This central region of Italy scores high among the priorities of many travelers. History, art, culinary traditions, beautiful panoramas everything seems to meld together here. I have heard of many who dream to come here and spend some days in one of those remote villas, with the view of lazy mountains and the smell of traditional ingredients. The truth is that just as in other regions of Italy there is a lot to see and experience and normally time is short, so it is a good idea to choose some points along the route to enjoy.
I consider the best way to see Tuscany is driving, gas is kind of expensive in Italy, but driving gives a great deal of freedom. Otherwise one can take a guided tour (which can be more expensive) or try to jump by oneself into trains and buses which is kind of bothersome.
Days One and Two: Florence
It is possible to fly here directly from several international airports. This is a city packed with amazing museums, wonderful cathedrals and small churches. There are many hotels to choose from, but if one wants to start the trip in a fantastic way and experience a little of the luxury of the ancient times maybe the St. Regis is the place to spend two great nights.
Day Three: Arezzo
This is a beautiful university town, with lovely squares and medieval looking streets. Many people have seen the city already, but they do not know from where. Well it became even more famous some years ago because the movie “Life is beautiful” was filmed here. One needs more than a few hours to enjoy the city and it is certainly worth it to spend a night. There are many great hotels, for those who want an uncomplicated, affordable, good hotel the AC in the outskirts is a great option particularly because it offers free parking.
Day Four: Cortona
Cortona is part of the cliché of many visitors, but certainly this is a beautiful town. It became really known in USA after the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun” was filmed here. It is located on a mountain summit with commanding views of the surrounding hills. This is exactly what one imagines Tuscany is, one is not at all sure if this is reality or if one is standing in a painting. Around Cortona there are many bed and breakfasts, exquisite places to spend a quiet night and to enjoy the amazing local cuisine.
Day Five: Siena
Another impressive town. It needs more than one day to be explored and to see everything from the many churches (one has not to miss the Duomo), to the Piazza del Campo or one of the many monasteries or just to simply walk around and enjoy the delightful beauty of this place. For those who like simple hotels in a unique historical setting, Il Chiostro del Carmine may be an excellent call.
Day Six: San Gimignano
The town of the towers, has been famous since medieval times, and is still impressive today. There are still 14 surviving towers and one can be even more motivated to visit San Gimignano knowing that the historical center has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. La Collegiata (the main church is another of the attractions not to miss.
Day Seven: Lucca
One can have a quick stop in Pisa, because honestly there is nothing else to see other than the leaning tower, but Lucca is a more worthwhile town to spend the last day in. Lucca has amazing city walls and many impressive archeological sites with roman ruins. Of course than the churches and squares are definitively breathtaking. Among many other good hotels Villa La Principessa is one which you won’t soon forget.