Whatever your vacation planning style happens to be -- highly structured, free form, or a mixture of the two, we have created a "bucket list" of must-do items on your next trip to Tuscany.
- Lunch or dinner at Osteria a Passignano in Tavernelle, one of the only places in Italy where you can taste extraordinary Antinori wines like Solaia, Tignanello and Ornelia by the glass and the food is just as delicious.
- A half-day in Volterra, the most important Etruscan outpost in Tuscany dating back to 800BC. Highlights-a partially restored Roman ampitheatre and a museum with one of the best private collection of Etruscan artifacts in all of Italy.
- The abbeys of Sant’ Antimo (try to hit it at Vespers when the Dominican monks chant) and Monte Oliveto Maggiore (famous for its wondrous cycle of frescoes by Renaissance master Luca Signorelli). Both are near Montalcino so you can visit a few wineries as well.
- The Piccolomini Library inside Siena’s Duomo- the walls and ceilings are adorned with some of the best preserved frescoes in all of Italy. The colors are so vibrant they will bring tears to your eyes.
- A visit to the antique market in Arezzo on a Sunday with a stroll around town and a visit to the church of San Francesco with its treasured wooden 12th century crucifix by Cimabue and Renaissance frescoes of the Legend of the True Cross by Piero della Francesca.
- A drive through Chianti with lunch or dinner at MacDario’s in Panzano for a burger made by the most famous butcher in Italy- Dario Cecchini.
- A day at the beach anywhere on the Tuscan coast- Castiglion della Pescaia is great for families. Forte di Marmi is Tuscany’s “St. Tropez”, and Parco dell’Uccellina, its polar opposite, is a nature preserve with miles of untouched beach.
- A summer concert at the roofless Abbey of San Galgano just 30 minutes from Castello di Casole where San Galgano plunged his sword into a stone in the 1300s and split it like butter. Some argue that this was the origins of the Knights of the Round Table. You can see the sword in the stone for yourself in the chapel up the hill.
- A drive through the Casentino, a mountainous region between Florence and Arezzo right out of a fairytale dotted with castles and prison towers you can actually enter. Stop in picturesque Poppi for lunch at and a tour through the most famous castle in the Casentino.
- An “off the beaten path” walking tour of Florence with visits to the monks’ cells in the church of San Marco featuring a painting by Fra Angelico in each cell, the Brancacci Chapel on the Church of Carmine where Massacio launched the Renaissance with his ground-breaking frescoes, and lunch in the piazza at Santo Spirito. For an extra workout head up to Piazzale Michelanglo for one of the best (and most romantic) views in all of Italy and a spin through the church of San Miniato. Finish with dinner at Da Sostanza, the best trattoria in the city.
Try a few of these on for size on your next trip to Tuscany. We guarantee you won't be disappointed.