The 10 Most Beautiful Tuscan Villages to Visit on Vacation
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 flavor 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.
The sheer variety of landscapes within the area also makes Tuscany one of the most diverse locations to visit in Italy, each one unique in its allure and character. From the sun-kissed vineyards of Chianti and the snow-capped peaks of the Apennines to the vibrant communities of the Etruscan Coast, no tour of Italy is complete without time well spent in Tuscany.
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. For a truly authentic experience, 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.
With its striking hillside setting, Fosdinovo is perhaps one of the most beautiful villages in the whole of the Tuscan countryside. The village centers 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 travelers 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 over 1,500 ft. 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
Coined as the “Manhattan of the Middle Ages” thanks to its impressive array of stone towers, San Gimignano is easily one of the most memorable and striking villages in Tuscany, and arguably the whole of Italy. 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 travelers and families touring the most iconic sights Tuscany has to offer.
Perhaps one of the most bizarre cultural blends on this list is the Tuscan village of Barga. Thanks to the surge of emigration at the end of the 19th century, this picturesque village’s Italian identity is proudly interwoven with the country of Scotland.
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 22 miles from the nearest city Lucca, Barga makes for a perfect day trip for those looking for a rustic, authentic Tuscan village with gorgeous surroundings and friendly locals.
Although this picturesque little town, bursting with vibrant colors 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 defense 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.
Only a stone's throw from the ancient city of Siena, offers a perfect day trip for travelers 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 theater.
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 jewelry 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.
After you hike up its steep winding pathways and enter through its robust stone walls, you can begin to enjoy the sights, scents, and tastes that Montepulciano is renowned for. At the heart of this Tuscan village is its stunning main square: the Piazza Grande, which hosts the town's main events like the barrel-racing contest Bravio delle Botti which takes place 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.
Best known for its given title of ‘Little Jerusalem’, thanks to its deep Jewish roots stretching as far back as the 14th century, Pitigliano has served an important role as a refuge for Jews throughout history. This relationship remains inseparable from the core identity of this Tuscan village, evident through its bustling synagogue and its delicious kosher foods.
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 archeological 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 flavor 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.
Bursting at the seams with art and history, seen in its wealth of historical sites like the Church of the Madonna and its Museum of Sacred Art. This quaint yet extraordinarily lovely Tuscan village captures the heart and soul of this serene corner of Italy with its respect and appreciation for its past.
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 traveling with family, this strikingly beautiful village was home to the author Carlo Collodi, writer of the children's tale Pinocchio.
Offering the opportunity to experience some of that fairytale magic for yourself, Collodi is home to the delightful Pinocchio Park and an exquisite Butterfly House, filled with over a thousand species of butterflies from all over the world.
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.