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

Where to stay in Tuscany is a common question simply because this is a big region, one of the biggest in Italy. My 3 favourite options are Florence, Chianti and Lucca but honestly, there is so much more that may work better for you.

I have spent so much time in Tuscany that I eventually ended up buying a small property, a boutique (read tiny) hideout. A great base to explore all this region has to offer.

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.
  • Best city 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
  • Ideal locations for a stay in Tuscany for a honeymoon: start with Florence and then go south to Montalcino, Montepulciano and Val D’Orcia, the most romantic part of Tuscany
  • Best area to stay in Tuscany for wine: 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 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.
  • Unique places 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.
  • Where 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 base yourself 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.
  • Best small towns in Tuscany to stay 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.
  • Best town 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.
  • Where to stay between Florence and Siena: I would say both πŸ™‚ 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.

Best city to stay in Tuscany for art – Florence

  • 🌎 Where to stay in Tuscany for Art & Culture 🏩 Canto degli Scali is the recommended accommodation in the area
  • πŸ‘ 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
  • πŸ‘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 also has 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 (1.5 hours).

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 it’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

  • 🌎 Where to stay in Tuscany on a budget 🏩 Relais Lorebian is the recommended accommodation in the area
  • πŸ‘ 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
  • πŸ‘Ž Cons: The city itself is not as beautiful and characteristic as the other destinations in Tuscany

Siena is 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 it’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. On the contrary, most of the Tuscan towns, are hilly, if not steep.

Pisa is the best place to stay in Tuscany on a budget. It is more economical in the price for both restaurants and hotels and it hosts the main Tuscan airport for low-cost airlines (Ryanair, etc).

It’s a great destination if you are planning a short stay on a budget from which to explore Florence and other attractions, however, the city itself is not as spectacular as Siena or Lucca in my opinion.

I wrote extensively on where to stay in Pisa with also an Agriturismo option in the countryside around the city. Here is a quick comparative table of the 5 best areas to stay in the city.

Area ProsConsBudgetAccessibilityAttractionsGood for RestaurantsGood for FamiliesGood for NightlifeCharacter
Near Leaning TowerWhere to stay in Pisa for first-time visitorsIconic landmark, scenic, good for familiesBusy, higher accommodation pricesHighGoodHighHighHighMediumHigh
Historic CentreWhere to stay in Pisa for couples and cultureRich history, variety of shops and restaurantsLimited parking, can be noisyMediumGoodHighHighHighMediumHigh
Sant’Antonio/Train StationWhere to stay in Pisa on a budgetValue for money, close to train stationLess charming, far from Leaning TowerLowExcellentLowMediumMediumLowLow
San FrancescoWhere to stay in Pisa for nightlifeDiverse bars and restaurants, young vibeNoisy at night, limited parkingHighGoodMediumHighLowHighMedium
AgriturismoWhere to stay in Pisa for families and natureUnique experience, beautiful landscapesNeed a car, not in PisaMediumPoorLowMediumHighLowHigh
Best areas and places to stay in Pisa

Shortly, the 3 best accommodation options in Pisa are

La Torre Garbata($$$): exceptional location, comfortable rooms, and commendable cleanliness.

Under the Tower ($$$): 2BR in prime location with exceptional comfort and cleanliness. Fully-equipped and tastefully decorated. Truly a home away from home.

La Corte di Lisa ($$): A great simple stay with self check-in

Where to stay in Pisa
Where to stay in Pisa

Best town to stay in Tuscany for Family – Lucca

  • 🌎 Where to stay in Tuscany for families 🏩 Casa Paolina is the recommended accommodation in the area
  • πŸ‘ Pros: great for a family trip, a second or third trip to Tuscany to experience the unusual Renaissance architecture, a long stay
  • πŸ‘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 πŸ˜‰

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

  • 🌎 Where to stay in Tuscany for a local experience 🏩 Casa Paolina is the recommended accommodation in the area
  • πŸ‘ Pros: a local experience, a romantic trip, a unique historical experience, value for money
  • πŸ‘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 β€œtouristic revolution” 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

  • 🌎 Where to stay in Tuscany for couples 🏩 Hotel Palazzetto Rosso is the recommended accommodation in the area
  • πŸ‘ 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)
  • πŸ‘Ž Cons: Expensive, very touristy, don’t enter with a car (impossible to drive around)

The Historic Centre of Siena (UNESCO World Heritage Site) is one of the most beautiful in Italy, and not only in Tuscany, with the epicentre in the impressive Piazza del Campo.

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, doesn’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 neighbourhoods and a medieval village near the city, a real hidden gem. Here below is a quick table I have reproduced from my Siena guide where I compare all the areas.

Area of SienaProsConsBudgetAccessibilityAttractionsRestaurantsFamiliesNightlifeCharacter
Historic CentreIconic sights, vibrant atmosphereLimited parking, crowded, expensiveHighVery goodPiazza del Campo, Siena Cathedral, ExcellentGoodModerateRich history, charming streets
San ProsperoQuiet, green spaces, parking optionsFewer attractions, limited nightlifeModerateModerate
(better if driving)
Fortezza MediceaModerateGreatLowLocal, relaxed vibe
Train Station AreaAffordable, transport connectionsLess charming, busier streetsLowExcellentShopping, city explorationGoodModerateLowPractical, busy
AgriturismoUnique experience, serene, landscapesRequires car, no nightlifeVariablePoor
(car only)
Countryside walks, local farm toursLocal farm-to-table diningGreatLowRural, authentic
MonteriggioneStunning castle, medieval atmosphereNo nightlife, fewer dining optionsHigh – ModeratePoor
(car only)
Monteriggione CastleGoodGoodLowMedieval, romantic
Best areas to stay in Siena

Shortly, the most beautiful accommodation options in Siena

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.

It’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 D’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. This will make your life so much easier and honestly is not that difficult to drive around Tuscany.

I also recommend hiring a car to organise a Tuscany countryside itinerary, one of the best experiences you can have in Italy.

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 agriturismo, 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.

Best hotels in Tuscany countryside

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:

San Quirico D'Orcia
San Quirico D’Orcia

Chianti Area

The Chianti area, between Florence and Siena, has also impressive countryside, besides a lovely wine. From there you can also easily visit both cities on a day trip, which is a great bonus.

The Chianti area stretches for over 160 km or around 100 miles. There are so many fantastic spots to book your hotel. For this reason, I organised a full guide to the best 7 towns, villages and areas of Chianti. This is a short summary table that compares my suggested places to stay.

Area of ChiantiSuggested forProsConsBudgetAccessibilityAttractionsRestaurantsFamiliesNightlifeCharacter
ImprunetaBest town to stay in Chianti for familiesFamily-friendly, quiet, close to FlorenceLack of nightlifeMid-rangeGood, especially with a carTerracotta fornaci, annual Grape FestivalExcellentExcellentPoorTraditional, artisan
San Casciano Val di PesaBest town to stay in Chianti for the wineRich in history, fantastic wine cultureNot the most budget-friendlyHigh-endGood, but easier with a carMonastery of Santa Maria del PratoExcellent, especially for wineGoodModerateHistoric, wine-focused
Tavarnelle Val di PesaBest town to stay in Chianti on a budgetAffordable, stunning landscapesLimited attractions in townLowGood, both car and public transport Natural parks and landscapesModerateGoodNoneNatural, tranquil
Greve in ChiantiBest town to stay in Chianti for first-time visitorsVibrant atmosphere, great food scene, charming central squareCan be busy in peak seasonMid-to-highGood, but easier with a carThe central square, numerous wineriesExcellentModerateModerateVibrant, food-focused
Radda in ChiantiBest town to stay in Chianti for romantic couplesPicturesque medieval village, romantic settingNo nightlife, poor public transportationHigh-endRequires a carVineyardsExcellentModerateNoneCharming, romantic
Castellina in ChiantiBest town to stay in Chianti for historyRich history, lovely sceneryCan be busy during peak seasonMid-to-highRequires a carThe fortress, Archaeological Museum of ChiantiExcellentModerateNoneHistoric, picturesque
AgriturismoBest place to stay in Chianti for natureUnique accommodation, serene surroundingsFar from towns and centresVariesRequires a carNature and local farm experiencesExcellent (local food)ExcellentNoneRural, authentic
Best areas to stay in Chianti

Shortly, my favourite accommodation options in Chianti are:

  • 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 like 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

Driving from the Chianti area to Florence and Siena

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 30-40€, 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 €/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 historic centre. 

I have organised a complete guide to easy parking in Siena that will be very useful if you are planning a day trip there, as well as if you are booking a few nights stay

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

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 €50-€200 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 are 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. Dear Stefano,
    Thanks for this great website! We are travelling from Switzerland to Tuscany with our T6 camping bus and our idea is to stay in some nice campsites also some beach campsites would be cool. Any recomendations? And we will ofcourse not go to florence by car after your tip! We will take public transportation!
    Idea is travel around Tuscany and stay in campsites !
    Gracie mile,
    Nyala

    Reply
    • Hi Nyala,
      it’s a great idea. Unfortunately, I can’t really help with campsites though. I am not an avid camping person.
      A few years ago I spent a few days camping in La Torba and I had a great time, next to the beach, the beautiful Capalbio and Port Santo Stefano. It’s however far from most famous destinations.

      If you want to keep it as a base, I suggest staying close to Lido di Camaiore, more in the north (it’s very popular for holiday). There is a train to go around Tuscany and you are also very close to the Cinque Terre, an outstanding place to visit.You can read more about it here.
      Enjoy your trip
      Cheers

      Reply
  2. Hello Stefano, Amazing website and very helpful blog. We are building our Tuscany itinerary from your page. Me and my wife are planning 3 days in Tuscany from our 7-8 days trip in Italy. I will plan to experience Tuscany in Car. I am thinking to stay in Agritutismo in Chianti area. Which one do you recommend?
    We are doing our trip in Mid-April, 2020.

    Reply
  3. Hi, I’m looking for a name of a company who does wine tours from Siena for a half day. It will be on a Saturday and have found a company, however they don’t offer one on that day. Also, if I have a whole day when I finalize where should we go? Montiplacino for either? There are two of us. Thanks and love your blog!!

    Reply
    • Hi there, sorry for the late reply.
      Tour and Travel Services offer wine tours that cover Montalcino, Pienza & Montepulciano. They do include food too which is a great enjoyable plus.
      They offer trips 3 times a week, more often in summer.
      Both Montalcino and Montepulciano are lovely villages to walk around, seat for a glass of wine and enjoy the life passing by.’
      Have a look and hopefully, you will be able to join them
      Enjoy your trip!!

      Reply
  4. Planning on spending 6 nights in the Tuscan region, definitely hiring a car, and thought about basing ourselves outside of Florence, in a farmhouse/villa type thing and just doing day trips around. 4 adults, 66, 65, 31, 28, none of us have ever been to italy. Is there a village in particular you would recommend to base ourselves in or do you think it would be more beneficial to stay in Florence for maybe 2 nights and then 4 nights elsewhere?

    Reply
    • Hi Amy
      My suggestion here is to avoid driving into Florence. The centre is closed to traffic anyway and parking is, as you can imagine, a big waste of time and money.
      If you want to visit Florence then I would suggest staying there for 2 nights, then rent a car and go to explore Tuscany.
      Greve in Chianti is a nice area/village to stay with a beautiful central square. 30km from Florence and 40 from Siena. You could also book the whole stay there and take the direct bus every day into Florence.

      Enjoy your trip!!

      Reply
  5. Thanks Stefano

    How do you find the weather in Tuscany for mid-December? We would love to tour the wineries (if still open around that time). Perhaps its best to catch a train from Florence to Siena, which we can use as a base to do day trips to Chianti, Montepulciano, Monteciano. Would you recommend this as a suggestion? Also do you suggest any winery day trips from Siena? I would prefer to go to nice wineries, rather than those that pump out lots of wine for commercial purposes.
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Mid-December is usually a cold month with short days. You may also experience some snow which makes Tuscany really unique. Definitely a different experience, which can be really cozy with some wine in front of the fireplace πŸ™‚

      The drawback with mid-December is that a few wineries will be closed after the long working season.
      The Chianti area can be easily visited from Florence with one of the many tours. This is my favorite one.
      Montepulciano and Montalcino are better done from Siena. For these two areas I would suggest, once in Siena, visiting the local tourist office and see what wineries can be visited in December. They have private and group tours available. If you are keen into visiting boutique wineries then you need to get a private tour.

      Have a great trip
      Cheers πŸ™‚

      Reply
  6. Thank you for your article Stefano. My wife and I, and my sister are planning a cruise of Italy in mid October of 2020. After our cruise ends in Rome, we are planning another week in the Tuscan/Umbria area and we will have a rental car. Our current plan is to base in Cortona, with possible day trips to Sienna, Arezzo, Montepulciano, Monteciano. and Lake Trasemino. Are we trying to do too much? What’s the weather typically like in this region the end of October? We also are looking at the Hotel Villa Marsili in Cortona. If you have any info on this, I would appreciate your comments. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Thanks πŸ™‚
      I believe you have a reasonable plan, not in so much rush.Montalcino and Montepulciano can be done in a day. With a few stops between wineries of course πŸ™‚
      The weather is always a great question, especially in the shoulder season. So hard to give an indication. On average I would expect cold mornings (5C-7C) and warmish afternoons (~15C). It may even go up to 20C or stay down on 10C. It’s end of Autumn so expect chilly mornings.

      About the Hotel Villa Marsili, it’s one of the best choices in Tuscany, not only in Cortona. You will be surprise by the amazing breakfast (usually very light in Italy, but surely not in Villa Marsili). The service is also so friendly, but that’s quite common in the area, the Tuscan air makes everyone very friendly and happy I guess:)
      My suggestion here is to book well in advance as it tends to get full. You may check the hotel availability/price on this link. It’s an Hotel aggregator that compares all the prices from the major players, I usually get great prices for Tuscany.
      Most of the sites allow now free cancellation, so you can book now and cancel later if you change your mind. This will avoid any disappointments.

      Enjoy your trip!!!

      Reply
  7. Hello Stefano! I plan to visit Tuscany in February, do you have any recommendations for driving in winter? does it snows? do I need experience for driving in snowy/cold weather???

    I really liked your article! It is very descriptive, and helpful, full of valuable insights! thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Andrea, thanks for your comment.

      February and January are usually the coldest months in Italy. And yes you may experience snow, although it’s rare but it may happen.
      If you are not experienced then you may leave the decision to rent the car at the last minute, once you can see the road conditions. If snowing you should take the train, the easiest and quickest way.

      By the way, with the snow, Tuscany becomes magical. So do not think you will not be lucky, you will experience a unique white landscape πŸ™‚

      Enjoy your holiday
      Cheers

      Reply
  8. Amazing article Stefano! thanks so much for writing this! My wife and I are travelling to Italy for three weeks in December this year. We are starting and doing three days in Rome and then thinking 4 days in Florence, 5 days in Tuscany, 3 days in Bologna before heading up to Venice and Milan. Question: What do you think of chianti as a base to explore Tuscany, compared to Siena? Would you recommend going from Rome -> Florence -> Siena -> Bologna or Rome -> Siena -> Florence -> Bologna. Thanks so much for your help!

    Reply
    • Hi Jason,
      Thanks for your feedback, really appreciated.
      About Chianti and Siena. If you have a car then the Chianti area works best, so romantic to drive around. If you take public transportation then Siena works best, so well connected.

      About the direction, if you are driving then Siena it’s just between Rome and Florence.
      If you are travelling by train then take the quick Italo Train and in less than two hours you are in Florence. From there you can have a bus or train trip to Siena, easy.

      For the other cities you are going to visit you may want to read my guide to Venice here and to Milan here.

      Enjoy your trip. Sure it will be awesome πŸ˜€

      Reply
  9. Great site thank you, learnt so much and will take up your recommendations (most of them) for our visit to this region in June. Hopefully we can still get around, by the sounds of things a lot of tourists will be visiting around the same time we are planning our 10 day visit. Looking forward to the hustle and bustle and atmosphere. Thanks so much for sharing, fantastic details and information for this beautiful Italian region from Florence, with or without a car. So very informative. Thank you

    Reply
    • Hey Giorgio, no worries. June is actually a nice month to visit Tuscany. Florence is gonna be obviously quite busy, as well as Siena. Try to visit them in the early part of the day, possibly at sunrise, and you will have both cities almost just for yourself. Great for photos.
      Everywhere else will be absolutely fine.
      I personally suggest renting your own car to explore the countryside and small villages.

      Reply

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