Our 9-Day Liguria and Tuscany Summer Itinerary included some of the most beautiful areas in Italy. Hilltop towns, the incredible landscape sketched by cypress-lined trees, wineries, tours, and arts, have made our trip particularly memorable.
To save traveling time, we flew to Florence instead of driving there from Frankfurt, Germany. We only stayed one night near Florence. The rest 7 nights were in a hotel in Monteggiori. From Monteggiori, we could easily access places in both regions, Liguria and Tuscany.
Where we stayed
It was too late to book a hotel in Florence at reasonable prices. Near Florence, we found one hotel, I Parigi Corbinelli Residenze, which was affordable and is 20 kilometres away from Florence Airport. However, the hotel turned out to be the best choice, and it has the best value for the money we paid. Please read my review here.
Our second hotel, Dulcis in Borgo, was a family hotel in an Etruscan village Monteggiori on top of a hill. The best thing we did in this village was to have dinners in a famous local restaurant La Tre Terrazze.
How we arrived in Italy and get around there
Since Air Dolomiti is an Italian airline part of the Lufthansa Group, it offers direct flights from Frankfurt to Florence. We had no problem to arrive there on time.
However, due to road construction, the rental car pick-up place had a temporary office outside the Airport area. It took us an hour to find the rental office.
Our Liguria and Tuscany Summer Itinerary
The Tuscany summer itinerary included 16 places. Among those places, as Cinque Terra refers to 5 small villages, we actually visited 20 villages and towns.
- 1st Day: Florence
- 2ed Day: Pisa, Monteggiori, Pietrasanta
- 3rd Day: Beach, Lucca
- 4th Day: Cinque Terre, La Spezia
- 5th Day: Beach, Carrara marble route & Colonnata
- 6th Day: Monteriggioni, Siena, Castellina in Chianti
- 7th Day: Portovenere, Montemarcello
- 8th Day: San Gimignano
- 9th Day: Serravalle Pistoiese
1st Day: Florence
The flight from Air Dolomiti arrived at Florence on time. After picked up our rental car, we drove to our first hotel, Parigi Corbinelli Residenze.
After checked-in, the hotel owner told us how to get to Florence quickly without driving our car. We just bought a family bus ticket from him and took the public transportation to Florence, the stunning medieval city divided into two parts by the River Arno.
Florence, the capital of art, has many breathtaking architectures, sculptures, monuments, museums, and other art treasures. We were overwhelmed by the mesmerizing views at every turn. At the end of the day, we tasted the rustic Tuscan cuisine in a local restaurant in the centre.
2ed Day: Pisa, Monteggiori, Pietrasanta
On the way to our next hotel, we passed the Pisa tower. After a quick visit and a quick lunch there, we continued driving to our second hotel.
It was quite late after we checked in the family hotel in the hilltop village Monteggiori. We had a short walk in this remote village and found out the famous local restaurant La Tre Terrazze was fully booked out. Since Pietrasanta, a Ligurian coastal town only a few kilometres away, has plenty of restaurants, we went there for dinner instead. This coastal town was surprisingly beautiful that we could not stop taking pictures until it was dark.
3rd Day: Beach, Lucca
Swimming was not the main activity on our Tuscany summer itinerary. But as long as we had time, we would spend a few hours swimming in the sea and relax on the beach. The closest beach is not far from our hotel. So we decide to swim a few hours before visiting Lucca. The beach we went to belongs to one of the most luxurious beach clubs in the area.
Shortly before lunchtime, we left the beach club and headed to the walled city of Lucca. Lucca has many churches and is a living testimony to past times, kingdoms, and dominions. The best thing we did was cycling on the medieval walls.
4th Day: Cinque Terra, La Spezia
The trains are the easiest way to get to and around the Cinque Terre. We started our journey at the Levanto railway station and bought day tickets with unlimited rides. The train from Levanto to La Spezia stopped at Riomaggiore, the most southern village of the Cinque Terre, also the first place we visited on that day.
Among the five villages, Riomaggiore has the best sea view of Cinque Terre, while Manarola is the best place to eat. After lunch, we went to Corniglia and Vernazza. And then, we arrived at the last village of our trip, Monterosso al Mare. It is a busy tourist resort for beach holidaymakers.
On the way back to our hotel, we stopped at La Spezia and had our dinner.
5th Day: Beach, Carrara Marble Route , Colonnata
We went to another Italian beach club at Marina di Pietrasanta and booked a complete set of beach facilities for 4 hours. That was a surprisingly good experience because the price was reasonable, the place was pretty clean, and the beach facilities were beautifully arranged. The Italian food offered from the lunch menu was super delicious at very fair prices.
Having relaxed at the beach, we went on the Carrara marble route. Some of the memorable scenes from the movie “007 Quantum of Solace” were shot on this route. The marble route passes a small village, called Colonnata, where most marble diggers live.
6th Day: Monteiggioni, Siena, Castellina in Chianti
Siena is distinguished by its medieval brick buildings. Among its many well-known sites, the fan-shaped central square, Piazza del Campo, has left me a strong impression.
On the way back, we did not drive via highway but followed the Chianti Road instead. Therefore, we could explore Castellina in Chianti, a hidden gem in the Chianti Region.
7th Day: Portovenere, Montemarcello
Portovenere is one of the best places along the Ligurian coast. We had a walk along its nicely paved promenade, visited the Gothic-style Church of St. Peter atop a rocky headland, saw the romantic Lord Byron’s Grotto, and wandered through the maze of its narrow streets. And finally, we did swim in the Ligurian sea.
The road to Montemarcello was a scenic ride along the road surrounded by different local vegetation and glimpse views of the Gulf La Spezia. Montemarcello’s alleyways are cut at right angles, perpendicular to each other.
8th Day: San Gimignano
Many spectacular towers dominate the skyline of the hilltop town of San Gimignano. We spent nearly the whole day there, climbing the tower, visiting local shops selling all kinds of local products, tasting the Italian food, and of course the Italian ice cream.
9th Day: Serravalle Pistoiese
On the way to Florence Airport, we spotted another hilltop village Serravalle Pistoiese. It was not on our Tuscany summer itinerary list, but we took the opportunity to visit the small place. It was a nice stopover before the end of our Tuscany trip.
We are glad to include so many places in our Tuscany summer itinerary. If possible, we would like to stay in Florence for a couple of days. Chianti Wine Tasting was also on our list since Tuscany is also a wine region. Unfortunately, the wine tasting requires an overnight stay in Chianti Wineries. Unless you pre-book a wine tasting tour in Florence to avoid the driving.
To drive around in Tuscany and Ligurian regions took us a lot of time and energy. We drove on the highway as long as possible to save time on the road but then left out many beautiful countryside views. Besides, the highways in Italy are toll roads. In some tourist areas, the parking fee is also expensive.
The budget tour, Pisa, Siena, San Gimignano with Lunch and Wine in Chianti, explores top destinations in Tuscany in one day. It has good value for money.