The glorious region of Tuscany is a picture-postcard destination in northwest Italy. Medieval villages cascade down hillsides in colors of warm honey while towering cypress trees stand guard to fields sprinkled with sunflowers. Tuscany was the birthplace to the Renaissance movement and it’s easy to see why great artists and visionaries such as Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Galileo made it their home. Several towns and cities are designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites and superb photo opportunities are available at every corner. You’ll discover local traditions, sample mouth-watering Tuscan cuisine, and sip aromatic Chianti wines as the sun sets over the landscape. Our guide on the best ways to visit the Tuscan countryside has everything you need to know to make the scenic journey!
How to Visit the Tuscan Countryside by Train
Florence is the main rail hub for Tuscany. Most visitors arriving from Rome, Milan, or Venice by train will transfer here for the Tuscan countryside. It’s easy to reach larger towns such as Siena, Lucca, Arezzo, and Pisa from Florence with regular services and reasonably priced fares. Pisa also has frequent train services to Lucca, Livorno, and Grossetto. If you plan to visit picturesque towns and hilltop villages like San Gimignano and Volterra, there are bus links from Poggibonsi station to your destination. Train tickets are well priced with fares ranging from $5 to $12 USD depending on the length of your journey, and carriages are clean and comfortable, ensuring you arrive at your destination ready for adventure.
Traveling to the Tuscan Countryside by Bus
Traveling by bus is a great option if you want to get off the beaten track, with good services connecting most cities, towns, and villages throughout the Tuscan region. Every major city has a handful of bus companies which they use to get around. In Florence, LAZZI offers regular connections to Lucca, Pistoia, Pisa, and Prato. And SITA provides links to Siena and the Chianti wine region. If you’re staying in Pistoia, the Pistoia Mountains and Montalbano regions are easily accessed via Copit buses. And Michelangelo’s birthplace of Arezzo is served by ATAM bus company. It’s also possible to organize themed bus tours via many hotels and excursion companies in the region. Food and wine day trips, tours to see historic sites, and private tours are all available.
Driving to the Tuscan Countryside
By far the best way to navigate the Tuscan countryside is by car. Imagine driving along winding cypress tree-lined roads, Italian style, in a Fiat 500 or Alfa Romeo convertible, stopping at charming trattorias for lunch or breaking at a vineyard to sample local wines. Tuscany is easy to navigate by car, even more so if you have a GPS! There are only a few main road arteries which connect the region to major cities. You can reach Arezzo and Siena from Florence via the E35, and if you plan to drive to Lucca and Pisa, take the A11. This route takes you past Pistoia and Montecatini Terme – a famous spa town with mineral-rich waters. If you have time, stop off to take a dip or visit Viale Verdi with its exquisite architecture, the Medici summer residence, and pavilion of salt.
Flying into Tuscany
If you fly into Tuscany, you have a choice of 2 airports. Amerigo Vespucci Airport in Florence or Galileo Galilei Airport in Pisa. There are also flights into Bologna, Perugia, and Rome which are all within driving distance.
From Florence and Pisa, you can catch buses, trains, or rent a car to reach the Tuscan countryside. Alternatively, take all of the hassle out of your itinerary and book an excursion or day trip to Chianti wine country, Sienna, or Lucca and get your bearings from there!
Cycling Through Tuscany
If you like to stay fit and healthy on holiday and want to keep those pasta kilos at bay, a bicycle tour is an excellent way in which to explore the Tuscan countryside. Many towns and cities in Tuscany rent bicycles for a few hours to a day or longer. Alternatively, book a dedicated 7 or 8-day Tuscan tour so you can really immerse yourself in the natural beauty, rich history, and fine cuisine and wines of the region.