Best Ways To See Tuscany (A Traveler’s Guide)
Tuscany is widely renowned for being one of the most beautiful regions in Italy, and indeed the world. With sprawling, sunkissed plains, and miles of luscious vineyards, it truly is a paradise on Earth, famed for its wine, weather, and breathtaking beauty spots.
But what are the best ways to see Tuscany?
Tuscany By Car
Due to the massive scale of the Tuscan countryside, traveling by car can be the ideal way to take in the sights, and explore many of the places usually missed by the tour buses.
Ultimately, what driving allows you is flexibility, something that is important - at least as far as relaxation and a peaceful vacation are concerned. Urban areas can be busy and hectic, and public transportation can be just as bad.
With a car however, you can jet out to the countryside, frequent one of the countless small, quaint villages in the region, and separate yourself from the chaos of city life.
Methods Of Transportation
Throughout the region, dual carriageways connect the main urban centers, but the country roads can be taken for a pleasant, winding drive through the vineyards.
Similarly, Tuscany has several highways, such as the A1 (autostrade del sole), which goes from Bologna, through northern Tuscany, through Florence, before heading south to Cortona, Arezzo, and on towards Rome.
There are also countless slip roads and off ramps, allowing connections between Florence and Pisa, Genoa and the coast, and La Spezia via Viareggio, Pisa, and Livorno.
There are also 4 lane toll-free roads which can be used as alternatives to the autostrade, including the SS1 from Livorno Sud to Tuscany’s southernmost border with Lazio. Also, the SGC highway links Florence, Pisa, Livorno, and Firenze-Siena.
The Best Routes
If you are in Tuscany for an extended period of time, it is worth taking advantage of one of the many scenic country routes that the region has to offer.
This is the best way to take in the picturesque landscape, and offers you the freedom to stop anywhere that takes your fancy. One famed road is a country road that lies between the town of la Foce and the village of Radicofani.
This crosses through the Val d’Orcia, the famed beauty spot with the winding, s-shaped road, and the lines of Cyprus trees by the roadside.
A similarly impressive route is the one that goes from Taverne d’Arbia to Asciano. Located in the province of Siena, this is considered one of the most beautiful routes in the region, and should not be missed if you have the time.
For more atmospheric, mountainous sights, the region of Lugiana is one of the most beautiful examples in the area, offering great views of the dramatic landscape, as well as fantastic views of the sweeping valleys and hills below.
For wine enthusiasts, the route through Chianti is also recommended. This runs from El Castello di Brolio to Castello Ricasoli, and is home to a large proportion of the vineyards and wineries in the region.
Both of these castles are open to the public, and you can walk around, see how the wine is grown and produced, sample some local wines, and even purchase a few if you would like.
Tuscany By Train
However, for those who don’t have a driver’s license, or those who simply do not want the stress and responsibility, the train might be the perfect solution.
With ample transport links around the main urban centers of the region, and the price of rail travel in Tuscany is one of the cheapest around.
Due to its central position, Florence is the most important and frequently used railway hub in all of Tuscany, and sees millions of travelers every single week.
The main station is Firenze Santa Maria Novella, and can be found in the very center of the city, located just a short distance from the Duomo.
Known as the ‘Cradle of the Renaissance’, Florence has numerous connections to other major areas of Tuscany, including Livorno, Pisa, Massa, Viareggio, and Lucca - stretching all the way down to Arezzo in the southern part of the region.
Whilst most cities and towns in Tuscany can be reached by train, the more rural villages in the countryside are not as easily accessible.
However, many deals exist that allow you to use the same day ticket to use bus services throughout the region, allowing you to combine trains and buses to get to where you need to go.
The coastal region of Tuscany has a main line that runs from Liguria region to Massa, Viareggio, Pisa, Livorno, Venturina, Grosseto, and Orbetello. The final destination is the Lazio region, however depending on the chosen train, smaller stop offs might be available.
Tuscany By Boat
Of course, one of the many ways to explore the coastlines of the region is to go by boat.
There are many boat tours along the coast, all of them able to showcase the various coastal communities, make excursions to some of the surrounding bays, islands, and coves, and provide you with useful information about the area.
Similarly, various locations allow you to rent a boat (if you have the proper certification) to travel the area yourself. However, this should only be attempted by experienced boaters.
For those leaning towards this option, some notable points of interest include the coastal resort of Maremma, the famously beautiful Etruscan Coast, and the Tuscan islands of Elba, Giglio, Capraia, and Giannutri.
And there we have it, the best ways to see Tuscany as a tourist.
The important thing is to plan ahead, making a list of places you would like to see, and then making the best transport arrangements to suit your needs.
This will ensure you avoid any unnecessary costs or stress, and that you can truly embrace and appreciate the stunning natural beauty of this astounding region.
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