Travel in Tuscany by car: route on the map with cities and descriptions
In Tuscany it is best to travel by car. And it is advisable to develop a plan in advance to have time to do everything.
We offer you the route of Tuscany by car for 8 days. It’s quite intense and includes about 500 km of road. We’ve chosen among the 15 best towns and villages in Tuscany, which will be great to stop in.
If you’re used to a leisurely pace, just stretch the trip out over 10 days or more or forgo some points.
Book a car on this site first, it’s reliable and convenient. You can still do it from home. Are you ready? Let’s go.
Tuscany by car: itinerary
Click this link to see the route in the Google Maps app.
Day 1. Prato, Pistoia
According to the diagram on the map, you arrive at Florence Peretola airport, take the car and drive. No, not to the regional capital of Florence, but in the opposite direction – to the textile paradise of Italy, the city of Prato.
The Duomo (aka St. Stephen’s Cathedral) in Prato is very unusual. Pieces of light and dark marble alternate in the facade, and the cathedral looks striped like a mattress.
Not far from it is the Imperial Castle, an impressive hulk of strict cubic volumes, without a single decoration. And be sure to visit the Museum of Textiles – Prato has been the center of light industry in Italy since the 13th century. In the museum you’ll see antique equipment, fabric samples and vintage clothing on mannequins.
Pistoia, planned for the rest of the day, is a provincial town 20 kilometers from Prato, its entire center can be walked around in a couple of hours. The streets please the small number of tourists, churches and especially the baptistery – a pronounced stripedness.
Visit the market square Piazza della Sala – here you can have dinner, buy fruit, bread and wine and admire the ancient Pozzo del Leoncino, which means “well of the Lion”. If you are not in a hurry, we advise to see the city as part of an interesting walking tour.
Day 2. Montecatini Terme, Montecarlo, Lucca
The first point of the itinerary of the second day is Montecatini Terme, the famous thermal resort. The best way to get to know it briefly is to take the ancient funicular to the top of the mountain, in Montecatini Alto.
Then we suggest wandering for a while through the hills between olive groves. Turn off the main highway toward Montecarlo di Lucca, leave the car in front of the ancient gates, and walk through the medieval town. Don’t forget to buy the local wine.
There is a 14th-century fortress, a private property that you can visit with a weekend excursion. Not far from the Florentine Gate hides a miniature opera house with 180 seats.
We will end the day in Lucca, beautiful and cozy. We have already written about the main places in Lucca. You can spend the evening walking with a tour guide, and the next day walk around the city on your own.
Day 3. Lucca, Pisa
Lucca is a green town under the tiled roofs, which can’t be told in two words. They say everyone likes it.
Right on the fortress wall framing the perimeter of the old town, there is a walkway with plane trees. The coquettish facade of St. Martin’s Cathedral with its carved columns and campanile cannot be overlooked.
Sixty temples and about the same number of belfries line the high-rise panorama of this city. You can climb the clock tower or one of the preserved residential towers with an oak forest planted directly on the roof over 6 centuries.
In the afternoon we’ll head to Pisa. The Falling Tower is the most recognizable symbol of the city, but it’s only part of the architectural complex of Piazza della Wonderland. The complex includes the Cathedral of Pisa, the baptistery, the bell tower and the cemetery of Campo Santo.
What to do in Pisa? If you are traveling with a family, everyone from small to large will enjoy a tour-play with a Russian-speaking guide. And in the evening, it’s nice to climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa to admire the city and the setting sun.
Day 4. Pisa, Volterra, Colle di Val d’Elsa
Say goodbye to Pisa in the empty Piazza della Wonderland. Ahead is the 55 km winding road to Volterra. The road leads uphill until it hits an old fortress wall.
Little Volterra is nothing like the rich Pisa, its medieval buildings are devoid of elegance. One of the sights is the Medici fortress with a working prison inside! Several times a year it hosts an open house with lunch prepared and served by prisoners.
Next stop is Colle di Val d’Elsa, the crystal center of Tuscany. The upper town has winding streets and ancient buildings, while the lower town has more modern buildings, a museum of crystal and a “crystal” fountain in the square. And they are connected by an elevator in the rock, itself a landmark.
In Colle di Val d’Elsa you can stay inexpensive for a night. This town is not the most popular with tourists, hotels here are cheaper than in other towns. Vacation home Casa Soraya, for example, will cost 57 € per night.
Day 5. Siena
In the morning of the fifth day we drive to Siena, the capital of the province of the same name. On the way we can visit the tiny fortress town Monteriggioni for an hour.
Siena is a big city, so you can hardly walk around it in a day. To learn more about the city, sign up for a tour of Siena.
Here are some interesting facts:
Twice a year, Siena hosts equestrian competitions between contradas (districts of the city), they are called Palio.
The amulet of each contra is some kind of animal. Therefore, in the streets of Siena you can meet a wolf, elephant, giraffe and dragon, and walk through the alley of cats and dogs, which has remained in its original form since the XIII century.
The city has the fun-building Glutton Tower and the real Gothic, Siena Cathedral.
In Siena you will see the third Italian way to go up and down the mountain – by escalators.
Of hotels, we recommend B&B SanFrancesco, a bed and breakfast in downtown Siena.
Day 6. Montalcino, Pienza, Montepulciano
This day we will drive about 80 km through Tuscany and string the three gems of the Val d’Orcia valley:
Montalcino, a town with beautiful views from its fortress walls, the place where Brunello di Montalcino wine, the most expensive in Italy, is produced.
Pienza is the birthplace of pecorino sheep cheese and a perfect Renaissance town. Why perfect? Because Pienza was designed according to a clear urban plan: a main square named after Pope Pius II and a neat grid of streets.
- Montepulciano is a city of Etruscans and Medici with endless ascents, descents and dizzying views of the valley. Here you can buy the noble Vino Nobile and take tours and master classes in the wineries
Day 7. Cusi, Lucignano
Here comes the last day of our journey through the hills and valleys of Tuscany.
First, let’s stop in Chiusi, a town where the Etruscans, Romans and the first Christians left their mark. What’s there: catacombs, labyrinths, excavated tombs and the Archaeological Museum with treasures of Etruscan and Roman cultures.
It is also worth having lunch at Cusi. We recommend lake fish soup, beef steak and cantucci cookies.
The town of Lucignano has a pronounced oval shape, which is repeated by all the streets and a succession of houses. There is the striped Cathedral of St. Francis, the main square and the three towers left over from the old fortress.
In May the town hosts the Maggiolata Flower Festival, a festival of the peasantry, full of merriment and hopes for the future harvest.
Day 8. Florence
And the last point of our route, reserved for sweets – Florence. In a few words there is no way to describe it. So read our special article on what to see in the capital of Tuscany in one day.
You can safely surrender your rental car back, you won’t need it in the narrow streets of Florence. Much better the center of Florence and its surroundings are adapted to cycling. You can book your two-wheeled horse for the day here. And of course we have the Tuscany Cycling Route.
Itinerary of Tuscany | What to see in Tuscany?
Planning to make the most of your trip to Tuscany, taste the best wines and take beautiful pictures? Then you are on the right track. Here we offer you a useful itinerary about Tuscany. It contains the most interesting places and locations in the central part of Italy.
Table of contents:
The three pillars of Tuscany
The antique, majestic and irresistible Florence opens our itinerary for Tuscany and the list of attractions in the region. It’s a city you won’t want to miss out on, as it’s where you’ll find all the beauty and grandeur of Italy.
Start your morning like a typical Florentine: stop by one of the city’s delicious pastry shops, drink a hot cappuccino with a fresh bun and feel the mood of the locals sitting at the neighboring tables.
Stroll through Piazza della Signoria and across the arched bridge of Ponte Vecchio, and into the Cattedrale . Consider the statue of David in the Galleria dell’Accademia.
If you have more than one day to spend in Florence , make sure to visit the largest collection of Italian Renaissance paintings in the world, at the Galleria degli Uffizi . There are so many masterpieces by the great Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci and so many others, you’ll want to spend a whole day looking at these great works.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite it’s time to head to Piazza della Repubblica for the famous Robiglio, Scudieri and Paskoski.
Piazzale Michelangelo offers an excellent panorama of the capital and the best time to capture it is in the afternoon.
Do not miss the Cappelle Medicee with its majestic tombs designed by Michelangelo himself.
Take a ride on a Vespa through the Tuscan countryside, home of the famous two-wheeled scooter.
The first thing you want to see is Piazza dei Miracoli with its “falling” Torre pendente di Pisa. You simply cannot resist the temptation and will definitely pose trying to keep it from falling. Then you will be greeted by the majestic Duomo di Santa Maria Assunta, the Baptistery of St. John and the Camposanto Cemetery, with its many marvelous frescoes and spectacular tombs.
Walk through Piazza dei Cavalieri, Borgo Stretto and Borgo Largo, Piazza delle Vettovaglie and you will reach Lungarno. Here you will discover the Museo di San Matteo, Palazzo Blu and the church of Chiesa della Spina. Take advantage of the Galileo Trail to diversify your vacation even more.
Val d’Orcia is the next must in Tuscany. This town is the epitome of the beloved green fields, vineyards and hills of central Italy.
The whole area extends from the southern hills of Siena to Monte Amiata, where you can discover its attractions: Pienza, Montepulciano, Montalcino, Monticchiello, Bagno Vignoni, San Quirico d’Orcia.
Val d’Orcia is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and all its villages charm you with their unique charm. If you can not imagine your holiday without the hot springs, be sure to include in your itinerary around Tuscany Bagno Vignoni, Bagni San Filippo and Vivo d’Orcia.
Wine, art and the “skyscrapers” of Tuscany
Arezzo is a city in which time travel is possible. Piazza Grande is a great starting point for this adventure. The Loggiato Vasariano and the Palazzo delle Logge offer a splendid view over the entire city.
The Basilica di San Francesco and its charming Bacci Chapel are true gems of Arezzo. Do not forget to visit the Museum of Medieval and Modern Art (Museo Statale d’Arte Medievale e Moderna) and the Romanesque Church of Santa Maria della Pieve.
Explore the masterpieces of Piero della Francesca, one of Arezzo’s richest treasures.
Siena is world famous for its traditional Palio horse races, held every year on July 2nd and August 16th.
The heart of the city is the Piazza del Campo, which is shaped like a seashell. If you climb the 88 meter high tower of Torre del Mangia you will see a breathtaking panorama of the city.
The small town of Garaviccio is situated 5 km south east of the municipality of Capalbio. On its outskirts you will find one of the strangest collections of modern art in Italy, the Garden of Tarot (Il Giardino dei Tarocchi) .
A whimsical sculpture garden of amazing works by Niki de Saint Phalle. The author spent almost seventeen years to create his garden. He managed to achieve a stunning effect, where pure fun lives, which is adored by children and appreciated by adults. Looking at the peculiar figures you’ll remember the Gaudí style.
Lucca has been called the “City of 100 Churches” and is famous for its unique architecture. Its walls, which are four kilometers long and date back to the 16th century, are wonderfully preserved and remain accessible to tourists all over the world. From this point you will see the beauties of the city and start an interesting introduction to it.
Visit the ellipse-shaped Piazza Anfiteatro, the Guinigi Tower with the flowering trees at the top and the attractive San Martino Cathedral.
Volterra is one of the most beautiful mountains in Tuscany. It has managed to keep its historical image of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The main attractions are in Piazza dei Priori, where Palazzo dei Priori stands majestically, Palazzo Pretorio with the Tower of the Little Pig (Torre del Maialino), the Romanesque Cathedral (Cattedrale Romanica), the Battistero, the Roman Amphitheatre (Anfiteatro Romano) and other unique artifacts of Volterra.
Another town that can diversify your itinerary in Tuscany is Chianti . The region is home to some of Tuscany’s most famous vineyards and olive trees . It is here that you will find the ideal country roads for a car or bike ride. Chianti is a paradise of delicious food and wine .
While vacationing in Chianti you will enjoy absolutely every type of wine you can taste. Participate in wine tastings and join the local love of the drink.
Visit the Cantina Antinori, where modern architecture is beautifully combined with traditional winemaking.
For tourists Chianti offers many routes for all tastes:
Chianti Classico in Greve in Chianti, Gaiole and Castellina;
The Valle di Pesa – Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, San Casciano Val di Pesa, San Donato in Poggio, Badia a Passignano.
Ancient hill-town has become a real treasure of the Valdichiana. Steep little streets, lush greenery and the Trasimeno lake are all to be found in Cortona.
Under the Tuscan Sun made Cortona famous and earned it an international reputation, especially among tourists, who came second after Venice.
San Gimignano is affectionately called the medieval Manhattan of Tuscany. Its 15 towers soar proudly over the skyline. The narrow streets of the city are surrounded by the vast countryside, lined with vineyards and home to the famous Vernaccia grapes.
Don’t forget to visit Piazza del Duomo with its Palazzo del Podestà and Palazzo del Popolo.
A breathtaking view of the Tuscan landscape from the Torre Grossa. There you can admire the masterpieces of the geniuses Benozzo Gozzoli, Filippino Lippi, Pinturicchio and Lippo Memmi.
The commune of Monteriggioni was immortalized in Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. It became home to ten-meter high fortified walls that retained their powerful appearance. As you approach Monteriggioni, you will notice the 14 towers that protected it from enemies.
Nowadays, the commune receives pilgrims from all over the world. This point on the map has become one of the main stops on the Tuscan section of the Via Francigena .
Islands, truffles and the sky of Tuscany
The island of Giglio settled in the Tuscan archipelago and has long remained almost untouched by tourist attention. It is a relatively recent addition to the itinerary of Tuscany and the list of mastheads of tourist Italy.
Here you should visit the beautiful port of Giglio Porto, the northern castle (Giglio Castello) and climb the lighthouse observation tower.
San Miniato is a lively little town which is fairly well developed agriculturally. However, its main fame is for the delicious truffles of Tuscany . Go there and appreciate its taste and quality.
The protected area of the Monti dell’Uccellina, in the Maremma region, is one of the last unspoilt stretches of coastline in Italy.
For almost five hundred years, this corner of Tuscany was a place of exile and fear. The coastal plains, marshes, wooded hills and wild, barren mountainous regions have been preserved and declared Italy’s natural treasures.
Discover the beauty of Tuscany from a bird’s eye view. San Casciano offers all its guests a leisurely journey in a balloon . This popular excursion allows you to see the luxury of the Tuscan countryside in a way you have never done before.
Among the luxury and expensive resorts of Tuscany, you will be surprised to find the village of Bagno Vignoni. Here you can relax in the Spa without paying a penny and without having to pay for it.
The natural hot spring and the Medici pool will impress even the most discerning travelers. In Bagno Vignoni you can also take a dip in the outdoor sulfur pools.
Marble quarries, an abundance of wildflowers, mighty forests and a variety of birds of prey are all preserved in the Apuan Alps. The botanical wonder of northern Tuscany is known for its network of walkways that are distinctly shaped. Long trails intersect with steep wooded valleys, and an extraordinary harmony and tranquility pervades the heart of vacationers .