It’s possibly one of the toughest questions we get asked (and we get asked a lot!): “So, just what are the best places to visit in Italy?”
In a country that’s so full of heart, history, fun, food and adventure, it’s a pretty big ask to start playing favourites. But we’re happy to give it our best shot, because at Walkabout Florence we’re all about showing you the real Italy; the one you’ve always imagined, the one that exists beyond the tourist sites (although they’re important too!), the one the locals know and love. Our Italy. And yours. Because if you’re with us, you’re with friends and if you want to know the best places to visit in Italy, then we’re going to show you the best places to visit in Italy the way they should be seen. Satisfaction guaranteed!
Discover the Treasures of Tuscany with Friends
The entire country is an absolute powerhouse of art, history, cuisine and culture, so truly answering the question about the best places to visit in Italy would need to be a book rather than a blog post. But it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what the Italians have known for centuries: there’s just something so special about Tuscany.
Walkabout Florence’s group day trips and experience tours are the most relaxing way to explore this incredible region, and we guarantee your time with us will also be a whole lot of fun – because we don’t just take you to see the sights, we show you how to live the Italian life!
Our Best of Tuscany Tour
Even before you set foot on the sunburnt Tuscan soil, the names of some of the best places to visit in Italy may already have a familiar ring: Siena, San Gimignano and Pisa – even just saying them aloud makes you want to go there, doesn’t it? And, while every region is defined by its own local culture, Tuscany’s contribution to art, architecture, food, wine and general ‘la dolce vita’ has made it an enduring favourite. It is, without a doubt, home to quite a few of the best places to visit in Italy, and the very best way to explore them is on foot…
Our very hands-on group tours are always such a hit with independent travellers, because we understand that to really get to know a place you need more than a scripted, stuffy historical itinerary – you need to have fun! So our Best of Tuscany tour has been designed with just that aspect in mind. We’re always getting feedback about how refreshing our wonderful guides are, because not only do they ensure you get a very hearty serving of the history and culture of the places we visit, they do it in a very informal way. Just like a chat with a friend really – a very knowledgeable one!
Because most people only have a short time to explore, our well thought-out itinerary takes you to three of the best places to visit in Italy in one glorious fun- and food-filled day. Just look at your day out with Walkabout Florence as a good Italian meal: we’ll serve you up something very delicious, but we’ll leave you yearning for more…
Attractions in a nutshell:
• Il Campo (home of the Palio)
• Torre del Mangia
• The Cathedral
• Palazzo Pubblico
• Free time to relax
The first stop on our magical Best of Tuscany tour is Siena, where you’ll spend an amazing morning on a guided walking tour exploring the nooks and crannies. Even though it’s extremely popular as one of the best places to visit in Italy, when you’re with us you won’t have to waste time worrying about where to go and what to see. The beauty of our group tours is that you can just relax and soak up the ambience, while we introduce you to one of our favourite towns in a very special way.
Siena’s accessibility (there are very strict rules on traffic) makes it an absolute joy to explore on foot. In this medieval hilltop town everything has a heritage, including the unique fan pattern of the paving in Il Campo (the central piazza), which represents the protection of the Madonna’s cloak and the historical Council of Nine that ruled the city during the Renaissance.
Il Campo is not only the site of several of the main attractions, it’s also where the famous Palio horse race takes place. Twice every year for the past six centuries, the noble horses of the Palio have thundered around those ancient bricks of Il Campo to win the glory for their contrada (district of the city).
Tip: If you get the chance to attend the Palio, do it. It’s chaotic, crowded, noisy, dusty, thrilling and a true once in a lifetime experience that only the Italians could dream up!
If you’ve got the energy, the climb up the 500 stone steps of the 102-metre tall Torre del Mangia is well worth it for the glory and also the stunning views over the hills of Tuscany. Downstairs, the Palazzo is home to some amazingly well-preserved ceiling frescos and important Sienese artworks.
The distinctive Gothic architecture of the cathedral with its green and white marble exterior offers just a tiny taste of what awaits inside. The interior walls and floors of the cathedral are adorned with intricate mosaics and etched panels, and there are also priceless works by Donatello, Pisano and the famous rose window by Duccio di Buoninsegna.
Our morning in Siena reveals its history in the most relaxing way. Our guides will show you all the icons of culture, but also give you some free time to kick back with a coffee and pastry or do some shopping. Even in just a morning, we show you the town the locals see, and because of that you’ll leave loving it just as much as they do.
2. San Gimignano
Attractions in a nutshell:
• Palazzo Comunale
• Torre Grossa
• The Duomo
In any conversation discussing the best places to visit in Italy, the sound of the words “San Gimignano” will be heard loud and clear! We visit the town on our Best of Tuscany tour and it’s a wonderful place to spend an afternoon.
Because of its compact size, the best way of getting to know San Gimignano is simply by wandering around streets, so we give you plenty of time to do just that. Our guides know all the secret local business, so you can get some great tips on what to see as well as the lowdown on some of the history. It’s always great fun to meet back up to chat about what your fellow travellers have discovered over a glass of wine and some cheese.
This charming hilltop town is surrounded by rolling hills of vineyards and has one of the most distinctive skylines you’ll ever see, with its medieval towers and encircling thirteenth-century walls. While only 14 of the town’s original 70 towers are left, they remain as a striking symbol of the past.
The town’s impressive Duomo is an attraction not to be missed. The stunning interior frescos, some of which date back to the 1300s, are in their original condition due to the lack of light that gets inside the cathedral. Many of the colours are as vibrant today as they were centuries ago.
For such a small town, San Gimignano packs a mighty punch. The Civic Museums comprise the Palazzo Comunale, which has some beautiful frescos and is also the point from which you can climb the Torre Grossa. The Pinzcoteca contains the superb collection of panels painted by Italian artists Lippi, Pinturicchio and Gozzoli.
Tip: The town is almost as famous for its award-winning gelato as for its medieval history and if you’re judging the best places to visit in Italy on the quality of the gelato, there’s no doubt this one will get your vote!
Attractions in a nutshell:
• Leaning Tower
• Cathedral and Baptistery
• Camposanto Monumentale
• Historic city centre
There are another three words that go together just as well as wine, cheese and salami: leaning, tower and Pisa! Everyone’s heard of the famous Leaning Tower but, as the final stop on our Best of Tuscany tour, our guides will show you there’s more to love about the town than a quirky photo opportunity – even though that’s quite a lot of fun!
The Piazza dei Miracoli is the place everyone flocks the minute they arrive, because it’s here you’ll find the Leaning Tower, the Cathedral, the Baptistery and Camposanto Monumentale. Whether you ascend the wonky steps of the tower is up to you (we highly recommend it!), but if you do, you’ll be able to take in panoramic views over the countryside as you catch your breath.
As always, though, it’s when you step away from the tourist sites that magic can be found, which is where our tours pay off. You’ll be treated to a brief guided walking tour through Pisa’s historic centre, where you’ll see Piazzi dei Cavalieri, the Palazzo dell’Orologio (the Clock Palace) and a host of other interesting buildings. With all the focus on the high-profile sights it’s a side of Pisa not everyone gets to see, but our experienced guides know exactly where to take you to make the most of your valuable time.
Attractions in a nutshell:
• Feast on traditional Tuscan food
• Sample the best local wines
• Explore the Chianti countryside
• Enjoy la dolce vita for yourself!
In a region that’s renowned for its food and wine, you don’t have to look far to find the love in Chianti. And if you can combine all the delights of one of the best places to visit in Italy into one fabulous day trip to see it, do it and taste it all, that’s amore!
Walkabout Florence’s Chianti Wine and Food Safari takes you out onto the back roads and into the heart of Tuscany to deliver the authentic tastes of this stunning region on a plate – and in a glass! Whether you’re a bit of a wine and food connoisseur or you just like to eat, our fun and friendly group tour really is the only way to do it.
Nowhere in the world is more passionate about its food and wine than Tuscany, and we show you just how the region known as the Chianti brings this to joyful fruition in its wonderful family-run wine estates and organic farms. We’ve organised a very special full-day tour to take in the best of Chianti’s food and wine, and all you need to do is sit back, relax and stoke up your appetite. Oh, and enjoy the stunning countryside as it rolls on by.
Our tour gives you the perfect combination of free time to chill out and just soak up the ambience (or sneak in a little more food and wine while nobody else is looking), and the company of your very knowledgeable guide to help you understand the traditions that go into the world-famous wines of the region.
Along with tastings of local wines, cheeses, and cured meats you’ll enjoy a delicious traditional lunch and a guided tour of the cellars and olive presses of a prestigious winery. You’ll also visit a smaller traditional Tuscan vineyard that’s producing some award-winning wines. Understanding what’s behind the amazing produce and wines of Chianti while you’re sitting in the midst of the stunning countryside at the end of the day with a glass of the good stuff in your hand makes it all taste even sweeter. Is this one of the best places to visit in Italy? Try our Chianti Food and Wine tour and see!
Attractions in a nutshell:
• Duomo (and Baptistery)
• Giotto’s Bell Tower
• Uffizi Gallery
• Pitti Palace
• Ponte Vecchio
• Palazzo Vecchio
• Accademia Gallery
• Piazzale Michelangelo
• San Miniato
Through its important history and inspiring people, Florence (our home town) has become synonymous with the Renaissance. For those who want to learn how this small corner of the country influenced the course of the entire world, it’s one of the best places to visit in Italy.
How does one even start to get to know a place with as much to see as this? On foot of course. But if you’re really looking to get all the attractions of Firenze in a nutshell, frankly you’re going to need a pretty big nut! So that’s exactly why we created the Walkabout Guide – because it does away with having to sift through hundreds of apps and guidebooks (and nuts) to find the best one.
We’ve made more than 200 videos to bring the attractions, culture and local magic of Florence alive – and all you have to do is rent the specially customised tablet and it’s yours for the day. What’s more, you get to explore at your own pace and see what you want to see, when you want to see it. It’s like having your own personal Florentine guide in your back pocket. Want a taste? Here’s a small primi…
The famous Duomo (aka the Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore) is but one of the jewels in the city’s crown – but it’s certainly an impressive one. While the interiors are rather stark in comparison to some others you might see, the sheer proportions of Brunelleschi’s dome are astounding.
Tip: You get a virtual three in one when you visit the Duomo, with the Baptistery and Bell Tower within arms’ reach proximity.
The array of priceless works of art on display at the Uffizi Gallery is nothing short of dazzling, and one visit is never enough to see it all. Botticelli’s Venus and Primavera are highlights, as are works by Caravaggio, Raphael, Da Vinci and Michelangelo – to name very few. Over at the smaller Accademia, Michelangelo’s statue of David holds centre stage (don’t be fooled by the replica in Piazza della Signoria), while the Pitti Palace is packed to the rafters with Renaissance art and treasures.
Our fantastic Walkabout Guide crams all the beauty, history and culture into a handy, easy to navigate resource. And we guarantee that after just a few hours walking the cobbled streets, wandering across the ancient stones of the Ponte Vecchio, or just taking ten minutes of quiet repose strolling along the banks of the Arno, this wonderful city will be implanted in your heart and mind forever.
So, how’s your appetite? If you’re tempted by a big bite of Tuscany we’d love to serve it up in our very special way. Get in touch with us so we can show you the best places to visit in Italy in the most fun and friendly way. Want to know just how good we are? Don’t ask us, ask the many, many happy guests on TripAdvisor who can’t stop talking about their Walkabout Florence experience.
We Are Walkabout Florence
Walkabout Florence is an independent tour operator specialising in day tours that truly immerse you in the art, history and culture of Italy with a whole lot of fun included. We are regarded as among the best in the industry and we pride ourselves on not only our local knowledge, but also our genuine commitment to our guests’ satisfaction. Our tours are highly acclaimed and we strive to provide the most enjoyable and fulfilling experience possible – from cultural day tours, to food and wine experiences or Fiat 500 and Vespa tours.