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
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.
|Destination||Suggested Hotel||Best For||Pros||Cons||Character.||Wine Tasting||Museums||Restaur.||By Car|
|Florence||Canto degli Scali||Art &|
|Unique art and culture|
A stone away from the Chianti area
|It can be a bit chaotic and expensive|
Headache with a car
|Pisa||Relais Lorebian||Budget &|
|Value for money|
Flat, easy to walk
|Not as beautiful and characteristic||2||2||3||3||4|
|Lucca||Casa Paolina||Family &|
|Flat and Pedestrian Area|
Unusual Renaissance architecture
|Not the typical Tuscan town||4||3||4||4||2|
|Siena||Palazzetto Rosso||Couples &|
Architecture and history
|Romantic medieval town|
Unique horse race
|Can be crowded and very touristy||5||4||5||5||1|
|Arezzo||Casa Paolina||Authentic experience and local culture||More locals, fewer tourists|
|Less dynamic than other destinations||4||3||4||5||3|
|Montepulciano||Manilla House||Romantic getaway & wine tasting||Picturesque and romantic town|
Great wine and food
|Less cultural attractions||4||5||2||4||4|
|Montalcino||Locanda Franci||Wine lovers and foodies||One of the best wines in Italy||Not accessible with public transportation||4||5||2||5||4|
|San Gimignano||Sangi Studio||White wine lovers||Unique towers||Busy with tourism||5||5||2||4||3|
|Chianti Area||Castello di Bibbione||Nature and Red Wine||Beautiful countryside|
|You need a car||Nature||5||2||5||5|
|Val D’Orcia||Il Miraggio||Countryside||Unique countryside|
|You need a car||Nature||5||1||4||5|
- 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 🙂 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
- 👍 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
- 👎 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).
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.
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
- 👍 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
- 👎 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||Pros||Cons||Budget||Accessibility||Attractions||Good for Restaurants||Good for Families||Good for Nightlife||Character|
|Near Leaning Tower||Where to stay in Pisa for first-time visitors||Iconic landmark, scenic, good for families||Busy, higher accommodation prices||High||Good||High||High||High||Medium||High|
|Historic Centre||Where to stay in Pisa for couples and culture||Rich history, variety of shops and restaurants||Limited parking, can be noisy||Medium||Good||High||High||High||Medium||High|
|Sant’Antonio/Train Station||Where to stay in Pisa on a budget||Value for money, close to train station||Less charming, far from Leaning Tower||Low||Excellent||Low||Medium||Medium||Low||Low|
|San Francesco||Where to stay in Pisa for nightlife||Diverse bars and restaurants, young vibe||Noisy at night, limited parking||High||Good||Medium||High||Low||High||Medium|
|Agriturismo||Where to stay in Pisa for families and nature||Unique experience, beautiful landscapes||Need a car, not in Pisa||Medium||Poor||Low||Medium||High||Low||High|
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
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
- 👍 Pros: great for a family trip, a second or third trip to Tuscany to experience the unusual Renaissance architecture, a long stay
- 👎 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 😉
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.
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
- 👍 Pros: a local experience, a romantic trip, a unique historical experience, value for money
- 👎 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 “touristic 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.
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
- 👍 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)
- 👎 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 Siena||Pros||Cons||Budget||Accessibility||Attractions||Restaurants||Families||Nightlife||Character|
|Historic Centre||Iconic sights, vibrant atmosphere||Limited parking, crowded, expensive||High||Very good||Piazza del Campo, Siena Cathedral,||Excellent||Good||Moderate||Rich history, charming streets|
|San Prospero||Quiet, green spaces, parking options||Fewer attractions, limited nightlife||Moderate||Moderate|
(better if driving)
|Fortezza Medicea||Moderate||Great||Low||Local, relaxed vibe|
|Train Station Area||Affordable, transport connections||Less charming, busier streets||Low||Excellent||Shopping, city exploration||Good||Moderate||Low||Practical, busy|
|Agriturismo||Unique experience, serene, landscapes||Requires car, no nightlife||Variable||Poor|
|Countryside walks, local farm tours||Local farm-to-table dining||Great||Low||Rural, authentic|
|Monteriggione||Stunning castle, medieval atmosphere||No nightlife, fewer dining options||High – Moderate||Poor|
|Monteriggione Castle||Good||Good||Low||Medieval, romantic|
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.
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.
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.
You can read also
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Where to stay in the Tuscany countryside
I also recommend hiring a car to organise a Tuscany countryside itinerary, one of the best experiences you can have in Italy.
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.
Other suggested accommodations in the Val D’Orcia area are:
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 Chianti||Suggested for||Pros||Cons||Budget||Accessibility||Attractions||Restaurants||Families||Nightlife||Character|
|Impruneta||Best town to stay in Chianti for families||Family-friendly, quiet, close to Florence||Lack of nightlife||Mid-range||Good, especially with a car||Terracotta fornaci, annual Grape Festival||Excellent||Excellent||Poor||Traditional, artisan|
|San Casciano Val di Pesa||Best town to stay in Chianti for the wine||Rich in history, fantastic wine culture||Not the most budget-friendly||High-end||Good, but easier with a car||Monastery of Santa Maria del Prato||Excellent, especially for wine||Good||Moderate||Historic, wine-focused|
|Tavarnelle Val di Pesa||Best town to stay in Chianti on a budget||Affordable, stunning landscapes||Limited attractions in town||Low||Good, both car and public transport||Natural parks and landscapes||Moderate||Good||None||Natural, tranquil|
|Greve in Chianti||Best town to stay in Chianti for first-time visitors||Vibrant atmosphere, great food scene, charming central square||Can be busy in peak season||Mid-to-high||Good, but easier with a car||The central square, numerous wineries||Excellent||Moderate||Moderate||Vibrant, food-focused|
|Radda in Chianti||Best town to stay in Chianti for romantic couples||Picturesque medieval village, romantic setting||No nightlife, poor public transportation||High-end||Requires a car||Vineyards||Excellent||Moderate||None||Charming, romantic|
|Castellina in Chianti||Best town to stay in Chianti for history||Rich history, lovely scenery||Can be busy during peak season||Mid-to-high||Requires a car||The fortress, Archaeological Museum of Chianti||Excellent||Moderate||None||Historic, picturesque|
|Agriturismo||Best place to stay in Chianti for nature||Unique accommodation, serene surroundings||Far from towns and centres||Varies||Requires a car||Nature and local farm experiences||Excellent (local food)||Excellent||None||Rural, authentic|
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
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.
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
Best areas to stay in Tuscany – A short summary
To make things easier, I always suggest seeing Tuscany as divided into 6 areas.
- 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