A Week in Tuscany
A few years ago we decided it was time to stop dreaming and get planning a week in the countryside in Tuscany. We wanted to be fairly close to Florence, and within easy driving distance of some of the main hilltop towns like Lucca and San Gimignano. We looked at booking a motorhome rental in Italy, however we ended up deciding that we would go with self-catering accommodation. I was pleasantly surprised to see how affordable it was for our group (2 couples) to hire a rental car and a really upmarket 2 bedroom/2 bathroom apartment in the Montespertoli area, which was about 45min driving time from Florence. Le Torre was just perfect and our hosts were so helpful.
I had a list as long as my arm of all the things I wanted to do and see; foremost on the list of my things to do in Tuscany was visiting Florence to see all the Art! We pre-booked our visit to the Uffizi on line, (highly advisable to avoid really long queues!) and spent a wonderful day immersing ourselves in culture. In between, we browsed the market shopping for leather goods and souvenirs to take home for friends. Of course, you cannot see everything Florence has to offer in one day, so a return trip was inevitable. Parking in Florence is a nightmare and very expensive! If you are near a railway station it would be a good idea to leave your hire car at home and take a train, but there was no reliable public transport near our lovely apartment, so we had little choice.
Other things to do in Tuscany and places to see
Many museums and shops in Tuscany are closed on a Sunday and Monday, so we set off to visit Montecatini, an old and gracious Spa town where people have been going for centuries to enjoy the benefits of the thermal baths; don’t go on a Sunday out of season – it was disappointingly closed for business! We then drove on to Pisa to visit the famous leaning Tower and the very impressive cathedral; a lovely day out, but we were caught in terrible traffic on the way home as all the weekenders returned home from the coast.
San Gimignano and Siena are both lovely medieval towns just dripping in history and charm! They definitely should be on your list of things to do in Tuscany! We visited both in a day and still had time for a lovely lunch; get to San Gimignano early if you can, before the tour buses arrive, and visit Siena in the afternoon. We would have loved to visit some of the wineries on the Chianti wine route, but there just was not enough time…will have to go back !
Our days soon settled into a delightful routine of driving around exploring every little village we came upon, (Lucca is a must-see) and then returning to our apartment to enjoy a glass of Chianti under the cherry trees before dinner. Time just flew by, and we only realized on our last day that we had not once just relaxed around the pool or had a holiday siesta! 7 days are just not enough to do justice to this fantastic place and we went home quite tired, but with wonderful memories of our Tuscan holiday.
Have you travelled there? Why don’t you share us your list of things to do in Tuscany!