The glorious region of Tuscany is a picture-postcard destination in northwest Italy. It’s easy to see why great artists and visionaries such as Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Galileo made Tuscany the birthplace of the Renaissance. Several towns and cities are designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites and superb photo opportunities are available at every corner. But some of the best things to do in Tuscany are just being present and soaking in your surroundings. Discover local traditions, sample mouth-watering Tuscan cuisine, and sip aromatic Chianti wines. Or go on a Tuscany tour with a local guide and get a deeper insight into the local history and culture. And be sure to check out where to stay in Tuscany. Our guide on the best ways to visit the Tuscan countryside tells you everything you need to make the journey!
Tours to the Tuscan Countryside
There is certainly no shortage of ways to get around Tuscany. However, navigating yourself around the countryside can result in lots of wasted time. Perhaps the best way to see the highlights while you simply enjoy yourself is a guided tour or package tour of Tuscany. Tours start from the major towns and cities such as Florence. Among the most popular tours of the Tuscan countryside are:
- Back roads of Chianti 4×4 Tour from Florence – a full day in the Chianti region of Tuscany’s small back roads – including vineyards, beautiful landscapes, food and wine tastings, and a local style lunch. From $170 per person.
- Tuscan Market Tour and Cooking Class from Florence – head from Florence, into the Tuscan countryside, buy local produce at a local food market, and cook a local style meal which you’ll then enjoy in a rustic setting. From $139 per person.
- Best of Tuscany Tour from Florence – visits San Gimignano, Siena, and Pisa, including a winery, and some dramatic and impressive views of the Tuscan countryside. From $109 per person.
- San Gimignano, Chianti, Siena, and Monteriggioni Tour from Florence – visits some of the most picturesque and iconic locations in Tuscany, including wine tastings, and local lunch, in a one day small group trip from Florence. From $189 per person.
- Chianti e-Biking Tour from Florence or from Siena. Or on horseback from Siena A day of exploring the countryside of Tuscany on an e-bike or horseback. From $89 per person.
Alternatively, for an entirely hassle-free and curated experience, try a Tuscany Tour package.
- Both the Alternative Florence & Tuscany 6 Day Tour Package and Florence & Tuscany Highlights 6 Day Tour Package combine time in stunning Florence with peeks at the smaller, fascinating towns in the region. Sample wines, learn how to cook local specialties and immerse yourself in the history and culture of the region.
- You can also discover the rest of the country with the 14 Day Italy Tour Package – a whirlwind adventure through Rome, Venice, Naples, and more, with two days of discovering Florence and Tuscany.
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. 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. While you’re there, take a private walking tour or cooking class to get a feel for the place. 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, with just a few main road arteries connecting 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’re traveling by car in the Tuscan countryside, consider adding some experiences to enhance your trip. For example:
- Brunello Wine Tasting & Lunch In A Tuscan Castle From Montalcino
- Cooking workshops in Arezzo
- Wine tasting in Brunello
- Walking tours of small and enhanced towns such as Arezzo, Cortona, Lucca
Check out hotels in Siena for places to stay nearby and the best tours in the area. The Siena 5 Day City Break Tour Package is a great option for discovering Siena and its surrounding attractions over several days.
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. Check out the full story in our Florence Airport Guide. From Florence and Pisa, you can catch buses, trains, or rent a car to reach the Tuscan countryside. Alternatively, take the hassle out of your itinerary and book a day trip to Chianti wine country, Siena, or Lucca! With its excellent hotels, Florence makes a great base for Tuscan explorations – here’s our take on where to stay there. Tours like the Best of Tuscany Day Tour and Tuscan Market Tour and Cooking Class are great ways to explore the countryside from Florence – no navigation needed!
Cycling Through Tuscany
If you want to keep those pasta kilos at bay, a bicycle tour is an excellent way to explore the Tuscan countryside. Many towns and cities in Tuscany rent bicycles for a few hours to a day or longer. The Chianti E-Bike Tour from Siena will see a local guide lead you through stunning backroads in the Tuscan countryside. Alternatively, you can go the most old-school route on a Chianti Hillside Horseback Riding Tour from Siena. Riding through the rolling Tuscan hills on horseback is undoubtedly the most romantic way to experience them.