I know it’s been said before, but man, hindsight really is such a wonderful thing…
For example, I know this information would have come in handy last year, when a couple friends and I took a road trip through Tuscany, with ‘no plans‘ and what we thought were ‘no worries’…
However, travelling without a plan can be super stressful.
While it worked perfectly on my recent camper van trip through New Zealand, in Tuscany it wasn’t so smooth – the pressure of only having a few days with the car and having a lot of ground to cover, was problematic.
While it was an incredible trip and having a car was really convenient, driving it and following directions was kind of stressful. Our first rookie mistake was not booking the car in advance – this meant we had to get a manual (I haven’t quite mastered that skill yet) and they were all out of GPS units, which turned out to be a real pain point…
We did however manage to make it from the Cinque Terre over to La Spezia, through to Florence and then further south to Siena and Montepulciano.
But the moral of the story is that, while the idea of an easy-breezy go with the wind holiday is nice, sometimes (especially when you’re in a foreign country), knowing where you’re going and what you’re doing is a huge advantage.
With this in mind, here are ten tips of where you should go and see on your road trip through Tuscany (courtesy of Sanpellegrino).
1. Taste truffles in San Miniato
When in Tuscany one can’t pass down the opportunity to sample rare, perfumed and pricey truffles. San Miniato, a agricultural town between Pisa and Florence, is renowned for the white variety.
2. Get lost in The Uffizi
Uffizi is the home of Italy’s finest collection of art and the world’s greatest collection of Italian Renaissance paintings in Florence. You’ll need at least half a day to see only quater of the collection.
3. Visit Villa Panna
The villa located on Monte Gazzaro was home to the Medici family who discovered the secret of the Acqua Panna spring in 1564. The Spring has been flowing for more than 450 years and produces water so pure it can be bottled at the source without any kind of additional treatments nor filtering. È bellissimo!
4. Be a tourist in Pisa
It might be the subject of millions of leaning tower tourist photos, but the Torre pendente di Pisa is still worth visiting.
5. Wine down in Chianti
With some of Italy’s finest vintages and a place where every aspect of life is in perfect balance, you’ll need to visit Chianti for one or two wine tastings. (Or, if you’re staying in Florence, you could join a wine tasting tour, and then you don’t have to worry about drink driving!)
6. Hit the spa
Tuscany has some of the best spa towns in all of Italy, but at Bagno Vignoni you can soak without paying a cent, leaving you with more money to spend on wine and truffles.
7. Embrace open-air art
Il Giardino dei Tarocchi (Tarot Garden) is one of Italy’s oddest collections of modern art. The whimsical sculpture garden of prodigious works by Niki de Saint Phalle is something that can not be missed.
8. See the sunflowers
San Giovanni d’Asso is a comune in the Province of Siena in the Italian region Tuscany. It’s also home to some of the most stunning sunflower fields in campagna!
9. Settle in Sienna
Established upon three hills in the heart of Tuscany, Siena offers a step back into the Middle Ages with its well-preserved historic center and medieval horse racing tradition, known as Il Palio.
10. Visit the Tuscan Riviera
The chic seaside resort of Forte dei Marmi has long been the summer destination for the rich and well-connected from Florence and northern Italy. You’ll truly be living la dolce vita here.