Free Things To Do in Tuscany, Italy
- #1View all PhotosfreeFlorence#1 in Tuscany, ItalyFree, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEMore than Full DayTIME TO SPENDFree, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEMore than Full DayTIME TO SPEND
Firenze, Tuscany's capital city, is known for its Renaissance art and architecture. You can climb to the top of the Duomo, gaze at Botticellis at the Uffizi Gallery, tour the Galleria dell'Accademia and stroll through the Boboli Gardens for a taste of the 13th through 16th centuries.
But this city isn't just for art and architecture connoisseurs: There are quaint shops, delicious restaurants and decadent hotels. And with its red roofs, cobble stone streets and narrow alleys, it's also a very picturesque place to spend a few days. Be sure to hike to the top of the Piazza Michaelangelo, located across the Ponte Vecchio, for incredible city views and live music. Bring a bottle wine and watch the sunset — you won't want to miss it. For more information on this city, visit our Florence travel guide.
- #2View all PhotosfreeSiena#2 in Tuscany, ItalyFree, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEMore than Full DayTIME TO SPENDFree, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEMore than Full DayTIME TO SPEND
Siena vies with Florence for the title of the most charming city in Tuscany. While Firenze is known for its Renaissance influence, Siena exemplifies the Gothic era, and you'll find that near-pristine Gothic architecture fills the city. One of Siena's main attractions is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site: The breathtaking Piazza del Campo is a city square that sits at the base of three majestic hills. While you're there, climb to the top of Torre del Mangia (a part of the Palazzo Pubblico) for an awe-inspiring view of Siena.
As for museums, visitors find the Museale di Santa Maria della Scala and the Museo Archeologico are each worth a few hours of their time. And when it comes to churches, recent travelers recommend visiting several: the Siena Cathedral (or Il Duomo) for its beauty; the Cathedral of the Assunta for the surrounding landscape; and the Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore for its wine cellar.
- #3View all PhotosfreeLucca#3 in Tuscany, ItalyFree, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEMore than Full DayTIME TO SPENDFree, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEMore than Full DayTIME TO SPEND
Located in northwest Tuscany and less than 20 miles from Pisa, this town is famous for its 16th-century walls — recent travelers recommend riding a bike atop them to get the best views. Or consider climbing to the top of the Guinigi Tower where you can overlook the entire city. There's also a rendition of the Duomo, called the Cattedrale di San Martino.
Luca is also praised for its native son Giacomo Puccini, who composed such operatic masterpieces as "Madame Butterfly" and "La Bohème," so art is aplenty. And art aficionados recommend popping into L.U.C.C.A. (Lucca Center of Contemporary Art) or strolling by the art show every third weekend of the month by the Piazzetta San Carlo to see local works of art.
- #4View all PhotosfreeCinque Terre#4 in Tuscany, ItalyBeaches, Hiking, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEMore than Full DayTIME TO SPENDBeaches, Hiking, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEMore than Full DayTIME TO SPEND
Cinque Terre is a group of cinque (five) villages — Monterosso, Vernazza, Manarola, Riomaggiore and Corniglia — strung along cliffs that overlook the Ligurian Sea. Since it became both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and national park in the past couple of decades, the area has been saved from the commercialism that pervades most European cities today.
Visitors like to hike Cinque Terre's leafy crags; Via dell'Amour is a popular (and well-paved!) walk that connects Manarola with Riomaggiore. The trail with the best ocean views is from Vernazza to Monterosso. Unfortunately, this hike is also the most challenging and isn't for the faint of heart, as the trail (or lack thereof) is unpaved and involves lots of climbing under and over various terrain. To avoid the crowds and the heat, recent travelers recommend hiking in the morning. And if you're not up for hiking from town to town, you can always catch the train that runs along the coast and stops at each town.
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