Experience the Best of Tuscany: A 7-Day Tuscany Trip Itinerary for First-Timers!

Tuscany is all about la dolce vita. Its picture postcard scenery, charming hill towns, and historic cities will captivate you and make you wish you could spend seven months here instead of just seven days. But if a week is what you have, keep reading to discover the perfect Tuscany trip itinerary that will help you experience the best of Tuscany in just 7 days.

There is a lot to see and do in Tuscany, so in 7 days you obviously are not going to be able to cover everything. In fact, you’ll barely scratch the surface of all the wonderful experiences that await you in this beautiful region of Italy. But in seven days, you can see some major sights in the regional capital of Florence, explore some of the best towns in Tuscany, and discover the Val d’Orcia, considered one of the most scenic drives in the world.

Tuscany Landscape

The rolling hills of Tuscany!

7-DAY TUSCANY TRIP ITINERARY

This Tuscany trip itinerary assumes you have seven full days in the region. Plan to arrive in Florence the evening before, so you can get settled into your accommodation and be ready to go the following morning.

You have no shortage of choices on where to go in Tuscany. If you ask ten different people their recommendations on the best places to visit in Tuscany, you’ll likely get ten different answers. But for a first taste of Tuscany, stick to the best known places. The most beautiful towns in Tuscany are hugely popular precisely because they are stunning. Time your visit to avoid the worst of the crowds.

Here, then, is how to experience the best of Tuscany in just 7 days:

Day 1: Explore Florence, Tuscany’s crown jewel
Day 2: See more of Florence
Day 3:  Visit Pisa and Lucca
Day 4: Explore San Gimignano and Volterra
Day 5: Discover Cortona and Arezzo
Day 6: Tour medieval Siena
Day 7: Drive the Val d’Orcia

Day 1: Explore Florence, Tuscany’s crown jewel

Start your Tuscany trip in Florence, where you can see the best of Renaissance art and architecture.The list of things to do in Florence is very long, but in two days, you can cover most of the highlights.

Spend the morning of your first day in Florence at the Duomo complex in the historic center. With a prior reservation, you can climb the 463 steps to the top of Brunelleschi’s famous dome for gorgeous views over the city. Or you can tackle the slightly easier 414 steps to the top of Giotto’s bell tower next door.

Upon your return down to street level, walk around the inside of the Florence Cathedral and the Baptistery. Next, view Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise and Michelangelo’s Florentine Pietà in the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore museum. Finally, spend some time admiring the beautiful coordinated facades of pink and green and white marble and try to fit them all into the frame of your camera.

The Florence Cathedral in Italy

The majestic Florence Cathedral

Pro Tip: You can buy an Opa (combination) ticket online in advance that will let you enter all the buildings in the Duomo complex. An advance reservation for the climb to the top of the Duomo is mandatory. The spots fill up, so book at least a few days ahead of your visit.

For lunch, walk over to All’antico Vinaio in Santa Croce, to try one of their delicious panini, followed by delicious gelato from Gelateria dei Neri, just a few feet down the street. You’ll almost certainly have to wait in line at the famous sandwich shop, but on the flip side, you will enjoy an inexpensive but totally delicious lunch.

Next, walk into the Basilica di Santa Croce to admire its magnificent frescoes and to view the final resting places of many luminaries, including Galileo, Michelangelo, Rossini, and Machiavelli. Native son Dante is buried in Ravenna, but there is a memorial to him in this church, and a statue of him just outside.

Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence Italy

The Basilica di Santa Croce has a stunning facade!

If you love museums, now is the time to squeeze in a visit to one of the smaller museums, such as the Bargello Museum with its beautiful sculptures, or the Medici Chapels, where you can see Michelangelo’s Dawn and Dusk and Day and Night sculptures, or the Palazzo Medici, with its gorgeous interiors. If you are in the market for fine leather goods, step into the Scuola del Cuoio in Santa Croce for really top quality merchandise.

Next it’s time to gaze in awe at the masterpieces on display at the Uffizi Galleries! In the late afternoon, you are less likely to run into huge crowds, but definitely reserve online in advance. With about 2 to 2.5 hours, you should be able to make your way through the rooms, spending more time viewing your favorite artists. From Michelangelo’s Doni Tondo to Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Primavera, you will find plenty here to admire and savor.

For a very special dinner, make your way to La Bottega del Buon Caffè. The Michelin-starred restaurant boasts a menu that’s out of this world, and dinner here is an unforgettable experience. Be sure to reserve your table in advance.


Day 2: See more of Florence

Begin your day at the Accademia Gallery, where, with an advance online reservation, you will hopefully be one of the first few inside the museum with Michelangelo’s David. Spending some time admiring the exquisite sculpture should definitely be at the top of your list if you want to experience the best of Tuscany.

Next, walk over to the Palazzo Vecchio, where you can climb the Torre di Arnolfo for the coveted photo of the Duomo and the Campanile side by side. The palazzo is a cool place to explore, with ancient Roman ruins in the basement level, and fabulous interiors on the main level.

The Duomo di Firenze in Italy

The rooftops of Florence!

Just outside is the Piazza della Signoria, where you can spend a few minutes viewing the sculptures in the Loggia dei Lanzi. The original David by Michelangelo stood in this square after it was sculpted until it was moved in 1873 and replaced with a copy.

Next, walk to the Piazza della Repubblica, where you can watch street artists perform and take a photo of the famous carousel. From here to the Mercato Centrale is just a short walk, unless you choose to browse the San Lorenzo Market, where stalls sell souvenirs, leather items, and apparel. It’s a fun place to browse and possibly pick up some inexpensive souvenirs or gifts for folks back home.

Piazza della Repubblica Firenze Italy

The carousel at the Piazza della Repubblica

Mercato Centrale is a two-level food market. On the bottom floor, you will find stalls selling meats, produce, cheeses, pastas, and olive oils. You can sample before you buy, and vendors will securely pack items you wish to take back, such as truffle oil or balsamic vinegar. On the top floor is an amazing food court, and you can choose what you want for a delicious lunch.

After lunch, cross the Ponte Santa Trinita on your way to the Oltrarno — the other side of the Arno, where you will spend the afternoon. As you cross the bridge, stop to take photos of the famous Ponte Vecchio.

Ponte Vecchio Florence Italy

The famous Ponte Vecchio on a gorgeous day

Once on the other side, make your way to the Piazza Santo Spirito. The streets in the vicinity of this square are full of artisan workshops from bookbinders to sculptors, and make for delightful browsing.

Next, spend some time in one of the gardens in the area. While the Boboli Gardens are a lovely green space any time of year, you may want to pick the Giardino Bardini if you visit during wisteria blooming season, or the Rose Garden, if you visit during the summer when the roses are in peak bloom.

Finally, make your way to the Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte or the Piazzale Michelangelo for stunning views of the city and to watch the sun set over Firenze and the lights of the city start to twinkle.

Sunset over Florence, Italy

A magical evening in Florence!

For dinner with a view of Ponte Vecchio, take a taxi to Michelin-starred Borgo San Jacopo, where you can dine on modern versions of classic Florentine dishes. To walk off the calories, take an after dinner stroll. Florence at night is magical.

Day 3: Visit Pisa and Lucca

Pisa and Lucca lie to the west of Florence, and are close enough that you can cover both towns in one day. Lucca, in my opinion, is more interesting, so my ideal day would have me spending most of the day in Lucca, with a couple of hours in Pisa early in the day.

WHAT TO DO IN PISA

In Pisa, head straight to the Piazza dei Miracoli, to view the Duomo complex, and to climb to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, if you are so inclined. The white buildings look stunning early in the day against the fresh green grass of the Field of Miracles, and you are less likely to run into crowds. The entire complex is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, and a Tuscany must see despite the hordes of tourists.

Leaning Tower Pisa Italy

The Leaning Tower!

Step inside the Duomo to see the beautiful pulpit, designed by Giovanni Pisano in the early 14th century. Don’t miss the amphora to the right of the apse: it was reportedly used by Jesus for turning water into wine!

The DuomO Complex at the Field of Miracles in Pisa, Italy

The beautiful Duomo complex in Pisa

Following your visit to the Field of Miracles, walk over to the Piazza del Cavalieri (Knights’ Square), to admire the gorgeous architecture. Then pop into the Caffe dei Cavalieri nearby for amazing coffee and a pastry before heading to Lucca.

 

WHAT TO DO IN LUCCA

Lucca is both charming and historic, and one of the best places to visit in Tuscany. Start your visit to Lucca with a walk or bike ride along the famous city walls that form a ring around the town. The entire stretch is about 2.5 miles, so if you are walking, do as much as is comfortable and then head into the town via the nearest gate.

For lunch, make your way to the historic Buca di Sant’Antonio, where you can try traditional Tuscan favorites prepared with fresh, quality ingredients.

Start your exploration of the walled town at the Chiesa di San Michele in Foro. So called because it was built over the site of the Roman Forum, the Chiesa di San Michele is one of Lucca’s most famous churches. Don’t forget to look up: at the very top of the church is the large statue of St. Michael killing the dragon.

Church of St. Michael Lucca Italy

Can you see the statue of the Archangel at the top?

Next, walk the Via Fillungo, the main shopping street in Lucca, where you can browse or shop. The street is home to the Torro delle Ore, the Clock Tower, which you can climb, although if you want to climb only one tower in Lucca, you might want to skip this one in favor of the Torre Guinigi.

View of rooftops in Lucca, Italy

Lucca is beautiful!

From the Via Fillungo, walk to the oval Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, originally a Roman amphitheater and today one of Lucca’s most lively squares. This is a good place to stop for a little break, before heading to the Torre Guinigi, where you can climb the 230 steps to the top for fabulous views of the rooftops of Lucca. More unique is the garden at the top, with several mature trees! The medieval Via Guinigi is picturesque in its own right, even if you don’t do the climb.

Torre Guinigi Lucca Italy

What a unique tower with the trees on top!

Your final must-see sight in Lucca is the Duomo. The cathedral of Lucca contains a famous carved wooden crucifix, the Volto Santo di Lucca, supposed to have been carved by Nicodemus, a disciple of Jesus.

If you want to end your day in Lucca with a special dinner, try Trattoria da Giulio, best known for classic fare. It’s located in the center, and popular with locals, so you know the food is good!

 

For an efficient way to see both Pisa and Lucca in one day as a day trip from Florence, consider a guided tour if you do not plan to drive yourself.

Day 4: Explore San Gimignano and Volterra

There are so many picturesque little towns in Tuscany that you could spend months here and not run out of places to explore. San Gimignano is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and definitely warrants a spot in your 7-day Tuscan trip itinerary. It is a hugely popular destination though, so you will likely encounter crowds during the day. Go early in the day, as early as you can, to experience the town before the tour buses arrive. My ideal day would be a couple of hours in San Gimignano early in the morning and the rest of the day in Volterra.

To visit both these towns in one day trip, you will need to drive yourself or hire a car and driver for the day. You can also join a guided day tour of both towns. Using public transport, you could visit one or the other as a day trip, but not both comfortably.

WHAT TO DO IN SAN GIMIGNANO

In San Gimignano, the skyline is the star, so make you sure you stop to enjoy the view of the towers from a distance as you approach the town. The towers were built by the wealthy families of San Gimignano as symbols of their wealth and power. Today only 13 of the original 72 towers are still standing.

San Gimignano Italy should definitely be on your Tuscan trip itinerary!

The towers of San Gimignano

Before entering the walled town, take a coffee and pastry break at Pasticceria Il Criollo.

If you like climbing towers, climb to the top of the tallest tower in town, the Torre Grossa, for spectacular views of the countryside. The tower is about 200 feet high.

If you like art, visit the Collegiata to view the beautiful frescoes inside. Spend some time at the Piazza del Duomo, the main square in the town. To see the town as it must have been in its glory days, visit San Gimignano 1300, a museum that showcases large scale models of the town way back when.

Visit the Piazza della Cisterna, where you can see a well that was built in the 13th century! Spend some time walking the cobblestone streets to take photos of the towers and enjoy the medieval feel of the town before heading out.

Pro Tip: The Torre Grossa doesn’t open until 10 a.m., so leave the climb to the top of the tower for last if you arrive really early in the morning.

The towers of San Gimignano in Italy

Wandering around San Gimignano is a must!

 

WHAT TO DO IN VOLTERRA

Volterra is a lovely Tuscan hilltop town with a rich history going back to Etruscan times: it is one of the twelve cities that made up the powerful Etruscan League. The stunning stone Porta all’Arco welcomes you into the walled town. Have lunch at La Carabaccia, where the menu is short but the meals are very flavorful. We had just the pastas and they were delicious.

Volterra Italy is a must-visit if you want to experience the best of Tuscany!

Volterra is stunning!

Begin your exploration of the town with a visit to the Etruscan Museum, which houses finds from Etruscan times to the Roman era, including a collection of coins and lots of urns.

Next, visit the Roman theater, where you can see the ruins and part of the amphitheater seating cut into the surrounding hillside.

Roman Theater Volterra Italy

At the Roman Theater, the seating is terraced into the hillside!

Your next must-see sight in Volterra is the Pinacoteca of Volterra in the Palazzo Minucci-Solaini. Here you will be awed by The Deposition, a masterpiece by Rosso Fiorentino from the 16th century. You can also see works by Luca Signorelli here. Signorelli is most well known for his frescoes in the Duomo di Orvieto.

Next, make your way to the Piazza dei Priori, one of the most beautiful medieval squares in all of Tuscany, to soak in the charming ambience. Visit the Palazzo dei Priori to admire the beautiful frescoes in the council chamber. Climb the tower for spectacular views of the rooftops of the town and the surrounding countryside.

Finally, make your way to the cathedral of Volterra. The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta has a simple facade, but the stunning interior with its glitzy coffered ceiling will take your breath away!

Spend some time wandering the streets and browse the many artisan workshops specializing in alabaster, used in Volterra since Etruscan times.

For a wonderful dinner, head to Ristorante-Enoteca del Duca. Your meal will likely be one of the best meals you will have on your trip, one you will not forget for a long time!

You can also opt for a guided tour of San Gimignano and Volterra if you do not plan to drive yourself. Or hire a car and driver: your hotel in Florence should be able to put you in touch with reputable drivers.

Day 5: Discover Arezzo and Cortona

Today’s itinerary takes you to Cortona, which you probably recognize as the setting for Under the Tuscan Sun by Francis Mayes, and Arezzo, the setting for the movie Life is Beautiful. Cortona is smaller, and I would spend most of the day in Arezzo.

WHAT TO DO IN CORTONA

Start your time in Cortona with a visit to Pasticceria Banchelli for coffee and a sweet treat. Then stroll the cobblestone streets and enjoy the beautiful views of the Tuscan countryside, and wander around some of the main squares: Piazza Garibaldi, Piazza della Repubblicca, and Piazza della Signoria.

Cortona Italy

Walking around Cortona

If you like art, visit the Diocesan Museum to see Fra Angelico’s Annunciation and Madonna and Child and the Chiesa di San Domenico for his fresco just above the entrance.

If you loved the book (or the movie) Under the Tuscan Sun, you may want to walk by Villa Bramasole, the villa that was restored by the author. You can only view it from the outside, and the walk from Piazza Garibaldi is about 25 minutes each way.

 

WHAT TO DO IN AREZZO

Arezzo is one of those lovely Tuscan hill towns where you can see as many or as few of the sights as you wish. Even if you just stroll the streets, without entering a single museum or monument, you will still have had a wonderful visit to this historic town.

If you start at the bottom of the hill and work your way up, you will first come to the Piazza Guido Monaco. Continue past it to the Piazza San Francesco, where you can pop into the Basilica to view Piero della Francesca’s Legend of the Cross frescoes. If you like art, visit the National Museum of Medieval and Modern Art, which houses works from several styles. Don’t miss the sculpture of the Archangel from the Medici fortress.

The next sight of interest is the Santa Maria della Pieve, with its unique facade. The lowest part of the facade contains five large arches, and each of three layers above it has an increasing number of columns, each one different from the others.

Next, spend some time catching your breath at the Piazza Grande, lined with cafes and restaurants, before climbing on to visit the  Cathedral of Santi Donato e Pietro, Arezzo’s Duomo, and the Medici Fortress, built by Cosimo I as a mark of Florentine power.

Piazza Grande Arezzo Tuscany Italy

The beautiful Piazza Grande

On your way back, tour what’s left of the Roman Amphitheater. Finally, visit the Archaeological Museum to view artifacts from the Etruscan and Roman eras, before making your way back to the Piazza Guido Monaco.

For a superb dinner, make your way to Ristorante Le Chiavi d’Oro in the Piazza San Francesco. Sit outside if the weather is nice, and enjoy the beauty of the square as you eat. Leave room for dessert!

You can also opt for a guided tour to Cortona and Arezzo as a day trip from Florence.

Day 6: Tour medieval Siena

Siena is quite possibly my favorite Tuscan hill town. It has a charming medieval ambience and plenty of things to fill up one active day, and should definitely feature in your Tuscan trip itinerary. Plan to arrive early in the day, to make the most of your visit.

Start your day in Siena with coffee and a pastry at Torrefazione Fiorella. Then stroll around the massive Piazza del Campo, which hosts the Palio, a horse race, twice a year. In the morning, the square is relatively quiet, and you can view the stunning palazzos that line the perimeter at leisure.

Next, walk to the Duomo di Siena.The Duomo di Siena is one of the prettiest in all of Italy and definitely a Tuscany must see.

Plan to spend a few hours here visiting the different buildings in the complex. If you get the Opa Si pass, you can visit all the buildings. With the Gate of Heaven all inclusive pass, you can access the roof of the cathedral as well. Access to the roof is by tour every half hour, limited to 18 people in one slot. The roof visit and the panorama tend to get congested, so reserve a slot for the roof tour and then head to the Facciatone.

Start by climbing to the top of the Facciatone, which is actually the unfinished facade of a planned extension to the cathedral. Construction was abandoned after the plague decimated Siena’s population and economy. From the top, enjoy stunning views of the rooftops of Siena and the surrounding Tuscan countryside.

View of Siena Italy from the Facciatone

Looking down into the Piazza del Campo

Once you are back down, stand in the Piazza to properly admire the gorgeous facade of the Duomo. With its three gables decorated with mosaics and beautiful rose window, the Duomo di Siena is one of the prettiest we saw in our three weeks in Italy.

Duomo di Siena Italy

The facade of the Siena Cathedral is gorgeous!

Take a break for lunch at the nearby Antica Osteria da Divo, where you can enjoy good Tuscan cuisine in underground dining rooms cut out of volcanic rock.

Next, visit the interior of the cathedral, with its stunning black and white marble columns and works by Michelangelo, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and Donatello, among others. Don’t forget to tour the Piccolomini Library, with its beautiful frescoes by Pinturicchio and illustrated choir books. Also gawk at the pavement of the cathedral, also covered with art by about 40 different artists. The floor is fully uncovered only for a few weeks in the fall, but you can view parts of it year round.

The crypt and the museum are also worth visiting. The museum houses Donatello’s Madonna del Perdono and Duccio di Buoninsegna’s stained glass rose window, made to fill the round opening in the facade of the cathedral.

After your tour of the Duomo complex, spend the rest of the day wandering around Siena’s beautiful streets. If you are up for another climb, return to the Piazza del Campo and climb the Torre del Mangia.

For a delectable dinner, make reservations at La Taverna di San Giuseppe. Try the burrata or mozzarella starter. We had pastas for our meal, which were delicious. If you have room for dessert, the tiramisu is wonderful.

End your one day in Siena with a passeggiata at the Piazza del Campo.

Day 7: Drive the Val d’Orcia

With Siena as your base, do a day drive through the Val d’Orcia, south of Siena. The Val d’Orcia is one of the most beautiful places in Tuscany, with the rolling hills, single farmhouses, and rows of cypress trees you see on picture postcards of Tuscany. No list of where to go in Tuscany would be complete without the ridiculously scenic Val d’Orcia!

On your drive, you will see the crete senesi, the gray clays of Tuscany, near Asciano. If you visit in the spring, the fields are green, and you might come across fields of poppies. In the fall, the hills are gold, following the harvest. Either time is beautiful for fabulous views and great photo ops. Stop at some of the picturesque abbeys that dot the region: the Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore between Asciano and Buonconvento, and the Abbazia di Sant’Antimo near Montalcino are both stunning.

Sant'Antimo Abbey near Montalcino in Tuscany

The gorgeous Abbazia di Sant’Antimo

On a day trip, you can make extended stops at three pretty Tuscan hill towns in the region. Montalcino is known for its Brunello wine and its hilltop fortress. It’s a great place to have lunch. In town, try Re di Macchia: the pastas are delicious. Pienza offers commanding views of the surrounding countryside, great architecture, and pecorino cheese. In Montepulciano, a little outside the valley, you can stroll the winding uphill streets and sample the famous Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.

Make sure you stop to take photos at two Tuscan photo icons on the drive from San Quirico d’Orcia to Pienza: the tiny Cappella della Madonna di Vitaleta, and the Cypresses of San Quirico d’Orcia.

The beautiful Vitaleta Chapel is a mjust-stop spot on the way to Pienza from San Quirco d'Orcia!

The Cappella della Madonna di Vitaleta

Of course you’ll want to stop every few minutes to take photos regardless of where you are in the region, because everywhere you look there are stunning photo ops!

Road trip through Tuscany or Tuscany day trips?

You can do this Tuscany trip itinerary at least a couple of ways, depending on your personal preference and transport choice.

Base OPTIONS

You can either base yourself in a couple of cities and do day trips to the smaller Tuscan towns, or you can move from one part of Tuscany to another.

The advantages of basing yourself in a couple of places include not having to unpack and pack multiple times, and not having to worry about where to stow luggage when you arrive somewhere before your check-in time. We found most hotels in Italy willing to keep our bags until we could check in, but it still means having to spend the time when you’d rather be exploring.

The disadvantage to day trips is that you do not experience the small towns in Tuscany in the late evenings or early mornings, when they are at their most serene and enchanting. Of course, you can always make it a long day and take a late train back.

TRANSPORT OPTIONS

You can use a combination of public transport and rented car/car and driver hire/guided tours, or you can choose to drive yourself the entire week. My husband and I both wanted to be able to enjoy the scenery, do wine tastings, and just relax, so we toured Tuscany using trains and hired a car and driver for places not easy to reach using public transport.

The advantage to driving yourself is the ability to make photo stops when and where you wish, and being able to move around the region relatively efficiently.

Tuscany road trip

If you choose to do this itinerary as a road trip, spend nights 1-3 in Florence, night 4 in Arezzo after exploring Cortona and Arezzo, nights 5-6 in Siena, doing the Val d’Orcia as a day trip from Siena, night 7 in Volterra after touring San Gimignano and Volterra, and night 8 in Lucca, after exploring Pisa and Lucca.

Getting to Tuscany

Tuscany, or Toscana, is a region in central Italy. Most people visiting for the first time start their exploration of Tuscany from the regional capital of Florence. You can fly into the Amerigo Vespucci airport in Florence from many major cities in Europe as well as from major cities within Italy. From the airport, take a taxi to your hotel. The ride is about 15 minutes. Another option is to fly into the Galileo Galilei International airport in Pisa and then take a train to Florence.

Florence is easily accessed by train from most major cities in Italy, such as Rome, Milan, Bologna, or Venice. You can buy train tickets at Trenitalia or at Italotreno. If you plan to travel in season, it’s a good idea to buy tickets for long distance train travel on the fast trains in advance for cheaper prices and reserved seats. Regional or local train tickets can be bought the day before or even on the day of your travel. Remember to always validate your train tickets before you board. The main train station in Firenze is Santa Maria Novella. From the station, take a taxi to your hotel.

If you are driving, Florence is on the A1 motorway, the major road running north-south through Italy.

Where to stay in Tuscany

Here are the best places to stay in each of these Tuscany destinations:

WHERE TO STAY IN FLORENCE

Tuscany’s iconic capital has several luxury hotel options. The Hotel Lungarno is a beautiful property, located on the Arno river. The rooms are luxurious, and furnishings include a collection of modern art. The Michelin-starred Borgo San Jacopo is located in the hotel. The hotel is about a 12-minute walk from the Duomo complex.

For a beautiful B&B in Santa Croce, check out 1865 Residena d’Epoca. The rooms are stunning, and the location convenient to many major sights.

WHERE TO STAY IN AREZZO

The Hotel Continentale is located in the Piazza Guido Monaco, and features comfortable good-sized rooms. Make sure you go up to the rooftop for beautiful views!

WHERE TO STAY IN SIENA

The Grand Hotel Continental is a stunning luxury hotel housed in a Sienese palace. The location is convenient to the Piazza del Campo and the Duomo di Siena, and the rooms are gorgeous.

Relais Degli Angeli is a gem of a boutique hotel located very near the Piazza del Campo, with beautiful frescoes on the ceilings and lovely furnishings. The rooms are large, the beds comfortable, and the bathrooms nice.

WHERE TO STAY IN VOLTERRA

The Park Hotel La Fonti is located a 10-minute walk out of the town, but the property is beautiful, with stunning views of the surrounding countryside. The rooms are comfortable and well-appointed.

For a property in town, consider Hotel La Locanda, a former convent decorated with Etruscan carvings. Rooms are comfortable and bathrooms large.

WHERE TO STAY IN LUCCA

Hotel Alla Corte degli Angeli is a lovely hotel inside the Lucca city walls. With wood-beamed ceilings and frescoes on the walls, you’ll feel very much like you are in a Tuscan hotel! With large rooms and modern bathrooms, and a charming courtyard garden, this is a lovely place to stay in Lucca.

Day trips from Florence and Siena

If you plan to base yourself in one or two places and do day trips to the smaller towns and the countryside, I suggest spending six nights and five days in Florence and two nights and two days in Siena. The historic centers of Florence and Siena are compact and you can walk everywhere.

Florence is extremely well connected by train with Pisa, Lucca, Cortona, and Arezzo. Pisa and Lucca are well connected by train, as are Cortona and Arezzo. There are no trains to San Gimignano or Volterra, and bus service is not very convenient for day trips, so hire a car and driver for the days you visit these towns and the day you tour the Val d’Orcia. You can also rent a car just for those two days if you are comfortable driving yourself.

A variety of guided day trips from Florence and Siena are available and will help you experience the best of Tuscany in an efficient manner without having to worry about logistics. Also, if you want a more laid back experience, you can limit your day trips to one town per day.

The best time to visit Tuscany

There is no really bad time to visit Tuscany, but spring and fall are my favorite times to visit, because the countryside is at its prettiest. In the spring, the budding vines and green hills make the countryside a joy to visit. Poppies, and other wildflowers, bloom in late April and early May. In the fall, if you visit post harvest, you’ll see the bare fields glow gold in the mellow sunlight of early morning or late afternoon. From late June to early August, you may see fields of sunflowers in bloom, but summers tend to be hot in Tuscany. Winters are cool, and quiet.

If you visit in the months of April-May and September-October, you will have decent daylight hours and weather. Plus, you will likely encounter fewer crowds at popular sights and in the popular day trip destinations. In the off-season months, you won’t have to deal with crowds, but you may encounter shorter hours at sights, and some closures. You’ll need layers and a warm jacket from October until mid April or so.

So there you have it: my 7-day Tuscany travel guide covering the best of Tuscany for your first visit to the region! Have you visited Tuscany? What is your most cherished memory? Comment below to respond. If you have not yet visited, I hope you plan a few days in this beautiful region of Italy on your next visit.

MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR VISIT TO ITALY

Venice: How to Make the Most of Two Days in Venice
Cinque Terre: Two Magical Days in the Cinque Terre
Amalfi Coast: Driving the Spectacular Amalfi Coast of Italy
Rome: 25 Best Things to Do in Rome on Your First Visit
Borghese Gallery: 5 Reasons to Visit the Borghese Gallery, Plus Tips for Visiting
Orvieto: One Amazing Day in the Charming Umbrian Hill Town of Orvieto
Italy Itinerary: The Perfect 3-Week Itinerary for Your First Visit to Italy

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Experience the very best of Tuscany with this fabulous 7-day Tuscany trip itinerary!

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6 comments on “Experience the Best of Tuscany: A 7-Day Tuscany Trip Itinerary for First-Timers!

  1. Found your link in the “Travelling to Italy” Facebook group. My wife and I plan to “borrow” heavily from your itinerary for Florence and Venice. It will be our second time to Italy. We have 18 days on the ground, and plan 6 days in Florence, 3 days in Bologna, and 3 days in Venice. Other locations are Milan, Vernona (outdoor opera at the arena), and Varenna. Your pictures are simply stunning, you are clearly good with a camera. Are you doing any post processing?

    • Thank you so much for reading, Richard. I am so glad you found some of the information adaptable to your needs. Your itinerary sounds wonderful, and you will love Venice and Florence. We plan to explore Bologna and its surroundings later this year! Regarding my photos, yes, I do post processing in Lightroom, and on the blog I occasionally use stock photos in the public domain if I feel my own are not good enough. But I love photography and am learning all the time.

  2. Thank you for such a detailed itinerary! You really packed in a lot on your seven-day trip, perfect for those of us who want to see everything, but can’t make a long visit. Your restaurant recommendations also look great – I’d especially like to try La Bottega Del Buon Caffè (OK, I’ll admit it, I want to try them all!)

    • Thanks, Carrie. We found all the food places we tried in Florence (and elsewhere in Tuscany) wonderful. We had so many bowls of ribollita that we lost count!

  3. Thanks so much for your lovely article – I’ve been feeling daunted by our upcoming weeklong stay in Lucca with planned day-trips (so much to see, so little time!) but this has helped narrow down the choices. Can’t wait!

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