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Where to Stay in Tuscany: the Best Cities and Towns

Tuscany is the quiet soul of Italy, whose territory unites all travel fantasies.

Tuscany is one of the fetish destinations for romantics, bucolics and lovers of beautiful postcards.The landscape of this Italian region could not be more photogenic, evocative and beautiful.

Bathed by the Tyrrhenian and Ligurian seas, which have incredible beaches, its landscapes alternate between rolling hills, old vineyards and towns full of art like Florence, its capital, Pisa and Siena.

Its gastronomy is an art de vivre, a powerful reason to visit this Italian corner, simple and unadorned, where Mediterranean products reign, like olive oil, olives or cheese, many of which are grown on their land.

They are used to prepare delicious and typical dishes in their recipe book such as the pappardelle, the ribollita, the minestra al cavolo nero or the pappa al pomodoro.But it is also a land of wine and good wines, some of the most popular and successful being Chianti or Maremma.

The best areas to stay in Tuscany

Tuscany is one of the most visited regions in Italy, integrating cities that perfectly recreate the dolce vita, traditional villages and landscapes of the most bucolic, which would make the capitals of half of Europe pale.

Thus, in the largest and most visited cities, such as Florence, Pisa or Verona, there are many urban hotels, of which it is possible to find hotels of different categories, even though they are more expensive in Tuscany.

On the other hand, in the smaller enclaves, such as Lucca, Arezzo or Chianti, there are more accommodations, houses and rural hotels, whose prices tend to be a little cheaper, and a good offer of Bed & Breakfasts, located in the middle of nature.

In these rural areas, it is very common to find Relais Chateaux, which are like Spanish paradors, although they are a little more expensive, the experience is worthwhile.

1.Florence

The capital of Tuscany is located in the centre of the country, embraced by several hills and crossed by the rivers Arno, Greve, Terzolle and Mugnone.

It is also one of the most monumental and artistic cities, because its streets, besides distilling history, are dotted with magnanimous buildings, many of which remain practically unchanged since the Renaissance, when the Medicis promoted all the art they treasure today.

So if you are an art lover, this city is one of the best options to find accommodation in Tuscany.

It is one of the cities with the highest density of accommodation for tourists in Europe, and its prices are less exorbitant than, for example, Rome.

Thus, one of the most expensive is the historical center, which is also one of the most comfortable, as it concentrates the most valuable treasures of the city, which is why it has been declared a World Heritage Site.

Here you can find the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, crowned with the dome made by Brunelleschi, the bell tower of Gioto, the baptistery of San Giovanni and the doors of Paradise, the palace of Medici Riccardi, the basilica of San Lorenzo, the Medici chapels, the Laurentian library, designed by the genius Michelangelo, the Pandolfini palaces of Raphael and Vecchio and countless churches such as Santa Felicita, Santa Maria del Carmine.

However, one of the greatest attractions is the Galleria degli Uffizi, which houses one of the most extensive collections of ancient art in the world, with works by Michelangelo, Titian, Boticelli, Leonardo da Vinci and Giotto.

But if you feel like more art, you can visit the Galleria dell’Accademia, which houses one of the jewels of Michelangelo, the David. Nearby is also the Museum of History and Science, which has a large collection dedicated to Galileo Galilei.

The heart of the city also has some of the most charming and lively squares, which also have a good range of restaurants and artistic facilities, such as the Duomo and della Signoria, as well as many Renaissance palaces, which give a good idea of the opulence of the city during the Renaissance.

But if you are looking to sleep in Florence for little money, you might want to take a look at the possibilities in the neighbourhood of Novoli.

It is located in the north-western part, about 40 minutes walk from the centre, with which it is well connected by tram, and has its own attractions such as the church of Santa Maria di Novoli, the ruins of the villa San Donato or the Palace of Justice.

Another economical option is Fortezza da Basso, which is, northeast of Santa Maria Novella station, about 15 minutes walk from the center.

ACCOMMODATION IN FLORENCE

2.Siena

Embraced by typical Tuscan hills, this coquettish town presides over the heart of the region and is a good choice to stay in Tuscany.It stands out for its preserved medieval layout and atmosphere, which have remained almost unchanged since the 12th and 14th centuries.

It is quite small, so any neighbourhood you choose to sleep in will be close to the main tourist attractions, but for those who want to be close to everything, the historical centre is the best neighbourhood.

It has been declared a World Heritage Site, as it preserves extremely valuable buildings such as the Gothic cathedral of the Duomo, whose interior shows works by Michelangelo, Bernini or Donatello, or the church of San Domeneco and Santa Maria dei Servi.

The Piazza del Campo presides over the old part of Siena, which is well known for hosting the Palio, one of the most popular horse races in the world.It also houses the town hall building, the Mangia tower, the Piazza chapel and a wide range of bars and restaurants where you can taste local cuisine or a typical Vin Santo.

ACCOMMODATION IN SIENA

3.Chianti

This valley, located right between Florence and Siena, has the honour of being one of the wildest in the region as it is dominated by countryside, vineyards and hills dressed in lush forests of chestnut, oak and holm oak.Moreover, it produces one of the best known wines outside the country: the Chianti, which has been produced since the 13th century.

Some of the most typical products of its gastronomy, such as olive oil, pre-Corino cheese, ham and honey, also come from its fields and lands.With them they prepare the most typical dishes of their recipe book such as chicken liver crostini, bruschetta with tomato, Sienese capacollo or finocchiata.

It is therefore a highly recommended region when staying in Tuscany for travellers who are looking for wine and food tourism and the more rural soul of Tuscany.It is also a good option for those who intend to visit other Italian cities such as Florence, Siena or Arezzo.

The valley is made up of ten villas, in which there is a peaceful and quiet environment, ancient traditions, patrician buildings, castles, abbeys and churches.

However, the most interesting are Impruneta for the basilica of Santa Maria and the 12th century bell tower; Greve in Chianti, as it guards the church of Santa Croce; and Radda, which treasures the churches of Santa Maria Novella, San Nicolo or Palazzo Pretorio.

The offer of accommodation is not very generous, but includes different options, since most of them are farmhouses, medieval villas converted into hotels, castles and even palaces.

ACCOMMODATION IN CHIANTI

4.Valle d’Orcia

This valley is bounded to the south by Siena, from which it is half an hour away, and to the north by very popular towns such as Pienza and Montepulciano.

It has become a reference destination for lovers of active tourism as it is dominated by a landscape embraced by rolling hills, at the foot of which lie centuries-old vineyards, fields of olive trees, cypresses, chestnuts and beeches, which have earned it the recognition of a World Heritage Site.

However, to understand the characteristics of this enclave, it is best to quote the definition given by Unesco: «the valley is an exceptional example of how the natural landscape was redesigned during the Renaissance and reflects the ideals of good governance (14th and 15th centuries) of the Italian city-state».

Among its landscapes there are five beautiful medieval towns (Castiglione d\’Orcia, Montalcino, Pienza, Radicofani and San Quirico d’Orcia) that make up the valley, and they stand out for their peaceful atmosphere and for their ancient buildings that have preserved their splendour.

The many springs of thermal waters in the area and the gastronomy, in which the Pecorino cheese from Pienza, the sausages from Cinta Senese, the extra virgin olive oil from Castiglione and the Brunello from Montalcino, one of the best known wines on the wine list, are also very attractive.

The range of accommodation on offer is interesting, with a predominance of farmhouses, villas and charming country hotels, making them the perfect choice for those travellers who want to immerse themselves in the most traditional and natural spirit of the region.\n\n

In addition, the price/quality ratio is more affordable than in the most popular cities such as Florence.

ACCOMMODATION IN VALLE DI ORCIA

5.Lucca

The capital of the province of the same name is situated on the banks of the river Serchio, near the Tyrrhenian Sea, among vineyards and olive groves.Besides being the birthplace of the musician Puccini, it preserves the ancient Renaissance walls, inside which there is an old town centre full of architectural jewels.

So much so that it has more than a hundred churches, buildings and palaces preserved in perfect condition, which have made it worthy of the name «city of 100 towers and 100 churches».

The most outstanding are the churches of Santa Maria Corteorlandini and San Michele in Foro, the palaces of Mazzarossa and Ducale, the Duomo or the cathedral of San Martin, the basilica of San Frediano or the tower of the Hours.

The streets of Lucca, paved and flat, have preserved the old Roman layout.Many converge on the piazza dell\’Anfiteatro, which stands out for its particular oval shape, for treasuring an ancient Roman amphitheatre from the 1st century and for having a very wide range of restaurants, where you cannot miss the opportunity to enjoy one of its most typical sweets, the busellato.

Its surroundings also hold natural wonders, ideal for lovers of active tourism such as the lake of Massaciuccoli, the thermal springs of Bagni di Lucci or the coastal dunes of the natural park Migliarino San Rossore Massaciuccoli.

Lucca is an economic and strategic choice to stay in Tuscany, especially if you are on a tour in the region or have in mind to visit interesting cities like Pisa or Florence.

Most hotels are located in the centre, within the walls, and their prices are quite compatible with modest budgets, although if you want to save some euros, you can look in the neighbourhoods outside the walls, where the cost is lower.Besides, you won’t be far from the centre as Lucca is a relatively small city.

LUCCA ACCOMMODATION

6.Arezzo

It is located in the eastern part of Tuscany, right in the middle of four valleys (Casentino, Valdarno, Valtiberina and Val di Chiana) and embraced by the Apennines.

It is also the birthplace of famous people such as George Vasari and Petrarch and the setting for the mythical film Life is Beautiful by Roberto Benigni.

It is close to some very touristy cities such as Florence, making it an excellent option for staying in Tuscany if you plan to visit it.

It also has several monumental attractions: the church of San Francesco, the Loggiato di Vasari, the church of Pieve di Santa Maria, the Palazzo della Fraternita dei Laici and the cathedral of San Donato in Arezzo.Piazza Grande is another highlight of this enclave, which hosts the Antiques Market, one of the most popular in Tuscany.

It has a rather generous offer of accommodation, concentrated around the historical centre.As it happens in all destinations, prices are a bit more expensive in this part, but still very accessible.

However, those who are looking for cheaper areas to stay in Tuscany can have a look around the train station.it is also an option if you plan to travel by train to Florence or you arrive by this means of transport.

ACCOMMODATION IN AREZZO

In addition to this article on the best areas to stay in Tuscany you may also be interested in some of these: the best areas in Rome, the best areas in Venice, the best areas in Milan, the best areas in Naples

7.Pitigliano

It belongs to the province of Grosetto, and it is known as «little Jerusalem» because it hosts a small Jewish community since a long time, which has its own neighborhood and synagogue, which we recommend you to miss.

Its location on top of a rocky promontory of limestone and silt, whose colouring is camouflaged by the hanging houses, outlines its aesthetics and gives it a most evocative beauty.

In its narrow streets with a medieval atmosphere, there is a valuable collection of buildings, although many of them are concentrated in the historical centre, which can be reached through the beautiful Piazza Petruccioli.

The most important are Palazzo Orsini, which houses the Archaeological Museum, the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul, which dates back to the 16th century, the medical aqueduct or the Church of St. Mary of the Assumption.

In the surroundings there are also some attractions, especially recommended for history and archaeology lovers, such as the necropolis of Gradone, which preserves tombs from the 7th century B.C.San Giovani, with tombs dug out of the tufa – a type of volcanic rock – or Morranaccio, dating back to the Bronze Age, not forgetting the thermal baths of mineral-medicinal waters of Saturnia.

But this Tuscan town is also the birthplace of the Pitigliano White Wine, a white wine made from Trebbiano and Chardonnay grapes, which also has a Denomination of Origin.So most of the accommodations are around Palazzo d’Orsini and Piazza Garibaldi and therefore close to the main points of interest.

It is an option to consider when looking for accommodation in Tuscany for those looking for charming places, to know the history of the region or to enjoy the tranquility. Moreover, the value for money of the hotels fits quite well to all pockets.

ACCOMMODATION IN PITIGLIANO

8.Pienza

It is located in the heart of the province of Siena, in the Val d’Orcia.It is the birthplace of Pope Pius II, who wanted to make it a splendid model of an ideal Renaissance city, on a par with others like Florence, and he succeeded, as the old town has been declared a World Heritage Site.

Organized around Piazza Pio II, it is home to sumptuous jewels such as the cathedral, Palazzo Piccolomini, the Duomo of Pienza, the co-cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the Palazzo dei Borgia.

This destination should be included in the list of places to stay in Tuscany if you are travelling with your family, looking for quiet or charming places.

FINDS ACCOMMODATION IN PIENZA

9.Montepulciano

It is less than 20 km from Pienza, between the valleys of Chiana and d\’Orcia, on top of a hill and surrounded by rolling hills, olive trees and vineyards, from which the grapes used to make the popular red wine Nobile Montepulciano are obtained.

Of Etruscan origin, it is a «cinema» town, since its streets, decorated with a sort of Renaissance residences, churches and palaces, have served as the setting for the «New Moon» part of the Twilight saga.

So, if you are a vampire and film lover, you already have the perfect excuse to include it in the first place of places where sleep in Tuscany.

But this southern enclave has other tourist attractions.They cluster around the Piazza Grande, well known for hosting important celebrations such as Bravio delle botti, in which the residents of the neighbourhoods compete by rolling a huge barrel uphill to reach the square.

Here you can also see the Gothic palace of Comunale, the cathedral and the palace Tarugi. The churches of San Blas and San Agustin and the palace Cervin also have their charm, although they are further away from the centre.

It is an interesting option to stay in Tuscany for those who want to enjoy nature, the rural Tuscan atmosphere or the aristocratic wine of the town, and there are a variety of hotels, including some five star hotels.

Being more touristy than its neighbours, largely thanks to the cinema, prices are a little more expensive, but still more accessible than in the key Tuscan cities such as Florence or Pisa.

MONTEPULCIAN ACCOMMODATION

10.Pisa

For most travellers, no introduction is required.It is the most popular leaning tower in the world, the object of fascination of thousands of travellers every year and of the most beautiful photos in Instragram.

Apart from the tower, which is a real reference point for the architecture of the region, this Tuscan city has been one of the most important in the Mediterranean, having a monopoly on the most important maritime routes.

Furthermore, it is dotted with a huge collection of palaces, gothic churches and romanic buildings that make up one of the most beautiful urban frameworks in Italy.

The jewel in the crown is the Campo dei Miracoli, which houses the cathedral, the Cemetery and the Battistery, as well as other treasures such as the churches of Santa Maria della Spina and San Nicola.

When looking for accommodation, the ideal thing to do is to go to the surroundings of its famous tower, as it is close to some monumental attractions, although it is true that the prices are the highest in the city.

But if we want to be in the centre of most of the tourist attractions, it is better to take a look at the historical centre, located between the train station and the cathedral.Moreover, the accommodations are slightly lower than those located near the tower.

However, if you want cheaper options, it is convenient to look near the Central Station, which connects to Genoa, Rome or Florence, among others.

ACCOMMODATION IN PISA

11.Livorno

It faces the Mediterranean, on the central coast of the region.It boasts some popular enclaves such as the island of Elba, which is the largest in Tuscany, the largest port in the region and numerous remains from the Etruscan period, which have earned it the adjective «coast of the Etruscans».

Its streets hold interesting architectural attractions such as the Fortezza Vecchia, the 15th century bastions that decorate the port, the Palazzo del Laderdel, the monumental neoclassical building of Cisternone, the Fortezza Nuova, the Cathedral of San Francesco and the Church of Santa Caterina.

However, one of the great attractions of this port city are the canals that articulate the area known as Venezia Nuova, which we recommend you to navigate.Don\’t forget to take a walk along the original promenade, covered with an original chess mosaic, and visit the Museum of the Mediterranean.

Livorno is a great alternative to sleep in Tuscany for those who want to enjoy the beauty of the Mediterranean without much company, because it is not too touristy.

Fortunately, there is a good number of accommodations, many of which are located in the port area, offering views of the sea.

ACCOMMODATION IN LIVORNO

12.Viareggio

It is located in the province of Lucca, in the heart of the Ligurian coast and the region of Versilia.More than one traveller may be familiar with it because of its carnival, which attracts thousands of travellers every year.

Its celebration dates back to 1973 and the huge papier-mâché floats, built in the carnival hangar, take centre stage, along with the music and the festive atmosphere.

The beaches are the other great attraction of this town, which make it the destination par excellence for lovers of sun and relaxation.

However, it also has some monumental attractions, ideal to visit between baths, such as the Matilde tower, and cultural as the Lorenzo Viani art gallery or the Archaeological museum.

It is one of the busiest areas in the region, especially during carnival and summer time.Therefore, you will find a good number of hotels, whose prices are more expensive than in other locations, especially on the dates mentioned.

If you are looking for an environment, a beach and entertainment, it is advisable to include it in the list of destinations for accommodation in Tuscany.San Gimignano

So if you are looking for monumental sites full of history, our advice is to give priority to this village when looking for a place to sleep in Tuscany.

But what has placed this village in the tourist spotlight are the 15 medieval towers that it preserves (there were 72), which outline its silhouette and make it the architectural reference of the region.

Among them, there are a good number of churches, the most important being San Agustín, which houses interesting Renaissance works, the collegiate church of Santa Maria Assunta and the cathedral.

Despite its small size (it can be visited in a few hours), it has a good number of hotels. Most of them are around San Mateo street, which is one of the main arteries of the town, and the Chigi tower.

It is very touristic, especially during the months when the good weather dominates, which increases the prices of the accommodations.However, if you look out of season, you will have no problem booking a hotel in the centre without spending a lot.

ACCOMMODATION IN SAN GIMIGNANO

14.Crete Senesi

This region of southern Siena is made up of ‘six towns’: Rapolano Terme, Buonconvento, Asciano, Monteroni d’Arbia, Murlo and Chiusdino.All of them offer the most typical Tuscan landscape: soft, undulating and green hills, among which there are old farmhouses, farms and rural houses full of charm.

However, each one has its own attractions.For example, Buonconvento preserves part of the ancient walls and the beautiful palace of Podestá; Raponalo Terme stands out for its thermal waters and sweet foccacia; and Asciano guards the abbey of Monteoliveto Maggiore, one of the most important monasteries in Siena as it treasures rich Renaissance frescoes.

In any of the towns you will find accommodation, many of them rural, which will give you the opportunity to enjoy the most rural and traditional Tuscany without spending too much money.

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