Tuscany, the beautiful region in Italy and a must have seen area. It is the land of vineyards, spaghetti, pizza and pretty old towns. Last year I visited Italy for the first time of my life and the beauty of this country amazed me. So, if you are thinking of traveling to Italy…I might be able to give you some starters advice! The cities I have visited during this trip: Florence, San Gimignano, Volterra, Sienna, Pisa, Lucca and finally Rome. I visited them in that order.

I want to share my experiences and advice per city:

 

Florence
We stayed at a lovely apartment in downtown Florence. It was called Think Florence, perfectly located and it was seriously awesome. Must see in Italy! We had two big bedrooms, a living room and bathroom. We even had our own kitchen and everything and the price was really good. Florence is a beautiful city where you can easily do everything by foot. Florence has a lot of vintage shops and even has one of the best coffee shops in the world! Besides the shops you must wander around in the old ally’s and enjoy the old city with a lot of antipasti and Aperol Spritz.

 

Agriturismo (Volterra area)
After visiting a big city like Florence you might want to ease down a bit. The best way to experience Italy is to stay at an agriturismo. Find one that is located in the middle of all the villages you want to visit. That way you can easily take daytrips to little villages and enjoy the sun and the poolside in between. You can find a lot of really nice places to stay.

 

San Gimignano
A little village located on a hillside, which is known for the best ice cream in the world! You have to pay attention though since there are two ice salons next to each other and both say that they are the worlds best. Make sure you get informed well, or…just buy an ice cream in both shops! Besides the ice cream the village is truly breath taking to walk around. In this old city rich townfolks build their towers as high as possible, since that was a sign of wealth. At one point this got out of hand and the mayor had to put a stop to the madness!

 

Volterra
Located on the top of a hill as well and you might have seen it in the movies, if you’re a Twilight fan. The city is very scenic and understandable the stage of a lot of different movies. The streets give you a feeling as if you stepped in to an old movie yourself! The city has an Amphitheatre that has remained in its old state. Truly a town worth visiting!

 

Sienna
One of the most popular towns in Tuscany! The City Centre has a big square, Piaza del Campo, where they used to hold horseracing games and markets. They still organize the horseracing game two times a year on the 2nd of July and the 16th of August. When you are in Sienna make sure you visit the cathedral. It is made of white alabaster and is even more impressive on the inside. Be aware, the church is really commercial; they even have a giftshop and a restaurant in it, which made me feel a bit uneasy.

 

Pisa & Lucca
Pisa and Lucca are two popular towns in Italy that I have visited within one day and I would definitely recommend that. Pisa is known for the tower that appears to be falling down. The piazza where it is located is very pretty, a place you must have seen once in your life, but after an hour I had enough of it already. So when you are there, make the silly pictures, grab a pizza somewhere and eat it while sitting somewhere on the square and after that; go! An hour drive away there is this town called Lucca. Amazing place where the town used to be protected by a big city wall. The wall still exists and gives the town its charm. In Lucca we have spend half a day and that was enough time to truly see the beauty. The Duomo di San Martino is really nice and different than other churches in Italy.

 

Rome
We stayed at the Chocolate Room, managed by Eva. A truly lovely person who made us feel welcome instantly! She told us the cool places to go which was truly valuable, coming from a true Roma. Of course we did all the tourist stuff: Coloseum, Forum Romanum, Pantheon, Spanish Stairs, Trevi fountain, etc. But the best advice she gave us was to have a picnic on the Monte Gianicolo. That truly was an amazing night. We watched the sun go down over Rome on the Hillside while drinking really good wine, eating lovely antipasti and in the company of really good friends. Perfect way to end your first holiday in Italy!

 

Danielle