21 Practical Tips for Renting a Villa in Tuscany (+ FAQ!)

Dreaming of fulfilling your own dreams of relaxing Under the Tuscan Sun by renting a villa in Tuscany?

You’re not alone!

Whether you’re planning a large family reunion or taking a romantic Tuscan honeymoon, renting a Tuscan farmhouse is a dreamy experience.

We absolutely adore traveling in Tuscany, from the heart of Florence to the tiniest villages–and on several trips, we’ve been lucky enough to experience the region by renting an Italian villa with family!

If you’re considering the same, here are some important tips to ask yourself before renting a villa in Tuscany.

… Because I promise, once you get there, you won’t want to think about anything even slightly practical!

Small brick outbuilding in Tuscany with hite doors and a pink rose in the foreground, as seen on an Italy road trip
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Practical Tips for Renting a Tuscan Villa

Location is extremely important.

Tuscany is a large region, and when you decide which Italian villa to rent, you’re also shaping much of the rest of your vacation.

If you’re planning to spend most of your time relaxing on the property, this matters less, but assuming you’re hoping to enjoy a traditional Tuscany trip with plenty of hilltop villages, day trips, and adventures, it will matter a lot.

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Hoping to stay near Florence?

If so, you’ll have towns like San Gimignano, Lucca, Pisa, Volterra, and the Chianti wine region within your grasp.

Dreaming of the Val d’Orcia in southern Tuscany?

From there, day trips like Montepulciano, Montalcino, Pienza, and Saturnia will be more likely to top your list.

paved path on a private italy villa rental in tuscany

Expect at least a few property quirks.

Many Tuscan villas are heavily restored after centuries of use, which gives them their dreamy charm… and a fair number of quirks!

Oddly shaped bathrooms, small beds, and peculiar layouts are all to be expected, and that’s before even considering cultural differences.

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WiFi, while generally offered these days, may not work particularly well given the solid stone walls.

All of this will serve to make your time in Tuscany very memorable, but be sure to plan on a few surprises.

villa to rent in tuscany with a pool in the foreground

Do you need a villa… or an agriturismo?

Renting a villa in Tuscany can be an incredible experience, but at its heart, it’s really more suited for groups!

Fully restored Tuscan farmhouses–the kind of “villa” most of us dream of when far away from Italy–also tend to be large.

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Villas that sleep a dozen people are common, and even ones sleeping 20 aren’t unheard of!

If you’re a couple or a small family group, then, you might prefer an agriturismo.

These traditional Italian farm stays include many of the same benefits as a villa experience, but with far less space (and depending on where you book, a smaller price tag).

sunset over a tuscan villa balcony

At an agriturismo, you can expect a beautiful property in the Tuscan countryside, and often a pool.

You’ll also have staff on-site and often your own small apartment with a kitchenette and/or an on-site restaurant.

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Something like this, for example, meets many of the expectations of enjoying the Tuscan countryside, without needing to rent a full villa!

We’ve stayed in both styles of property many times (and agriturismos themselves range from budget experiences to deeply luxurious ones), and both have their merits.

ranger storm posing outside an agriturismo cottage in tuscany italy

Be sure to carefully note what is included.

From cleaning fees to extra charges for air conditioning, it’s easy to get sticker shock at the end of a visit if you’re not sure what you’ll be charged right from the start!

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If you’re looking for a property with an included housekeeping service, pool, breakfast, or anything else of note, be sure to read the listing carefully.

Going over the fine print and setting expectations is the best way to make sure you know what to expect and end your Tuscan farmhouse experience on a high note!

kate storm and jeremy storm in front of small building at a villa in lucca italy

Don’t forget about the tourist tax.

Each commune in Italy levies a small tourist tax–usually 1-2 Euros per night, per person, up to a certain number of nights.

So, for example, if you’re a couple spending 4 nights in a city with a 2 Euro tourist tax, you would owe 16 Euros: 2 Euros per person (aka 4 Euros per night for you as a couple), for 4 nights.

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These taxes are virtually always paid in cash (occasionally higher-end hotels will take it via card, but that’s unlikely to happen in the countryside).

These taxes are never paid before arrival–so even if you paid for your hotel in full through a service like Booking.com before checking in, you’ll still owe the tax when you arrive.

aerial view of couple renting a tuscan villa with a pool

Are there additional experiences you can book?

When choosing which villa in Tuscany to rent, consider what you hope to do there!

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Many properties offer additional inclusions ranging from bikes that are available for exploring to chefs that are willing to come to teach a cooking class right in the villa (we did this with our family at a villa in 2019 and it was lots of fun).

If you’re visiting during harvest season, be sure to ask if the proprietors know of any nearby vineyards offering harvest experiences!

family playing frisbee at a tuscan farmhouse rental
We got a lot of use out of these racquets (and the pool located just a short walk away).

If air conditioning isn’t mentioned… there’s no air conditioning.

This is a good rule of thumb in all of Europe, and especially in historic countryside houses in Tuscany.

Many properties have air conditioning nowadays, but it’s far from a guarantee, and they will absolutely advertise it if it’s available!

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And, even if there is air-conditioning, it won’t be the central a/c that people from the USA are used to.

Expect ceiling units in individual bedrooms and maybe the living room, nothing more.

Luckily, Tuscan farmhouses, with their heavy stone walls, stay naturally cooler than you might expect!

living room of an italian villa in tuscany to rent

Your life will be easier with an Italian SIM Card.

Renting a full house in the countryside will mean coordinating check-in, check-out, and any other necessities directly with a property manager… who probably will not live on-site!

If you’re able to communicate with them directly (Whatsapp is the most common way), your stay will be much simpler.

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And, when staying in the countryside, you’ll likely want access to a GPS anyway!

You can easily purchase an Italian SIM card for your phone (assuming it is unlocked, of course) at the airport when you arrive.

However, if you’d rather not have to worry about it right when you arrive, you can pre-purchase an EU SIM Card online, as well.

rural countryside tuscany farmhouse on a sunny day

Ask detailed questions about privacy.

When people talk about renting a house in Tuscany, the typical fantasy includes wide-open spaces and plenty of privacy–and those properties absolutely exist!

However, they’re not guaranteed: all free-standing homes in the Tuscan countryside tend to be sold as “villas”.

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And, while that can be an isolated farmhouse, it can also mean a smaller standalone house with other holiday rentals within sight.

If you have a specific travel experience in mind, be sure to ask detailed questions so you know what to expect!

A good place to start is with the pool if there is one: is it private for your use or shared between a few houses?

Kate Storm in the Tuscan countryside at sunset, with a sun flare on the right side of the photo.
We definitely had all the room we needed to spread out at this property near Siena!

… and about the layout of the property.

Over the centuries, many homes in Italy (and in Europe overall) have been subdivided into apartments.

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Today, that can sometimes translate into “villas” that house a few families in one building!

While most of these are sold as agriturismos or simply apartments, it’s best to read the fine print and not simply rely on the photos of a beautiful house surrounded by olive trees.

small cottage in tuscany to rent

Be prepared to book well in advance.

Like other highly sought-after rental markets around the world, Tuscan villas book up well in advance.

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If you’re looking for a private, restored farmhouse that can sleep 8+ people, we highly recommend booking at least 6 months in advance!

While you can certainly have an incredible trip to Tuscany with far less lead time, when it comes to villas, the best properties get snapped up quickly.

renting a villa near tuscany exterior view
We booked this property for a group of 9 about 8 months in advance!

Plan to handle splitting the payment amongst your party.

Splitting payments, generally speaking, isn’t nearly as much of a “thing” in Europe as it is in the USA, and that is especially true for high-ticket items like Italian villa rentals!

More than likely, one person will need to be in charge of booking and paying for the property.

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If you’re going to cook, bring salt and pepper with you.

This is a bit of a random piece of advice, but I can’t tell you how often it has come in handy!

When you grocery shop for supplies at the beginning of the week, people are typically good at remembering to purchase essentials like butter and coffee, but we’ve forgotten salt and pepper an embarrassing number of times.

It’s worth noting that some villas will stock essentials, but not all will.

lunch with a view at a tuscan agriturismo in the countryside with 2 glasses of wine

Don’t forget to spend time in your villa!

If you’re anything like us, once you start researching all of the incredible things to do in Tuscany, it’s going to be hard to choose exactly what to do!

While it’s always important to be wary of overextending yourself when traveling, that’s especially true when renting a villa.

After all, a villa isn’t just a place to sleep at night: enjoying it is an enormous experience in and of itself!

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We recommend scheduling at least one day where you plan to simply stick around and enjoy the property for most (or all) of the day.

You don’t need to cook to make that happen, either: Tuscan picnics of local cheese, olives, cured meats, bread, fruits, and wine are arguably among the best meals you can eat on this planet.

italy villa to rent in tuscany on a sunny day

You can think beyond Tuscany, too.

Is Tuscany stunningly beautiful and an incredible place to run away to the countryside for a week (or more)?

Yes, 100%, absolutely–we adore it there, which is why we continue to revisit it over and over again!

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However, Italy is home to 20 regions, and there are far more places to get an idyllic Italian villa experience than just in Tuscany.

The nearby regions of Emilia-Romagna and Umbria, for example, offer (in many cases) very similar landscapes with somewhat lower crowds and prices.

rural road in appenine mountains emilia romagna

Looking to get far off the beaten path and stick to a budget?

Villas in Abruzzo, for example, can be incredible bargains compared to Tuscany and also very relaxing retreats.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with sticking to Tuscany, but if you’re having trouble finding the farmhouse rental of your dreams for the right price and/or available dates, you may be surprised by what you can find further afield.

two chairs sitting on the terrace of a countryside italy villa rental

FAQ About Renting a Villa in Tuscany

How much does it cost to rent a Tuscan villa?

How long is a piece of string?

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Villas range dramatically in price depending on the time of year, size, location, amenities, and more.

I can say that every time we have rented a villa with family, the total price per couple has come to around 100 Euro a night–in other words, equivalent to a mid-range hotel in many Tuscan cities!

cat lounging on brick steps, rent a house in tuscany and you'll probably get a cat
Outdoor cats are often included with Tuscan villa rentals, and they are a delight!

Do I need to stay for a full week?

Not necessarily!

Historically (aka in the pre-internet-booking days), agencies in Tuscany generally rented villas only in 7-day increments, usually from Saturday to Saturday.

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However, now, many villas will allow you to book shorter stays if you so choose.

Most will still have a minimum number of nights that you’re required to book (especially during high season), but you’ll find some options for 3-4 nights now rather than a full 7.

If you’re looking for a very short stay, you’ll likely have better luck looking at agriturismos.

glass of red wine being held up in front of grape vines during a wine tasting in tuscany, a european bucket list travel experience

Do I need a car when renting a villa in Tuscany?

Almost certainly, yes.

Villas, by their very definition, tend to be more isolated, and you will absolutely want your own transportation!

We recommend renting a small car through Discover Cars, which will allow you to compare prices and inclusions of multiple companies at the same time and choose the best car for you from there.

We have detailed travel tips for driving in Tuscany in our Tuscany road trip guide.

Check rates and book your rental car with Discover Cars today!

dirt road lined with italian cypress trees leading to a villa to rent in tuscany italy
This is the road to one of the villas we rented with our family–it would be near-impossible to spend a week here without a car!

Why is my villa owner charging extra for utilities?

Some villas do charge separately for utilities, especially for electricity or air-conditioning.

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This can be done either with a meter read or as a standard price per day and is one of the inclusions (or lack thereof) that you’ll want to keep an eye out for when choosing your villa.

Electricity is much more expensive in Italy than it is in the USA, and some owners choose to pass those costs on.

close up of blooming flowers outside the summer cottage of a tuscany villa rental house

When is the best time to rent a villa in Tuscany?

Deciding on the best time to rent a villa in Tuscany depends a lot on your priorities–and depending on what they are, there’s no such thing as a wrong time to visit.

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For example, do you need to stick to a timetable?

Does your dream Tuscany trip include frolicking in the pool after hot days of sightseeing, or does it involve visiting during the wine harvest?

How motivated are you by prices?

Kate Storm on a white Vespa in the Tuscan countryside--riding a Vespa is an incredibly fun experience during a Tuscany itinerary!

Essentially, winter will be the cheapest time to visit–it’s decidedly the off-season in Tuscany.

Autumn, when the grape (September-October) and olive (late October-November) harvests happen, is our personal favorite time to rent a house in Tuscany.

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Spring also has many charms, with blooming flowers taking over the countryside before the summer tourists do.

And finally, there is summer: busy, competitive for nabbing the perfect Italian villa to rent in Tuscany, but beautiful, with long sunny days to enjoy.

2 photos of tuscan farmhouses to rent, black and red text reads "21 practical tips tuscan villas to rent"
About Kate Storm
Image of the author, Kate Storm

In May 2016, I left my suburban life in the USA and became a full-time traveler. Since then, I have visited 50+ countries on 5 continents and lived in Portugal, developing a special love of traveling in Europe (especially Italy) along the way. Today, along with my husband Jeremy and dog Ranger, I’m working toward my eventual goal of splitting my life between Europe and the USA.

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