I made this guide for you on what to see in Tuscany in 3 days, to discover the most beautiful places this fantastic region has to offer!
Tuscany, in addition to being one of the most famous regions in the world, is one of the most popular destinations for travelers because of its beautiful picture-postcard landscapes characterized by hillsides with vineyards and olive groves, enchanting villages and religious sites, crystal-clear sea, natural parks, spas and its enormous historical and artistic heritage.
These are just some of the striking attractions that make a simple trip to Tuscany, an unforgettable experience! Its incredible food and wine, traditions and extraordinary art cities full of wonderful works of art and architecture attract millions of visitors every year. For all this, UNESCO has decided to include eight wonders of this magnificent region on its World Heritage Sites List:
- The historic center of Florence
- Pisa with its stunning Piazza del Duomo
- San Gimignano
- The historic center of Siena
- Val d’Orcia
- The Medici villas and gardens
Tuscany and its wonders give visitors a unique spectacle 365 days a year, and thanks to its climate, this wonderful region manages to offer shades and colors that will make your vacation unforgettable in any season. Simply put, it is a perfect destination for planning trips to suit all tastes, even if you are short on time! Three days are very few to visit all of Tuscany; therefore, it is essential to make a selection based on your interests and the means of transportation you use.
Have I intrigued you? Then follow me! In this guide we will discover together what to visit in Tuscany in 3 days. I will create itineraries for you to help you plan the weekend in Tuscany that best suits you. Let’s get going! 😍
What to visit in Tuscany in 3 days? 5 itineraries
Below you will find 5 different itineraries to choose from to visit Tuscany at its best: 👇
It is the capital city of Tuscany, considered by many to be one of the most beautiful cities in Italy for its wonderful squares, enchanting churches and the most celebrated art exhibitions it has to offer. The most important attraction is definitely the majestic Ponte Vecchio, one of the most striking photographic spots in the region. Stimulating and absolutely not to be missed is also the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, a true masterpiece of the Renaissance era, from whose immense dome you can admire the incredible panorama of the historic center. Another attraction definitely worth visiting is the Uffizi Gallery, one of the most famous museums in the world!
The best dishes of Florentine gastronomy not to be missed during your 3 days in Tuscany are:
- Florentine steak (cooked rare).
- Florentine sandwiches and focaccias;
- Ribollita (a vegetable-based soup of peasant origin);
Perfect to pair with exquisite Tuscan wines such as Brunello di Montalcino and Chianti classico.
2. San Miniato
It is a wonderful medieval town located between Florence and Pisa. It is a very interesting destination to visit during your trip to Tuscany, thanks to its charm but also because this is where truffle lovers will find their world, as San Miniato is one of the most famous Tuscan locations for the production and trade of this precious mushroom.
- Cathedral of San Miniato
- Bishop’s Palace
- Church of the Santissimo Crocifisso
It is one of the most important cities in Tuscany from a cultural point of view; so much that in 2017 it obtained the designation of “Italian Capital of Culture,” a highly prestigious recognition due to its great artistic heritage. Its historic center is very interesting to visit on foot, and the most important monuments to see are undoubtedly:
- Cathedral Square
- Cathedral of Pistoia
- Baptistery of San Giovanni in Corte
- Municipal Palace
Like much of the Tuscan region, Pistoia has considerable oil production, involving thousands of people each year and hundreds of oil mills in action, which can sometimes be visited by the public.
4. Montecatini Terme
Located in the province of Pistoia, it is one of the most attractive tourist destinations thanks to its thermal springs, which already attracted many tourists to the town in the 19th century, including several prestigious personalities such as Giuseppe Verdi, Giacomo Puccini and Vittorio Emanuele II.
Today Montecatini Terme is protected by UNESCO, being part of the World Heritage Site called “Great Spa Cities of Europe.” Even if you are not a big spa fan, the town is definitely worth a visit, thanks to the many things to see, its well-kept historic center with parks, gardens and Art Nouveau villas, and the possibility of organizing some interesting excursions in the surrounding area.
This is one of the most beautiful and beloved art cities in Tuscany, nicknamed the “City of 100 Churches” because of its incredible number of places of worship. Definitely worth seeing is the wonderful church of San Michele in Foro and the imposing Lucca Cathedral. Other highlights of the city are undoubtedly the city walls about 4 kilometers long and the Guinigi Tower, the famous tower with trees on top that characterize the cityscape.
As for the local cuisine, you should definitely try Tordello lucchese, spelt soup, potato bread, and fried cod, stewed with chickpeas or chard.
When people talk about this city, they immediately think of its distinctive tower, but this imposing leaning bell tower is only one of the monuments Pisa has to offer. The majestic Piazza del Duomo gathers the city’s main religious monuments such as the Tower, the Duomo, the Baptistery and the Camposanto. But it doesn’t end there! Walking around the city you have the chance to discover buildings, monuments and museums that help keep alive the memory of a past in which Pisa was a Maritime Republic. Moreover, being named by the Florentines as “the Queen of Studies,” it is a decidedly young and lively city.
Pisa’s cuisine boasts several typical dishes such as zuppa di ranocchi (frog soup) and bavettine sul pesce (pasta with a tasty sauce of rock mullet). Fish itself is one of the stars of Pisan tables: mullet and grilled cod are the most popular recipes.
Normally this city is used as a “gateway place” to more famous and popular destinations… But before you leave this picturesque city, I recommend you visit all those must-see places and attractions. Among them you absolutely must visit:
- Vettovaglie Market
- Mascagni Terrace
- Republic Square
- The Leopoldine Aqueduct
You won’t be able to leave Livorno without first tasting a plate of authentic cacciucco with or without fish on the bone, perfect to pair with a shot of Livorno-style ponche to aid digestion. The ingredients used are nothing more than a mixture of various fish cooked for a long time and served with toasted bread.
2. Castagneto Carducci and Bolgheri
It is a village suspended in time. The history of this Borgo is closely linked to the della Gherardesca family, the incredible views and the great poet Giosuè Carducci who stayed here as a young man and also wrote his greatest poems. Walking through its medieval streets you will have the chance to visit the Church of San Lorenzo, the castle that dominates the entire town, the house that hosted the young Giosuè and enjoy a wonderful view in Belvedere Square.
A small hamlet of Castagneto is named Bolgheri, famous for its historical-landscape features and the charming cypress avenue about two kilometers long. The latter will take you to this small village, where it will be impossible not to taste the incredible wine from any of the famous wineries that surround it.
This is an Italian town in the province of Lucca that offers, in addition to the beautiful Tuscan sea, a long list of attractions and the sensational annual Viareggio Carnival. Its great charm makes this town a coveted tourist destination, to be considered both for a day trip and for a real vacation! This town is developed in lower Versilia (a region of Tuscany in the province of Lucca), and is full of things to see such as:
- Matilde Tower
- Corso Garibaldi and the Church of Sant’Andrea
- Garibaldi Square and The War Memorial
- The Margherita Café
Definitely try the spaghetti con i nicchi and con i coltellacci, Cecina (savory cake with chickpea flour) and La Scarpaccia dolce (sweet cake with zucchini).
4. Forte dei Marmi
It is one of the most renowned seaside resorts in Italy, located on the Versilia coast in the province of Lucca and a destination for tourists from all over the world. It is a luxury tourist destination that has an excellent offer in services but above-average prices. The city is popular for the elegance of its buildings, the beautiful streets in the center and the waterfront with well-equipped bathrooms and trendy clubs. The town’s iconic monuments are the Fortino and the Pontile, which was once used to load marble from the Apuan quarries.
During your tour in Forte dei Marmi, you must taste caciucco; it is an iconic fish soup of the region and the star of the tables of homes, clubs and restaurants, in its traditional or more or less gourmet form.
5. Colonnata and the marble quarries of the Apuan Alps.
If one thinks of the name Colonnata, immediately the Lardo di Colonnata PGI comes to mind, a charcuterie product that has made this small hamlet in the municipality of Carrara famous, but that is not the only reason why this village is worth a visit.
The village of Colonnata is located in the setting of the Apuan Alps Regional Park; it is a protected natural area that protects landscapes and biodiversity of particular beauty and value, crisscrossed by hiking trails to discover the wild landscapes of the Apuan Alps. The latter are characterized by the marble quarries, which serve as the inspiration and raw material of great artists such as Canova and Michelangelo, in search of the perfect block to make his David.
1. Monte Argentario
It is a promontory of true beauty almost entirely surrounded by the sea, joined to the mainland by the two beaches of Giannella and Feniglia, and the artificial road that cuts the Orbetello lagoon in two; one of the most unspoiled naturalistic areas in Tuscany.
Places on Monte Argentario that are definitely worth a visit are:
– Porto Santo Stefano: a picturesque seaside resort overlooking the northern side of the peninsula. Its most iconic monument is the Spanish Fortress built for defensive purposes at the time of the “State of the Presidi” and which now houses several permanent exhibitions.
– Porto Ercole: An ancient fishing village, now a famous summer vacation resort, it is “guarded” by the mighty fortresses built at the time of the Spanish Garrisons. The oldest part of the village is passable only on foot, and has kept intact the atmosphere of past centuries.
– Ansedonia: is a tourist resort whose name is well known thanks to the presence in the summer period of many VIPs who have their villas here. Not only sea in Ansedonia but also history, in fact, there is a very important archaeological area where there are the remains of villas of the Roman city of “Cosa”.
2. Capalbio and the Tarot Garden
Near Capalbio, there is a place of rare beauty, “the Tarot Garden” born from the genius of Niki de Saint de Phalle in the second half of the 20th century. The special feature of this garden are the large and fascinating sculptures that populate it, depicting the 22 Major Arcana of the Tarot cards.
The French sculptor’s aim was to create a small corner of Heaven on Earth. The source of inspiration is clearly Gaudi’s Guell Park located in Barcelona. The 22 sculptures are made of steel and covered with mosaics and ceramics, and it took a full 17 years to complete the Tarot Garden in Capalbio.
This is a village to discover, thanks in part to the many monuments and museums in the historic center, which retain the atmosphere of a typical Tuscan town. During your vacation in Pitigliano you must visit:
- The Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul
- The city walls of Pitigliano
- Medici Aqueduct
- Piazza della Repubblica
But that’s not all! Pitigliano, nicknamed “Little Jerusalem” bears within itself several testimonies of an important Jewish community that lived here from the 1600s. Today this community has almost completely disappeared, but the old ghetto is one of the most interesting areas of the historic center to visit, with its narrow streets and beautiful buildings overlooking it.
This town is especially famous for its wonderful natural hot springs located in Southern Tuscany, which attract many tourists every year. The picturesque Cascate del Mulino with its turquoise pools is unique and creates a very special natural setting.
Here you will have the opportunity to bathe in the natural pools of the sulfur spring and enjoy a very special environment. If, on the other hand, you prefer filtered water, the Saturnia spa is nearby where you can also have various spa treatments.
Surely this city does not have the same popularity as the big art cities like Florence and Siena however, there are many reasons to visit it. The small historic center of Grosseto, enclosed within the Medici walls, holds several architectural treasures and some interesting museums such as:
- Church of San Francesco
- Archaeological and Art Museum of the Maremma
- Museum of sacred art of the diocese of Grosseto
- Church of St. Peter
Being in the middle of the Tuscan Maremma, one cannot visit the province of Grosseto without tasting the local wines such as Maremma Toscana D.O.C. Rosso, Ansonica Costa Dell’Argentario D.O.C. and Bianco di Pitigliano to pair with traditional local dishes such as porchetta di coniglio and caciucco chickpeas.
6. Elba Island
It is a beautiful island, which together with its beaches, create the perfect place for a beach vacation in Tuscany. Completely unique charm, lush vegetation and, of course, the many enchanting beaches will make you want to stay for a few days.
In addition, the many romantic villages with their many multicolored little houses by the sea are worth a visit. Rio Marina is a real island cover village and is especially worth seeing. Of course, a visit to the island’s capital, Portoferraio, cannot be missed either. Here you will find several interesting attractions, such as museums, fortresses, and the beautiful old port.
It is a place full of characteristic villages that stretches for about 20 km straddling the provinces of Florence, Siena and Arezzo, among medium-high hills also called the Chianti Mountains complex.
In case you only have one day to visit Chianti, you should definitely see the Piazza del Mercatale and the Wine Museum in Greve in Chianti; a small village considered as the entrance to Chianti. Another must-see place is located on the border between Florentine and Sienese Chianti and is Castellina in Chianti where the Archaeological Museum of the Chianti Senese is located.
Whatever your destination in Chianti, it is impossible not to taste its wine. Wine and food tours can be organized from Florence and Siena, even as short as half a day, without taking a car.
2. San Gimignano
It is one of the most visited attractions in Tuscany located on a hill among vineyards and green meadows. This UNESCO World Heritage Site offers exceptionally unique scenery! San Gimignano has become famous thanks to its quaint old town, where 15 of the famous medieval towers can still be seen, which is why the town is called “Medieval Manhattan”.
Gourmands will also find their ideal destination in San Gimignano, because one of the best gelato shops in Tuscany is based here: the Gelateria Dondoli, several times voted “Best Gelateria in the World”. And don’t forget to taste the saffron and Vernaccia di San Gimignano, too!
During your 3-day trip to Tuscany, you cannot miss this beautiful city, defined by many tourists as one of the most beautiful in Italy. Among the most important attractions is the majestic Piazza del Campo, one of the main squares in the country, where the historic “Torre del Mangia” over 100 meters high is located. Also a must-see is the enchanting Siena Cathedral, one of the city’s most important buildings. Siena is famous for the Palio, a horse race that has taken place in Piazza del Campo, since the Middle Ages.
Sienese cuisine is based on genuine products such as vegetables, legumes, and meats that are transformed into elaborate dishes. There are many typical products and specialties to try such as panforte, pecorino di Pienza, and cured meats such as capocollo and finocchiona.
4. Val d’Orcia
It is a vast countryside located in Tuscany, in the province of Siena. Here you will have the chance to admire the part of Tuscany usually seen in postcards with stunningly beautiful hilly landscapes, charming cypress avenues and medieval villages that make this magnificent region a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you are planning a vacation in Tuscany, I definitely recommend visiting it to relax surrounded by greenery and visit many interesting villages such as Pienza, Montepulciano, Bagno Vignoni and Montalcino.
The whole area is rich in great local products such as Pienza pecorino cheese, intense olive oil, delicious wine, mushrooms, truffles, game and many other specialties.
This beautiful city is also worth seeing! Especially fascinating is the historic center with the Piazza Grande and its well-kept patrician houses. If you are interested in art, Arezzo is definitely the place to be, as here you can admire several works by the Italian painter and mathematician Piero della Francesca, an important exponent of the second generation of humanist painters.
Also, during your visit to Arezzo, you should definitely taste Scottiglia (a kind of meat-based caciucco) and visit the fantastic Arezzo Antiques Market where, on the first weekend of every month, antique dealers and bargain hunters meet in Piazza Grande to sell historical treasures.
It is a charming and magical city that offers wonderful views of Lake Trasimeno. Its historic center is full of wonderful alleys and glimpses to photograph. Here I recommend you to taste the famous leaf tea at the “Caffè degli Artisti”, which is great in winter but also refreshing in summer. On the main streets are art galleries, small stores and trattorias, while the two main squares, Piazza della Repubblica and Piazza Signorelli, offer access to the city’s major monuments and historical sites, from the Theater to the Museum of the Etruscan Academy and the City of Cortona (MAEC) to the Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo.
3. Asciano and the Creti Senesi
The Crete Senesi represent the heart of Tuscany and symbolize one of Italy’s most beloved landscapes. The paths that wind through these places are full of charm; they cross immense fields cultivated along elegant hills and ancient farmhouses, surrounded by vineyards and tall cypress trees.
In the heart of the Crete Senesi is the village of Asciano, a charming place where you can savor the ancient flavors of the land, surrounded by high medieval walls and wonderful squares. Here you cannot fail to make a brief stop to visit the Collegiate Church of Sant’Agata and Palazzo Corboli, home to enchanting pictorial and sculptural masterpieces. In nearby San Giovanni d’Asso, moreover, the famous exhibition of the White Truffle of the Crete Senesi takes place.
4. Rapolano Terme
It is one of the most popular spa resorts in the province of Siena, located in the heart of the Crete Senesi area. Here you will have a choice of two spas, the Antica Querciolaia spa, located close to the town center, and the San Giovanni spa, further away from the inhabited area, nestled in the Sienese hills.
But that’s not all… From the village of Rapolano you can enjoy a splendid view of the Tuscan countryside. Entering through the Porta Nuova and crossing Piazza Matteotti, you can reach the oldest part of the village, the “Castellare”, with the church of San Bartolomeo (where the Monumental Nativity scene is set up every year), the Palazzo Cacciaconti and the Palazzo Pretorio, now the town hall.
What to do in Tuscany?
Now that you know what to see in Tuscany in 3 days, I thought I would also suggest some of the best activities not to be missed:
- Walking around and visiting museums
- Shopping in the historic centers of the cities, or in the villages
- Visit small stores and buy some handicraft souvenirs such as Tuscan pottery
- Tasting street food or enjoying a meal in typical trattorias and restaurants
- Visiting abbeys or other religious places such as the Abbey of San Galgano, the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore and Abbey of Sant’Antimo
- Taking beautiful photos of beautiful landscapes
As I reported earlier, Tuscany is a perfect destination to visit throughout the year. On the other hand, during the winter months, you might come across a rainy day…No problem! You could relax at one of the many spa resorts such as those in Saturnia, Rapolano Terme and Montecatini Terme.
The experiences here not finished yet! On nice days you could organize an excursion to the Casentino Forest National Park, take a relaxing horse and bike ride, eat gelato in San Gimignano, or organize a truffle hunting. On the other hand, if you were a thrill-seeker, you could try more adrenaline-pumping activities such as whitewater rafting, canyoning, a hot air balloon flight, or paragliding.
Local food and wine
Tuscany is one of the regions best known for producing high-quality wine, thanks to the soil and mild climate of its territory, but also thanks to a long tradition of winemaking. Without a shadow of a doubt, the region’s most renowned ones are Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and Vernaccia di San Gimignano. As for its cuisine, The typical Tuscan dishes you absolutely must try are:
- extra virgin olive oil
- Tuscan ham
- Cinta Senese cured meats
- cheeses such as Tuscan pecorino and pecorino from Pienza
- Florentine steak
- pappa al pomodoro
- saffron of San Gimignano
- cantucci and vin santo
Are you a true lover of local gastronomy? Then you could take part in evocative cooking classes and taste typical Tuscan specialties cooked by local people, or, in case you want to spend a vacation full of fun and wellness, you could instead participate in a pottery class or other activities such as massages or spa treatments.
I leave below some events and festivals you should not miss during your Tuscan vacation:
- Picio Festival – July 28, 29 and 30 in Follonica
- Viareggio Carnival – from February 4 to 25, 2023
- Wine festival – from August 31 to September 10 in Montecarlo
- Palio di Siena – from July 2 to August 16 in the beautiful Piazza del Campo
How to get to Tuscany
Having finished our tour to visit Tuscany in three days, here is some information on how to get there. You can easily get to this region by car via three major highways: the Autostrada del Sole (A1), the Firenze-mare (A11) and the A12. In case you do not use cars, the main means of reaching it is by train. From Florence there are frequent train connections on regional lines to Prato, Pistoia, Lucca and Pisa.
A good alternative to the train for getting around Tuscany is the bus: from Florence, Siena, Arezzo, Grosseto and the main cities you can reach many smaller towns. If, on the other hand, you are arriving from far away, the region is served by Pisa Galileo Galilei Airport, one of the main airports in Central/Northern Italy.
Now that you know what to visit in Tuscany in 3 days, all we can do is wish you a nice trip! Remember that, with Italia Delight, you can book tailor-made food and wine experiences and trips throughout Italy, designed and created by local Experts! 😍
Cover photo: patrick-schneider-unsplash
Featured photo: reuben-teo-unsplash