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

Tuscany Itinerary – See the Best Places in One Week

In Europe, Italy, Trip itineraries by JurgaThis post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. More info: Disclosure.

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 7 days

 

 

One week Tuscany itinerary

Day 1 – Florence

Florence is one of the most beautiful cities 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 the 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 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.

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

The Miracle’s Square and the tower of Pisa

 

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.

 

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 a 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.

One week trip itinerary for Tuscany Italy. Road trip guide to the most beautiful Tuscan towns and countryside!

Click on the map to enlarge

 

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.

***Read also our guide to the best of Milan and Lake Como***

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
 

 
One week trip itinerary - how to see the best of Tuscany in 7 days

Comments

  1. Hi Jurga,

    I am sure the answer to my question is somewhere in the comments but I figured it would be easier to simply ask you. My husband and I are planning on going to Italy and spending most of our time in Tuscany and possibly the Italian Riviera. I wanted to know how easy it is to rent a car for the trip and travel this way. I always am fearful of tolls and other extra costs. I just want to be able to explore the towns at our leisure and not have to worry about much. The plus to having a car is that we do not have to worry about packing so light. A train would mean backpacking, which I do not really prefer. Thank you,

    K

  2. Such an informative article this is, Jurga! I often read articles about Tuscany and they are about the same places we have heard a thousand times. But this post is like a breath of fresh air because it showcases some unique places that I have never heard. I really feel pleased by reading your article and it makes me want to visit Tuscany again.

  3. Hi Jurga
    I am visiting Florence this September, for two days , I like your hotel choice ,hotel De la Ville , what would you recommend to see in this short time

    1. Author

      Hi Frank, in this post you can find more information on the main highlights to see in Florence. You can see the main landmarks in just a day, but you can easily fill 2 days as well, especially if you like museums.
      If you rather see something else on day 2 and want to see the other towns and some of teh Tuscan countryside as well, you can consider an organized day trip (by train or with an organized tour, depends on the place).
      Here are some tours that you could consider (there are many more options, these are just a few examples that I think are worth your time the most):
      From Florence: Siena, San Gimignano and Chianti Wine Tasting
      From Florence: 8-Hour Excursion to Pisa and Lucca
      From Florence: Tuscany Highlights Full-Day Tour
      Hope this helps.

      1. Thank you Jurga
        Your itinerary is very helpful, I was recommended a restaurant in Florence Trattoria 13 Gobbi will let you know , a friend went twice for dinner

        1. Author

          Looks good, Frank. I added the link to the restaurant (might be helpful to other readers). Enjoy your trip!

  4. Hello,
    Thank you for posting this itinerary, it’s been so helpful. I was wondering if you knew how much petrol would be if we were to use your itinerary?
    Thank you!

    1. Author

      Hi Jessica, it’s really quite impossible for me to tell. It depends on which car you have, how much fuel it uses, whether you drive on highways or smaller roads, where your hotels are, etc.
      Fuel prices are very high in Italy, some of the highest in Europe. I think you should count some 1,70-1,80 EUR per liter at the moment, maybe 6-8 l/100 km for a small car. If you use google maps to estimate the distance where you are driving, I guess you could figure it out approximately, but it’s not an easy exercise as there are so many different factors.

  5. Thank you for your post. We are travelling to Tuscany in August from Australia. We know it will be insanely busy but have a family wedding so we don’t have a choice on the time. We can spend a week in Tuscany so with it being such a busy time would you stay out of the main cities and centralise the accomodation to one place for the week

    1. Author

      Hi Margie, Tuscany isn’t very big, so you could just stay in one place and just decide what you want to visit once you get there.
      We stayed somewhat in between, in Montaione area and took day trips to Florence, Siena, Lucca, Pisa, San Gimignano, Volterra, etc. It means some driving up and down, but you have complete flexibility. And if the weather is really too hot for sightseeing, you can decide to just stay by the pool for a day (make sure to book a place with a pool – it’s really a must in summer!).
      I’m really not sure what to tell you in terms of visiting Italian cities in August. We found it already too hot end of May… On the other hand, you come from so far, so I guess it would be a pity not to see at least a couple of bigger cities as well… You may want to pack an umbrella to use against the sun and eat lots of gelatos all day long. 🙂

  6. Hi, great post!. I will be traveling next March and we are planning 6 days to road trip around Tuscany (excluding Florence). I understand that March is not that busy, so I’m planning in looking accommodations on the road without being bound to an itinerary. I know that it is always better to have everything booked before-hand, but in your opinion is it to risky not to have hotel/airbnb reservations in March? Thanks and greetings from Mexico.

    1. Author

      Hi Cesar, I think the problem in March might be to find accommodations that are open. Except for the big cities, most accommodations in small towns in Italy tend to close between November and April. Of course, this might be region-specific and more the case in some places than in the others.
      So yes, if it was me, I would book in advance. But if that’s really not how you travel, then at least try to look it up in advance so that you know how availability is in general and which accommodations will be open.

  7. Hi there
    I’m travelling from Melbourne Australia in sept oct 2018
    I want to go to Tuscany hope to follow your 1 week itinerary
    I won’t have a car
    Do I need to book ahead from here or can I find accom in each town I visit
    Just worried I won’t have a place to stay at a reasonable rate and I am travelling alone
    Would love to hear your thoughts
    Thanks Sandra
    I really enjoy reading
    The Full Suitcase 😊

    1. Author

      Hi Sandra, I guess you meant you’ll be in Italy next year, in 2019? I think there is a big difference in when you travel – September or October – as September will still be high season in many places. But even October, especially the first half, is still very busy in Italy.
      In any case, my advice is to always plan a trip and book all accommodations in advance. There is so much more choice and better prices if you book upfront. Also, you can choose where to stay based on the location that best suits you and not waste your precious holiday time looking for accommodations every night.
      If you don’t have a car then try to stay in bigger towns that have good public transport connections. In general, trains are quite reliable in Italy, definitely easier than traveling by bus.
      Hope this helps.

  8. We will be traveling by train, can we reach the areas you recommend in Tuscany from Florence by train?

    1. Author

      Hi Brenda, to tell you the truth, I’m not really sure since we always travel in Italy by car. But I think there are good connections between the biggest towns, so Florence, Pisa, Sienna shouldn’t be a problem. I don’t think there is train going to San Gimignano or Volterra.
      If you just go to Google Maps and choose directions between any two places, choose public transport as an option (a little train icon in the top left corner) and Google will show you the best way to get there.

  9. We’ll be in Pisa from the 28th December till 2nd January. How can we go to Cinque Terre.? All day tours seem to stop in October!! Thank you for your advice.

    1. Author

      Hi Frances, yes, indeed, the tourist season in Cinque Terre seems to stop around mid November. I found just one private tour that goes there from Pisa the whole year round, but it seems crazy expensive to me.
      However, you can always take a train from Pisa to La Spezia and then switch to another train to Cinque Terre from there. Another option is to rent a car and drive, but then again, it’s best to not drive in CT itself and leave your car in La Spezia. There will be no boat tours running in winter, but you can visit the villages by train. Hiking is probably not ideal unless it would be very dry, which is unlikely in winter. Please check our practical guide to visiting Cinque Terre and our suggested one day itinerary for Cinque Terre.
      Enjoy your trip!

  10. Hi this itinerary is so helpful! Can you share the hotels you stayed in and where you recommend staying?

    1. Author

      Hi Anisha, our kids were very young when we visited Tuscany, so we opted to stay in just one place the whole week. Our hotel was in Montaione area. We liked the fact that it was so central and we could do day trips to all the main towns. But you do need a car for this. You can find a bit more info here. It’s a very old post and from what I see the accommodation we stayed at isn’t available at the moment, but there are many other hotels and accommodation options in that area.
      If you don’t mind changing hotels a couple of times and want to drive less, then you can also opt for 2-3 nights at several places. In that case I’d probably stay close to Siena and then somewhere close to Florence. If you are planning on taking a train, then stay in the city centre, close to the railway station.
      A lot depends on your travel style and also on where you start and end the trip. Hope this helps a bit.

  11. Hello, i’m John and i just start planning my second trip to Tuscany next year. I’m going for two week in June and staying in a Agrotourismo farm in Staggia. From there i’m circling all around Tuscany.. I’m taking note of the areas that you visited and i cant wait.. Congratulations on your pictures, very impressive work. I’m a semi-pro photographer and i can recongnize high quality picture.. Thanks for sharing with us this beautiful adventure.JD

    1. Author

      Thank you and enjoy your trip to Tuscany. It’s such a beautiful region to explore and in two weeks you should be able to see a lot!

  12. Thank You so much for your wonderful suggestions! We loved Tuscany so much & would like to return for a longer stay! There’s so much beautiful & scenic photo’s that we regrettably missed, it begs for a return visit indeed! Thank you again!

    1. Author

      We feel exactly the same way – could go back to Tuscany again and again. The whole of Italy actually. We’re trying to visit at least one place/region in Italy every year and it never disappoints. Last year we went to Cinque Terre and the Ligurian coast and it was stunning too. This summer we’re off to Italian mountains and it looks amazing too. It’s difficult not to love Italy!

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