Italy is made up of 20 regions, each with distinctive characteristics. Here, you’ll get an overview of Tuscany to get you started on planning a Tuscany trip.

Tuscany. Just the name evokes dreams, doesn’t it? It’s inarguably one of Italy’s most popular destinations – and notable in this because it’s a region, not a city. (I’d venture to guess that most travelers can’t name many other Italian regions besides Tuscany.)

This is the region of the Renaissance, famous as the birthplace of illustrious names like Michelangelo, da Vinci, and Botticelli. Tuscany is the birthplace of the Italian language, thanks to native son Dante. It’s verdant hills, medieval towns, vineyards, cathedrals, and everywhere history. Visitors flock to Tuscany in droves – with plenty of good reasons for doing so.

Tuscan hills || creative commons photo by Francesco Carrani

Tuscan hills || creative commons photo by Francesco Carrani

Tuscany Basics

  • The Italian name for the region is Toscana, pronounced toss|KAH|nah, and the anglicized version is the one we all know – Tuscany.
  • The demonym for people or things from Tuscany is toscano (masculine singular), toscana (feminine singular), toscani (masculine plural), or toscane (feminine plural).
  • The capital of Tuscany is Florence.
  • Tuscany is in central Italy, with a long border on the Tyrrhenian Sea, and it also touches Liguria, Emilia-Romagna, Umbria, and Lazio.
  • Tuscany has seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites: The historic center of Florence, the historic center of Siena, the historic center of San Gimignano, the cathedral square of Pisa, the historic center of Pienza, the Val d’Orcia, and more than two dozen Medici villas and gardens.

Tuscany Travel Tips

creative commons graphic by Otourly, modified by me

creative commons graphic by Otourly, modified by me

Tuscany is a fairly large region – Italy’s fifth largest by area – and geographically diverse. There’s the long stretch of coastline along the Tyrrhenian Sea, a portion of which is the lush and under-appreciated land called the Maremma. Then there are those famous hills in the middle, reaching inland until the Apennine Mountains start to poke upwards toward the sky.

Getting around Tuscany is pretty simple. The popularity of the region with visitors and the large population centers mean that there are high-speed trains serving Florence and plenty of slower trains connecting cities and towns of all sizes throughout the region. The towns that aren’t served by trains are, almost inevitably, served by buses – and, for adventurous travelers, Tuscany’s country roads are favorites among drivers for their abundant scenic vistas in all directions.

Cities like Florence don’t have the same kind of high and low seasons as lesser-visited places in Italy – their high seasons are much longer, and even in the off-season you’ll find crowds of students on field trips in place of crowds of foreign tourists. These are busy places, essentially year-round, often with prices to match.

Tuscany is undoubtedly popular, but it’s by no means overrun – especially if you seek out the places that aren’t in the guidebooks. Yes, you can still get off that proverbial path in Tuscany. You just have to work a little harder to do it.

Guided Tours in Tuscany

These are affiliate links, which means I get a little something if you book one of these tours – but it won’t cost you anything extra.

Further Reading on Tuscany:

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