Things to do in Tuscany
There’s so much to do on a villa holiday in Tuscany, to suit all tastes and ages, whether you’re travelling as a couple, family or group of friends.
Do you enjoy browsing art treasures and unearthing history, or tasting and learning about the local food and drink? Is shopping for bargains and souvenirs or relaxing in a spa high on your agenda? Perhaps you prefer getting active, embracing nature, and playing sports, joining in the fun of a festival, letting the kids make a splash at a water park? Or you might just be looking for somewhere new to explore. Whatever appeals, you’ll find it in this beautiful part of Italy.
Take a look at our comprehensive guide, filled with ideas and suggestions from our team on the ground in Tuscany. They’ve hand-picked cookery courses, wine tastings, guided tours, craft workshops, language lessons, balloon rides, country walks and more. If your holiday is doubling as a celebration, get the inside track on how to make it an extra-special occasion with our suggestions about wedding planners, private chefs and musicians. And to get you excited about your trip, we’ve added some handy notes about the language, local customs, food and wine, and even the wildlife to look out for.
There’s a whole lot of fun waiting on the doorstep of your villa in Tuscany. Dip into our guide to make it a holiday to remember.
Things to do in Tuscany
There are so many things to do in Tuscany, you will find it hard to fit them all into your travel itinerary. We suggest you book in advance of your trip.
Tuscany is known for its mouth-watering food, and world famous Tuscan dishes. It’s a magnet for foodies, and anyone who enjoys traditional Italian cuisine. Whilst in Tuscany, if you really want to get to know the cuisine, you should consider doing a cooking course, going on cooking tours, and even hiring a Tuscan chef. After your visit to Tuscany, you might be inspired to bring the taste of Tuscany back home by attempting to cook some of your favourite dishes.
Impress your friends by rustling up unique Tuscan specialities at dinner parties, or treat yourself by cooking the occasional Tuscan inspired meal. We want to help you to recreate some of the best Tuscan recipes in the comfort of your own home, so we have handpicked our favourite dishes below.
Try cooking some of the best Tuscan meals from the selection below and become an expert in Tuscan cooking in no time. Learn how to cook well-known dishes such as Panzanella, Papa al pomodoro, Pappardelle Alla Lepre, Cacciucco and Baccalà alla Livornese. Make sure you send us pictures of your creations and let us know which recipes are your favourite!
10 Chianti Classics
To celebrate the 300th anniversary of Chianti we’ve picked some of our favourite sights and activities in the world-famous wine region that we call home. Our trail is a real mix, to suit all tastes, and it’s free to use – just download and go. Whether you try just one of our recommendations or tick off all 10, you’ll be sure to enjoy memory-making experiences among these ancient vines.
A highlight of the trail is the chance to follow in the tyre tracks of the professional cyclists competing in the 2016 Giro d’Italia. Italy’s premier cycling race will include a special time trial through the Chianti vineyards on 15 May.
There’s also the chance to taste some of the best wines produced in the region and tour a world-class collection of art at Castello di Ama. Here, visitors can combine tastings of renowned vintages, including the Chianti Classico Vigneto La Casuccia, with a tour of works by artists such as Louise Bourgeois and Anish Kapoor.
Italy-inspired recipes from our friends
We know that trying the local food is one of the highlights of a holiday in Tuscany. So we asked some of our guests, bloggers and friends – food enthusiasts who love cooking authentic Italian dishes – to share their favourite recipes with you.
Ox cheeks and pici pasta, wild boar ragu, and grape bread are among some of the delicious recipes they offered us. Try them at your villa in Tuscany, and treat friends and family to these flavours you’ve been enjoying on your return home, too.
Whilst in a region that’s known for its world class cuisine, why not hire a private chef to prepare, cook and serve some real Tuscan food? A private Tuscan chef will come to your private holiday villa and cook an amazing Tuscan meal from scratch before your eyes.
You can make things personal and tailor your meal to your own specific requirements. The chef will advise you on an exquisite menu that is based around the sort of food you love, and even suggest wines that will compliment the dishes you have chosen perfectly.
Sit back and relax in the comfort of your own private villa, while you sample mouthwatering Tuscan food cooked in right front of you. We have personally selected some talented chefs in the region. Take a look at some of the top private professional chefs in Tuscany listed below, or contact us now for more information and guidance.
Cooking School Tuscany
What better place to brush up on your culinary skills than Tuscany? Tuscany is known for its spectacular fresh food and simple, hearty local dishes made from locally grown ingredients.
What we think of real Italian food back home is nowhere near what the chefs produce in Tuscany, here things are made differently. Whilst on holiday, learn how to cook Tuscan food like the locals do at a cooking school in Tuscany.
Do something different on your holiday and come home with cooking skills you can use in your own kitchen. Bring the taste of Tuscany back with you by learning how to make some of the most popular local dishes. Discover which ingredients to use and how to add a touch of Tuscan flavour.
There are plenty of Tuscan cooking schools which offer excellent courses. We have selected a few different cooking schools below for you to choose from.
Local Events & Festivals In Tuscany
Don’t miss out on the chance to experience some of the festivals and wonderful local events that Tuscany has to offer. Tuscany is home to many historic towns and charismatic cities, both of which hold exciting and fascinating events throughout the year.
Attending a local festival or event will give you a true feel for the real Tuscany and enable you to immerse yourself in the local culture. You will learn more about the history and culture of this artistic and visually stunning region.
Tuscany hosts a wide variety of different events to suit every taste. Attend events such as local markets, food and wine festivals, theatre shows, carnivals, live music concerts and colourful parades.
We have put together a selection of some of the best events in Tuscany that are a stone's throw away from our luxurious private villas. Browse through the events below or check the Italian tourist board for more information.
Tuscany for children
As well as being popular with couples, Tuscany is also perfect for families looking for a fun and relaxing break. There are plenty of places to go on unforgettable family days out, and attractions in Tuscany that the children will love. From theme parks and underground caves to kids museums and cooking classes, there’s a lot to keep your kids occupied on a holiday to Tuscany.
After an action packed day of adventures or exploring a medieval hilltop town, you can head back to your very own private villa. The children can make themselves at home and play in the garden whilst you unwind and take in the amazing Tuscan views.
We have a wide range of family villas that have all the facilities you need for a stress free break with your children. See below for some of Tuscany’s best family friendly attractions.
Umbria for Children
Umbria is perfect for families looking for a fun and relaxing break. There are plenty of places to go on unforgettable family days out, and attractions in Perugia, Terni and Orvieto that the children will love. From theme parks and waterfall rafting to art camps and chocolate museum, there’s a lot to keep your kids occupied on a holiday to Umbria.
After an action packed day of adventures or exploring a medieval hilltop town, you can head back to your very own private villa. The children can make themselves at home and play in the garden whilst you unwind and take in the amazing views.
We have a wide range of family villas that have all the facilities you need for a stress free break with your children. See below for some of Umbrias’s best family friendly attractions.
Shopping in Tuscany
Love shopping? Then you’ve chosen a great place to book your holiday villa. In Tuscany, you’ll find a mix of shopping experiences, whether you want to buy the latest designer clothes or a chunk of tasty local cheese.
Tuscany is well known for its wine, olive oil, and fresh local produce. It’s also a good place to pick up leather goods, lace and terracotta. Visit a local market early in the morning to purchase the freshest produce. And check out the markets across the region that specialise in artisanal crafts and antiques. The quaint traditional shops found in smaller villages are also a good place to seek out lovely hand-crafted products for a fabulous souvenir to take home.
There are fantastic factory outlets here, too, with many of the top Italian design houses selling luxury items at bargain prices, including Prada, Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci. While Tuscany’s cities – Siena, Arezzo, Florence and Pisa among them – have some great high-street shopping, too.
Check out our suggestions below on where to enjoy a shopping trip during your villa holiday in Tuscany.
Sports & Activities in Tuscany
For those looking for an active holiday, Tuscany has everything you need. There’s also sorts of activities to get involved with, whether you enjoy sports, relaxation or walking, there’s something for everyone in Tuscany. You can still stay active whilst on holiday if you wish, or completely unwind and switch off.
Some of the popular sports in Tuscany include golf, tennis, bike riding and horse riding. If you prefer something a little more slow paced then head out hiking around the hills, see spectacular views of the Tuscan countryside from a hot air balloon or book a fishing trip. Tuscany also has many spas and hot springs to enjoy, relax in the thermal waters after a day of action packed fun.
We have put together a helpful list of some of the sports and activities on offer in Tuscany. Browse through the activity section below and book a trip of a lifetime to Tuscany.
Local Wildlife In Tuscany
The hot sun and long, warm days have encouraged a surprising diversity of wildlife to inhabit Tuscany. Tuscany’s national parks, wildlife reserves, mountains and vast woodland areas provide a habitat for wildlife to flourish.
Not many people realise that Tuscany has some fantastic local wildlife to see. Deep in the Tuscan countryside you may come across European animals such as hare, deer, porcupines, badgers, dormice, red foxes, pheasants, wolves, and even wild boar.
Tuscany is also a great place to go bird watching. A wide range of beautiful birds can be spotted throughout the region. Birdwatching enthusiasts should head to the mountains and marshlands to see birds such as the tawny owl, herons, ring ouzel and the rare glossy ibis.
Read about some of the most common animals found in Tuscany by clicking on the links below and book your Tuscan wildlife adventure.
Tours and guides in Tuscany
It’s difficult trying to pack in everything you want to see and do on a short trip to Tuscany and Umbria – where to start? How about a guided tour? With so much to experience here, from world-class food and wine to art, history and culture, there’s no better way to get under the skin of a place than to ask a local. Tapping into the knowledge of an enthusiastic guide, keen to share their passion for the area, can’t be beaten for a rich, memory-making experience, whether you want to visit a vineyard, look around a famous museum, or even get on your bike for a front-row view of the glorious countryside.
Check out the ideas below, some of our favourite guided tours.
Art & Culture in Tuscany
It’s not surprising that the striking landscapes, medieval villages and rolling hills of Tuscany have inspired artists, writers and creative legends over the years. Michelangelo, born in in Caprese near Florence, is a fine example of the artistic gifts this region has to offer.
Tuscany is blessed with a collection of historic buildings, cultural landmarks, world class art, and seven World Heritage Sites. Considered the birthplace of the renaissance, The art and culture in Tuscany can be seen through its art galleries, museums, sculptures and breathtaking architecture.
Florence and Siena, two of Tuscany’s major cities are infused with delicate art and magnificent masterpieces. Then there’s the historic hilltop towns such as San Gimignano, Lucca and Pienza to uncover. There’s a very relaxed culture throughout Tuscany, here the locals enjoy a slow pace of life. If you are lucky enough to spend a fair amount of time in Tuscany, you may want to consider discovering its language.
For many people, getting married in Tuscany would be a dream come true. Weddings set in Tuscany are simply breathtaking. There are so many spectacular, classy and picturesque places to get married throughout the region. From impressive Tuscan castles and churches to farm houses and enormous private villas.
Here you can take advantage of the world famous food and wine and get married near artistic & architectural masterpieces. Tuscany is probably one of the most romantic places to get married in the world.
It can be very difficult to organise a wedding in a foreign country, but there are lots of experts available who know the area and can help you plan your perfect Tuscan wedding.
We are happy to help point you in the right direction and suggest some potential ideas, but we are not specialists in this field. That’s where the Tuscan wedding planners come in. Browse through our personal recommendations below.
Wine Tasting In Tuscany
A trip to Tuscany would not be complete without sampling some of the world-famous local wines. More than 80 per cent are red, created in conditions perfectly suited to wine-making, thanks to the warmth of the radiant sun, and rich soil.
Whether you are a connoisseur or new to the world of wine, don’t miss out on the fun opportunity to do a tasting. Tantalise your tastebuds sipping different homegrown Tuscan varieties while learning how they are made and admiring the beautiful landscape within which the grapes grow.
Wine-tasting venues range from rustic farms, to medieval castles, where local experts will show you how to taste wines correctly, what foods they go best with and offer you an insight into the history of Tuscan wine.
And finally, a tip. When you buy a bottle of Chianti ask the merchant what the vintage (year) was like (was it a hot or cool summer?), in order to gauge the wine’s aromatics. Temperature has an immense impact on the ripening of the grapes during the weeks prior to harvest and is the key to determining the final aromatics of the wine. In the case of Chianti, if temperatures are on the cooler side, the resulting wine will be fresher, more aromatic and abundant in fruit flavours such as cranberry, cherry and raspberry. If the season finishes with warmer temperatures, the wine will be dominated by plummy, prune-like characteristics.
Browse our suggestions for wine tasting in Tuscany and plan a memorable day out.
There are many special ingredients that make Tuscany such a unique and appealing region. The things that Tuscany is best known for include its wine, truffles, olive oil and food. It’s certainly worth learning about one or two of these specialities whilst in Tuscany by booking some fascinating experiences.
Growing in the Tuscan countryside, you will find the Tuscan white Truffle. Truffles are one of the most sought after and expensive cooking ingredients, they add a delicious strong flavour to dishes, as well as a touch of class.
Tuscany is also famous for the high quality Olive Oil it produces, which is made using a very specific and skilled process. Make sure you buy some to take home with you. Then of course there’s the world renowned wines that are made in Tuscany, this region is known for producing red wines that are smooth, spicy and of a medium body. Browse through the sections below to learn more about Tuscan specialities.
Private musicians in Tuscany
Travelling to Tuscany for an extra-special occasion? If you’re planning a celebration, wedding or just a fun get-together at your Tuscan villa, why not add a little music to the mix. These talented local musicians are sure to make your event truly unforgettable.Read more
To Tuscany Competitions
We run regular competitions on our website and social media. These competitions give you the chance to share your Tuscan experiences with us and to win some amazing prizes. By entering our competitions, you could in with the chance of winning a free holiday to Tuscany.
Some of the competitions we run include an annual Tuscany photography competition and blogger competitions. Make sure you read the terms and conditions of each competition thoroughly to make sure you comply with our entry guidelines.
You can search through all our past and present competitions below. Choose a competition to take part in and find out when and how to enter. See what past winners received and read their stories.
Sign up to our newsletter and follow us on social media for more information and the latest news regarding exciting competitions.
Experience an official tuscany tour with
Full Day Tuscany Vespa Tour with Lunch from Florence
Enjoy a day riding along peaceful Tuscan roads and through the local hills on an 8-hours original Vespa scooter tour.
Experience a unique way of visit Tuscany, and stop for a wine tasting and delicious lunch along the way.
Classic Siena Walking Tour
Enjoy a private walking tour around Siena, a smart medieval city center that has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site.from 172,91 US Dollar
Tuscany in One Day Sightseeing Tour
Famous for a wealth of art, history, striking landscapes and outstanding produce, Tuscany really does have the best of all worlds! With only a day to spare, see the best Tuscany has to offer on this full-day guided coach trip from Florence.from 97,26 US Dollar
Panoramic Sunset Bike Tour
Watch day turn to night in the Renaissance city of Florence on this magical sunset cycling tour. For first-time visitors, this tour gives you a fantastic orientation and an opportunity to see virtually all of the famous sights you've read about - at sunset. If you’re a veteran visitor, this guided tour is guaranteed to cast the city in a new light as you watch the sun set over the red rooftops of Florence.from 37,82 US Dollar