Timeless Tuscany

by bella |
Published on

Take a tour of this beautiful Italian region, exploring all the culture it has to offer

Why go?

Encompassing the cities of Florence, Pisa, Lucca and Siena, as well as mountainous landscapes and even beaches, Tuscany truly has something for everyone. Planning a romantic trip for two? Tuscany boasts multiple critically acclaimed vineyards and spa resorts across the region. Head to the historical hubs of Florence and Pisa to learn about the rich cultural background of the cities that the whole family will love.

Plus, unlike a classic beach holiday, a trip to Tuscany makes for an incredible vacation any time of year. If anything, the summer months are perhaps too intense, while the slightly cooler spring and autumn conditions are perfect for hiking in the hills.

Make sure Volterra – an 8th century walled mountaintop town – is one of your stops on the trip. The historical location will keep you busy all day with its museums, incredible architecture – such as the 13th century Palazzo dei Priori – archaeological sites, restaurants, shops, winding cobbled streets and stunning views across the whole of Tuscany. With Volterra famous for producing alabaster, sculpture workshop alab’Arte (which is free to visit) is a must-see.

Secret spots

Looking for some more hidden gems? Embark on a guided tour of Montecatini’s Copper Mine (£8.70pp) or take a trip to Lajatico – a gorgeous village that is also the birthplace of internationally-renowned singer Andrea Bocelli. Every year in July, a concert is held in Lajatico’s Teatro del Silenzio, but the iconic venue is open all year round for visitors wanting to explore.

The hamlet of Ghizzano is another tucked-away treat. Like it’s neighbouring village, Peccioli, in recent years it’s become a centre of contemporary art, with beautiful and powerful pieces from Italian artists hidden all over the winding streets.

It’s also worth popping into the Locatelli Salt Factory (£6pp) – a surprisingly fascinating museum that delves into Tuscany’s long history of being one of Italy’s biggest salt producers.

Tourist hotspots

If you aren’t one for travelling off the beaten track, however, the city of Pisa with its instantly recognisable monuments – including the Piazza dei Miracoli, which houses the Leaning Tower, Cathedral, Baptistry and Cemetery of Pisa – and the walkway of Medieval Walls will be more your vibe. Every October, the city hosts Terre di Pisa Food & Wine Festival (entrance is free), which is dedicated to highlighting Pisa’s incredible food and wine industry.

Those who don’t fancy spending their holidays on a walking tour can just as easily admire the beauty of Pisa from afar. Perhaps from Bagni di Pisa Palace and Thermal Spa (packages start from £55pp), a place of relaxation and wellness that has been visited by everyone who’s anyone, from King George VI and Percy and Mary Shelley to Lana Del Rey, as well as John Legend and Chrissy Teigen.


Italian cuisine is one of the finest in the world, but there’s something extra special about eating classic Italian food in Tuscany.

In fact, before you get to fine dining, go back to basics with a light (although it’s worth noting that ‘light’ still means at least three courses in Tuscany) lunch and olive oil tasting at Frantoio dei Colli Toscani (from £22pp).

Then, if you want to fully immerse yourself into Tuscan culture via the food – perhaps the best way to embrace the region’s heritage – the Tenuta di Ghizzano is one of the oldest farms along the Pisan Hills Wine Route. The venue, which is also home to multiple tortoises if you’re lucky enough to spot them, offers a series of wine-tasting packages (prices start at £22pp) that allow you to taste the very best dishes Tuscany has to offer, including Pappa al pomodoro (a thick tomato soup) and truffle pasta.

And if truffles are your thing, you’ll definitely want to book a truffle-hunting experience and head into the woods, guided by an incredible dog, trained to sniff out the luxurious fungi.

Where to stay

When it comes to Volterra, Hotel La Locanda – located in the very heart of the town – is a brilliant option. Despite boasting enormous and luxurious bedrooms with high ceilings, every room of the converted convent – and accompanying high-end en-suite – feels quaint and homely.

For when you’re up in the Tuscan hillside near Florence, Borgo di Colleoli offers individual apartments for guests, complete with a kitchen, dining area and often a second double bed. Perfect for if you’re travelling as a family or in a small group. The ultimate accommodation, one of Borgo di Colleoli’s two on-site swimming pools backs onto 28-hectare woodland, and there is a riding stable, golf course and a tennis court in the hotel grounds.

Need to know

  • Stay at Hotel La Locanda in Volterra – prices start from £86 per night. Visit Hotel-lalocanda.com for more information.

  • Borgo di Colleoli in the Tuscan hillsides near Florence offers rooms starting from £67 per night.

  • Visit Borgocolleoli.com for more information.

Words: Daisy Hall

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