The 10 Most Beautiful Tuscan Villages to Visit
With its breathtaking beauty and unbeatable cuisine, Tuscany truly delivers some of the very best that Italy has to offer.
03 March 2023
When asked to picture Italy in your mind, what do you see? Rolling countryside, canvassed with steady streams of golden sunlight? Expertly-sculpted temples and architecture, eroded by the ebbs and flows of time? Fields of fresh fruit and vegetables, rich in flavour and quality? Encapsulating all of these, Tuscany truly is a reflection of the very heart and soul of Italy.
Steeped in history, Tuscany is widely recognised to be the birthplace of the Renaissance, producing some of the most influential artists, scientists, and writers of all time. Leonardo DaVinci, Botticelli, Dante Alighieri, Galileo - all of these cultural giants walked the streets and fields of Tuscany, undoubtedly inspired by the breathtaking natural beauty of the region.
Tuscany's diverse landscapes make it one of Italy's most varied locations to visit, each with its own distinct appeal and personality. The Chianti vineyards basked in sunlight, the snow-capped Apennine peaks and the lively communities along the Etruscan Coast all add to Tuscany's allure, making it an essential part of any tour of Italy.
What Are the Best Villages in Tuscany to Visit?
Each unique in its charm and personality, Tuscany’s numerous towns and villages offer a snapshot of the rich and storied history of the region, all while providing some of the most idyllic landscapes that Italy has to offer. Whether exploring with your family or going solo, our travel experts here at Scott Dunn have curated this list of the top 10 most beautiful villages in Tuscany, letting you experience some of the very best the region has to offer.
With its striking hillside setting, Fosdinovo is perhaps one of the most beautiful villages in the whole of the Tuscan countryside. The village centres around its iconic medieval 11th-century castle, historically owned by the powerful Malaspina family, serving as a gateway to the historic Lunigiana region, dividing it between the land and sea. For these features and more, Fosdinovo remains a perfect choice for travellers or families looking to uncover the history of this influential region of Italy, while also enjoying unbeatable views and atmosphere.
Boasting one of the best-preserved fortresses in the region, history oozes from every nook and cranny of this picturesque Tuscan hamlet. Towering 500 metres above sea level, Fosdinovo offers unbeatable panoramic views of the surrounding Italian countryside, with plenty of options to explore its surroundings thanks to its dense network of pathways and trails.
For those eager to learn more about the background of this historic Tuscan village, look no further than its museum, which details the rich and varied story of Fosdinovo throughout the years. Bursting with historical significance and charm, we strongly recommend a visit to this charming Tuscan village.
2. San Gimignano
Easily one of the most memorable and striking villages in Tuscany, and arguably in all of Italy, San Gimignano is dubbed as the "Manhattan of the Middle Ages" due to its impressive collection of stone towers. While only 14 of the original 72 towers remain still standing, San Gimignano remains a must-visit for those with a love of timeless architectural design and Italian culture.
Named after the Bishop of Modena, said to have defended his city from Attila the Hun, San Gimignano’s host of stark towers rise above Tuscany’s Elsa Valley like some sort of surrealist dreamscape. Just an hour south of Florence or north of Siena, San Gimignano is an unmissable location for solo travellers and families touring the most iconic sights Tuscany has to offer.
One of the most unique blends of culture on this list is found in the Tuscan village of Barga. With a surge of emigration at the end of the 19th century, the Italian identity of this picturesque village is closely interwoven with Scotland, creating a distinct and memorable cultural combination.
Wearing this on its sleeve, expect to find Scottish influences sprinkled throughout this idyllic Tuscan village, discreetly nestled between the Apennines and the Apuan Alps. Around 36 km from the nearest city Lucca, Barga makes for a perfect day trip for those looking for a rustic, authentic village with gorgeous surroundings and friendly locals.
Although this picturesque little town, bursting with vibrant colours and charm, is a perfect location to visit all year round, we especially recommend planning your visit around summer. At this time, you and your family can experience the exciting array of festivals this Tuscan village puts on, including the unapologetically Scottish Fish and Chips Festival.
Situated on a raised hillock, ringed by a thick stone wall, Monteriggioni began its history as a fortress village, built by the Sienese in the 13th century as the first line of defence in their wars against Florence. Over 800 years later, the powerful wall still stands strong, enshrining this idyllic Tuscan village.
Surrounded by lush vineyards and olive trees, Monteriggioni is one of the oldest and most memorable villages in all of Italy, even being referenced in Dante’s Divine Comedy. For those passionate about fine wine, look no further than this timeless medieval hamlet and its wealth of cellars boasting rich and full-bodied Chiantis, produced from grapes grown in local vineyards.
This Tuscan village, only a short distance from Siena, offers a perfect day trip for travellers who want to experience life in medieval Italy. With its cultural significance and scenic views, it's a strong recommendation on our list.
Situated in the province of Pisa, just southwest of Florence, sits the mountaintop town of Volterra. One of the main city-states of ancient Etruria, this rustic yet majestic town is easily among one of the prettiest in Italy, with an array of historical sites such as the gilded coffered ceiling of its cathedral or the remnants of its Roman theatre.
After taking a stroll through the tight, winding streets of this medieval Tuscan village, we recommend stopping for a coffee nearby Volterra’s picturesque main square: Piazza dei Priori. No visit is complete without visiting some of the local shops, selling renowned handmade jewellery and bronze works made by craftsmen and women trained in traditional methods.
With grand, sweeping views of the surrounding Tuscan countryside and its rich past evident in the grandeur of its old town, it's no wonder why Volterra is such a popular destination for tours of Tuscany and the surrounding regions.
Easily recognisable by its iconic clock tower, Montepulciano is famous within the region for a variety of reasons. Some come for its iconic Vino Nobile red wine, some for its rich heritage, and some for its spectacular panoramic views over the surrounding Val di Chiana and Val d’Orcia valleys. Whatever your reason may be, do not doubt that Montepulciano is one of the very best villages Tuscany has to offer.
Enter through the strong stone walls of Montepulciano and discover its renowned sights, scents, and tastes after a hike up its winding pathways. In its heart, you'll find the stunning main square, Piazza Grande, that hosts the town's main events like the barrel-racing contest, Bravio delle Botti, held every August.
Due to its challenging location and chalky hilltop terrain, this Tuscan village won’t be ideal for everyone. However, if you’re looking for a beautiful and architecturally fascinating hamlet which is not too far from iconic locations like Pienza or the thermal village of Bagno Vignoni, then Montepulciano could be your perfect choice on this list. And if it’s the wine you’re after, our Italy specialists love pairing it with a trip to Montalcino for a wine tasting tour.
Pitigliano is famously known as “Little Jerusalem” due to its rich Jewish history dating back to the 14th century. It served as a refuge for Jews throughout history, and this connection remains integral to the identity of this Tuscan village, evident in its bustling synagogue and delicious kosher cuisine.
The town itself is carved straight from the ‘tuffaceous’ (volcanic) rock it sits upon, making up part of the area referred to as ‘borghi del tufo’, which directly translates to ‘towns carved of tuff stone’. Underneath the ancient town are a mysterious network of tunnels, requiring the removal of over 40,000 tonnes of volcanic rock, with their origins still unknown by historians. You can experience these tunnels yourself, with tours run by locals from the village.
With exquisite features such as its ruined necropolis and its beautifully designed aqueduct, the history practically pours out of this extraordinary Tuscan village, located southeast of Grosseto. An idyllic and memorable visit for both historical and archaeological buffs, we highly recommend you add this one to your itinerary.
With its immediate proximity to the Etruscan coast, featuring some of Tuscany’s most breathtakingly beautiful beaches, Suvereto is a prime location for those wanting to flavour their Tuscan experience with the crisp taste of sea air. Dominated by verdant, gorgeous natural space, Suvereto sits close to the Montioni Natural Park - a 7000-hectare area of outstanding beauty between Grosseto and Livorno.
With its appreciation and respect for the past, this Tuscan village captures the heart and soul of this serene corner of Italy. Bursting with art and history, seen in the wealth of historical sites like the Church of the Madonna and its Museum of Sacred Art, it presents a quaint yet lovely atmosphere.
If you are planning on visiting near the end of the year, we recommend a stop by Suvereto for its annual Boar Festival, a celebration of fine food, culture, and local folklore. However, this breathtakingly beautiful town is an ideal stop all year round, especially for those beginning their Tuscan adventure in Florence, which sits just northwest of the area.
Seemingly sprouting directly out of the rockface, this hillside Tuscan village seems to be almost locked in time - even its oldest sections, which date back to the 12th century appear perfectly preserved. One of the best options on this list for those travelling with family, this strikingly beautiful village was home to the author Carlo Collodi, writer of the children's tale Pinocchio.
The fairytale magic of Collodi is embodied in its delightful Pinocchio Park and Butterfly House, filled with over 1,000 species of butterflies from around the world, providing an opportunity to experience that magic for yourself.
Holding a commanding position over the entire town is the majestic Villa Garzoni, sitting upon the ruins of an ancient medieval castle, which offers sweeping panoramic views of the entire surrounding area. Truly, Collodi is a delight for both children and adults alike.
10. Casale Marittimo
To finish this list with a flourish, we want to offer a hearty recommendation to this discrete, serene town of only 1,000 inhabitants. Casale Marittimo is a perfect choice for spending quality, relaxing time in Tuscany with its fine wine, delectable cuisine and gorgeous views of the surrounding countryside, making it an ideal choice for couples.
Casale Marittimo offers a wealth of options for history buffs with its archaeological sites like its Etruscan necropolis and the castle ruins upon which this Tuscan village is built upon. Located near the coast, a visit to Casale Marittimo should include a stop at some of Tuscany's most picturesque beaches.
Overlooking the magnificent Cecina River Valley, Carsale Marittimo offers the vibrancy and authenticity of some of the other options on this list, while also providing a certain tranquillity that has to be experienced to be truly understood. Perhaps one of the prettiest towns in Italy, Casale Marittimo is a prime addition to this list.