BEST ITINERARY FOR TUSCANY IN 7 DAYS
- 1 BEST ITINERARY FOR TUSCANY IN 7 DAYS
- 2 TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR TUSCANY ITINERARY
- 3 PLACES TO VISIT IN 7 DAYS IN TUSCANY
- 4 FINAL THOUGHTS ON PLANNING YOUR TUSCANY ITINERARY
Are you planning your 7 days in Tuscany itinerary? Then this post is for you. Here you will find out how to create an epic one-week itinerary for Tuscany along with many travel tips for your trip.
Tuscany is the place of rolling hills, beautiful medieval towns, and villages that often sit on top of hills and thus come with great views. The region is known for its vineyards and great wines, and then there are the villas at the end of cypress-lined lanes.
But, of course, it is also known as the Renaissance’s birthplace and was home to geniuses like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. There is so much to do and see. After spending more than one week in Tuscany myself, I finally saw with my own eyes what all the fuss is about!
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TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR TUSCANY ITINERARY
Let´s start with the travel tips before discussing your itinerary.
How to Get Around Tuscany in a Week
Many places in Tuscany are very well-connected! It is easy getting around by public transportation or car. I used public transportation whenever I headed to the main places (like Florence or Pisa) and drove for the rest of the time. Both ways have their perks.
Tuscany Road Trip Tips For 7 Days
I found that driving in Tuscany was fine – most of the time. I cannot deny that I will probably never get used to the way Italians drive, but in general, it was good.
- Especially driving through the vineyards in Val d’Orcia was so much fun! The scenery was top-notch!
- The roads might not always be perfectly paved and modern, but it should not be a big problem for an experienced driver. Also, roads can be extremely narrow, and that is why I seriously advise choosing a small car.
- In most towns, villages, and cities you are not allowed to drive if you do have not got a special permit. So, even if there are no barriers, you are not allowed to drive. Keep an eye out for a sign – whether you are only allowed to drive there with this special permit.
- Also, I figured out that I should avoid busy hours. It can be crazy driving in and near main places from 7-9 am and 5-7 pm. It saved me time and stress not driving at these times.
- Do not let the Italian drivers make you nervous. Do not speed unnecessarily (there are many speed cams around).
- There are some toll highways in Tuscany, but I only drove them to Tuscany from Liguria. In general, most of the roads here are toll-free. Even some “autostrada” (motorways) are free (they are generally not in great condition).
- Parking can be really costly and can eat into your budget over time. With some prior research, you might find free parking spots, but most of the time, I had to pay around 1-2.50€ for an hour near the old towns of Lucca and Siena.
- And do not get me started on Italy’s gas prices – the highest I have ever seen in Europe. One liter of gas costs up to 1.85€. If you find gas for 1.45€, you have found a bargain.
- Oh, and be prepared for an abundance of roundabouts in Tuscany. If you have not gotten used to them, recheck the rules, as I find the roundabouts in Italy a bit busy and hectic at times.
Public Transportation in Tuscany
I am probably not the first one to openly declare my affection for public transportation in Tuscany. The train rides, in particular, became a nice way of getting around. If I had to choose one way of getting around in Italy, it would be train travel.
- It is quite affordable and reliable (yes, my trains always ran a few minutes late, but I consider this tolerable).
- However, getting to smaller towns and villages without a train station is a bit trickier.
- So, when you have a train station close to your accommodation – great. Then you can do some trips by public transportation. If there is none, then bus transport is fine, too, but when it comes to schedules, it is not always clear.
- TIP: Always, always validate your ticket. Even if you buy your ticket at the ticket counter for the next train/bus, you need to validate it at one of the little machines at the station for trains and in the bus for bus rides.
Best Time to Visit Tuscany For One Week
- I visited Tuscany in spring: At the end of March/beginning of April. It was a lovely time to visit. Temperatures were mild (around 16°- 20ºC), but I also experienced a few rainy days. The trees were blossoming, and it was hilly and lush. The places were not crowded (except Florence and Pisa), and I did not have to rub shoulders with other tourists.
- I visited again in the summer: In July, it was hot and busy. I did not like it much.
Personally, I recommend visiting at the end of April, May, or early June as it gets a bit warmer and the scenery is supposed to be even more colorful and bright.
Or I would pick fall as my travel time – September to October. Overall, the weather is good, the crowds are gone, and the hills and trees are still lush and colorful.
The summer months are great if you like heat and crowds – July and August would be good months to visit then!
Pin me For Later – Tuscany Itinerary
Before talking about the best places to add to your Tuscany itinerary, here is a pin for your future reference (save it on Pinterest).
PLACES TO VISIT IN 7 DAYS IN TUSCANY
Here are the best places to visit in beautiful, beautiful Tuscany. I talk about all places more in detail, but this overview might help you to get a better idea first. You could do a loop – and start and end your trip in Florence.
- Florence – 2 days
- Lucca and Pisa – 1 day
- Volterra and San Gimignano – 1 day
- Val D´Orcia (incl. Montepulciano) – 1 day
- Siena – 1 day
- Arezzo – 0,5 day + return to Florence
Florence – 2 Days
- If you are in Tuscany for one week, I recommend staying in Florence for 2 days, because there are so many places to visit and things to do.
Florence is one of the best places in Italy. You seriously have to add it to your Tuscany itinerary. This city is one of my favorites in all of Europe! It wins the heart of its visitors within minutes – it is soooo pretty!
And even if you are not the typical art fan (believe me, I am not), Florence is different. While Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci still play a crucial role in the city today, there is so much more to do and see.
You can do a few things for free in Florence, but several fantastic museums and churches need a ticket reservation in advance if you don’t want to spend hours in line. There is no country in the world where skip-the-line tickets make more sense than in Italy from April to October.
Things to Do and See in Florence
- Uffizi Gallery – find the original statue of David by Michelangelo. Skip-the-line tickets are essential.
- Cross the Ponte Vecchio Bridge – this medieval bridge is 312 meters long and houses some small shops. It dates back to the 14th century.
- Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore – oh, what a lady! This stunning cathedral is a beauty. You surely will be impressed by its sheer size. If you want to visit the inside book your ticket in advance.
- Piazza Della Signoria – this lively square is fun and busy. You will also find a replica of the David Statue and many more art pieces.
- The views from Piazzale Michelangelo are priceless. It takes a 10-15 minute uphill hike (not too steep, though), and from there, you have great views and can enjoy the Florentinian skyline for free (also great for enjoying the sunset).
- Pitti Palace – once the Medici family’s home, it is now a Renaissance Palace that houses incredible art pieces. Plan in 3-5 hours for this place and buy tickets in advance.
- The Boboli Garden – located right behind the Pitti Palace, you can stroll this gigantic garden for several hours without getting bored (get a combined ticket for Pitti Palace, Boboli Garden, and more).
- Here is a more detailed Florence guide for you!
If you make Florence your base for your whole Tuscany trip, then check out the best day trips to take from there.
Where to Stay in Florence
- For the ultimate luxury hotel, check out rates at Florence´s Four Seasons. This hotel chain knows how to impress, and it seems that it does a great job in Florence, too. Click here to get more information on the rates.
- This mid-range hotel is located close to the Boboli Gardens and the Piazzale Michelangelo. Check out the rates for the Park Palace in Florence.
- The Plus Florence is a hostel near some of the main attractions, and you can book dorms or private rooms. Find out more about the hotel by clicking here.
Lucca and Pisa – 1 Day
For this day, we have two towns on your itinerary.
- From Florence, you can easily get to Lucca and Pisa via train or car.
Lucca is a popular, though not overly crowded, town between Florence and Pisa.
- It is just a 30-minute drive (or train ride) from Pisa.
- While it seems like there is much more to see in Lucca than in Pisa, Lucca is very walkable. Despite the number of attractions, you can see all these places in half a day.
Things to do in Lucca
You can walk the huge Renaissance walls that offer nice views and are a good place to rest. Seriously, I have never seen such big city walls. From there, you can make your way to the historic city center and visit other main attractions.
- The Duomo di San Martino (entry about 3€, which was nice, but you can skip it if you’re on a budget). You can climb the tower there. The views are not as great as from the other tower. However, if you are in the mood to climb towers and don’t mind paying another 3€, this is a good place to enjoy the views.
- Then there is the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro with its many cafes and restaurants.
- Climb to the top of the Guinigi Tower. It has centuries-old trees at the very top; climbing the 270 steps will cost you about 4€.
- Visit the St. Michael’s Church (Chiesa di San Michele) with its unique exterior.
- Visit the Basilica of San Frediano
- If you enjoy guided walking tours, check out this affordable Lucca walking tour.
Pisa is surely mostly known for one attraction, but it is a bit more than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It is a charming little town. Initially, I planned to stay one whole day in Pisa, but I figured out that half a day is really enough! There are just so many other stunning places in Tuscany.
And like Florence, Pisa is busy. At least, it is busy around the Leaning Tower, not so much in other areas.
Things to Do and See in Pisa
- Visit the Piazza del Duomo, where you have the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It is a 14th-century tower that is probably the most famous tilted building in the world. Skip-the-lines tickets are a must if you do not want to spend a lot of time in line.
- But there is also the impressive Pisa Cathedral, the baptistery, and Camposanto Monumentale (a cemetery). The Duomo is free to visit, but you need to get a ticket center ticket (which is well signed).
- If you want to climb the Leaning Tower or visit the baptistery or the Camposanto, you need to buy tickets. If you don’t buy skip-the-line tickets in advance, you might have to stand in line forever or not even get a ticket at all.
- Stroll the Arno River (which is such a tranquil place after the busy Piazza del Duomo) and visit the Santa Maria Della Spina – a tiny church with a unique gothic exterior.
- On your way to the Santa Maria Della Spina, you should visit the Palazzo della Carovana at Knights’ Square.
- Check out my Pisa itinerary to find out more.
WHERE TO STAY IN PISA
In case you want to stay overnight, here are some well-rated accommodations:
- This luxury hotel is rated one of Pisa’s best ones. Find out more about the Pisa Tower Plaza.
- This B&B is surely no budget-friendly place, but its location is amazing. Check out rates for the B&B 7 Rooms.
Volterra and San Gimignano – 1 Day
Here are two stunning villages to visit: Volterra and then San Gimignano. Whether you road trip or not – one day for visiting both places should be fine.
Driving to Volterra and then to San Gimignano was one of the best driving experiences: great views and nice roads. However, these are mountain roads and they are narrow – and it might not be everyone´s cup of tea.
Volterra is a walled mountaintop town southwest of Florence which dates from before the 8th century BC. I visited Volterra on a rainy day, and despite the weather, it still charmed me.Since it is a hilltop village, it comes with great views – but you also have cute streets, and even cuter doors and houses.
Things to Do and See in Volterra
- Explore Piazza dei Priori – The piazza is located in the center of the town. You will also find the Palazzo dei Priori (city hall), the Council Chamber, and the bell tower (both open to the public) there.
- Stroll Piazza San Giovanni, where you will also find the Cathedral and the Baptistery
- Walk the Etruscan Gate that is close to the Piazza San Giovanni and built in the 4th century.
- Visit the Etruscan Acropolis, which is located within the Archeological Park.
- Enjoy the views!
From Volterra head to San Gimignano – this place is surely not a hidden gem. This small-walled medieval town near Volterra is one of the most popular tourist hotspots in Tuscany. Encircled by 13th-century walls, the town center is a triangular square lined with pretty medieval houses and its skyline is one of a kind.
It gets busy, especially in the summer. However, it holds a few great attractions that make it worth a visit.
Things to Do and See in San Gimignano
- Climb Torre Grossa – The tower stands at 54 meters and dates back to the 13th century. The admission fee is about 5€, but the view is probably well worth it (I visited on a rainy day, so I skipped it).
- Check out Porta San Giovanni – The door was finished in the 13th century and is a highlight of the town.
- Piazza del Duomo – The heart of San Gimignano also houses the cathedral, the Palazzo del Podesta, the Palazzo del Popolo, and more.
- There are also guided tours that will show you both towns in one day.
Val d’Orcia (incl. Montepulciano) & Wine Tasting – 1 Day
South of Siena and Florence is one of the most beautiful sceneries, and you will see the Tuscan countryside at its best! The Val D’Orcia is famous for its stunning landscapes and its red wines. While I, personally, don’t drink wine, I know it is still a great place for wine tasting.
The views. The drive. The roads. This was a fun day driving and enjoying the panoramas from your window views.The lush, green hills and yellow fields in between (and in the summer, you can expect red poppies and fields of sunflowers) make it one of the most beautiful places in Tuscany.
One of my favorite towns was the hilltop village of Montepulciano. Spend a few hours there, and if you have time left (I wish that I had), then visit Montalcino or Pienza as well.
Here are some tours that include wine tasting that I have found online – because some people just come to Tuscany for food and wine.
- Val D´Orcia – Wine and Cheese Tasting Tour – from Florence
- Pienza, and Montepulciano – Check out this full-day wine tour.
Siena – 1 Day
Now let´s talk about Siena – a city that sits over three hills. It is a perfectly preserved medieval town and a shrine to Gothic architecture. There is an impressively maintained historic center that’s been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.You can start your day at the central piazza. The huge Piazza del Campo is the heart of the city and where most of its important events have been held ever since.
Twice a year, on July 2 and August 16, a famous horse race takes place here. Then it gets busy – also, animal fans might not want to attend this kind of cruel event. But most of the time, it is a nice and lively square where you can enjoy the Dolce Vita.
Things to do and See in Siena
- Visit the impressive Duomo di Siena, a Romanesque-Gothic cathedral with mosaics – the exterior looks a bit pinkish.
- Climb the 400 steps of the Tower of Mangia, which is located on the Piazza del Campo. It was closed at the time of my visit but is supposed to offer some of the best views in Tuscany.
- Admire the Palazzo Pubblico, the town hall building in gothic style and located on the Piazza del Campo.
- Stroll the old town and be ready to find some cute houses around every turn.
If you have less than 5 days in Tuscany, check out this organized tour that allows you to see several towns in Tuscany – including Siena.
Where to Stay in Siena
- I stayed at a charming little hotel with amazing views. The design is unique, and it is located just outside of the city walls. I could not have asked for more value for money. Find out more about Hotel Santa Caterina in Siena here.
Arezzo – 0,5 Day
For this day, you can visit a little town east of Florence and then drive back to Florence.
Arezzo is a town in eastern Tuscany and has become one of my favorite towns in Tuscany.
I was a bit exhausted and forgot what the town was about due to bad research – or better yet, due to a lack of research. I expected another hilltop village and was surprised that it isn’t a typical medieval town in Tuscany.The town square is indeed uphill, but not all of the town – just some parts.
Also, I was spoiled with great weather, and I fell in love almost immediately. So, if you are 7 days in Tuscany, make visiting this small town a priority.
Things to Do and See in Arezzo
- Visit the Piazza Grande – the market square is home to several beautiful buildings, cafes, and restaurants.
- Visit the Arezzo Cathedral
- Stroll the Fortezza Medicea
- Visit the museum of the Fraternity dei Laici (located directly on the Piazza Grande, and for only 3€, you will also get access to the panoramic terrace)
- Fancy a cooking class in Italy? In Arezzo, you can take a cooking class at a local´s home.
Then it might be time to drive back to Florence. Florence is about 80km away which should take a bit more than one hour (by car or train)
FINAL THOUGHTS ON PLANNING YOUR TUSCANY ITINERARY
Tuscany is surely one of the most beautiful regions in Europe, if not in all of the world. The landscapes and the fantastic cities, villages, and towns make it a perfect place to discover.
I want to be honest though: Sometimes I felt like I had visited a village already as some towns and villages are “similar,” and the scenery did not always dramatically change. However, it was a great experience. Tuscany is amazing! 7 days in Tuscany is a good amount to spend here, but even 10 days in Tuscany will be fun without getting bored.
While I did not do my trip according to this Tuscany itinerary, this is how I would do it now, now that I know better.
However, even if you change the route or some places, this post hopefully has helped you create your perfect one-week Tuscany itinerary.