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One Week in Tuscany Itinerary – A Most Wondrous Week in Italy
Tuscany’s family run agriturismos, multicolored, multi-textured hillsides, flowing vineyards, delicious food and wines, and friendly people draw millions of visitors each year. While some people rush through multiple countries in a few days, this 1 week Tuscany itinerary will give you some time to truly explore the atmosphere and wonder of this beautiful Italian region.
For a full flavor of the Italian homeland, Tuscany offers visitors a delightful taste of Italy’s heartland. From Metropolitan Florence, home of Michelangelo’s David and Botticelli masterpieces, to some of the most beautiful natural landscapes on earth, Tuscany is the ultimate romantic fantasy.
Day 1: arrive Florence
Day 2: Florence
Day 3: Montepulciano
Day 4: Montepulciano
Day 5: San Gimignano
Day 6: San Gimignano
Day 7: breakfast in San Gimignano, leave for Florence Airport
If you are looking for a longer itinerary, you might want to check out this 2 week Italy itinerary and this collection of tips on where to stay in Tuscany, including most picturesque towns and hotels. If you don’t want to drive, take a look at these splendid Tuscan wine tours – that way you can indulge a little more.
Before coming to Italy, do not forget these 2 important points:
- Get Travel Insurance! I use Allianz Travel Insurance and can only recommend them. If you travel a lot, I recommend the Multi-Trip Insurance, but you can read all about whether single trip or multi-trip travel insurance is right for you here – as long as you get insurance.
- Visit my Travel Gear and Resource Page to see my recommendations on useful travel gadgets and helpful travel services that can help you with planning your trip.
Florence – 1 Week Tuscany Itinerary
Flying into Florence makes the most sense for this 1 week Tuscany itinerary. You can find affordable flights to Tuscany via Skyscanner. We will first spend a couple of days in the bustling, stimulating, lavish city home to some of the most famous works of art in the world. Hit the fabulous Duomo, Uffizi Museum, and the Accademia, home of the original David.
Take time to see some of the beautiful historic buildings, like the Palazzo Vecchio or the Palazzo Medici. Cross the Arno River on the Ponte Vecchio to Palazzo Pitti, and then take a stroll through the Boboli Gardens. Follow the river east up to Piazza Michelangelo, and take in the million-dollar view of the city of Florence in all of its grandeur, with the dazzling Duomo prominent in the center like a glistening jewel.
Where to stay: La Casa di Dante
The centrally located apartment on 4 via de Dante is the perfect location for visiting Florence’s most popular attractions. Major attractions like the Duomo, the Uffizi Museum, Palazzo Vecchio, and the Ponte Vecchio are only minutes away. The train station is a 15-minute walk, and restaurants, shops, a supermarket, and bars are also close by. Some people say that the famous Italian writer and poet Dante Alighieri was born here, and the Dante Museum is just steps away.
The crowning attraction of this apartment is the awesome view of the Duomo looking out the north window – it seems as though you can reach out and touch it. After sunset, the glow of the dome in the dark of night, with bells tolling from the campanile, is mesmerizing. One evening, with the Duomo illuminating the night sky, we heard what sounded like a chorus of angels singing from nearby Santa Croce Cathedral.
Check Airbnb for Florence for the apartment AWESOME VIEW DUOMO- in the very center at 4 via de Dante. And if you have never used AirBnB, you can get $40 off your first booking, if you use this link to sign up.
Where to eat: Foody Farm
With the unusual name of Foody Farm, this popular new restaurant attracts hundreds of diners throughout the week with its trendy look and traditional menu.
The guiding concept of Foody Farm is “The right food from the right places.” The simple concept requires the restaurant to constantly carry on careful research to discover the best sources for the fresh Tuscan produce, meats, pasta, cheeses and other ingredients featured on their special menu.
The décor is creative and tasteful, including a large collection of wine bottles arranged on the wall as planters.
I loved the varied menu. It was simple, easy to understand, and most dishes had a full or half portion option. After a week in Italy, the Cacio Burger caught my eye: a Mugello beef hamburger sandwich with arugula, mushrooms, sweet mustard, and Senese pecorino cheese, served with fries. It was a great choice – a hearty burger with a Tuscan touch.
My sons had the inviting Strozzapreti Pasta with Sausage. This delicious dish is made from ancient grains together with “Bardiccio,” typical Tuscan sausage of Casentino Maiale Grigio pork, broccoli cream and Gran de’Magi cheese crumble.
Montepulciano – 1 Week Tuscany Itinerary
After a couple of days in urban Florence, it’s time to head south to the wonderful medieval walled city of Montepulciano, which sits atop a 2,000-foot limestone ridge. It is known worldwide for its wine, especially the Vino Nobile, considered to be one of the best in Italy. Montepulciano is also known for its pork, cheese, pici pasta, lentils, honey, and its many charming shops and restaurants.
Where to stay: Albergo Duomo
Albergo Duomo is a small hotel with spacious rooms, lovely furniture, and a comfortable bed. Rates are reasonable, and the location is great, close to the main square, restaurants, and shops. The view is breathtaking from this hilltop hotel, and the staff is warm and welcoming. An optional breakfast is available for only 5 euro.
Where to eat (and take a cooking class): Le Logge del Vignola
Le Logge del Vignola is a fine dining establishment known for its wonderful menu and an excellent selection of wines, including the famous local Vino Nobile. On this beautiful Sunday morning, we met with the proprietor, Massimo, and Federico, the head chef, for a two-hour cooking class. My wife and I were joined by a lovely couple from Australia, a very gracious couple who just happened to be Academy Award nominated filmmakers, Scott and Kerri Hicks.
In the small kitchen of the restaurant, we had a lively and informative cooking class. On the menu were Osso Buco, home-made tomato sauce, home-made pasta, cheese souffle, and tiramisu. Following the lead of Federico and Massimo, we made each course with the guidance of these two patient gentlemen. After a very fun two-hour session in the kitchen, we relaxed and enjoyed a sampling of our creations with a nice glass of wine.
At one o’clock we returned for lunch, and Le Logge Del Vignola served us a five-course meal of some of the most delicious and beautiful food and wine that I have ever seen. We spent the rest of the afternoon walking off some of our wonderful lunch, visiting some great shops and enjoying the majestic views from various vantage points in the village. Some of the more interesting shops included Bottega del Rame, where they make all types of copper wares, and Frenzy, where Francesa has a beautiful selection of leather goods and clothing.
A Scenic Drive
Next on our itinerary is one of the most beautiful day trips you can imagine. Leaving Montepulciano after breakfast, we head west on the winding SP 146 towards Pienza, once chosen by the pope as a second residence because of its idyllic location. After a 20-minute drive, we will make a brief stop here, walk the walled city, go to the church on the main square, and take in some of the gorgeous views.
From Pienza, we will head south on SP 18 and west on SP 53 to Bagno Vignoni, the charming hilltop town above the Val d’Orcia, known for its thermal springs. Used since ancient Roman times, these waters have been attended by popes, celebrities, and locals as a very popular holiday resort. And the views are spectacular.
Having spent the morning on the road visiting lovely Pienza, Bagno Vignoni, and the Val d’Orcia, it’s time for some lunch and vino. Continuing on our drive along SP 137 and SP 14, we come to Montalcino, at the center of dozens of wineries and home to the world-famous Brunello wines.
Away from the most touristy areas of town, but still close by, Re di Macchia is a small, charming restaurant frequented by locals. The friendly and helpful owner makes you feel right at home. Try the wild boar stew, truffle ravioli, home-made Pici Basilica, and of course, some of the local Brunello wines. And if you have room, they also make a tasty tiramisu.
After a relaxing lunch, take some time to visit the shops and the town square. Check out the Visitor’ s Center on the main square and get information about the dozens of wineries in the area, and pick one that sounds interesting to you. For some wineries you need reservations, so call ahead before heading out. Also, the serene abbey of Abbazia di Sant’Antimo, just 15 minutes south of town, is a nice side trip if you have the time.
This afternoon we head to Siena. A UNESCO a World Heritage Site, Siena is one of the nation’s most visited tourist attractions and is famous for its magnificent cathedral, food and wine, art, museums, and the Palio, a horse race held twice a year. Driving and parking are heavily restricted, so if you are driving you are best off parking at one of the large parking garages just outside the old town.
For our last two nights, we are spending time around San Gimignano, a walled medieval village known as the “Manhattan of the Middle Ages” for the 14 towers that highlight its striking skyline. Spend time at the travertine cistern in the center of Piazza della Cisterna, pondering what spirits might be roaming the Torre del Diavolo (the Devil’s Tower). Enjoy the old church and the charming shops, and follow the sign down a narrow alley that advertises “Vista Panoramica” (panoramic views) for a breath-taking view of the countryside.
Where to stay: Guardastelle
Guardastelle, a beautiful agriturismo, has five rooms in the old homestead and five individual apartments on the grounds. With panoramic views of flowing vineyards, emerald green hills and the skyline of San Gimignano, Guardastelle is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the essence of Tuscany. Owners Fausto and Susanna are very friendly and hospitable and have created a wonderful refuge for visitors to eat, drink, learn, relax and feel the true heartbeat of Tuscany.
Where to eat: I Fossi
We definitely recommend Guardastelle for the excellent tour and lunch, and breakfast if you are staying overnight. For dining in San Gimignano, try the delightful I Fossi, just outside the gates of the walled city and a five-minute walk to the city center. If you are lucky, you can even park in one of the free parking places outside.
We were very impressed with their friendly service and a very tasty gorgonzola-apple-walnut-feta pizza. This was also the restaurant where I had my first taste of grappa, the very highly concentrated (40 – 60% alcohol) drink distilled from the remains of grape skins and juices leftover in the winemaking process. It smells terrible and tastes even worse, but it is supposed to be great for digestion!
Returning to Guardestelle, we sat on the terrace outside our room, enjoying a glass of wine and the sun setting over San Gimignano. Obviously, 7 days in Tuscany will only give you a taste of this wonderful region of Italy.
By following this 1 week Tuscany itinerary, or adapting it to your own interests and needs, you will get an authentic sampling of the true Tuscany. And, as happens so often when we travel, we fall in love with this special place, and know, deep in our heart, that we will somehow find a way to return.
This Tuscany itinerary was created by Scott Kendall for EuropeUpClose. His stay in Italy was partially organized and sponsored by Foody Farm in Florence, Le Logge Del Vignola in Montepulciano, and Guardastelle.