It is downright impossible to run out of magnificent things to do in Tuscany.
This deservedly popular Italian region has captured our hearts (and the hearts of many generations worth of travelers!) for years, and it’s a place we’ll return to again and again.
From meandering down medieval streets to admiring the way the golden light clings to the hills, and from sipping some of the best wine in the world to soaking in beautiful hot springs, figuring out what to do in Tuscany is less about finding things to do than narrowing down your Tuscany bucket list!
After a cumulative many months spent traveling Tuscany over a period of years, we’ve ticked many, many things off of our personal couples bucket list for the region–and yet, we expect to spend a lifetime continuing to enjoy the beauty and discover the secrets of Tuscany.
Whether you’re planning your first trip to Tuscany or your 50th, this travel guide to the best experiences in Tuscany is for you!
Table of Contents
Ready to Narrow Down Your Tuscany Bucket List?
Odds are, you won’t be able to fit all of the best things to do in Tuscany into one trip–which is all the more reason to dream of coming back one day!
Once you’re ready to narrow down your wish list further, we have plenty of additional Tuscany blog posts here on Our Escape Clause to help you out.
To find other destinations across Italy, Europe, and beyond, use the search bar found in the top-right hand corner of your desktop (or on mobile, as part of the drop-down menu).
The Best Things to Do in Tuscany
Ride a Vespa through the countryside.
We partnered with Walkabout Florence to ride our first-ever Vespa: Jeremy did the bulk of the driving, and I was quite happy to ride on the back.
After finishing our day, we easily consider a Vespa ride to be one of the best–and most romantic–things to do in Tuscany.
The weather was perfect the day we set out–around 75 degrees and sunny–and before long, we were leaving our starting point of Florence behind and climbing high into the hills of Tuscany, winding our way past epic views of the city, through tiny towns with stone houses, and among vineyards.
Our tour included 3 fantastic stops–one at a beautiful church with panoramic views of Florence, one at a vineyard to admire the views, and one for lunch (including wine, of course) at a picturesque Tuscan farmhouse.
While all three were memorable and beautiful in their own right, it was hard to top the romance of riding a Vespa together through the beautiful countryside.
Take a food tour (or six).
As one of the best foodie destinations in the world, no bucket list for Tuscany would be complete without mentioning a food tour!
Indulge in the best of what Tuscany has to offer, learn your way around the food scene, and get prepared for an entire trip worth of delicious food.
We always recommend taking a food tour toward the beginning of your Tuscany trip, rather than the end–that way you’ll have a list of favorite dishes to order for the rest of your time in the region!
Several years after first writing this blog post, I can say that we’ve now taken several Tuscany food tours throughout our trips there, and this Dine Around Florence tour remains not only one of our favorite food tours in Italy, but one of our favorite food tours that we’ve taken in the world!
Book your food tour through Florence’s more offbeat Oltranto area today!
Enjoy the views from Tuscany’s hilltop towns.
Whether you’re visiting Volterra, San Gimignano, Siena, or beyond, staring out over the views of the rolling Tuscan countryside (perhaps with a nice lunch and a glass of wine?) is easily among the best things to do in Tuscany.
Want to enjoy a particularly relaxing view of the Tuscan countryside?
Consider staying in an agriturismo–a Tuscan farmhouse turned bed-and-breakfast of sorts–for part of your stay!
Indulge in some beach time.
Tuscany’s wine country, olive groves, food scene, hilltop towns, and famous cities like Florence tend to get all the press (and it’s not hard to see why–they’re amazing!), so it can sometimes be hard to remember that Tuscany is home to its own sizable stretch of Mediterranean coastline–and even an island!
The island of Elba is a great place to chill out on a Tuscan beach, go sailing or scuba diving, eat delicious seafood, and learn a bit of history–this is the island Napoleon was originally exiled to (though he did escape back to France about 300 days later).
Take a road trip through the Val d’Orcia.
There are tons of amazing places for road trips in Tuscany (read: basically anywhere that isn’t a major city like Florence or a walled old town), but none are quite as impeccable as the Val d’Orcia.
If you’ve seen pictures of Tuscany, you’ve probably seen the Val d’Orcia: it’s the Tuscany of everything from Renaissance paintings to modern photography, and it is the perfect place to hit the open road with your partner.
You might want to consider indulging in a fun Italian car rental for your trip–perhaps a Fiat 500, or for the luxury seekers among us, even a Ferrari–and definitely make sure to read up on driving in Tuscany before you get started.
Don’t forget to visit Montepulciano (one of our personal favorite small towns in Tuscany) while you’re in the area!
Take a dip in the hot springs.
Did you know that Tuscany is home to several natural hot springs–and that many of them are free to visit?
The best known hot spring is Saturnia, and it can be a fantastic way to relax in nature with your loved one, perhaps with a glass of local wine!
There is one decidedly unromantic thing about the hot springs that bears mentioning, though: the sulfur smell is strong!
Bring old bathing suits that you don’t mind getting stinky (and ideally, ones you’re ready to part with when you’re done).
Still worth a visit, though, and definitely something to add to your list when planning an Italy road trip!
Go horseback riding through vineyards in the Tuscan countryside.
The long rows of grapes, the sound of the horses’ feet on the farm, and endless countryside visible in all directions–when it comes to excellent ways to appreciate the beauty of Tuscany’s countryside, it’s hard to beat horseback riding through the vineyards!
We were invited out by Fun in Tuscany to have an incredible day in Tuscany including a wine tasting with a meal, a visit to San Gimignano, and, of course… horseback riding.
Jeremy and I love to go horseback riding together (we’ve ridden together in six countries so far!), and it’s hard to imagine a more romantic place for it than Tuscany.
We started our day with Fun in Tuscany by riding through never-ending vineyards, soaking in the sweeping views and beautiful villas that we passed along the way.
Our group was tiny–just us, one other person, a guide, and an adorable farm dog name Pepe (“pepper” in Italian) who followed along with us whenever he didn’t get distracted and dart into the woods for a moment or two.
It was a very peaceful morning, and our time horseback riding was the perfect start to a fabulous day.
Say hello to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
I’ll be honest: many travelers, us included, find Pisa, Italy to be a bit of a letdown.
Sure, the tower itself is intricate and beautiful (more than I expected before seeing it for the first time–that aspect of the experience more than lives up to expectations), but the city doesn’t have much to do away from the tower area and the crowds are ridiculously heavy.
But, there’s no denying that it is one of the most iconic Tuscany attractions, so feel free to head out for a couple of adorable photos in front of one of the most famous towers in the world.
To make it worth your time, be sure to arrange to climb to the top of the tower, and if you’re traveling independently, consider combining your visit to Pisa with one to nearby Lucca (more details on that in our guide to day trips from Florence).
Don’t waste any of your precious time in Tuscany battling the crowds.
Book your visit to the Leaning Tower of Pisa now!
Explore Florence, the capital of Tuscany.
Florence belongs on any list of the world’s most beautiful cities, and this guide to what to do in Tuscany could easily be overtaken by incredible places to see in Florence alone (our guide to the best things to do in Florence is where to find those!).
It is absolutely beautiful, home to world-class art, stunning architecture, and some of the world’s best food.
Every other spot in Florence, from the Piazza della Repubblica to the Ponte Vecchio to the Piazzale Michelangelo, looks like the background to an epic proposal (just maybe opt for a very early morning proposal before the crowds arrive).
Of all the best things to do in Tuscany, wandering the back streets of Florence, ducking into shops and churches and piazzas and trattorias, listening to buskers, and admiring the bustle of the city life, is among our favorites.
Take a Tuscan cooking class.
Tuscan wine, delicious food, a new skill, and a great meal: what could be a better Tuscany travel experience than that?
Pizza, pasta, sauce, tiramisu, gelato… there’s a Tuscan cooking class for every taste, though we believe the best ones are those that cover a whole day’s worth of eating!
We’ve taken many cooking classes in Tuscany over the years, ranging from those held with a group in beautiful Tuscan farmhouses to intimate affairs where an instructor came to the villa we were renting with my family, and so far, this one has been our absolute favorite.
Covering all the classic cooking class dishes, from ragu to tiramisu, you’re bound to leave this class both incredibly stuffed and quite possibly a bit tipsy–the wine and snacks flow heavily throughout the day!
Go truffle hunting.
Among the more unique things to do in Tuscany is truffle hunting: you, a dog, and the forest on a quest to find truffles–what a perfect way to spend an afternoon in Tuscany!
Truffles are not only delicious and expensive but they also can’t be farmed.
They merely grow of their own free will, and you can set off to find them each fall.
And of course, the best way to follow up a truffle hunt is with a romantic truffle-themed meal!
Book an unforgettable truffle hunting experience in Tuscany today!
Indulge in a wine tasting (or three).
Tuscany is all about the wine, and at least once when there, be sure to sit down and enjoy the experience of learning more about Tuscan wines–all while indulging in them, of course!
While you can certainly find plenty of places to go wine tasting in Tuscan towns and cities, there’s nothing quite like the romance of heading out for a wine tasting at a vineyard.
We loved tasting eight different wines at Tenuta Torciano as part of our day spent with Fun in Tuscany–and the meal served with the wine made it even better.
Salami, bread, cheeses, balsamic vinegar, homemade lasagna with truffle sauce, cantucci cookies… I’m getting hungry even remembering it!
Before and after the meal we had a chance to wander around parts of the gorgeous vineyard property, enjoying each other’s company and taking in views of vines and gazebos, and meeting several friendly chickens and one adorable basset hound.
Visit some castles.
Tuscany is dotted with castles dating back to the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and while most of these castles are off the beaten path for most first-time visitors, they’re perfect Tuscan attractions for adding a bit of fairytale magic to a trip.
A few castles to consider adding to your list: Castello di Vincigliata in Fiesole (easily accessible from Florence), Castello Banfi in Montalcino (near Siena), Aghinolfi Castle in Montignoso, and Castello di Vicchiomaggio in Greve (located in the heart of the Chianti wine region).
Enjoy a gelato (or several) in the city that it was invented in.
Did you know that gelato was invented in Florence?
Sure, there are some who dispute the claim–but the Florentines sure don’t!
Regardless, enjoying a delicious gelato in Tuscany with a beautiful view is absolutely a must-have travel experience!
Take a hike in the Apuan Alps.
Mountains and Tuscany may not sound like two things to go together–but they do!
Tuscany is full of outdoor hiking opportunities, and if your idea of a dynamic Tuscan vacation is time spent outdoors, the Apuan Alps are the destination for you.
Climb to the top of the world.
… or at the least the top of a Tuscan tower.
Climbing historic towers and buildings in Tuscany is an incredibly memorable experience, and despite the fact that we’ve climbed plenty of towers in plenty of Tuscan towns, we never get tired of it.
Whether you want to admire the classic view from the top of Florence’s Duomo, head to the top of one of San Gimignano’s famous towers, see what Siena looks like from above, or something else entirely, it’s well worth exchanging burning thighs for beautiful views at least once during your trip!
Indulge in an olive oil tasting.
Oh, olive oil: as one of the most iconic foods in Tuscany, an olive oil tasting belongs right alongside food tours and wine tastings on any list of things to do in Tuscany.
If you’ve never had true Tuscan olive oil before, you’re in for a treat (hint: it tastes nothing like what you get in the grocery store).
The olive oil harvest in Tuscany generally starts in late October or early November and continues into December.
If your trip to Tuscany coincides with the harvest, consider yourself very lucky: olive oil is at its best when it’s served fresh–ideally, the same day it’s pressed!
Explore some canyons.
Tuscany is full of surprises–surprises like Orrido di Botri, the canyon near Lucca that allows you to hike through the river and admire the landscape (during the summer when the water is low, anyway).
Soar above the vineyards in a hot air balloon.
What better way to admire the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside than from above?
Consider splurging on a Tuscany travel experience you’ll never forget, and add riding in a hot air balloon to your list of things to do in Tuscany.
Book your balloon flight over the Tuscan countryside today!
Spend a night (or a week) in a Tuscan villa.
Tuscany’s cities and towns are absolutely divine, but if you’re looking for a little isolation on your trip to Tuscany, consider renting a Tuscan farmhouse!
You can even look for one that’s still on the property of a functioning vineyard or olive farm to create the perfect atmosphere for a Tuscan getaway.
While agriturismos, or Tuscan farmhouses turned bed-and-breakfasts, are perfect for solo travelers or couples looking for Tuscan romance, larger groups can rent entire villas out to enjoy.
Stroll along the medieval walls in Lucca.
Not many places in Tuscany can still claim to be completely surrounded by their defensive walls–but Lucca can!
Since they clearly aren’t needed for defense purposes these days, Lucca’s beautiful walls have been turned into a public park.
While you’re there, be sure to bike or stroll across them, soaking in beautiful views of the city along the way.
Attend the Palio di Siena.
Stand in Siena’s beautiful, oval-shaped Piazza del Campo on an average day, and it’s hard to imagine the thunderous sound of racing hooves and a roaring crowd crammed into such a (relatively speaking) small space, but twice a year, that’s exactly what happens.
Siena’s bi-annual horse races are held on July 2 and August 16 each year–just as they have been since the 17th century!
Additional events are held in the few days leading up to the race, so if you’re going to be in Tuscany during those weeks and don’t get scared off by crowds, make arrangements to see Il Palio in action!
Watch the sunset over Tuscany.
Tuscany is world-renowned for its golden light that clings to the landscape, and it’s never more magical than when the sun sets.
Each night that you’re in Tuscany, be sure to grab a glass of wine, find a peaceful corner, and settle in to admire Tuscany’s best natural show.
Whether you’re watching from the Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence or the porch of a remote Tuscan farmhouse, there’s no doubt that watching the sunset is one of the simplest ways to enjoy the beauty and romance of Tuscany.
Be spontaneous and wander.
Tuscany is the perfect place to be aimless: whether it’s wandering the cobblestone streets of Florence, choosing a random small town on a map and hopping on a train to visit it, or ducking into small churches and out-of-the-way museums because you happen to be passing by, Tuscany is ideal for meandering.
This is the kind of place where the word savor comes to mind.
Savor the views, the food, the wine, the time with your travel companions… nothing can be rushed in Tuscany, and that’s the beauty of it.
How to Get Around Tuscany
Trains continue to be one of our favorite ways to travel around the more connected parts of Tuscany. They’re plentiful, they’re easy to use, they’re affordable, and they are (in our biased opinion) one of the most romantic ways to travel.
For many of these fun things to do in Tuscany, a train is all you need!
Consider basing yourselves in Florence, Siena, or perhaps Lucca to ensure you have plenty of routes and connections to allow you to explore Tuscany to the fullest.
However, as much as we love them, trains and buses will only get you so far.
If you’d like to explore Tuscany off the beaten path or to visit some of the more rural regions–namely some of the hiking, enjoying the hot springs, and visiting the canyon–you’ll want to have a car to get around.
Not a problem, since as listed above, a Tuscan road trip definitely qualifies as one of the best travel experiences in Tuscany!
If you do choose to rent a car, keep in mind that Italy requires you to have an International Driving Permit, which you’ll need to obtain before your trip, to rent a car in the country.
We have many more tips for driving in Tuscany on our Tuscan road trip guide, and if you’re new to driving in Italy, we highly recommend checking it out before getting behind the wheel to explore some of the best things to do in Tuscany!