Ahh, Italia! You’re finally at your dream holiday, frolicking on the endless beauty of the Tuscan countryside. With a vast array of options in front of you, just what do you do first? Don’t worry, I’ve compiled some of the best things to do in Tuscany, Italy to make your stay unforgettable.
Best Things to Do in Tuscany
Find Yourself A Secret Cove
Aside from the priceless sights viewed by endless throngs of tourists the world over, Tuscany is home to a lot of treasure only a very few know. And we’re not talking trivial pieces, either. An example is the La Dieci Castella at The Valleriana. This is a collection of ten villages, each once a medieval castle. The area is tucked away in groves of olives and chestnuts, peacefully isolated from the crowds.
For those who love the sun and sand, there’s also the Parco Naturale de Maremma, itself a secluded area that leads to the Cala di Forno — Italy’s most secret beach. The trek from the park to here is available only from mid-June to mid-September.
And if you’re looking for a unique outdoor “activity”, there’s the Saturnia Hot Springs which gives you a front-row view of the wine country while you soak in the tiered thermal pools. There are luxury spas all around Tuscany, but nothing beats Saturnia’s views — especially since it’s for free! It’s a great place for a chit-chat with locals, too. If you’re in the vicinity of Bagno Vignoni, there are hot springs (and great meal options) here, too.
Have A Meal For The Senses
There’s no shortage of cozy trattorias in Tuscany. Low lighting, delicious food and a little wine make any meal instantly romantic. Go above and beyond with a sunset dinner in a local vineyard.
Stay at cozy La Limonaia Bed and Breakfast, just outside of Florence, and in addition to many other tours, they’ll set up a multi-course dinner with wine at local vineyard Fattoria le Sorgenti. Gazing into your lover’s eyes as the sun sets over Florence, dining on traditional specialties, and sipping award-winning wine is sure to be the highlight of any romantic trip.
It’s Italy, after all — all meals here are meant to be had with a hint of romance. But for something truly sensual and rewarding, head to San Miniato.
This is a town that, at first glance, seems to be frozen in the medieval times. But aside from the sights, San Miniato is also right smack in the middle of “truffle country”, and it’s customary to enjoy the premier taste of truffles in one of its local restos. Do you know just how much ecstasy a simply dish of pasta tossed in truffle oil and strewn with truffle shavings, can inspire in you?
If you’re looking for other Italian food, and would like to avoid the steep prices associated with “fine dining”, don’t bother with those trattorias that you usually see online. Head to places like Da Ruggero and Trattoria Sostanza, both in Florence.
They are famous for delectable specialties, authentic local settings, and just-right prices. Their flavors don’t hold back, perfectly balancing the intensity and simplicity for which Italian cuisine is known. The price range is especially essential if you’re on a holiday with your special someone, and you’d like to impress!
Romantic Things To Do in Tuscany
Tuscany is one of the most romantic places in Europe, and is therefore high on the list of honeymooners or others looking to take a vacation with the one they love. Just wandering the small hill towns of this beautiful region is enough to put stars in your eyes, but for a truly unforgettable romantic vacation, check out some of these activities.
Tuscany abounds with luxurious spas located in modern hotels and renovated villas. Arrange a full spa day with facials, massages, body wraps, mud treatments or soaks in a thermal pool. The Fonteverde Hotel and Spa, set in the hills of Tuscany, is a luxury retreat that offers all the amenities of a hotel along with a full-service spa. Between dining in the on-site restaurant, wine-tasting in the area and engaging in outdoor pursuits, you can book spa services a la carte or as a package with your stay.
For the ultimate in seclusion and romance, snuggle up with your sweetie in a private villa. Wake each morning and retire each night with no other guests to disturb you. Villas don’t come cheap but they do offer total privacy and luxury. Many come with the services of a staff that will stock the kitchen, cook your meals, clean the villa daily, and accommodate any other requests you may have.
Hot Air Balloon Rides
Hot-air balloon rides definitely fit the bill for romance – the excitement of lift-off, the beauty of the scenery below, and of course, gripping your loved one tightly as you float high in the sky. Go on a Hot Air Balloon Ride above the hills of Tuscany, followed by a champagne breakfast upon return.
Many agriturismos and B&B’s provide bikes for guests to use. Coast around the gently sloping countryside, visit a winery or two and then stop for a picnic lunch among the vineyards or olive groves. Many companies organize single day trips around the region, which can often be combined with winery visits.
Whether you are looking for great food and wine, outdoor activities, or just some quality alone-time with your loved one, Tuscany offers the perfect location for a romantic escape.
Go For An Afternoon Ride On Your Tuscany Holiday
Give anyone a bike and let them loose on Tuscany, and most likely they’ll wish they could go through the whole region on two wheels. Given enough time, that is certainly possible. There are also places in Tuscany that are just perfect for a quaint afternoon ride.
Take, for example, the ramparts of Lucca. This historic city is a feast for the eyes, and an adventure on its own. The three-mile-round walls are perfect solo or as a group.
Some small towns in the Tuscan region are also perfect biking grounds. Pistoia is a good example, with lots of great architecture you can admire from its streets. San Miniato, which we covered earlier, is also a great place for a ride, especially with its sights of the Arno River Valley.
South of Siena is the Crete Senesi, which is usually outside the tourist radar because of bad transport options (hence, biking really makes sense!). The architecture is fantastic, the food is great, and there are some important gems you’d only see here!
Wine Session To Take On Tuscany Italy Holidays
Of course, what evokes the feeling of a holiday better than tossing back a drink or two? So you definitely have to add a wine tour. Take a look at my recommendations for the top Wine Tours in Tuscany here.
Chianti’s Castellina is home to the Sant’Agnese Farm and its magnificent chianti (not to mention its interesting desserts, such as balsamic vinegar on vanilla ice cream).
You can also make your way to Ornellaia, which isn’t far away from the Tenuta Le Macchiole. This small winery has only 20 employees, but produces five great wines!
If you fancy yourself knowledgeable about wines, there’s also the winery at the hamlet of Montefioralle, which holds not just traditional wine tasting events but also a “Sommelier Challenge”. As a plus, all of these places offer enchanting views of the Tuscan countryside.
Of course, the real treasure in the Tuscan countryside are its locals. You can view all the amazing works of art and taste all the wine and food during your holiday here. But you can’t say you’ve truly been to Tuscany until you’ve had close encounters with its people.
Whether it’s a chat with the owners of a cellar, or a laugh with a chef at a foodie tour, or a simple exchange of pleasantries with the guy behind the counter, it’s these little moments that truly complete the experience of trips to Tuscany, Italy.
Additional Tours And Activities To Do
- Siena: Small Group Pasta and Tiramisu Class
- Leonardo Da Vinci Museum Entrance
- Skip-The-Line Michelangelo’s David Guided Tour
- From Florence: Chianti Half-Day Afternoon Tour
And it’s much easier to have such experiences when you’re not worrying about having to catch the next trip or about whether you’ll get past the long queues of the attractions in time. I recommend skipping the lines by signing up for a tour instead! Not only do you get a behind-the-scenes access, commentary by professional guides can really enrich your appreciation of what you see. Companies like Get Your Guide have various options that will help bring you closer to the heart of Tuscany.
Find The Ideal Lodgings
Tuscany is a land of romantic villas set in sun-kissed green landscapes. This makes finding the perfect lodging easy, whether you’re traveling alone, with a loved one, or with family.
If you want to have the sea spray greet you in the mornings, finding a seaside property like Villa Grey would be a great bet — this includes private beach tents and beach beds! On the other hand, exclusivity and history is etched in the 500-year-old, perfectly furnished Four Seasons Firenze which makes it great for those who “want it all”.
Wine lovers would want to have a place around the famous Tuscan vineyards, such as the Tenuta Le Macchiole. Those looking for a unique take on a romantic lodging, on the other hand, would be well-advised to check out the Hotel Locanda al Colle. This one does away with the traditional hotel setup of a lobby and a concierge, instead having 13 private rooms each with its own name. Of course, the unique flavor of Tuscan art and culture also resonates within each of these lodgings mentioned!
A Tuscany Holiday was written and photographed by Karla Angela Ramos.