10 most beautiful villages in Tuscany
Tuscany has many beautiful hamlets to show to the whole world. Each area of the region, Lunigiana, Garfagnana, Versilia, Etruscan Coast, Maremma, Chianti, Val d’Orcia, Casentino or Valtiberina are plenty of small jewels to visit. You cannot come to Italy without visiting some of these little villages in Tuscany, on the top of a rolling hill or in the middle of a green grassy plain.
Every year the Italian Touring Club makes a list of the best villages of Italy with no more than fifteen thousand inhabitants, checking five main topics:
- Availability of accommodation and tourism infrastructures
- Tourist Attractions (usability historical and environmental assets, food farming production, shows and events)
- Environmental Quality
- Quality of the place
These places receive a reward called “Bandiera Arancione”, literally Orange Flag, and 36 villages in Tuscany got it. In fact, Tuscany is the region with the highest number of Orange Flags in Italy.
We know that all of these thirty-six hamlets worth a visit. Among to this long list, we have chosen ten of them as best villages in Tuscany (without considering the already-famous Pienza, San Gimignano or Volterra).
10 Most Beautiful villages in Tuscany
Starting from the north of Tuscany we highly suggest:
Fosdinovo, gate of the old historical area of Lunigiana in northern Tuscany, is a small village on the top of a hill overlooking Val di Magra and Luni Plains with a 360-degree view of Apuan Alps and of the Mediterranean Sea. It is famous for the beautiful 12th century Malaspina Family Castle. You can visit its rooms and towers and listen to the tales of its old inhabitants. Do not miss to taste the delicious traditional food as Sgabei, Testaroli, honey and Vermentino wine.
Barga is a small hill town set between Lucca and Garfagnana mountains in the Media Valle of Serchio River. Especially during summer time there’s a lively nightlife with Opera and Jazz Festivals. The main attractions are the Romanesque Duomo, the Renaissance buldings and the theatre. It is also considered the most Scottish town in Italy because of the many locals emigrated at the end of 1800. There is also a Fish and Chips Fest during summer.
Collodi is the birthplace of Pinocchio, the animated marionette protagonist of one of the “best-selling book” in the world, The Adventures of Pinocchio by the Italian author Carlo Collodi. It looks like a cascade of houses descending down from a steep hill. At the end of the town, there’s Villa Garzoni with its amazing garden Baroque style. To visit, there is also the Monumental Park of Pinocchio with fascinating sculptures of the Novel characters.
Certaldo is one of the few medieval hamlet still intact built between 12th and 15th century, set in the heart of Tuscany. The centre hosts workshops, taverns and traditional restaurants, churches and museums. Do not miss the famous Mercantia festival, international festival of street arts during the month of July.
5. Casale Marittimo
Casale Marittimo is the ideal village for lovers of a different and quieter way of life. It is only 10 km (6,3 miles) away from the sea of the Etruscan Coast. I suggest you a relaxing walk along its narrow streets with beautiful brickworks houses, and a wine tasting of a good Red of this area (a Bolgheri red or a Super Tuscan wine) together with local cheese and cold cuts in one of the bars of the main square.
Photo Credits: Massimo Giannelli
Suvereto takes its name from the cork oak woods that surround the village together with olive oil trees and vineyards (read about our harvest experience here). It is considered as one of the best villages in Tuscany and in the whole Italy and it’s not so far from the Etruscan Coast. It still presents intact city walls and each summer many events and “Sagre” (feast) take place right inside. I recommend to see the medieval entry door, the old town hall date back to 1200, the churches and the ruins of the citadel.
Anghiari is set on a spur of rock, it is one of the most suggestive medieval villages in Tuscany close to the border with Umbria in the area of Valtiberina. It is protected by 13th century defensive walls. Its name reminds to the famous battle between Florentines and Milanese Troops of the Visconti Family on 29 June 1440, also described by Leonardo da Vinci on a fresco in Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.
Monteriggioni is a walled town on a natural hillock, rare example of medieval military architecture. The Sienese people built it in 1214 as a front line during wars against Florence in middle ages. The circular walls are about 570 meters long and have 14 towers. It is only few miles out of Siena and is also part of the Via Francigena for pilgrims direct to Rome.
Montepulciano is a medieval and renaissance village with Etruscan origin, set in southern Tuscany in the province of Siena. It is renowned for the production of food such as pork, Pici pasta, lentils and for the famous Vino Nobile. The main sights to see are the town hall in Romanesque style, the Piazza Grande, several churches, the temple of the Madonna di San Biagio, and many workshops and mosaic studios in the centre. We visited Montepulciano on 3 days tour between Val di Chiana and Val d’Orcia, and we definitely suggest you to take it, read here our experience.
Photo Credits: Luca Biancani
Pitigliano is an extraordinary natural sight that suddenly appears on the top of a tuff mountain in the Maremma area. It is only approaching to this amazing village that you realize that houses were built into the tuff, looking like a continuation of the mountain. It is named also as Little Jerusalem for the presence of Jewish in the past. Today you can admire the restored Synagogue, the historical centre with the Duomo and medieval-renaissance buildings, the Etruscan walls, and the Vie Cave (open air paths dug into the tuff just out of the hamlet).
Which is your favorite one? If you wish to discover more interesting off-the-beaten track hamlets read also the Top 10 Tuscany Villages to visit. In the meantime do not forget to pin this post if you liked it.