A holiday in Tuscany allows you to appreciate its classical landscape of rolling hills and vineyards dotted with olive and cypress trees, its misty green-grey mountains that are never too far distant, and hill-top towns of rich brown and gold stone houses. This combines with the beauty of the works of art contained in the towns and villages throughout Tuscany to create an inspirational union of the spirit and the senses.
There is an intrinsic comfort in the supposed contrast between the delicacy of a Botticelli and the heartiness of Ribollita soup, yet both are typical of this fascinating region. As birthplace of the Renaissance, the impact of Tuscan and in particular Florentine traditions and culture on European heritage is fundamental to our way of life. In addition to the obvious attractions of the scenery of Chianti and the art cities of Florence and Siena, there are the less well-known regions south of Siena with its moon-like landscape of hills, the patchwork vineyards of Montalcino, the coastal marshlands of the Maremma, the spas of Montecatini and Saturnia, the islands of Elba and Giglio, and the Casentino with the source of the Arno and abundant mushroom crops. Wherever you travel on holiday in Tuscany, you will be inspired by the beauty of your surroundings and the way of life, which is quintessentially that of Italy too.Some of our favourite four and five star hotels in Tuscany include Castel Monastero near Castelnouvo Berardenga, Castello del Nero in Chianti and the Villa San Michele in Fiesole.
Tuscany is also a region famous for its villas and gardens, many of which date from the Renaissance times and are renowned for the way that garden design developed in the Western world. Expressions Holidays offers a small group tour visiting the gardens of Tuscany on certain dates in the year. To view the full details please click here or you can download here a pdf of our Garden Tours of Italy leaflet.For a more in-depth look at the artistic heritage and culture in Tuscany, enjoy a four-night cultural break following in the footsteps of the Medicis. Visit the statues, tombs, and palaces in Florence, and the Medici villas in the surrounding towns and villages. You can see the full itinerary and arrangements here.Another of our cultural breaks takes you through Florence and Rome, visiting the impressive paintings, sculptures, and buildings, designed or crafted by Michelangelo. Highlights of this tour include the Capitoline Hill, the Sistine Chapel, and the works at the Accademia in Florence. For a full itinerary, click here.
Cultural Highlights of TuscanyAs birthplace of the Renaissance, Tuscany contains a wealth of treasures: Giotto`s Campanile and Brunelleschi`s Dome in Florence, the Tombs of Galileo and Michelangelo in Florence`s Santa Croce, Botticelli`s `Birth of Venus` and `Primavera` and the portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Urbino by Piero della Francesca in the Uffizi, Michelangelo`s `David` in the Accademia, the architecture of the Piazza della Signoria in Florence, `The Tuscan Maremma` painting by Giovanni Fattori in the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, the Piazza del Campo in Siena, `The Legend of the Cross` frescoes by Piero della Francesco in Arezzo, `The Creation` fresco by Bartolo di Fredi in the Collegiata in San Gimignano, Romanesque church of the Collegiata in San Quirico d`Orcia, 14th Century Fortezza of Montalcino, Renaissance masterpiece of the church of Madonna di San Biagio at Montepulciano, the abbey-church of Sant`Antimo, mediaeval Lucignano and the towers of San Gimignano, the Etruscan Museum in Cortona.
Festivals in TuscanyMany of Tuscany`s festivals resound with the flamboyance of the Renaissance and keep Tuscans and visitors alike in touch with the region`s rich history. Others are linked to Tuscany`s hearty traditions of eating and drinking. The most famous is Siena`s Palio which takes place on 2 July and 16 August each year. Others include the Sagra del Tordo (Festival of the Thrush) in Montalcino on the last Sunday in October when there is an archery contest and charcoal-grilled thrush are a delicacy. In Florence, Calcio in Costume (a football match played in mediaeval costume) takes place in June. Pisa has the Giocco del Ponte (Game of the Bridge), a mock battle in Renaissance dress also held in June. Viareggio celebrates Carnival on Shrove Tuesday with a huge display of flamboyant floats. In May and August Massa Marittima holds the Falcon Contest.
Gastronomy in TuscanySimple country food is at the heart of Tuscan cooking. Regional dishes include Bruschetta (bread or ciabatta toasted and rubbed with garlic, olive oil and salt), Ribollita (bean, cabbage and bread soup), Pasta with hare or wild boar sauce, Porcini mushroom and truffle dishes, Bistecca all Fiorentina (thick cut of sirloin and fillet beef), Cantucci (almond and honey biscuits) served dipped in Vin Santo, Panforte (chocolate, nut and spice cake). Pecorino cheese made from sheep's milk. Local wines include the white Vernaccia di San Gimignano and the Bianco di Pitigliano. Famous reds include Chanti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino and the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Vin Santo made from semi-crushed grapes left for several months is an excellent dessert wine.
Famous vineyards producing wines of Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Alabaster is produced in Volterra. Gold and silver are worked in Florence and the Ponte Vecchio is lined with jewellery shops. Marbled paper and stationery is a speciality of Florence. Ceramics and hand-painted majolica from raw terracotta from Impruneta to the glazed pottery of Siena are to be found throughout Tuscany. Lucca has traditionally produced silk and hand-woven fabrics. Leather goods including shoes, handbags and belts are to be found from market stalls to designer shops such as Gucci and Ferragamo. Interesting markets include the Mercato dell' Antiquariato which sells furniture from antiques to bric-a-brac in Arezzo on the first weekend of every month, in Pisa on the second weekend and in Lucca on the third weekend.The 'wild' Maremma is known for its long-horned white cattle and cowboys (butteri) and natural springs including Saturnia.
By Air: Fly to Pisa (Daily flights with British Airways from Gatwick), Bologna (Daily flights with British Airways from Gatwick) or Florence (Non-daily flights with Meridiana from London City). Rome is also recommended for the hotels in southern Tuscany - there are numerous flights by British Airways and Alitalia from Heathrow and Gatwick as well as some regional departures. Most of the hotels in Tuscany are no more than a couple of hours' drive from one of the airports. Hire-cars: We include a hire-car with all our holidays to Tuscany (except the Florence and Pisa city centre hotels) as you really do need a car to make the most of your holiday in this region. However, if you want to combine a stay in Florence with a stay in the country then you do not need the car during your time in Florence. In this case, we arrange for you to drop off or to collect your car in Florence at the beginning or end of your stay there. Self-drive: With your own car Tuscany can be reached comfortably with two overnight stops from the UK. For example you could overnight in Alsace and then the Italian Lakes and then return via Lake Geneva and the Champagne region. Ask us for advice and let us make these arrangements for you.
The Borgo San Felice occupies almost an entire hamlet on a slight hill in Chianti country.
A charming boutique hotel in the Chianti region, Relais Villa Belpoggio boasts an authentic Tuscan style
The Hotel Villa le Barone is a charming hotel in the heart of the Chianti Classico wine region.
The Belmond Villa San Michele is a beautiful five star hotel in glorious countryside overlooking Florence.<
Castello del Nero is a sumptuous and elegant five star retreat in Chianti, Tuscany.
Il Salviatino is a cosy and luxurious hotel in the hills above Florence with outstanding personal service.<
Set on the River Arno, the Hotel Villa la Massa enjoys a sublime rural setting not far outside of Florence.
Castel Monastero is a luxurious five star village-resort offering rustic elegance in Tuscany.
The five-star Grand Hotel Continental occupies a 17th century palazzo in the historic centre of Siena.
The Hotel le Renaie enjoys a splendid, quiet, rural location in the hamlet of Pancole. The Hotel le Renaie
Just a five-minute drive from the centre of San Gimignano, the Hotel la Collegiata is set on a hill, surrou
The Relais la Suvera stands on a hillside commanding beautiful views of the Tuscan countryside just above t
The Hotel Augustus occupies a prime position in an elegant residential area just a short walk from the cent
Hotel Byron is a distinctive, stylish, patrician villa on the promenade in Forte dei Marmi.
The Baglioni Hotel Cala del Porto is a charming, luxury boutique hotel and member of Relais Chateaux and on
A secluded and sophisticated retreat in a truly privileged natural location on the Tuscan Coast
The Bagni di Pisa is an elegant 18th Century mansion, situated on the edge of a very small town. This grace
Grotta Giusti offers a pleasant stay in an idyllic refined setting in the Tuscan hills.
The Hotel Relais dell’Orologio is a tasteful and small hotel full of historic character with just 21 rooms.
Fonteverde Spa Resort is a luxurious five star hotel situated just a few miles from the Umbria border.
The delightful Relais Il Falconiere is the result of a true labour of love on the part of the owners Silvia
We are open Mon-Fri 9-17.30 Sat 9.30-16.00.
Let us know a convenient time to call you back to discuss your holiday.
E-mail us with an outline of your holiday requirements.
Ask our experts on-line advice on your holidays
The Villa del Quar in Pedemonte is a property of charm and elegance within easy
Palazzo Belmonte is a stunning 17th Century palazzo in an idyllic setting by the
Castello del Nero is a sumptuous and elegant retreat in Chianti.
The Castello di Velona is an enchanting hotel and a perfect place from which to
Il Pellicano in Tuscany is one of our personal all-time favourites. Elegant and
The Hotel Villa del Sogno is a charming hotel, restful, with beautiful views.
Le Sirenuse in Positano is full of character, charm and superb quality. An excep
The Hotel Santa Caterina in Amalfi has an historic ambience and a convenient loc
Jade Mountain Club at Anse Chastanet is an exclusive and private retreat that ha
Le Mas Candille in Mougins is a luxurious five star hotel combining a beautiful
The five star Anassa in Polis is of world-class standards, and continues to be o
The Pine Cliffs Hotel and Resort, near Albufeira in the Algarve is an immensely
Finca Cortesin is an elegant hotel with plenty of special touches to guarantee a
Amirandes is conveniently situated a short distance from the airport and occupie
Find out more about Italy
CapitalRome AirportThere is a very good scattering of international airports in Italy, with the main ones being Venice, Pisa, Milan, Rome, Bologna, Naples, Genoa, Turin and Bari; on Sicily, Catania is served by several airlines from the UK and on Sardinia you fly to Cagliari or Olbia.CurrencyEuro (£1 = Euro 1.30) SizeItaly is roughly 650 miles long, but only about 100 miles wide Population60 million Average temperatureItaly's temperature varies dramatically, from about 4 degrees in Turin in winter to 33 degrees in Sicily in summer, with snow year-round on the summits of the Pyrenees and Alps National holidays in Italy Some tourist attractions as well as banks etc may close on the following days: 1 January 6 January (Epiphany) Easter Monday 25 April (Liberation Day) 1 May (Labour Day) 15 August (Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary) 1 November (All Saints) 8 December (Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary) Christmas Day Boxing Day There are a number of local feast days that can affect conditions locally. In addition to the above days, museums are often closed on Mondays in Italy.
Rail holidays and train journeys, tailor-made.
Italian garden holidays and tours for individuals and small groups
Visit our selection of tailor-made family holidays to selected hotels and resorts around the world.
Tailor-made cookery holidays in Italy
Rejuvenating, relaxing, refreshing, good for the body and the soul; spa and well-being worldwide
Our selection of authentic experience and special interest holidays.
Luxury tours for individuals around the world
Wine tasting, cookery & gastronomic
The Sani Resort in Greece has just announced the opening of the Ozone Teens House.
Between the 21st and the 25th June 2017, Barbados is hosting the 12th World Flower Show, entitled ‘Flowers in Paradise.’
New gardens and villas added to our Italian Garden Tour Holidays.
Exciting developments to our Swiss programme have lead to many more personalised rail holiday options.
The performance and dates for the 2017 Verona Opera Festival have been released, and we have begun taking bookings.
Georgie gives us the low-down on her experience of Catalonia, and her most insightful recommendations.
The Viceroy Resort in St Lucia has been voted the Best Long Haul Hotel in the World at the 2016 Times and Sunday Times Travel Awards in Las Vegas this September.
At the 2016 Times and Sunday Times Travel Awards, Round Hill Hotel and Villas has been voted the Caribbean’s Leading Villa Resort for the 8th consecutive year, as well as Jamaica’s Leading Hotel.