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Tuscany Itinerary – See the Best Places in One Week

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Tuscany Itinerary – See the Best Places in One Week

In my previous post, you could read about some of the most beautiful towns in Tuscany. In this article, you can read how to combine all those beautiful places (and some more) and create the perfect Tuscany trip itinerary that allows you to experience the very best of this picturesque region in one week.

How many days do you need in Tuscany

While you can see the main cities in 3-4 days, I recommend at least one week for Tuscany. This will allow you to see not just all the highlights of the best towns of Tuscany, but also to get a glimpse of the beautiful Tuscan countryside.

Below you can find our suggested Tuscany itinerary that shows you where to go and what to see if you have one week in Tuscany. Read on!

 

How to see the best of Tuscany in one week

This Tuscany itinerary starts and ends in Florence. However, you can start and end in other towns and combine this trip with a visit to the other regions (e.g. Cinque Terre). This is really just meant to show you what’s possible and how to plan your time in Tuscany.

In order to see the very best of Tuscany and to experience some of its stunning landscapes, it’s best to visit the region by car. On the other hand, you don’t really need a car in the cities. Train connections between major towns in Italy are really good. So if you want to, you can visit some of the most beautiful towns using public transport only.

While this Tuscany itinerary is made assuming that you have a car, you can easily adapt it to your needs and your way of traveling. Just use this itinerary as a guide to the best places in Tuscany, how much time you need at each place, and how to best plan your trip.

At the bottom of the article, you can also find a map indicating all the places mentioned in this Tuscan itinerary. Read on!

Tuscany itinerary - how to see the best of Tuscany in one week
 

One Week Tuscany Itinerary

Day 1 – Florence

Florence is one of the most beautiful places in Italy and is not to be missed in any Tuscany itinerary.

One full day is the minimum that you need in order to see the main highlights of Florence. You can find more information, tips, and advice for visiting Florence in my previous post. It includes a sample one day itinerary and accommodation advice. 

Not to be missed in Florence is the Cathedral (you can climb the Duomo as well), Ponte Vecchio, Uffizi Gallery, and Palazzo Vecchio. If you have just one day in Florence, stroll the old town, check out the market, and walk to Piazzale Michelangelo for the best view in Florence.

Stay in Florence for at least one night, in order to take full advantage of your time here. If you stay in town, I recommend Hotel De La Ville.

TIP: If you only have limited time and want to see the best of Florence in one day, I recommend that you book a priority entrance ticket to the Dome. For Uffizi gallery, I recommend booking timed entrance tickets – they also save you lots of time and cost just a fraction of the priority entrance.

Florence is a must in any Tuscany itinerary
Florence
 

Day 2 – Florence to Siena

Leave Florence early in the morning and drive to Siena. Via Chiantigiana road SR 222 from Florence to Siena is very scenic, so you may want to take this road rather than a highway.

Spend the rest of the day exploring the beautiful town of Siena. Must-see in Siena is Piazza del Campo, the Duomo (Cathedral), and the picturesque streets of the Old Town. Here you can read more about what to see and do in Siena.

TIP: Stay in Siena for 1 or 2 nights. Hotel NH Siena is one of the best picks in towns in terms of price/location/quality.

Siena is one of the most beautiful towns in Tuscany
Siena Cathedral
 

Day 3 – Val d’Orcia – Tuscan countryside

Here is a scenic road trip suggestion through the picture-perfect Tuscan countryside – Val d’Orcia – that you can take as a day trip from Siena.

If you have the time, you may want to spend a couple of days in this area, but one day is sufficient to drive through the scenic Tuscan countryside.

From Siena take the road SR2 to San Quirico d’Orcia. From here continue East along the SR146 in the direction of Montepulciano. This is the most scenic road in Tuscany – the one with the typical Tuscan landscapes you see in the travel magazines and on the postcards. 

Take your time to explore Val d’Orcia and visit at least a couple of charming little towns in the area: Pienza, Montepulciano, San Quirico d’Orcia, Monticchiello, Montalcino… Don’t miss the Abbey of Sant’Antimo.

TIP: If you are in Siena without a car, the best way to explore the Tuscan countryside is by taking an organized tour, e.g. this food tour that brings you to Montalcino, Pienza, and Montepulciano from Siena.

Tuscany countryside - picturesque hilly Tuscan landscape
Tuscan countryside
 

Day 4 – San Gimignano and Volterra

San Gimignano and Volterra are both relatively small towns and their proximity to each other means that you can easily visit them in one day. 

San Gimignano, famous for its fourteen medieval towers has a tiny but very picturesque Old Town. It can get extremely busy during the day, so I recommend going there first thing in the morning.

One of the main places to see is Piazza della Cisterna. You can also climb to the top of the Torre Grossa.

San Gimignano is one of the nicest small towns in Tuscany Italy
San Gimignano Old Town
 

Volterra has a great atmosphere in the evening, so it’s best to visit it later in the day. It’s a charming medieval town and it’s nice to just stroll the streets, check out some souvenir shops, and have a nice Tuscan dinner.

In my previous post, you can read more about what to see and do in San Gimignano and in Volterra.

TIP: One of the nicest and good price/quality hotels in Volterra is Hotel La Locanda. If you are on a tighter budget but want something really special, stay in Chiostro Delle Monache Hostel Volterra. It’s located in the 15th-century Franciscan monastery, has a great location, and free parking.

Volterra town in Tuscany Italy
Volterra
 

Day 5 – Pisa

Take your time to explore Pisa. Don’t limit your visit to the leaning tower of Pisa only! In fact, the leaning tower of Pisa is just one of the many monuments of the Miracle’s Square. The Cathedral and the Baptistery are very impressive as well.

Pisa town center has no crowds and is very picturesque as well. Stroll the Arno river promenade and check out the Borgo Stretto, an old shopping arcade with many restaurants, cafés, and shops.

TIP: If you are touring around Tuscany by car, I’d advise to not stay in Pisa. Instead, drive to Lucca after you visited Pisa and stay there for two nights. Lucca has such a great atmosphere and several really nice hotels. They are located inside the city walls and so parking is not free (but possible). Check out Hotel Palazzo AlexanderHotel Alla Corte degli Angeli, or Palazzo Dipinto.

The Miracle’s Square and the leaning tower of Pisa in Italy
The Miracle’s Square and the Tower of Pisa
 

Day 6 – Lucca

Lucca is our favorite town in Tuscany. You can see the main highlights in just one day, but you definitely won’t regret it if you choose to stay a bit longer. 

The main landmark is the city walls of Lucca that you can explore on foot or by bike. In fact, the best way to see Lucca is by taking a self-guided bike tour.

Piazza dell’Anfiteatro is another must see in Lucca. Make sure to also climb at least one of the towers -Torre Guinigi or Torre Delle Ore for the best views in town. Here you can read more about what to see and do in Lucca.

TIP: Take a food tour in Lucca – it’s a great way to explore the town and taste some of the typical local specialties.

Guinigi Tower as seen from Torre Delle Ore in Lucca - Tuscany, Italy
Guinigi Tower as seen from Torre Delle Ore
 

Day 7 – Collodi, Pistoia, Prato, or the outskirts of Florence

There are several nice towns that you could visit between Lucca and Florence. Collodi, Pistoia, and Prato are all worth a detour.

We liked exploring the outskirts of Florence as well. You’re hardly out of the city, but the scenery is amazing. Take a road from Florence to Fiesole for stunning views and a beautiful Tuscan landscape.

Tuscany itinerary - Florence as seen from the road to Fiesole
Florence as seen from the road to Fiesole
 

Where to stay for this Tuscany itinerary

Many people ask what’s the best area to stay in Tuscany. The answer really depends on what kind of trip you are planning.

If you are thinking of making a road trip in Tuscany, you can find my suggestions for hotels in each town in the day-to-day Tuscany itinerary above.

If, however, you don’t like changing hotels and packing your bags every day, you can also stay at one central location in the Tuscan countryside and take day trips from there. Sometimes you’ll need to drive an hour, sometimes two, so it’s not perfect, but it might still be easier and more relaxing, especially if you are traveling with kids.

Probably the best place to stay for exploring Tuscany would be the area close to Volterra or San Gimignano. It is very centrally located in Tuscany and is therefore ideal if you are looking to stay at just one hotel and explore the region by taking day trips.

Here you can find the best deals for accommodation in Volterra and hotels in San Gimignano area.

In fact, a few years ago we did just that when we were visiting Tuscany with our kids. We stayed at just one hotel in Montaione area for 12 days and combined relaxing days by the pool with sightseeing. It worked well for us. You can read more in our Best of Tuscany – itinerary from one central location post.

Tuscan countryside in Montaione area - good central location to stay for exploring Tuscany
View from our hotel in Montaione area
 

One week Tuscany trip itinerary map

Below you can see an overview of this suggested Tuscany itinerary on the map. Start in Florence, drive down to Siena, then on to San Gimignano and Volterra. Continue your trip towards Pisa and Lucca, and end in Florence.

Alternatively, continue to Cinque Terre, which is just a short ride from Pisa. Here you can find more information about how to see the best of Cinque Terre in one day.

Tuscany one week trip itinerary
Click on the map to enlarge
 

Best Time to Visit Tuscany

Tuscany is a beautiful destination that has something to offer at any time of the year. That being said, the best time to visit Tuscany is in late spring or in early autumn. The very best months for sightseeing in Tuscany are May and September.

In the summer months, it’s very hot here. So if you are visiting in July or August, you may want to concentrate on the Tuscan countryside. A popular thing to do is rent a villa with a pool and make an occasional day trip to one of the smaller towns in the area.

Whereas the weather in late fall, in winter, and in early spring is more suitable for visiting the big cities rather than touring the countryside.

READ ALSO: Best Time to Visit Europe

 

So, this is our suggested Tuscany itinerary for up to one week. If you are planning a trip to Italy, make sure to check our Italy travel guide for more tips and travel advice for a big variety of popular destinations in Italy.

Alternatively, check our selection of the articles below for more tips for a variety of destinations in Italy.

More tips for your trip to Italy:

If you found this Tuscany itinerary useful, don’t forget to bookmark this post and please share it with your friends. Are you on Pinterest? Pin this image!

Tuscany itinerary - see the best of Tuscany in one week
 
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Irene

Monday 22nd of February 2021

Hello Jurga,

This is absolutely wonderful and beautiful! Thank you so much for your blog and pictures, and for sharing your experience. I will be visiting Italy for the first time in April or May 2022, and I like to plan ahead. Tuscany is definitely the region I would like to visit, for a max of 10 days if I spend a couple in Venice. Reading your experience, and although I would most likely be a solo traveler, I am very tempted to rent a car rather than changing hotels all the time and riding public transport. I like to be on my own schedule when I travel, and I am more attracted to small villages and scenic drives than famous monuments or places.

Would you say it would be best to rent a small car then?

Many thanks and thanks so much again! Irene

Jurga

Tuesday 23rd of February 2021

Hi Irene, if you want to explore more of Tuscany than just the main cities, then yes, it's definitely easier to do that by car. You can also see some stunning countryside that way! Driving in Italy is quite ok, the biggest issue is often to find a parking spot in the popular places. But in April or May, it shouldn't be too busy. Just make sure to always book accommodation that has parking and avoid driving into the city center anywhere. There are usually parking areas at the outskirts, so it's always easier to use those rather than try to park at the main town square or so. :) For Venice, you definitely don't need a car, but you can drive to Venice by car . So if you start your trip there, only rent it when you are planning to leave the city. If you end your trip in Venice, drop the car off as soon as you arrive. Once you start booking your trip, simply take a look at the Rental Cars website - they always have the best deals. Good luck!

Wayne Kivi

Thursday 2nd of April 2020

Hi Jurga, love your site. Thinking about taking my family (5 adults 3 kids) to Italy in late April 2021. Problem is, because of schedules etc, we only have 7 days. I'm thinking agitouristismos, renting two cars, and private tour guides. Would love to spend 2 days in Rome and the rest in Umbria/Tuscany. I know crowds and prices will be down. Doable? Thoughts? Potential problems?

Jurga

Friday 3rd of April 2020

Hi Wayne, everything is doable if you plan well. Don't expect it to be quiet, though - April is already quite busy in Italy, but it's a great time to travel. Not too hot, not as busy as in summer, and indeed, accommodation prices should be somewhat lower (especially outside the cities). It also depends when Easter falls next year - Easter is very busy in Italy because Europeans have school holidays. So try to travel after that. As for an itinerary, it's hard for me to suggest since there are so many possibilities. Rome - 2 days is really an absolute minimum for the city (here you can find some tips for Rome) - if you plan well and get skip-the-line tickets for all the main landmarks. Also, don't rent a car in Rome - only once you leave! Talking about a car rental, you can also rent a mini-bus for 8-9 people. It should be cheaper than renting two cars, and also cheaper for insurance, tolls, parking, etc. The only disadvantage is that it's bigger and parking spots are usually rather small. On the other hand, our car (a 7-seater van) is also big and we never really had problems driving with it in Italy. Here you can find the best rates for car rentals - check what's available (although it might be too early for next year). For Tuscany and Umbria - you can choose to stay in one place and make day trips from there, or you can stay at 2-3 different places and make a mini road-trip. It's really your choice. If you are visiting many cities, traveling by train might be easier, but for smaller towns, the car is definitely easier and allows you to see more of the countryside. Hope this helps a bit. Try to figure out what you absolutely want to see. Once you have that, take a map and make an itinerary. After you do that, look for accommodations that best suit your plans.

Robin

Sunday 8th of March 2020

Thanks for the info!

Jurga

Sunday 8th of March 2020

Glad you found it useful. Enjoy your trip to Tuscany!

Susan L Phillips

Tuesday 3rd of December 2019

Thank You I can't wait to go, we are leaving this Wednesday. I had very little time to plan, so I'm using your itinerary!! Susan, Atlanta, Ga.

Jurga

Thursday 5th of December 2019

Wow, that was the last minute indeed! Hope you are enjoying Tuscany! Have a great rest of the trip.

Ivan How

Saturday 3rd of August 2019

hi,

hello ,I am Ivan, I am Planning a 6 t0 7days in mid november road trip around the following places. i will be coming from Rome and also wish to have a farm stay in Tuscany. where do you recommend that i should stay ,how should i move around to save time and where should i pick up a rental car and returned my car before heading to Cinque Terre fro 2 nights 1)lucca, 2)siena 3)san gimignano, 4)volterra, 5)chianti 6)pisa 7)cortona

regards ivan

Jurga

Wednesday 7th of August 2019

Hi Ivan, sorry, but I really have no time to plan custom itineraries. Hope that information in our blog posts can guide you. Tuscany isn't big so you can either drive around and sleep at a different place every night or stay in one place and make day trips, or maybe stay at 2-3 hotels that make it easy to explore a certain area before moving on to the next one. As for the car, it's usually easiest and cheapest to rent from big cities. I think Florence could be a good option as you can easily get there from Rome and also from there to Cinque Terre by train. You can check Rental Cars website for the best car rental deals and book in advance to save money. Hope this helps.

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