Tuscany is always so popular as the summer destinations in Italy. It is one of the most beautiful areas in Italy because of many hilltop towns such as San Gimignano, cypress-lined trees, wineries, and arts. There is enough sunshine throughout a year and beautiful sandy beaches along the Italian coast. Inspired by the novel Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy from Frances Mayes, our family decided to visit Tuscany. As we had never been to the area, we did a very detail planning.
Our original list included more destinations than we actually traveled. Some places are not far from each other but due to speed limits and road conditions, the driving time could take longer than estimated. This was proved later when we were on the road. We frequently ended in traffic jams. We had to narrow down our list several times to make sure that we are not too stressful of driving. Having finalized our trip itinerary, we decided to fly over there and rent a car locally, instead of driving to Tuscany.
We checked many posts from other bloggers and gained a handful of information. The reference book we used is Lonely Planet Italy. In this post, I will share my itinerary with you so you could also follow on your next trip to Tuscany and ensure you check out the best places in Italy.
How to get to Tuscany
We took Lufthansa on Friday to Florence. The Florence Airport is small but very busy. Many airlines fly there. Alternatively, you can fly to Pisa. Compared to Florence Airport, the Pisa Airport is much bigger. You can find flights at Booking.com.
Where to stay in Tuscany
We booked our trip too late and most reasonable hotels in Florence were booked out. Located 20 kilometres away from Florence Airport, the hotel I Parigi Corbinelli Residenze was the only choice we could afford. However, this hotel turned out to be the best choice and it has the best value for the money we paid.
Please read more my post: I Parigi Corbinelli Residenze, a Wonderful Tuscany Hotel
Please read my review of the restaurant: Le Tre Terrazze, a Famous Local Restaurant in Monteggiori
Itinerary for Tuscany trip
Day 1 – Florence
After checked in the hotel, the owner of the hotel told us how to get to Florence quickly without driving our car. It was a good suggestion from him that we bought a family bus ticket for our purpose. We spent some good time in Florence and had a late dinner near the main square.
Day 2 – Pisa, Monteggiori & Pietrasanta
On the way to our next hotel, we admired the Pisa tower. After checked in the family hotel in the hilltop village Monteggiori, we took a walk in this remote village. The famous local restaurant La Tre Terrazze was fully booked out. We went to Pietrasanta, a Ligurian coastal town for our dinner. This coastal town was surprisingly beautiful that we could not stop taking pictures until it was dark.
Day 3 – Beach & Lucca
My husband and my son could not wait to swim in the sea. We rushed into an Italian beach club and found out that it was one of the most luxurious clubs in the area. So we stayed until 12:00 and then headed to the walled city of Lucca.
Day 4 – Beach day
This was a day dedicated to the beach. We went to another Italian beach club at Marina di Pietrasanta and booked a complete set of beach facility for 6 hours. That was a really good experience because the price was reasonable, the place was very clean, and the beach was beautifully arranged. The Italian food offered from the lunch menu was super delicious at very reasonable prices.
Day 5 – Marble Route near Carrara & Colonnata
Having relaxed ourselves a day at the beach we went on our journey again. If you have seen the movie “007 Quantum of Solace” you might know the famous Marble Route near Carrara, where most memorable scenes were shot. Along the Carrara’s Marble Route we stopped at a small village called Colonnata, where most marble diggers live.
Day 6 – Siena
Day 7 – Monteiggioni & Castellina in Chianti
One of the things I learned in Italy on many trips is the beauty of those pretty small hilltop towns. Monteriggioni is one of them. In the morning we went to this hilltop town. On the way back we did not drive via highway but followed the Chianti Road instead. Along the road, we stopped at Castellina in Chianti, a hidden gem in the Chianti Region.
Day 8 – San Gimignano
We added another hilltop town San Gimignano in Tuscany to our itinerary. There are many towers within this town. So we spent nearly the whole day there, climbing the tower, visiting local shops selling all kind of local products, tasting the Italian food and of course the Italian ice cream.
Day 9 – Serravalle Pistoiese
On the way to Florence Airport, we spotted another hilltop village Serravalle Pistoiese. it was not on our list but we take the opportunity to have a break there. It was a nice stopover before the end of our Tuscany trip.
We are glad to see so many places in such a short time. But in some places, we would like to stay longer, for example in Florence. There are other things we would like to do, for example, Chianti Wine Tasting. Unfortunately, the Wine Tasting requires an overnight stay in Chianti Wineries.
We spent quite some time on the road and arranged things on site. To save driving time we drove on the high way as long as it is possible. This left out many countryside views. It also added extra costs to our budget because these are toll roads. In some tourist areas, the parking fee is also expensive. In general, if you want to see more things in limited time while keeping your budget low, I would recommend booking a tour ahead. Below are some tours which offer opportunities to explore Tuscan life and culture. I have also written a post about some most popular tours in the area.
Read more from my post: Tuscany, How to See More in Less Time and on Low Budget