How to Plan a Vacation to Tuscany, Italy
On Italy’s west coast is Tuscany, a region known for incredible wines, delicious cuisine and breathtaking scenery. It is home to many amazing cities such as Florence and Pisa, but it also boasts smaller villages and charming countryside. Whether you love Renaissance art or you’re more excited about Italian nightlife, you can find it all in Tuscany. Use this guide to plan the ultimate European vacation in Tuscany, Italy.
Preparing For Your Trip to Tuscany
Before your trip to Tuscany even begins, you can prepare for the getaway by learning more about the climate and what to pack. The Mediterranean climate in Tuscany is mild, but there are distinct seasons that you should prepare for. In the summer, it can get very hot and sunny. This coincides with the busiest tourist season of the year, so be sure to bring along plenty of lightweight clothing to stay cool when sightseeing. During the winter months, it typically hovers above freezing. You’re more likely to see rain than snow, so bring along a rain jacket and warm shoes that can stay dry even in a heavy shower.
If you’re spending most of your time in a bigger city like Florence, the dress code is a little more formal. You don’t have to fill your hardside or softside luggage set with suits and ties, but a smart casual outfit is appropriate for dining and art galleries. Closer to the coast, the environment is a lot more relaxed, especially in the warmer summer months.
Even if you’ve got the best luggage for international travel, your belongings can get jumbled up and disorganized as you travel from one Tuscan city to the next. Keep things organized with the help of packing cubes. Both the Swissgear 7669 13″ Packing Cube and the Swissgear 7669 15″ Packing Cube are designed from polyester and offer a breathable mesh panel to keep things dry. Zippers make everything easy to access, and the cubes make packing and finding clothes a breeze. The 13″ cube is the ideal size for shoes and the 15.5″ packing cubes are perfect for storing clothing in your softsided luggage.
Getting to Tuscany
Travelers will have many different options for their trips to Tuscany. If you’re heading to Italy from North America or Asia, it may be cheapest to fly into a major Italian airport in Milan or Rome and then take a train to your destination within Tuscany. However, there are also two international airports right in Tuscany. Both the Pisa International Airport and the Florence Airport boast international flights, and both are very close to their respective city centers. If you are already in Europe, you can also take high-speed trains into Pisa, Florence and Grosetto, all of which offer major train stations. Many travelers love taking night trains from places like Munich or Zurich into Florence, and the experience is a truly unforgettable alternative to a hotel room.
When you’re navigating international airports or hopping on and off trains, it is worth having the best luggage for international travel. The Swissger 6238 Expandable 3 Piece Spinner Luggage Set is the ideal 4 wheel luggage for savvy jetsetters. The three-piece set includes a 21″ carry-on suitcase that can neatly fit into the overhead compartment as well as a 24.5″ and 28″ suitcase to check in during your flight. Each suitcase in the black luggage set has a steel locking push-pull handle, a fully lined interior, a scuff-resistant exterior and great organizational pockets and features. If you are searching for the best luggage set for your next vacation, this three-piece option covers all the bases. Bring just one for a quick trip or pack all three for longer getaways.
Top Cities to Visit in Tuscany
Tuscany is a region, not a single destination. Therefore, it is important to think carefully about where in Tuscany you want to visit. A top pick is unquestionably Florence. The city of Florence is the capital of Tuscany, and it is best known for being the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. Florence is home to some of Europe’s most popular art museums, including the Galleria degli Uffiz, which houses works by masters like Titian and Botticelli. If you’re interested in architecture, sightseeing around Florence on foot is a true delight for the senses. Don’t miss the iconic domed cathedral Duomo di Firenze, the many bridges found throughout the city or the famed Palazzo Vecchio.
Many travelers decide to make Florence their home base and set off on day trips throughout Tuscany. With a great public transport system and the option to rent a car, that is a fantastic plan for visitors. From Florence, the city of Pisa is just an hour’s drive away. Of course, no trip to Pisa would be complete without touring the Leaning Tower. However, other equally interesting landmarks and attractions in the city of Pisa include the city’s Romanesque cathedral, the town square known as Piazza dei Cavalieri or the beautiful 13th century gothic church called Santa Maria della Spina.
If you want to experience Tuscan wine in person, spend a day in Montepulciano, a small Tuscan city just 90 minutes south of Florence by car. This city still boasts cobblestone streets, taking you back in time and providing a great contrast to the hustle and bustle of Florence. Find a small cafe at the Piazza Grande and soak in the historic architecture on all sides or take a tour of the 15th century villa called La Foce. Of course, since Montepulciano is surrounded by vineyards, it is also the perfect place to sample some of the local wine made from Sangiovese grapes.
As you travel between Florence and other exciting destinations in Tuscany, it is worth having a laptop backpack on hand. The Swissgear 5977 Scansmart Laptop Backpack might be a TSA friendly backpack, but it is just as helpful on the train as it is for air travel. When you are on the plane or you need to pop into a coffee shop to respond to a few emails, you will appreciate that the TSA friendly backpack has a lay-flat compartment just for laptops up to 17″ in size, not to mention a specific pocket for your tablet or e-reader. The Scansmart backpack is also such a great day-trip backpack because it has a side pocket for your water bottle, pockets that secure and protect your smartphone and ergonomic shoulder straps that ensure you feel comfortable even if you’re on your feet sightseeing all day long. Fill the backpack with snacks, souvenirs or a light jacket in case the weather gets colder than expected.
The Tuscan Culture and Cuisine You Won’t Want to Miss
As the center of the Italian Renaissance, Tuscany is the ultimate cultural travel destination. Endless museums and art galleries offer opportunities to soak in the local culture, but a top pick is the Leonardo da Vinci Museum. This museum is located in the small town of Vinci, and it is an enlightening dive into da Vinci’s methods, talents and early works. Tuscany can also be a wonderful place to pick up a new skill yourself. You might try out a class and learn how to make glass beads and jewelry in Tuscany or take a cooking class in Pisa. Wine tasting classes are also wildly popular, and they are an amazing way to taste the local vintages and decide which bottles to bring home as souvenirs.
Tuscany is a foodie’s paradise, so be sure to dine out often and explore as many of the local restaurants as possible. Carnivores should try the Bistecca alla fiorentina, which is always weighed and priced by the pound. For some fast food that still highlights the local culture, dig into the lampredotto sandwich, which has been sold by street vendors in Florence for over 1,000 years. Finally, give your sweet tooth a treat with a scoop of gelato or a cookie called cantuccini that is popular with wine as an after-dinner dessert.
If you are planning a trip to Tuscany, you are bound to have an unforgettable time. Pack the best luggage set, pick the right time of year to travel and get ready for the vacation of a lifetime in Tuscany, Italy.