Tuscany is one of the most beautiful parts of Italy, full of charming towns, vast countryside and breath-taking cities. You could easily spend months exploring the region but if you only have seven days then follow this one week in Tuscany itinerary to make the most of your Italian adventure.
Parents, aren’t they great! Mine visited Tuscany a few weeks before we set off on our European Interrailing adventure and were kind enough to share their itinerary with me. It looked pretty perfect so I thought I’d pop it on here in case anyone is planning a family holiday to visit the Italian region of Tuscany soon. We packed in as much of this as possible as we didn’t quite have a full one week in Tuscany.
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They tend to cram a load into their travels so don’t feel you have to tick off all of these things, if you’re relatively active I’m sure you’ll be able to manage it all. They prefer to stay in good value 3 or 4 star hotels and eat at local restaurants which they research intensively before booking, making their travels very affordable.
Day 1 SUNDAY
Train to airport then fly Jet2 from Birmingham to Pisa departing at 15.30, arriving at 18.50 local time.
Collect hire car at Pisa airport and drive to Lucca in 45 mins. Confusing sat nav directions once inside the pedestrianised city walls. All fine once we found a cyclist who said ”follow me”!! The people of Tuscany are super friendly so far!
Check in to Hotel La Luna and a late drink at hotel before bed.
Day 2 MONDAY
Explore Lucca including a walk along the well maintained and beautiful city walls.
Visit the Duomo, San Martino from the 6th Century which is located slightly out of the main tourist areas.
Next over to the Piazza Dell’Anfiteatro for a lunch stop. There are plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from and it was built on the ruins of a Roman amphitheatre giving it a very unique feel.
After lunch it’s up the 14th century Guinigi Tower for some beautiful views from the lovely roof garden at the top. The Guinigi tower is 125 feet high and the climb up consists of 230 steps. It is one of only 9 remaining towers built in Lucca, this one was built by the Guinigi family who used to rule the town.
Day 3 TUESDAY
Tuscan Hill Towns
Check out from Hotel La Luna.
Drive to hill towns of San Gimignano and Volterra which took around an hour and a half. Parking was difficult to find in both places. There was an escalator from lower town to the top in Volterra making it fairly accessible.
Read more about visiting San Gimignano with kids.
San Gimignano is famous for its many remaining towers and stunning views across the Tuscan countryside. It has been an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990. It’s quite a walk up the cobbled streets to the main square and it can get pretty busy.
Volterra is another beautiful Tuscan hill top town and quieter than the others we visited. It is home to the oldest Town Hall in Tuscany.
Check in Hotel Italia in Siena – parking at Hotel Garden. Dinner in Siena, just inside the city walls, through Porta Camollia on the via Camollia.
Day 4 WEDNESDAY
Explore Siena, the largest of the hill towns in the area, the centre of which is pedestrian only meaning we could wander the streets traffic free. We visited the Piazza del Campo, a huge open square, home to the Town Hall of Siena, the Torre del Mangia, many other beautiful ancient buildings and more restaurants and bars – you pay for the location here.
Next to the Duomo di Siena, as with most of the Duomos we visited, the interior and exterior design is extremely intricate. Inside the Duomo is the Piccolomini Library, which is full of colourful frescoes which are over 500 years old. The Duomo has magnificent black and white marble columns and incredible inlaid marble floor squares depicting scenes from the bible.
Dinner in Siena at Ristorante Enzo on the via Camollia.
Day 5 THURSDAY
Day trip to Florence, Tuscany’s main city, we wanted to make a day of it so had breakfast at 7am. Rapida bus 8.10 and arrived in Florence 9.45.
Visit Duomo, Cattedrale de Santa Maria del Fiore a beautiful building both inside and out. Dad queued for 1 ½ hours so that we could see the inside of the Duomo, only to find that it’s treasures had been removed to the museums which was a real shame. Work inside the Duomo stopped visitors from walking below the dome at the time of our visit. We did manage to photograph the wonderful ‘doors of paradise’ of the Baptistery.
We headed to the Ponte Vecchio, the only surviving medieval bridge in the city and the first to be built across the River Arno.
Then to the Pitti Palace which dates back to the 15th century and is now essentially an art gallery fully of sculptures, paintings and porcelain. We ended our day of exploring the Boboli Gardens which are Italian in design and a lovely green space within the city. A short walk from Boboli and included in the ticket was the Villa Bardoni with lovely views over the city.
Dinner in Florence and late bus back to Siena.
Day 6 FRIDAY
Drove to Chianti region, first stop at Hotel Belvedere to admire the typical Chianti countryside then on to charming Castellini in Chianti for a coffee stop before driving to Greve, a delightful medieval town in Chianti to eat our lunch.
Long drive (an hour and a half) to the hill town of Cortona, on the edge of Tuscany / Umbria with an amazing view of Lago Trasimeno. We walked the very steep winding streets to a fortress at the very top of the hill past the church of Santa Margerita. Magnificent views of the surrounding countryside from the fortress at the highest point. Coffee stop in the lovely town square which is where Under the Tuscan Sun was filmed. There were escalators from the car park to the town walls.
Dinner in Siena after free drink at hotel.
Day 7 SATURDAY
All day in Siena visiting the Fort (Fortezza Medicea) and the beautiful Botanical Gardens for lunch Then afternoon drinks at Campo in the sunshine. We found the origins of the city in the Castellano area. Finished the Basilica and cloisters of San Francesco which was almost destroyed by fire in 1655.
Our evening consisted of a drink near Piazza San Domenico looking towards Duomo, dinner near Duomo at Trattoria La Tellina, via delle Terme. Last look at Piazza del Campo at nightime (beautiful) before returning to Hotel.
Day 8 SUNDAY
Hill Towns to Home
Checked out of our hotel by 11 and drove to hill towns of Monteriggione, another walled town and Certaldo, where we had lunch on a lovely garden terrace with wonderful views towards San Gimignano – then to Pisa Airport to hand back car. Full/full policy an experience! Jet 2 flight from Pisa at 19.35 arriving in Birmingham at 21.00 delayed I hour.
Lovely holiday! Totally unforgettable one week in Tuscany!
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