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In many ways, Tuscany is a microcosm of Italy as a whole – with a huge variety when it comes to things to do! Stretching along the northwest coast, Tuscany is one of the most visited regions in the country and it’s easy to see why.
Whether you want to discover renaissance art, sample some of the best wines in Europe or dig into the unique culinary traditions of the region, this is a truly eclectic part of the country – and that’s before we even talk about the natural beauty.
Many of the towns and villages in Tuscany are quite small – with only one major city in the centre and a few smaller ones dotted along the coast. These tend to be quite well spread out, with public transport access varying depending on where about in the region you are.
That’s why we have written this guide! We’ve consulted locals and travel experts to bring you the rundown on where the six best places to stay in Tuscany are. We have art, culture and even nightlife covered depending on what your personal tastes are.
So without further ado, andiamo!
Table of Contents
At A Glance: Where To Stay In TUSCANY
Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Tuscany.
|WHERE TO STAY IN TUSCANY|
|Historic Apartment||Book on Air BnB →|
|N.15 Santori Luxury Home||Book on Booking.com →|
|Hotel Lungarno||Book on Booking.com →|
This stunning AirBnB Plus apartment is housed within a building from the 16th Century – allowing guests the opportunity to experience a small piece of Tuscan history. The large arch is a traditional feature of homes in the region, and the furnishings have been kept minimalist to allow the authenticity of the house to shine through.
Lucca is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Tuscany, and this stunning hotel is a great way to stay there on a budget! The interiors reflect the historic nature of the building whilst still benefiting from modern design and technology. This is the best budget pick if you want an authentic experience.
This gorgeous hotel is located right on the riverside in Florence – with unbeatable views of the world-famous Ponte Vecchio bridge! Florence is the largest city within the region, making it a great base for easily getting around Tuscany. This elegant accommodation is the perfect place to unwind in the evenings.
Tuscany’s rolling green hills, vineyards and art galleries have been attracting tourists for decades! As one of Italy’s most popular tourist destinations, there are plenty of attractions in almost every town within the area. The coast is lined with gorgeous beaches, whilst some of the world’s most famous landmarks and art galleries lie within the interior.
Whilst Siena might not be the obvious choice for first time travellers, we believe it is a great place to enjoy an authentic representation of Tuscany whilst still benefiting from plenty of tourist attractions! In many ways, Siena is like the smaller and cheaper equivalent to Florence and is well connected with the larger towns.
Speaking of Florence, this is the ultimate destination in Tuscany and deserves a guide in its own right – but as far as we’re considering Tuscany as a whole, this is definitely the best option for younger travellers! As a major city in Italy, Florence has a great nightlife scene – as well as the best connections if you are travelling further. It is also, of course, home to some of the best known art galleries not just in Italy, but the entire world.
Speaking of art, if you want to avoid the hustle and bustle of Florence then Arezzo is a great alternative for travellers wanting to discover traditional renaissance artwork! Aside from the big fresco in the Duomo, Arezzo has plenty of small galleries that are well worth visiting and don’t come with the same tourist numbers as those in Florence.
Another excellent destination for avoiding tourists is San Gimignano! This small town is skipped off many itineraries but is absolutely well worth considering if you want to dive deep into Tuscan history. With city walls that date back to the 13th Century – and many buildings in the centre dating back even further – San Gimignano is like a small-time capsule into the region’s past.
If you don’t mind tourist numbers, Pisa is another great choice in the region! Home of the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, this small city also has a surprisingly laid-back atmosphere and some excellent restaurants.
For families, Pisa strikes a great balance between relaxation and having things to do – and comes with plenty of opportunities for day trips to Florence.
Lucca is often lumped in with Pisa in larger tours of Tuscany, but we reckon it should be considered a destination in its own right! Not only is this one of the coolest places to stay in Tuscany, it is also one of the most romantic destinations. Packed with historic architecture and surrounded by rolling hills, be sure to bring a camera with you.
Finally, we also recommend considering whether you want to hire a car or not! Whilst visiting Tuscany without a car is easy, it is better to stick to the larger destinations such as Florence, Pisa, Lucca and Siena. Arezzo and San Gimignano do have some public transport connections, but these are less frequent – so consider hiring a car in these areas.
Still undecided? Don’t worry, our extended guides below go through all of the best things to do and places to stay in every neighborhood.
Let’s take a look, in more detail, at the six best places in Tuscany. Each caters to different interests, so be sure to pick the neighbourhood that’s right for you.
Siena might not be the most visited town in Tuscany by tourists – but in many ways, this is part of its charm! Here you get to enjoy many of the great attractions you would elsewhere in the region, but with smaller crowds and cheaper prices. For first time travellers, this is a good way to get a more authentic feel for the region.
Siena is also right in the heart of Tuscany, making it a great base for travelling further afield! With gothic architecture and interesting cultural highlights, Siena should be a must see on any itinerary to Tuscany.
This stunning villa is part of the AirBnB Luxe collection – which is an assortment of their most exclusive and elegant properties! This is an authentic Tuscan house that has been recently restored, giving you the ultimate experience in the Italian countryside. With five bedrooms, it is perfect for groups of up to ten people.
This simple three star hotel is housed within a charming, typical Italian building and offers some of the best rates in Siena! Rooms are spacious and come with modern conveniences, though are decorated to reflect the traditional exteriors. A complimentary breakfast is provided including vegetarian and gluten free choices.
This luxurious five star hotel – part of Starhotels Collezione – simply oozes grandeur from every room! Rooms come decorated with historic artwork, marble details and terracotta floors. Many of the ceilings feature frescoes – giving you a little piece of Italian history and culture from the comfort of your hotel.
Basically every town in Tuscany is a great destination for art lovers – and there’s no denying Florence’s place as the home of the most famous galleries – but Arezzo is an excellent alternative if you want something with a more local feel! It is also a great base if you are hiring a car, as it is close to most other towns and cities.
The art galleries here are smaller, as are the frescoes, but the town oozes creativity through its architecture, boutiques and even the restaurants! If you want to unleash your creativity, Arezzo is well worth a visit.
AirBnB Plus apartments are hand selected for their gorgeous design features and excellent levels of service! This apartment is not just our favourite in Tuscany, but one of the best in Italy as a whole. The gorgeous traditional features aside, it comes with an incredibly well-equipped kitchen and two spacious bathrooms.
This three star hotel is somewhat basic but comes with everything you need if you want a laid-back stay in Arezzo! There is a small pool and jacuzzi outside that you can enjoy in the summer months, and there is also an excellent restaurant on-site offering typical Italian cuisine and drinks.
This gorgeous four star hotel offers a great balance between luxury and price – and has a roof terrace where you can admire views of central Arezzo and the Tuscan countryside! It is only a five minute walk from the Basilica di San Francesco, and also quite close to the railway station.
Chances are, when you think of Italy you probably very quickly think of the Leaning Tower of Pisa! Pisa is not only home to one of the best known monuments in the world, but it also has an easy-going charm in the city centre that makes it a great spot for families.
If you are arriving from Europe, Pisa is also where many of the budget flights arrive – making it a great choice for your first few nights in the area! Though officially a city, it is compact and easy to get around on foot, which is particularly great for those with young children.
This quaint little house is a traditional Tuscan abode that oozes charm inside and out! It is only five minutes walk from Pisa Airport – and 15 minute from the centre (or a short train ride if you don’t feel like walking). Free private parking is available, making it a great choice for families opting to hire a car.
This hotel is not only a five minute walk from the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa – you can actually see it from their terrace! Rooms are somewhat basic, but come with a rustic Italian vibe – resulting in this being one of the best reviewed hotels in Pisa. The complimentary breakfast consists of a buffet of typical Italian fare.
This popular five star resort right in the heart of Pisa has a huge pool with massage jets – perfect after a long day of exploring Tuscany! The on-site restaurant specialises in typical Tuscan cuisine, with one of the biggest one selections of any hotel in the area. Some rooms also come with views of the tower.
Florence deserves a guide of its own! Once the most important city in Europe, it is still a major hub for art lovers thanks to the collection of world-class art galleries. As the only major city in the region, it is a great place to soak up some of the cultural highlights and mingle with the locals.
Florence really is more than its nightlife – but with such a youthful atmosphere, it really is the only option in Tuscany for those looking to enjoy a night out! Whether you want locally owned bars or bouncing nightclubs, there’s a little something for everyone in Florence.
As the name would suggest, this is easily our top pick for young couples looking for places to stay in Tuscany! Alongside the youthful atmosphere of Florence, this apartment is beautifully decorated – utilising features such as exposed brick walls to hark back to the building’s traditional past whilst also incorporating modern design.
Located in the heart of the Uffizi district, this hotel is close to all of the major art galleries in Florence – as well as some of the biggest nightlife spots! This hotel has a rustic charm, which reflects its location within a typical Tuscan house. The front desk offers tour discounts.
This stunning five star hotel is only a few minutes walk from Ponte Vecchio – and guests can enjoy unrestricted views of the landmark from the outdoor terrace! There is a Michelin starred restaurant on-site, offering a wide range of Italian cuisine – as well as a complimentary breakfast for guests.
Often lumped together with Pisa, Lucca is a great place to stay in its own right – and we would argue one of the best if you want an easy going trip to the Tuscan countryside! Surrounded by impressive mountains, Lucca is a popular spot with photographers and a must visit for grabbing the perfect ‘gram.
Aside from its beauty, Lucca also has some interesting art and history attractions! This town dates back to the Roman era and still has many of the monuments from the time within its limits.
This AirBnB Plus apartment simply oozes style and class, following traditional Tuscan design principles! Rooms are decorated with parquet flooring and old artwork, as well as a bright and breezy colour scheme to create a relaxing atmosphere. It is located right on Piazza Napoleone, with immediate access to the main sights.
This three star hotel is surprisingly affordable given how notoriously expensive Lucca is – but don’t worry, they’ve still earned the title of luxury! The gorgeous rooms are spacious and benefit from antique furnishings and ornate décor. A complimentary breakfast is included as part of the rate. Piazza Napoleone is a two minute walk away.
This is one of the most unique hotels in Tuscany as it is housed entirely within Lucca’s city walls! This means you are literally waking up in the middle of a major historic site every morning throughout your stay. They offer some great additional extras – including free bike hire and audio guided tours.
Whilst it would be lying to say that barely any tourists visit San Gimignano, the town is surprisingly much quieter than other parts of Tuscany! This gives you a more authentic and local experience whilst staying in the region.
It is also one of the oldest towns! Many of the buildings date back to the 11th Century, and the city itself was officially founded in the 13th Century. History aside, San Gimignano is also surrounded by vineyards.
Villa Iris is another stunning AirBnB Luxe property for larger groups that are willing to splurge on an unforgettable stay in the Tuscan countryside! It is a little outside San Gimignano, but easily within walking distance of the town centre so you don’t feel too isolated. You can also spot some local vineyards.
Easily the oldest hotel in this guide, the building that the Leon Bianco now occupies dates back to the 11th Century! Rooms have maintained their traditional design features whilst still benefiting from modern conveniences. They provide a breakfast buffet which can be eaten out on the terrace in the summer months.
If you want to experience a taste of luxury without completely splashing the cash, we recommend staying at the four star Relais Cappuccina! Its location in San Gimignano means you get more bang for your buck, and it could easily compete with any five star. The pool terrace is definitely the highlight.
With gorgeous scenery, decadent cuisine and beautiful renaissance art, Tuscany well and truly has it all! It’s no wonder that this eclectic region is one of the most visited in Italy. Whether you want a calm getaway in the Italian countryside or a culture-packed trip through the region’s towns and cities, there’s something for everyone in Tuscany.
In terms of the best place to stay, we are pretty stuck – but we love Lucca! Whilst still fairly touristy, it doesn’t draw the crowds of Pisa and Florence so gives you some space to take in the magical atmosphere of the Tuscan hills.
That being said, all of the areas mentioned in this guide have their perks! Wherever is best for you depends a lot on what you want to get out of your trip – but if you can we recommend checking out a few of them during your time in the region.
Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments!
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Born in Los Angeles, Aaron Hovanesian is one of the original staff writers for Hotel Jules. Having backpacked the world as a young man, Aaron now prefers to travel the world in luxury, proudly staying in the world's most amazing hotels and properties.When Aaron is not traveling he lives in Western Colorado he can be found brewing his own beer (probably an IPA) or spending time with his two amazing golden retrievers.