city is quite big

Florence is the only actual city in Tuscany with a population of almost 400,000 people.

It is very well connected to Rome, Milan and Venice with a quick train (under 2 hours)

It has also an airport, used mostly by major airlines.

There are so many things to do and places to see in Florence that you can be busy for a week or more. Cultural events, museums, churches, amazing architecture, parks and so much more.

Florence is a magical city, however, avoid visiting it by car.

The centre is open only to the residents and finding parking is a real challenge.

If you are visiting on a day trip, you better park your car close to a train station outside the city and take a short trip to the centre. It will save you a big headache, besides some money.

From Florence, you can easily reach Lucca and Pisa with a short train trip, and Siena by bus (1.5hours).

If you plan to visit the Chianti area or the Val D’Ordia, then you better rent a car in Tuscany or join an organised tour.

Accommodation in Florence can be quite expensive, but itโ€™s a unique city and is unmissable on any trip to Italy.

If you are wondering where to stay in Florence, then you should read my ultimate guide with the best areas to stay, for couples, families, nightlife and more.

Here below are just two accommodations that really stand out.

The Canto degli Scali has an amazing selection of apartments and double rooms, decorated in a very stylish way with plenty of space to move around (check the photos here)

Check availability at the Canto

The Elisa Guest House is also a great place to stay in Florence. Minutes from the Duomo and the train station.

The perfect base to explore all of the attractions of the city. So practical and so well-priced.

Check the latest deal at Elisa Guest House

Florence - Elisa Guest House
Florence – Elisa Guest House

Best place to stay in Tuscany on a budget – Pisa

  • ๐ŸŒŽ Where to stay in Tuscany on a budget ๐Ÿฉ Relais Lorebian is the recommended accommodation in the area
  • ๐Ÿ‘ Pros: Great if travelling on a budget, perfect for a short stay or weekend (low-cost airlines airport), Ideal for a family trip with toddler/pram, one of the most iconic attractions
  • ๐Ÿ‘Ž Cons: The city itself is not as beautiful and characteristic as the other destinations in Tuscany

Pisa hosts the airport for the low-cost airlines (and now also for a few big names) flying to Tuscany.

Itโ€™s an interesting university town with one of the most famous attractions in the world, the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

This tower is located between the Arno and Serchio rivers. It is said that it was planned in that place because the soft soil would preserve it from possible earthquakes damages.

Unfortunately, they later found out that one side of the soil was much softer, which explains the leaning.

In the last 20 years, the local government has conducted a series of work to secure the tower and today itโ€™s a much safer attraction to visit than it used to be.

Interestingly enough, Pisa town is very flat, making it a perfect base if you are travelling with a toddler and a pram. Vice versa, most of the Tuscan towns, are hilly, if not steep.

The town itself is attractive, with a local young feeling, and more economical in the price for both restaurants and hotels, however, not as spectacular as Florence, Siena or Lucca.

It’s a great destination if you are planning a short stay on a budget from which to explore Florence and other attractions.

I wrote extensively on where to stay in Pisa with also an Agriturismo option in the countryside around the city. Here below is just one suggestion at an amazing value for money.

The Relais Lorebian is an amazing value accommodation that can work very well for 1 or 2 nights. It’s in an old property with lots of character. Service is great and parking is available.

Check the latest deal at the Relais Lorebian

The leaning Tower of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa

Where to stay in Tuscany for Family – Lucca

  • ๐ŸŒŽ Where to stay in Tuscany for families ๐Ÿฉ Casa Paolina is the recommended accommodation in the area
  • ๐Ÿ‘ Pros: great for a family trip, a second or third trip to Tuscany to experience the unusual Renaissance architecture, a long stay
  • ๐Ÿ‘Ž Cons: not the typical Tuscan town

Lucca is one of my favourite towns, if not my favourite, in Tuscany. But hold on, there is a good reason for that, don’t rush and book your stay in this town ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here are the main reasons.

  • the architecture is different from the other places in Tuscany, more from the Renaissance era and not the medieval time
  • if you spend weeks and months in Tuscany, as I did, you get used to the medieval towns and villages. Lucca is definitely something else.
  • the centre is still designed in a grid, as in the original plan from the Roman Empire. Different from the square concept of the other Tuscan towns
  • the original Renaissance wall still protects the town, all around the perimeter
  • best of all, the entire wall has been reorganised as a pedestrian area with a bike path. You can literally walk all around town, without the worry of any car. Fantastic if you are travelling with kids (my suggestion is to rent a bike, plenty of options around)

For all these reasons, I suggest often Lucca for a long stay, also being close to the coast.

The drawback, however, is that you will not find the Tuscany as you expected. And for this reason, I usually don’t suggest Lucca for a first or second-time trip. There is so much to explore before Lucca, which is more of the icing on the cake, in my opinion.

The Casa Paolina is an amazing property including 1 and 2-bedroom apartments with all you need for a short or long stay.

It’s located right in the centre of town and minutes away from the station, the medieval walls and most of the attractions. It’s a perfect place for families with kids.

Check availability at Casa Paolina

Lucca main square
Lucca main square

Best town to stay in Tuscany for a local experience – Arezzo

  • ๐ŸŒŽ Where to stay in Tuscany for a local experience ๐Ÿฉ Casa Paolina is the recommended accommodation in the area
  • ๐Ÿ‘ Pros: a local experience, a romantic trip, a unique historical experience, value for money
  • ๐Ÿ‘Ž Cons: less developed for tourism

Arezzo was one of the most important Etruscan cities and you can see evidence of it all around town.

Interestingly enough, Arezzo joined the Tuscany โ€œtouristic revolutionโ€ only in the last few years. It used to live only in agriculture and handicraft.

And this comes as a surprise because the town is really beautiful, with the main square, Piazza Grande, and the Cathedral being the top attractions.

Arezzo is somehow still off the beaten path and if you are looking for more of a local experience then it can be the best town to stay in Tuscany.

It has still that nice local feeling that places such as Siena have somehow lost.

It also provides great value for money for both accommodations and restaurants/bars/cafes.

It’s the perfect spot for couples that are looking for a romantic destination but still a bit stuck in the Tuscan past.

From Arezzo, you can easily visit Cortona and Florence on day trips, and it’s very well connected by train to Umbria’s capital, Perugia, another amazing city to explore.

The Cento Passi dal Duomo B&B is the perfect accommodation to explore Arezzo. Close to all you need. You forget about the car and you walk all through the town.

Nice spacious rooms and great service. Breakfast could be improved though. Price is a bargain.

Check the value for money at Cento Passi

Arezzo dressed up square
Arezzo dressed up square

Most beautiful town to stay in Tuscany – Siena

  • ๐ŸŒŽ Where to stay in Tuscany for couples ๐Ÿฉ Hotel Palazzetto Rosso is the recommended accommodation in the area
  • ๐Ÿ‘ Pros: Just wondering around, such a lovely town, the most antique horse race in the world, wine tasting easy to organise, proximity to many attractions and destinations (San Gimigliano, Montalcino, Montepulciano, Val D’Orcia, etc)
  • ๐Ÿ‘Ž Cons: Expensive, very touristy, don’t enter with a car (impossible to drive around)

How can you not fall in love with Piazza del Campo and the whole historic centre of Siena?

Impossible.

In fact, it has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.

Siena has also probably the oldest horse race in the world, the Palio, which started in medieval times and still runs on the 2nd of July and the 16th of August.

This is the race that stops the nation. Everyone in Italy is in front of the TV, watching this crazy event where the horse wins, doesnโ€™t matter if the jockey is still riding it.

Every horse represents a neighbourhood of Siena and all the locals are absolutely crazy about it.

Piazza del Campo is the stage for the race, changed and reorganised just for the event.

You may have seen the race in the famous movie “007 Quantum Of Solace“.

There is however something to be said about Siena.

It is today one of the most visited sites in Italy and it suffers the same issue as Venice and other popular Italian destinations.

It can be really really busy with tourists, up to a point where the small lanes become too crowded.

The best time to enjoy Siena is at sunrise and at night when most of the tour buses have left.

June to August is the high season, expect plenty of people everywhere.

Winter is instead a great season to visit Siena, more livable, although it can be quite cold as well.

This does not mean that you should not visit Siena, just be aware that you will not be alone.

Also, if you drive to Siena you will probably already be in a panic when you think about where to leave the car without breaking the bank. Do not worry, here is a guide to effortless parking in Siena that will save you time and money.

I wrote extensively about where to stay in Siena, with the best areas and a medieval village in a castle near the city, a real hidden gem. Here below 3 quick suggestions.

In Siena, you will find one of the most beautiful 5 stars hotels in the world, the Grand Hotel Continental

Set in a historical palace, you may feel like stepping back into the glorious past of Siena. 

Check availability at Grand Hotel Continental

Siena - Grand Hotel Continental
Siena – Grand Hotel Continental

Another more cost-effective option is the Hotel Palazzetto Rosso, a converted medieval palace refurbished with modern and comfortable rooms with amazing interior design.

The service is one of the best in town and the location is as central as it can be.

Check the latest deal at the Palazzetto

Siena - Hotel Palazzetto Rosso
Siena – Hotel Palazzetto Rosso

The Hotel Italia is one of the best values for money in Siena. Great rooms, lovely breakfast and fantastic service.

It’s just minutes away from the station and a 15-20 minute walk from the centre of town.

Check price at the Hotel Italia

View of beautiful Siena
View of beautiful Siena

Where to stay in Tuscany for wine tasting

Most of the towns and villages of Tuscany offer wine tasting in some form or another

In saying that, there are three villages that literally stand out because of their amazing wine.

The first one is Montepulciano, famous for its magnificent wine, the Nobile di Montepulciano.

This is a lovely small medieval village that has not changed in the last 500 years.

This is probably the best place to stay in Tuscany if you are after a boutique wine and food experience.

It is reachable by both bus and train.

My suggested accommodations in Montepulciano are Dimora Dell’Erbe (Rooms), ManillaHouse (Studio), Palazzo Colombi (2BR) and Agriturismo Cavalierino

There are a few differences between an agriturismo and a hotel stay. I usually prefer the latter for the amazing food.

Then comes Montalcino, as medieval as Montepulciano, with another iconic Tuscan wine, the Brunello di Montalcino.

Unfortunately, Montalcino does not have a train station and public buses are rare and far between.

This makes Montalcino less popular with tourism and probably a better choice if you are travelling by car.

My suggested accommodations in Montalcino are Drogheria e Locanda Franci (boutique rooms), Casa Costa (1BR), Apartment with a Garage (2BR) or Podere Brizio (countryside).

San Gimignano is another option, just outside Siena and easily reachable by bus or train.

This town is world famous for its Vernaccia di San Gimignano, one of Italy’s finest white wines, famous since the Renaissance era.

This village stands out for its medieval architecture and unique towers, erected by the wealthiest families of that era.

Itโ€™s a popular village to visit, and it can also be quite busy, especially in July and August.

My suggested accommodations in San Gimignano are B&B Le Undici Lune (rooms), Sangi Studio (1BR), Casa Bardi (2BR) and Agriturismo Il Colto

Other villages to consider are:

  • Pienza: seating in the famous Val Dโ€™Orcia, between the incredible rolling hills that have made Tuscany world famous. It should be on the bucket list
  • Pitigliano: one of the most characteristic villages in Tuscany, also called the little Jerusalem, seating on a huge tufa rock surface. Once you approach the town you will literally be open mouth
View when approaching Pitigliano
View when approaching Pitigliano

Best places to stay in Tuscany without a car

Tuscany can be absolutely visited without a private or rented car.

It may take more time, it may require planning it more carefully however you will be more relaxed during the trip, either on a train or a bus.

If you are planning two weeks or more, then you can also think to book a car just on those days when the destination is difficult to reach by public transportation. 

The village of Montalcino is a typical example, not connected by train and not well served by public bus.

I have organised a few itineraries without a car for one week and 10 days. You can see more options for 3 or 5 days in my Tuscany itinerary guide.

Itinerary of Tuscany without a car

Where to stay in the Tuscany countryside

If you are thinking to stay in the countryside then you should plan to also hire a car in Tuscany.

I personally use a comparative website called DiscoverCars.com. They give the best deal by analysing all the current prices from more than 30 rental companies. Great unbeatable prices.

Check the best car price

Without a car, it may be very hard to move around as public transportation is good between towns and cities but it lacks when moving around the countryside.

The best places to stay in Tuscany with a car are the farmhouses or the agritourismo, with their own differences. They can be really romantic, they provide local products and they are usually cheaper than the hotels in the towns.

Another alternative, especially if you are travelling with a group of friends or with kids, is to book a villa.

Val D’Orcia and the South of Tuscany

The area south of Tuscany, down to Siena and Montepulciano, is probably the most spectacular part of the region, with those beautiful rolling green hills that you have already seen in many photos around.

Hiring a car in Tuscany will take things to a new level made of no timeline and possible breaks in hidden and unknown villages along the way

As an example, the trip from Montalcino to Montepulciano can be done in 1 hour with a bus or 1 day with a car, visiting the few villages between, driving through the beautiful hills and stopping for a few photos, making an excursion in a “Riserva Naturale” (National Park), having lunch in a local “trattoria” and so much more.

Villa Montalcino is a great place if you are travelling in a group or with kids (up to 8 people). It is basically a small castle (see photos here) in the middle of the Tuscan countryside. Close to the village of Montalcino and just 40km from Siena. 

 Check availability at Villa Montalcino

Other suggested accommodations in the Val D’Orcia area are Il Miraggio in Val d’Orcia Relais & Spa (amazing view of the valley), Il Mughetto (2BR), Agriturismo Il Cavalleggero (Rooms) and La Cantina di Pi (2BR value for money)

San Quirico D'Orcia
San Quirico D’Orcia

Chianti Area

Another possibility is to stay between Florence and Siena, the Chianti Area. 

This will allow you to easily visit both cities on a day or half-day trip.

You can find here a few accommodations right in the Chianti wineries, which are absolutely a unique choice.

In this area, you can check out the following accommodations:

  • The Castello di Bibbione is a dream come true. Have you ever dreamt to sleep in a castle, possibly with a pool? Then you should book this place. Truly magnificent (see photos here). And the best is that it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
  • The Viticcio is set in an actual working winery. It’s a great place, with a pool, to experience the Tuscan life, oil and wine production and farming life. The rooms are beautifully decorated (see photos here) and the food is 100% local. It’s all so Chianti style.
  • Villa La Coccola will make you feel a celebrity. The interior and exterior design mix the Tuscan style with a modern touch (see photos here). The swimming pool is the perfect spot for those hot summer days. Really a unique place for up to 8 people

Check price at Castello  Check price at Viticcio  Check availability at La Coccola

As I previously said, do not venture with the car inside Florence, unless you are looking for a headache which will start with the impossibility to park (unless you fork 30-40โ‚ฌ, or more, for a day).

If you have a car and you want to visit Florence then I suggest parking it just outside the city at one of these two places:

  • Villa Costanza: this is the newest and best spot in my opinion. You don’t even need to leave the “Autostrada” (highway). Tram #1 will take you directly to the city centre. The parking is less than 10 โ‚ฌ/day. Absolutely a bargain
  • Piazza Don Pietro Puliti in the town of Galluzzo. It’s free parking, which is great. Walk to the next square, Piazza Acciaiuoli, and catch tram 36 or 37 to the city centre.

TIP: Don’t leave any bag in the car that people can see, even if there is nothing inside. 

The tram tickets can be bought in a convenience store (“Tabaccheria”) or at the newsstand. Remember to validate it once on board.

Siena has a ZTL area and you cannot drive inside the old centre. 

If you are visiting the city on a day trip, consider parking the car outside the centre and getting a tram or bus to go in.

It’s cheaper and easier.

Do not venture into the medieval part of town, some of the streets can be quite narrow.

Best places to stay in Tuscany with a car

Having a car will give you more flexibility in the countryside, however, it will be also a headache in the city where the streets are narrow and parking is hard to find.

If you plan to stay mostly in the countryside, then check the previous chapter for all the options you have.

I have built 4 itineraries by car for one week and 10 days in Tuscany.

You can approach them in a relaxed way, with more chill-out time and longer stays in the destinations, or, more on the go, changing accommodation every second day or so.

It is going to be tiring, however, you will experience so much more.

Is it not true that the trip to a place becomes the experience itself and not just a way to reach the destination?

If you stay in the cities, be aware that most of them, like Florence and Siena, have a ZTL area (Limited traffic zone).

If your hotel is in the ZTL area then ask them, once you have booked your room, to provide the special pass.

As previously said, you may also consider parking your car outside the centre and commuting by public transportation to the hotel

Siena - Piazza del Duomo
Pisa – Leaning Tower and Cathedral

Best areas to stay in Tuscany – A short summary

To make things easier, I always suggest seeing Tuscany as divided into 6 areas.

Tuscany Map with attractions, towns, villages
Tuscany Map with attractions, towns, and villages
  • the Central area with Florence and the wineries around
  • the North with a mountain landscape (less characteristic, I would leave this area on a third or fourth trip to Tuscany)
  • the West with cities such as Pisa (the main touristic airport) and Lucca. They are both connected by a quick train to Florence and the beach.
  • the Coast with some good beaches great for a day tour on those hot days but I would not stay there
  • the South, from the Chianti area to Siena and other beautiful villages
  • the East with Cortona and Arezzo (opening more to tourism in the last few years). Cortona is extremely famous with Americans with a school in town as well.

Frequently Asked Questions on where to stay in Tuscany

What are the best towns to stay in Tuscany?

Siena, Lucca and Arezzo are my favourites. They all have their own unique character, Siena is more stylish, Lucca more medieval and Arezzo more vintage (in a good way). Florence is more of a city (the only one in Tuscany). San Gimignano, Montepulciano and Montalcino are big villages.

Should I stay in the countryside or a town in Tuscany?

If you prefer a more rural and peaceful setting, staying in the countryside is ideal. If you prefer a livelier atmosphere with more dining and entertainment options, staying in a town may be better.

Is it better to stay in a hotel, an Agriturismo or a villa in Tuscany?

Budget-wise the Agriturmo usually provides better value for money, but it really depends on the style. The villas usually provide much more space and privacy though. You should check out my guide on the differences between the Agriturismo, the hotel and other types of accommodations.

What are the best months to visit Tuscany?

In April/May and September to November, the weather is usually mild and the region is not as busy. September/October is also great if you want to experience the harvesting of wine, although that is also the time when wineries can be so busy that they cannot give you as much attention.

Is Tuscany expensive?

Accommodation costs vary a lot. The entry-level range is around โ‚ฌ50-โ‚ฌ200 per night. It can easily go up into the thousands for a boutique stay. Pisa tends to be the cheaper town to stay. Villages and the countryside is also usually cheaper.

Should I stay in Tuscany for a week or longer?

A week is a good amount of time to see some of the highlights, but longer stays allow for more exploration and relaxation. You should check out one of my itineraries in Tuscany that go from a short stay to a much longer 2 weeks.

What are the best areas for wine tasting in Tuscany?

Chianti and Val D’Orcia are the most common winery areas visited by most travellers. My suggestion here is to stay in either Montepulciano or Montalcino, the two towns with some of the best wines in the world.

Is it necessary to have a car to explore Tuscany?

If you plan to visit the countryside then a car is a must. You can do it also with public transportation but it wouldn’t be the same. Besides being more flexible, you will be able to visit a few remote places.

Are there any budget-friendly accommodations in Tuscany?

Yes, there are budget-friendly accommodations in Tuscany, such as hostels, campgrounds, and agriturismos.

Should I stay in one location or multiple locations in Tuscany?

To relax and have a leisurely experience, stay in one location. Otherwise, spice up your trip with 2 or more destinations and a great itinerary of Tuscany between them

36 thoughts on “Where to stay in Tuscany [without a car or with it]”

  1. Thank you for all your information as it is so helpful! My husband and I are traveling to Tuscany in September for 12 days and will be using Lucca as our base. We are flying in and out of Rome. Some of the towns weโ€™d like to visit are Montelpuciano and Cinque Terre. Weโ€™ve visited Florence 3 years ago, we do not want a hectic pace, and we will be hiring private drivers and using the train. Itโ€™s been difficult coming up with an itinerary. Do you have recommendations? Itโ€™s greatly appreciated

    Reply
    • Hi Lillian,
      you will be surprised by Lucca, so different to the rest of Tuscany. From there I would suggest visiting
      Bagni di Lucca and the Carfagnana Valley, Forte dei Marmi and Viareggio, Carrara and Pisa of course. You can read more about these places here: https://mel365.com/places-to-visit-in-tuscany/
      Cinque Terre is also doable as a day trip from Lucca but it would be a very long day and you would miss out on so many things. Take the train instead and spend there 2-3 nights. You can read more about the 5 towns here: https://mel365.com/where-to-stay-in-cinque-terre/
      From Lucca to Montepulciano is a long trip, just because of the lack of direct transportation. If you really want to visit Montepulciano and possibly the picturesque Val D’Orcia I suggest splitting your stay between Lucca and Siena (3-4 days) from where you can visit the south of Tuscany.
      From Lucca you could also visit San Gimignano, If you decide to stay in Siena, however, you can do it from there as a day trip.
      I hope I was able to help and not add more question marks
      Regards

      Reply
  2. Hello, Stefano, I found you on YouTube and then came to your website. Thanks for all the info.

    My wife and I are first time visitors to Italy, coming in end-May 2022. A few points and questions:

    1) We are booked in a lovely Airbnb in Impruneta, 13 kms away from Florence. We will come there after some days in Lake Como.
    2) We want to visit Villa Vrindavana, about 9 kms west of Impruneta, and also Assisi.
    3) Our Airbnb host said to rent a car in Florence, at Santa Maria Railway station, and drive around.

    Would you advise that?

    I heard that foreign tourists get trapped in speeding fines, parking hassles, and no-drive zones in Italy. But I don’t know if there is good public transportation between these points.

    Or should we just stay in Florence, and visit Villa Vrindavana and Assisi by public transportation?

    Thank you most kindly for your help!

    Regards,
    Yogesh

    Reply
    • Hi Yogesh,
      thanks for your comment.

      Foreign tourists get trapped only if they commit the offence. If you don’t speed, than no worries, like in any other country. That works for everyone, local or tourists. Parking is not as easy, especially in the major centres, like Florence or Pisa where there are several no-drive zones, mostly in the centre of town.
      It’s always a hard decision. For what you want to visit I would personally get a car. That would make my life so much easier. It will be more expensive but I will save plenty of time, especially when moving in the countryside., which you should not miss btw.
      Assisi is one of those places where parking is not as straight forward. Check out a place where you can park the car before going there, this will save you a headache.
      I hope I was able to help out
      Cheers

      Reply
  3. Hey! great site with great information, thank you !! wanted to get your opinion – I will be in the Tuscany for 10 days next week – I am coming by car this time – I have visited Florence, Siena, Pisa, Lucca already – what other places should be on my top list? and what would town/city you recommend to stay as a solo traveler besides the ones above? I am basically looking for a place to stay and then do daytrips with the car to other cities around, maybe not stay in the same city for the whole period but 3-4 places. Thanks a lot in advance!!

    Reply
    • Hi Mark, thanks for your feedback, really appreciated.
      About your question. I would personally suggest:
      – Arezzo: off the beaten path, you will be surprised by how beautiful it is
      – Montalcino or Montepulciano: one of the two villages to experience more of a small scale stay. They are both busy during the day but at night you will share it only with a bunch of travellers
      – Orvieto: it’s in Umbria, however, just a few km from Tuscany, truly magical, even with a gondola to go from the new Orvieto to the old town.
      Enjoy your trip!!
      Cheers

      Reply
  4. Hi there
    Thank you for providing such helpful information!
    I am travelling to Tuscany with my husband and 1 year old daughter in April this year and would love to know what town youโ€™d recommend we stay near? We will have a car and look to do half day trips most days for a week and would love to be close to a nice town for down days. Was thinking it may be best to be in Chianti region, closer to Florence as we will be driving from France. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.
    Steph

    Reply
    • Hi Steph,
      the Chianti region is a great choice. Right in the middle of the “action”. You will be within one hour within Siena, Florence and many other beautiful places.
      The town San Casciano In Val di Pesa could be a great choice. It a nice charming village from where you can visit most of Tuscany, even with public transportation if you do not feel to drive.
      Enjoy your trip!!

      Reply
  5. Hi Stefano –
    The BEST website on the internet by far. Thank you for such a detailed account of Tuscany. I will be in Florence and traveling to Castello di Bibbione. Is it easy enough to take a train or would you recommend taxi from Florence? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Thanks!!
      By taxi it’s a 45 drive (approx time)
      By public transportation, you would need to take the 370A bus from the Busitalia SITA Nord Autostazione (next to the Central Station, Santa Maria Novella), however it does not arrive to Castello di Bibbione. You would have to walk for the last 1-2km. The whole trip should take 1.5 hours. Ask at the station for the closest stop you need to get off as this may change based on the time you will take the bus (different routes).

      Enjoy your trip!!

      Reply
  6. Thanks for the amazing web site. I learned a lot about Tuscany here. My trip will be for 3 couples with 4 kids: 6, 4, 2, 1 years old. Looking for a villa-type of place to rent in the country side. We look for the combination of clean/modern interior in a country setting. Not important to be near a winery but great local food is essential. I was thinking about taking day trips to Florence, Pisa, San Quirico Dโ€™Orcia, and perhaps join some winery tours. Renting a car/van could be an option to get around. Any suggestions where to start looking? Also what’s the best season to visit Tuscany?

    Reply
    • Hi there,
      and thanks for your comment.
      Let start from the end. The best season is April and May, for the great colours all around, warm weather, not too busy. September and October are also good months, however, the wineries will be very busy that time of the year.
      Summer is also good, you may, however, experience some hot days over 30C and plenty of travellers around.
      I love the area of San Quirico Dโ€™Orcia, however if you want to see Pisa and Florence then an accommodation between the two cities may be better.
      The Villa del Cielo (https://mel365.com/VillaDelCielo), just outside Siena may be all you need. There are plenty of bedrooms to host everyone.
      Villa Barberino (https://mel365.com/TenutaVillaBarberino) in San Casciano is also a great place to stay, close to restaurants and not too far from both cities.

      Enjoy your trip!!
      Cheers
      Stef

      Reply
  7. Hi Stefano,
    so glad I finally came across your website. I am struggling to decide on an area of Tuscany to stay. We are visiting with 8 adults late August, early September. We would like the Italian Villa experience, however would like access to a village for down days (no driving). We also want to be able to visit, Florence, Siena and Assisi. Any suggestions on a town and the best site or suggestions for villas would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your feedback, really appreciated ๐Ÿ™‚
      I would personally stay between Florence and Siena, probably closer to Florence (which you will probably visit at least twice). If you have the car then try to book a villa close to the highway. That would make your life so much easier.
      This villa in the Chianti area can be a solution (see photos here). It’s close to the highway and next to San Casciano In Val di Pesa, a nice town for that days you want to take it easy or just for dinner. You are also in the middle of the Chianti area.
      You can reach Florence in 10 minutes by car or 30 minutes by bus (#368A, however check the BusItalia website for route and timetable). Siena in about 1 hour by car or 1.5 hours by bus. Budget 2 hours to go to Assisi by car
      Another alternative is Villa San Dalmazio, much closer to Siena but 1 hour from Florence and not really in the Chianti area. However, you will be closer to Assisi (1.5hours by car)

      I hope I was able to help.
      Enjoy your trip!!

      Reply

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