Must-Visit Tuscan Villages
Collected by Sandra Ramani, AFAR Contributor
Tuscany comes alive in its towns and villages, where traditions are honored, history is celebrated, and visitors are welcomed like family. Head to hilltop towns like Volterra to wander through medieval piazzas, riverside Lucca to bike along ancient city walls, and towns like Montalcino and Pienza to savor local specialties (wine in the former, cheese in the latter). Visit during a festival for even more flavor.
56048 Volterra, Province of Pisa, Italy
Make the steep ascent to this walled hilltop town and you’ll find yourself transported back in time—to the Renaissance, medieval, Roman, and even ancient Etruscan periods. Thought to be founded as far back as the 7th century B.C.E., Volterra is a...
53045 Montepulciano, Province of Siena, Italy
Montepulciano is a charming hill town in Tuscany. Walk the streets to get a feel for its appeal. On the outskirts of town visit San Biagio, a 16th-century church. This late-Renaissance building was constructed on the site of a pre-existing...
53037 San Gimignano, Province of Siena, Italy
Forty-five minutes to an hour away from Florence awaits the medieval hilltop town of San Gimignano, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bordered by 13th-century walls and featuring a triangular central square lined with historic houses, the town is...
58043 Castiglione della Pescaia, Province of Grosseto, Italy
Last summer we spent an unforgettable week in Tuscany, in the little town of Castiglione della Pescaia. It's a typical small coastal town, with people on scooters everywhere, terraces full of people enjoying cappuccinos, and fishermen going out to...
55100 Lucca, Province of Lucca, Italy
There is much to be said for Lucca. The buccellato bread with raisins and anise that smells sweet and green, with dots of juicy dried fruit. The storied history. The inviting restaurants. Perhaps most unique are the walls. The walls you'll hear...
55049 Viareggio, Province of Lucca, Italy
For sand, sun, and fun on the Tuscan Riviera, head to this idyllic town bordered by the Tyrrhenian Sea on one side and the peaks of Masa Carrara (home to the famous while marble of the same name) on the other. Originally built as the port for...
52100 Arezzo, Province of Arezzo, Italy
One of the most important cities during the Etruscan period, then later made rich by its goldsmith traditions, this city, just a short drive southeast from Florence, is something of an insider’s favorite when visiting Tuscany. With fewer crowds,...
53035 Monteriggioni, Province of Siena, Italy
Monteriggioni is a tiny walled town populated by a handful of shops and restaurants. But, in its day, it was front line defence for Siena from the rival Florentines. In fact, it was so important that the town was even mentioned in Dante’s Divine...
53024 Montalcino, Province of Siena, Italy
While wine production has been a part of Montalcino life for centuries, it took the 1888 creation of Brunello di Montalcino—a gorgeous twist on Chianti blends made with 100 percent Sangiovese grapes—to put the medieval town’s...
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