One of my best friends decided to have his wedding in Tuscany this year. What a great surprise that was to my bank account booking the flights and accommodation for that trip during a peak period to travel. I of course made the most out of all the free food at his wedding and would have put some in Tupperware boxes to take home had I had some available. Anyway, I flew out a bit earlier than the wedding to explore Tuscany and these were some of the best things I did.
Tuscany is home to a bunch of beautiful hill top towns. Pienza is one of them and it didn’t feel overly touristy. (Though I found a really pretty side street and cars were determined to ruin the shot for me). Grab a drink at Idyllium and visit the square where you’ll come across Pienza’s Duomo.
Tbh when I first walked into San Gimignano I wanted to escape the tourist filled streets. But we soon found a Torture Museum which was extremely interesting (and horrifying) and one of the best Gelato places in the world, Gelateria Dondoli!
This Italian village is known for its hot springs and what’s really cool about this place is just a short walk down from the square is an ancient thermal bath which you can relax in. It’s not as warm as I expected but a perfect temp to escape the heat.
I raced here to catch sunset and you can get this stunning view of Tuscany by parking up and walking onto a field next to the 3-star hotel Agriturismo Baccoleno. Be prepared to get a few insect bites though so dose on that repellent.
This place was kinda cool. It's a perfectly preserved Medieval walled village and there's a walkway along the wall where you can get some decent views of Tuscany from. (I'm guessing, it was closed when we went but I can imagine the views are good). There's a square with a bunch of restaurants too but the best one 'Osteria Antico Travaglio', according to my good friend Google Reviews, was fully reserved. There's a medieval festival here at the start of July if that's your thing.
I sounded like a broken record driving around Tuscany as I just kept repeating “omg how beautiful is that” throughout the journey. It’s gotta be one of the most picturesque regions in the world so just go explore. Be careful when driving of the ZTL Restricted Driving Zones though. These are most easily identifiable by big red ring circles on street signs. Driving into one of these zones can result in big fines as only authorised vehicles are allowed to drive here, and most likely than not, your vehicle won't be an authorised one. GPS systems also don't seem to pick them up so be sure to use your eyes here.
I researched a few more things that I didn't have time to do but wanted to dash them in here just in case you have a bit more time on your hands than I did.
Chapel of the Madonna di Vitaleta
This lil photographable gem is found on a hill in the village of Vitaleta. If it's on your route, go see it/snap a photo.
Terme di Saturnia
If you've been on Instagram, ever, you should have come across this place. Terme di Saturnia are a group of hot springs, that apparently help treat skin conditions, with breathing and a bunch of other stuff. It was a bit of a drive from where we were staying so we missed it out, I can imagine it gets packed out but I still think it's probably worth checking out even on a busy day. You can see more info on their website.
Apparently some guy in 1568 bought this park as a gift for his second wife with the idea of turning it into a fairy-tale property. I think I bought my last girlfriend a t-shirt.. Anyway, now it's a wonderland park full of water fountains, exotic plants and this awesome bearded guy who I definitely wish I had a picture with.
Yeah, obviously go see Florence if you're in Tuscany. It's a stunning city. The queue for the Duomo sounds long af though so maybe skip that and just enjoy it from the outside. I nearly didn't put this in the list as it's so obvious but gosh darnit here it is.
If this was helpful, find me on Instagram @sambentley