Ah, Bella Tuscany…to some people it quite simply represents the perfect place for a fun-filled holiday of eating, drinking and generally making merry under the famous warmth of the Tuscan sun. But to others, a visit to what’s arguably the best-loved region in Italy is nothing short of a life-long dream come true.
But we believe this is a place that deserves so much more than a cookie-cutter itinerary to tick off the must-see historical sites, snap the obligatory selfies, eat a pizza or two (or ten?) and hop back on the plane home. Because, when it comes to the best things to do in Tuscany, while of course we absolutely advocate pizza, pasta, pictures and porticos, at Walkabout Florence we also insist on something else – that you have as much fun as you can handle!
7 of the Best Things to Do in Tuscany
Our highly acclaimed tours have been designed to encourage you to dive feet first into the vibrant, authentic and joyful local life that bursts from every town, village and hamlet in this gorgeous region. From iconic historical monuments and priceless works of art, to the laidback pace of the sunburnt rural landscape, and the pure delight of good, honest food and warm company – we can assure you, there are a million and one memorable things to do in Tuscany and every one of them will make your heart sing. But at Walkabout we think if something’s going to sing, it may as well sound like Pavarotti…
What we talk about below are by no means the only things to do in Tuscany, but we guarantee that when you come with us, you’ll definitely find out that they’re certainly some of the very best.
1. A Visit to Florence
Florence, Firenze, Nirvana… whatever you want to call it, there’s no doubting this magical city is the true and undisputed beating heart of the region, and a visit here is always top of any list of the best things to do in Tuscany. It’s also our hometown and namesake so you better believe we’ve got good things in store for our guests.
Seriously, who better to explore the city known as the Cradle of the Renaissance with than a genuine local who knows and loves it like the back of their hand? There’s so much art, culture history and food in one beautiful package it can be almost overwhelming. But don’t worry, you’ll be with friends as you discover the Piazza della Signoria, the Duomo, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Ponte Vecchio, the Uffizi Gallery, Palazzo Vecchio, the Pitti Palace, the Accademia, the Boboli Gardens, Piazzale Michelangelo… the list goes on.
But our friendly and passionate Walkabout guides don’t just traipse you around the well-trodden tourist path. They’ll also take you down side streets, around corners, into tiny, out-of-the-way ateliers and deliver you up the very sul of this wonderful city like only a local can.
Oh, and about that well-trodden tourist path – we’ll save you endless hours in queues with some pre-booked museum tickets, and our fantastic Walkabout Florence Guide is like having a Florentine guide right there in your pocket.
2. A Visit to Siena
Siena is one of those places that gets under your skin; once seen, strolled, smelled and savoured, we guarantee you’ll never forget it. This stunning medieval hilltop city is famous for the centuries’ old tradition of the Palio horse race, which takes place twice a year around Piazza del Campo. But even if you don’t get to take part in that particular experience for yourself, getting to know (really know) this genuine medieval masterpiece of art and architecture is one of the most incredible things to do in Tuscany.
For all of us at Walkabout, Siena has definitely got under our skin – in fact, it was always there. We’ll take you there on our bestselling Tuscany in One Day Sightseeing Tour, for a guided walk that takes in not only all the main attractions, but also quite a few you might not have been expecting.
As well as the unique shell-shaped Piazza del Campo, the soaring Torre del Mangia (are you game to climb its 400 steps?), and the Gothic architecture of the Palazzo Pubblico, Siena’s other notable sights include the jaw-dropping interiors of the famous Duomo and the Baptistery of San Giovanni.
Those in the know (that’s us!) understand that quite aside from its cultural and historical gems, Siena is more than just another Tuscan hilltop town. It’s a feeling, it’s a way of life and it should never be simply a once-in-a-lifetime experience…
3. A Visit to Pisa
If we say “Pisa” we just know you’ll say “Leaning Tower”, but you should also know there’s so much more to this lively, history-laden town than an accidental icon! (Although, we do have to say, the Leaning Tower is most definitely magnifico.) Our Walkabout Tuscany in One Day Sightseeing Tour wouldn’t be the best unless we included a stop at this wonderful town.
Of course, the ricotta in Pisa’s cannoli is the Leaning Tower and the other architectural masterpieces that make up the Piazza dei Miracoli: the Baptistery and the Romanesque Cathedral. But as well as that, when you step just slightly off the well-worn track (as you will, with us) you’ll discover some incredible lesser-known historic treasures, and a very unexpected and charming side to Pisa. It’s a town not just of vast historic and cultural value to Italy and the world, but also one with a vibrant, genuine and very warm local heart.
4. Cooking Classes
If there’s anything that comes close to the taste of fresh-cooked, authentic Italian cuisine, it’s the feeling of being able to replicate it once you get back home to your real life. In the same spirit of our fun and friendly tours, Walkabout offers hands-on experiences on a wonderfully relaxed full-day cooking class in a gorgeous traditional farmhouse. Or perhaps you’d prefer the chance to focus on the most delicious Italian classics of them all: pizza and gelato – we’ll be happy to help!
For the Tuscans, food is more than fuel – it’s life. The traditions of growing, nurturing and cooking the hearty fare for which the region is renowned are part of what makes the beautiful local people who they are. Every mealtime is a celebration of culture, cuisine and la bella vita. Our cooking classes introduce you to the ancient techniques of the simple yet delicious Tuscan food so you can perfect it in your own kitchen, but we always insist that the most important ingredient is fun.
5. Wine Tasting
Sampling the superb local wines of Chianti, the region between Florence and Siena, is usually high on the agenda of anyone’s wish list of things to do in Tuscany – so it’s certainly on ours! The region is world famous for its production of superb red wines, and the Sangiovese grape, grown in the Chianti heartland, has played an important part in Italy’s wine industry.
But you don’t have to be anything near a wine aficionado to enjoy everything that’s so amazing about the food and wine of this area. Our Chianti Food and Wine Safari wraps it up in one glorious day, travelling through the picture-perfect landscape off the beaten track, and sampling a range of gourmet food and wine along the way.
We call it a safari for good reason. Not only will you get to enjoy two of the region’s best wineries and a traditional Tuscan lunch, we also stop in the gorgeous and historic town of Greve. But we do things a little differently at Walkabout, so while you’ll well and truly be immersed in the history, production and techniques of wine making with our expert guide, you’ll also spend quite a bit of your time chatting, laughing and tasting! We believe that the best experiences are had with friends, so we go out of our way to make the full-day tour as memorable as it is delicious.
6. Exploring in the Hills
The absolute freedom and joy of exploring the hills of this incredible sunburnt landscape is not only one of the most enjoyable things to do in Tuscany; if you do it right, it could well turn out to be one of the most memorable experiences of your life. Depending on just how much wind you like on your face, we’ve got two hugely fun and adventurous ways to take you out into the hills of the Tuscan countryside.
It doesn’t get much more Italian than riding a vintage Vespa through the rolling hills, dotted with cypress trees, ancient groves of olives, vineyards and beautiful villas. You’ll be kitted out with a safety helmet and given a briefing on how to handle the Vespa, and you’ll feel like a local as you and the rest of your “gang” buzz along the country lanes. It’s totally invigorating and the genuine stuff of lifelong memories.
If two wheels aren’t your style, taking to the hills in a restored 1960s Fiat 500 definitely could be! These classic vehicles are an instantly recognisable symbol of Italy and they’re also the perfect way to pootle around the hills at a leisurely pace. Your little convoy of Fiats will head out of Florence to admiring glances to enjoy a day of driving, sightseeing and eating pleasure through one of the most scenic environments you’ll ever encounter. Ah, you can almost taste it, can’t you?
7. Dining in a Farmhouse
No matter how many restaurants you go to as you travel through Italy (and we suggest you try to get to as many as possible, by the way!), there’s really nothing that can compare to the heart-warming and soul-stirring experience of dining in a centuries-old Tuscan farmhouse, set in the heart of the idyllic landscape. There’s just something about being in such honest, rural surroundings that stokes up your appetite. Maybe there’s some kind of magic at work, but somehow, the food just tastes that little bit better!
We think that having the opportunity to enjoy a relaxed, traditionally cooked meal in a real farmhouse is most definitely high on the must-do list for your visit. Whether it’s in the hills behind Florence or deep in the heart of Chianti, saying “buon appetito” with Walkabout in such an authentic place will afford you a uniquely local experience.
The privilege of savouring the delicious food and produce direct from the source gives you a sense of the timelessness of this land, and the simple passions and pleasures for which the locals still live. When you combine the fruits of generations of toil on the land with the warm company of new and old friends, in a setting that looks like it’s come straight from the brushstrokes of a master painter, we ask you – how could life possibly get any better?
As with all our tours, our focus is firmly on showing you the real Italian lifestyle, with as many smiles, laughs and unforgettable moments as possible. Work your way through primi, secondi, contorni, formaggi and dolci with us in a Tuscan farmhouse and your dinner table will never look the same again.
Explore Tuscany with Us
If you want to discover the best of Tuscany has to offer, why not do it with us? Walkabout Florence’s fun-filled experience tours and group day trips wrap our guests in an authentic Italian hug, so you can immerse in the true heart and soul of this iconic region. Get in touch with us and we’ll make your holiday sing!
We Are Walkabout Florence
As a highly acclaimed, independent tour operator, Walkabout Florence enjoys a reputation as being among the very best in the industry. Specialising in day tours, we pride ourselves on being able to offer a deep and immersive experience, while keeping the fun factor in sharp focus as well. With a strong commitment to customer satisfaction, we introduce guests to the history, culture, art and food of Italy in the best way possible, from food and wine experiences, to Fiat 500 and Vespa tours and cultural day trips.