Where to Stay in Tuscany (Outside of Florence)

Let’s get the simple stuff out of the way here, shall we? Simply put, Tuscany is one of Italy’s most beautiful regions. It’s no wonder that visitors flock year after year. However, that flock usually meets up in Florence and creates a big tourist storm. While everyone needs to visit Florence, Tuscany is an entire region and when you make a visit there’s so much more to discover here that just a city or two.

So, where are you going to stay in Tuscany?

You might be surprised to learn that there are plenty of Tuscan towns and cities that offer travelers an enjoyable stay plus easy access to the entire region by train or bus. In this post, we talk about where to stay in Tuscany, outside of Florence, and how to explore more of this wonderful region of Italy.

An Important Thing or Two to Note About Tuscany

Public transportation is your best friend here. It’s so easy to use and gets you practically everywhere. Granted, there’s the occasional strike (most likely during the summer) or the bus is 30 minutes late (don’t put your whole trust in Italian buses) but seriously, travel is very affordable, fast and easy in Tuscany.

If you’re staying in one of the places in Tuscany we list below then be on the lookout for public walking paths! There are trails spanning the countryside in Tuscany and that’s also a fantastic way to get around, especially from small town to small town. Just be ready for those Tuscan hills!

Ok, so now let’s talk about where to stay in Tuscany that isn’t Florence.

Livorno

Livorno

It’s not everyday when you search “what to do in Tuscany” and Livorno pops up. That’s why this is a great alternative to Florence! Besides having the Tuscan coast at your fingertips (walk the Terrazza Mascagni), you’re able to explore the many old fortresses and churches that make Livorno special.

The accommodation is cheaper and you won’t find as many tourists hanging around and causing a blockage in the piazza.

Ok, so how do you get to Florence?

You can arrive in Florence in just over an hour by train. Easy as that! And it’s not just Florence that’s within reach from Livorno; it’s a great base to discover some other Italian gems, even outside of Tuscany.

Rome is a little far from here but direct your compass north and you’ll find a lot to do! You can reach the picturesque Cinque Terre in just 1.5 hours! That’s the perfect idea for a day trip filled with scenic walks and hiking. Don’t forget to pack some Tuscan meats and breads with some Chianti for a picnic!

Pisa: 15 minutes by train for less than 3 euros!

Florence: 1 to 1.5 hours by train

Siena: 2.5 hours by train

Cinque Terre: 1-2 hours by train

Rome: 3 to 3.5 hours by train

Arezzo

Piazza grande in Arezzo

Arezzo is an incredible town that deserves its own bit of sightseeing. If you like Roman ruins, medieval walls and art then Arezzo is the perfect Tuscan base for you.

Arezzo is home to Giorgio Vasari, the original art historian and a renaissance artist himself and Guido of Arezzo who invented the modern musical notation.

This town has much more to offer than these historic names like its duomo, which houses a fresco by Piero della Francesca that you can see for free or you can see a whole series of frescoes by della Francesca in the Basilica of San Francesco (for a small fee). Along with that, Arezzo is home to a huge antiques market on the first Sunday of every month and the Saturday before, which is worth the visit!

Ok, so Arezzo has the art and history but you really want to see Florence too, right?

Arezzo is a pretty big train hub so you’re going to find fast trains everywhere. You can get to Florence in a jiffy and in almost the same time you can get to Rome. That’s the best of both worlds right there.

Pisa: 2.5 hours by train

Florence: 1 to 1.5 hours by train

Siena 1.5 by bus or 2.5 hours by train

Rome: 1.5 to 2 hours by train

Poggibonsi

poggibonsi07

Ok, you may have not heard of Poggibonsi before but trust us, it’s a great place to stay in Tuscany. Not only is there a train station in the middle of town with quick connections (bus too) all over Tuscany, but you’ll find yourself near Chianti, the famous wine and olive region. More on wine and olives below!

While Poggibonsi doesn’t have a lot going for it in terms of tourism, you’ll find very affordable accommodation, super convenient transport, and nice eateries throughout town. In fact, this was where we made our base during our 10 day Tuscany travels and it was perfect!

Being so close to the popular town of San Gimignano, why stay in Poggibonsi? I mean, San Gimignano has some of the world’s best gelato, right?

It’s true, San Gimignano does have some of the best gelato you’ll ever try in your life but the only downside to this ideal Tuscan town is the absence of a train connection. The inconvenience of no train makes San Gimignano a little less enticing and the fact that Poggibonsi will have you there in half an hour by bus makes it our choice instead.

But please, visit San G at least once during your visit to Tuscany. Many tourists visit for a few hours but we wrote a guide about what to see and do in San Gimignano and how to really experience it to the fullest!

Pisa: 1.5 hours by train

Florence: 1 to 1.5 hours by train

Siena: 20 minutes (!) by train

San Gimignano: 30 minutes by bus

Rome: 2.5 to 3 hours by train

Siena

Piazza del Campo in Siena crowded with tourist

Outside of Florence and Pisa, Siena is probably next on the list of most popular towns in Tuscany. We highly recommend visiting Siena but staying there is only recommendable if the price is right. Since everything in Tuscany is so accessible by train, staying in Siena for double the price as somewhere else just doesn’t make a ton of sense to us. That’s especially true if you’re planning on taking a lot of day trips.

Our 1 day in Siena was filled with so many great memories of Tuscany. Being so close already in Poggibonsi, we arrived to Siena early in the morning and left fulfilled in the evening.

If you decide to stay in Siena you’ll find plenty to do in the city itself but take note that the old center, Piazza del Campo, is pretty far from the train station. The station (bus too) is located down a hill outside of the historical area which takes a good 15-20 minute walk from the center. Don’t worry, there are escalators once you reach the hill!

Pisa: 2 hours by train

Florence: 1.5 hours by train

San Gimignano: 1 hour by bus

Rome: 3.5 to 4 hours by train

Lucca

Lucca

Another Tuscan gem that’s near the coast is Lucca. Again, you’ll find cheaper housing here and less tourists but it’s not because Lucca is lacking! In terms of history, visitors today can witness the well-preserved walls of the old city from the 16th and 17 centuries as well as the beautiful cathedral dating all the way back to the 11th century.

Lucca is located further north than other cities in Tuscany we’ve mentioned so staying here has its benefits if you’re looking to explore outside the Tuscan border. See some train times below!

Pisa: 2 hours by train

Florence: 1.5 hours by train

Siena: 2.5 to 3 hours by train

Cinque Terre: 2-3 hours by train

Bologna: 2 hours by train

Rome: 3.5 to 4 hours by train

Grosseto

Palazzo Aldobrandeschi, Grosseto

Grosseto is located in the South of Tuscany and is a great base for those who want to visit the ocean, Rome, and Florence while staying in affordable accommodation.

Maremma Natural Park and the ruins of the Etruscan town Roselle are easily accessible from Grosseto as well, making for some really unique day trips!.

Grosseto’s center is enclosed by a medieval wall and that’s where you can find the beautiful pink facade of their Duomo di San Lorenzo.

The only downside to this town is the distance to Florence is a little far. On the opposite side of the coin, Rome is pretty close!

Pisa: 2 hours by train

Florence: 2.5 to 3 hours by train

Siena: 1.5 hours by train

Rome: 1.5 to 2 hours by train

Countryside of Tuscany

Tuscan town on a hill

If you ask us, the countryside of Tuscany is the best part about this region of Italy and the best place to stay.

What makes the Tuscan countryside so special?

We’ll let the picture do most of the talking here but seriously, you’ll find vineyard after vineyard, olive groves, one small village after another atop the green hills, all dotted with the famous cyprus trees. Not only is it worth it to just drive through this area but it’s really worth it to stay.

Does staying at a historic family-owned winery in the Tuscan countryside suit your fancy?

Villa Spoiano Winery, deep in the heart of Chianti, provides amazing hospitality and a true eye-opening experience through their Organic Wine and Oil Tasting.

And Villa Spoiano isn’t the only one. You’ll find so many vineyards and farms that offer accommodation or a more agrotourism experience. You’ll meet the locals and sample a bit of the local life which you’ll fall in love with.

Who knows, you might even get the urge to move here. We did! Maybe one day…

Helpful Resources

Before we say “ciao” we’d like to provide a few helpful resources for your travels in Tuscany.

When traveling in Italy, Trenitalia is as good as it gets; just be sure and always keep an eye on your belongings!

But what if the trains aren’t running or are too pricey? You can try your hand at Italian buses (no guarantees!) or there’s always FlixBus, a good alternative to trains.

As far as accommodation goes, we highly recommend Airbnb but Booking.com always has some deals running!

Summary of Where to Stay in Tuscany

Whether it’s the glistening coastline or the rolling vineyard-lined hills, travelers in Tuscany will have to make some hard choices on what to do when they’re here and what to save for the next time they visit.

But let’s face it: a return to Tuscany is always a good idea.

We hope this post has given you some insight into where to stay in Tuscany and helps you plan an awesome trip through this region.

Happy travels!

Like it? Pin it!

pin of a small town in tuscany

Some of the links on this site are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and make a purchase, we will receive an affiliate commission (thanks for that!) at no extra cost to you.

Where Food Takes Us

Where Food Takes Us

We’re Darah and Garrett. Our life has been an adventure ever since we eloped in a pink Cadillac in Las Vegas. Now we’re running around the world, working online, and eating everything we can.

READ MORE

Related Posts

Start Your Travel Budget!Receive our FREE interactive trip itinerary and budget calculator!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.