When planning a trip to Tuscany, visitors are often faced with the decision of whether to focus their stay in the countryside or in the city of Florence.
So, which one to choose, Tuscany Countryside vs Florence?
Florence is perfect for history, art, and architecture lovers, while the Tuscan countryside offers a relaxing retreat with picturesque landscapes, charming small towns, and local traditions. Florence offers more classic Tuscan cuisine while around Tuscany, you can taste authentic local food and wine. The best time to visit both areas is from April to June and September to October, with Florence offering year-round attractions and events.
There is more to discuss. Read the article to know more about visiting your favorite Tuscan countryside and Florence.
Tuscany Countryside Vs Florance: Quick Comparison
While both areas offer unique experiences and attractions, there are distinct differences between the two that should be considered when planning a trip. Here is a quick comparison between the Tuscany countryside vs Florence.
|Purpose||History, Art, Architecture||Relaxation, Food and Wine, Natural Beauty|
|Season and Temperature||Year-round||Spring, Summer, Fall|
|Attractions||Art museums, Gothic churches, Renaissance palaces, etc.||Wine-tasting, historic places and medieval towns, and rolling hills, natural parks, etc.|
|Food||Local cuisine, International options||Authentic Tuscan cuisine, Farm-to-table, San Giovese wine|
|Accommodation||Hotels, Hostels, Apartments||Agriturismo, Farmhouses, Villas,|
|Transportation||Public transportation, Walking||Car, Organized tours, Private drivers, Vespa|
|Wine Tours||Chianti region, City tours||Vineyards and Wineries in the countryside|
|Cost of Visit||Higher||Lower|
|Nightlife||Bustling and vibrant||Relaxing and peaceful|
Trip Pursuit’s expert voice for this article –
This comparison is prepared with the help of Valerio Simoncini, a tourist guide based in Tuscany (one of our podcast guests). So, we recommend him if you’re planning on a visit to Florence or Tuscany.
Tuscany Countryside vs Florence: A Detailed Discussion
Based on the quick comparison, here is an in-depth discussion on visiting Florence and Tuscany.
For a relaxing and peaceful getaway, Tuscany might be the better option, whereas Florence is for those interested in art, history, and architecture.
If you are interested in art and history and enjoy exploring museums, galleries, and cultural landmarks, then spending the majority of your time in Florence is a good option. You can easily fill your days with visits to famous museums like the Uffizi Gallery, the Accademia Gallery, and the Palazzo Vecchio.
However, if you are interested in experiencing Tuscany’s rural charm and natural beauty, then you may want to consider exploring the whole region. You could base yourself in Florence for a few days and then rent a car to explore Tuscany’s beautiful countryside.
You can also explore the historic center of Florence, enjoy a Tuscan meal at a traditional trattoria, and take in the stunning views from the Piazzale Michelangelo. While in the whole of Tuscany, some popular places to visit include the hilltop towns of San Gimignano and Volterra, the medieval city of Siena, the walled city of Lucca, and the rolling hills of the Chianti wine region.
With its rolling hills, vineyards, and olive groves, the region of Tuscany is ideal for nature walks, bike rides, and wine-tasting tours. The small towns offer a slow-paced lifestyle, where travelers can enjoy local festivals, markets, and events. Florence, on the other hand, is a bustling city with a lot of noise and activity. While it offers plenty of cultural experiences, it may not be the best place to relax and recharge.
Tuscany countryside offers wine-tasting, medieval towns, and rolling hills; whereas Florence offers art museums, Gothic churches, and Renaissance palaces.
Florence is a city rich in history, art, and architecture. Visitors can explore the iconic Duomo, the Uffizi Gallery, and the Ponte Vecchio, among many other attractions. The city also offers a vibrant food and wine scene, with numerous restaurants, cafes, and wine bars to choose from.
Here is a 7-day itinerary of the attractions you can visit in Florence:
- Visit the iconic Duomo di Firenze, including the Florence Cathedral, the Baptistery, and the Giotto’s Bell Tower
- Climb to the top of the Duomo for breathtaking views of Florence
- Visit the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo to see sculptures and art from the cathedral
- Visit the Uffizi Gallery, one of the most famous art museums in the world
- See famous works of art, including Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” and Leonardo da Vinci’s “Annunciation”
- Stroll along the Ponte Vecchio, a medieval bridge lined with shops and jewelry stores
- Visit the Pitti Palace, a former Medici residence turned art museum
- See works of art by Raphael, Caravaggio, and Rubens
- Explore the Boboli Gardens, a beautiful and expansive Renaissance garden
- Visit the Basilica di Santa Croce, a Gothic church known for its stunning frescoes and tombs of famous Italians, including Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli
- Visit the Bargello Museum, a medieval palace turned sculpture museum
- See works by Donatello, Michelangelo, and Cellini
- Visit the Palazzo Vecchio, a medieval palace turned city hall
- See works of art by Vasari and Verrocchio
- Climb the tower for views of Florence
- Visit the Accademia Gallery, home to Michelangelo’s “David”
- See other works of art by Michelangelo, including “Prisoners” and “Saint Matthew”
- Visit the Mercato Centrale for a taste of local Tuscan cuisine
- Take a day trip to the nearby town of Fiesole, known for its Etruscan ruins and stunning views of Florence
- Visit the Roman Amphitheater and the Fiesole Cathedral
- Enjoy a traditional Tuscan lunch at a local restaurant with views of the surrounding countryside.
Tuscany, in contrast, offers a different type of attraction. Visitors can explore the Pisa Tower, historic Lucca, and charming small towns, such as San Gimignano and Montepulciano, and Maremma, and take in the picturesque landscape of rolling hills and vineyards.
The area is also known for its wine and olive oil production, and there are many wineries and farms that offer tastings and tours.
For a 7-day itinerary of the attractions in Tuscany, plan at least 2 days in Florence, a day in Pisa and Livorno, at least 2 days in Chianti and look around the Chianti wine regions, a day in Siena and San Gimignano and spend the last day to look around the Tuscan countryside.
We’ve already planned and sequenced the things to do in Tuscany for 7 days, do keep it in mind that there is a lot to see other than what we’ve listed down. You can also check out our video podcast for the 7-day itinerary in Tuscany-
Season and Temperature
The best time to visit both Tuscany and Florence is from April to June, and from September to October when the weather is mild and pleasant.
If you’re interested in seeing the famous art and architecture of Florence, the city can be visited year-round. But some areas can be more appealing in certain seasons, for example, the Boboli Gardens in the spring.
You can also attend many events and festivals throughout the year, including Carnevale in February, Easter celebrations, and outdoor concerts in the summer.
However, July and August which are the summer months can be quite hot and crowded, so many visitors prefer to visit in the spring or fall. November to March is the low season, with cooler temperatures and fewer crowds.
The whole of Tuscany is best visited in the spring and fall when the weather is milder and the landscape is lush and green. There are many local festivals and events in the fall, including harvest festivals and wine tastings.
Both Florence and the countryside of Tuscany offer incredible food experiences.
In Florence, visitors can enjoy classic Tuscan cuisine in restaurants and trattorias, such as Bistecca Alla Fiorentina (grilled steak) and Ribollita (vegetable soup). The city also has a vibrant street food scene, with vendors selling everything from panini to gelato with many artisanal gelato shops throughout the city offering a variety of flavors.
You can try fresh ricotta cheese, which is often used in desserts like cannoli, and a variety of pizzerias serving up delicious Neapolitan-style pizza.
In the Tuscan countryside, in contrast, visitors can experience the local food and wine culture in a more traditional setting. Many small towns have markets where visitors can buy local ingredients, and there is numerous agriturismo (farm stays) where visitors can enjoy homemade meals using ingredients grown on the property.
You can try Pecorino cheese, a hard, salty cheese made from sheep’s milk, delicious gelato shops in towns like San Gimignano and Volterra, and pizzerias serving up traditional Tuscan pizza with toppings like prosciutto, mushrooms, and truffle oil.
Florence has a diverse selection of accommodations, while the Tuscany region offers more distinctive and rustic options.
Florence has a wide range of accommodation options, from budget-friendly hostels to luxury hotels. However, prices can be high, especially during the peak tourist season.
Tuscany, in contrast, offers a more unique range of accommodation, with many agriturismo and villas available for rent. These properties offer visitors a chance to experience the Tuscan way of life, often surrounded by beautiful landscapes and vineyards.
Prices can vary depending on the level of luxury and amenities offered, but there are many budget-friendly options available as well. Here are five accommodation options in Florence ranging from luxurious to affordable prices:
- Four Seasons Hotel Firenze – This luxury hotel is located in a historic palazzo and features a spa, outdoor pool, gardens, and fine dining. Prices start at around $700 per night.
- Hotel Lungarno: This elegant hotel overlooks the Arno River and offers stylish rooms, a rooftop terrace, and a Michelin-starred restaurant.
- NH Firenze – This mid-range hotel is located near the Santa Maria Novella train station and offers modern rooms and a rooftop terrace with panoramic views. Prices start at around $100 per night.
- Hostel Archi Rossi – This budget-friendly hostel is located near the Duomo and offers dormitory and private rooms, a bar, and a communal kitchen. Prices start at around $25 per night.
- Hotel Collodi – This affordable hotel is located in the historic center of Florence and offers cozy rooms with traditional decor. Prices start at around $70 per night.
Here is a list of 5 accommodation options in the Tuscany region from luxurious to affordable prices:
- Borgo Santo Pietro – a luxurious, 5-star boutique hotel located in a restored 13th-century villa, offering a spa, Michelin-starred restaurant, and beautiful gardens.
- Castello di Velona – a luxurious, 5-star castle hotel with a spa, panoramic pool, and views of the Val d’Orcia, one of the most picturesque areas of Tuscany.
- Villa La Palagina – a charming 4-star villa hotel located in the hills of the Chianti region, offering a pool, gardens, and traditional Tuscan cuisine.
- Fattoria Pagnana – an agriturismo offering apartments and rooms in a restored farmhouse, surrounded by olive groves and vineyards, with a pool and restaurant on site.
- Agriturismo La Canonica: Located in the heart of Tuscany, Agriturismo La Canonica offers cozy rooms with rustic Tuscan decor. The property features a pool, a garden, and an on-site restaurant that serves local cuisine.
Florence is best explored on foot, or in a public transportation system, while for the Tuscany countryside, a car is a good option but expensive to rent.
In Florence, visitors can get around the city easily on foot, as many of the main attractions are located within the walking distance of each other. The city also has a good public transportation system, including buses and trams. For those who want to explore the surrounding area, there are also trains and buses available.
To go around the region of Tuscany, a car is often necessary, as public transportation can be limited. Renting a car can be expensive, but it offers the flexibility to explore the small towns and countryside at your own pace. Alternatively, visitors can join organized tours or hire a private driver to explore the area.
You can take a Vespa tour for exploring the Tuscan region, a local guide will drive around to show you the region. You can also take a vintage Fiat 500 to go around the hilly roads of the region. There is also the option to rent NCC, a private van with a driver to go around but it can be very costly.
Wine is an important part of Tuscan culture, and there are many wineries and vineyards in the area that offer tours and tastings.
In Florence, visitors can take a wine tour of the city or the nearby Chianti region, which is known for its Sangiovese grapes. There are two wine tours that you can take in Florence – Enoteca Alessi and Fuori Porta Wine Tasting.
In the countryside, there are numerous wineries and vineyards, offering visitors a chance to taste some of the region’s best wines. Here is a list of wine tours that Valerio suggests –
- Castello di Nipozzano
- Antinori nel Chianti Classico
- Castello di Verrazzano
- Tenuta Tignanello
- Castello di Monsanto
- Castellare di Castellina
- Villa Trasqua
- Tenuta Casanova
Cost of Visit
Florence can be an expensive city to visit while the Tuscany is more affordable in terms of accommodation, transport, and other amenities.
Florence usually has high prices for accommodations, food, and attractions. However, there are also many budget-friendly options available, such as small guesthouses and street food.
On the other side, the countryside of Tuscany offers lower prices for accommodations and dining. However, transportation costs can be higher, especially if visitors want to rent a car to explore the area.
Here is the estimated daily cost breakdown for each budget level for the 7-day itinerary in Florence:
To reach the city from the airport, it costs around $25-$35 to go by taxi, while in the countryside, it could cost around $100-$150 to the farmhouse or villa.
Here is a table for the cost of visiting Tuscany per day for the 7-day itinerary in Tuscany:
|1-2||Florence||$80-150||$40-80||$0-10 (walking/public transportation)||$20-50 (Uffizi Gallery, Florence Cathedral, Ponte Vecchio, San Miniato Al Monte)|
|3||Pisa and Livorno||$80-150||$40-80||$10-20 (regional train/taxi)||$25-40 (Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa Cathedral and Baptistery)|
|4||Siena||$80-150||$40-80||$10-20 (regional train/taxi)||$20-40 (Piazza del Campo, Siena Cathedral)|
|5||Val d’Orcia||$80-150||$40-80||$40-80 (rental car)||$0-30 (countryside views, vineyards)|
|6||San Gimignano||$80-150||$40-80||$10-20 (bus/taxi)||$10-20 (Medieval towers, Museo Civico)|
|7||Chianti||$80-150||$40-80||$40-80 (rental car)||$20-40 (Castello di Brolio, wine tasting)|
Based on the estimated costs provided, the total estimated cost for the 7-day itinerary in Florence is approximately €940-1,210 for budget travelers and €1,570-1,910 for mid-range travelers.
In comparison, the total estimated cost for the 7-day itinerary in Tuscany is approximately €1,105-1,380 for budget travelers and €1,735-2,060 for mid-range travelers.
Please note that these are rough estimates of a minimum budget and actual costs may vary based on the type of accommodation, transportation, attractions, and restaurants chosen.
The nightlife in Florence and the Tuscan countryside can be quite different from each other.
Florence is a bustling city with vibrant nightlife. There are numerous bars, clubs, and restaurants that stay open late into the night. The city has a lively atmosphere, and events and activities are always happening.
On the other hand, the Tuscan countryside is much quieter and more peaceful. There are fewer options for nightlife, but there are still plenty of great restaurants and bars where you can enjoy a drink and a meal.
In the countryside, you can enjoy stargazing and tranquil surroundings, which can be a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Ultimately, it depends on your personal preference. Florence is the better choice if you’re looking for vibrant nightlife. However, if you’re looking for a more peaceful and relaxing atmosphere, the Tuscan countryside is the way to go.
Which One to Choose: Tuscany Countryside vs Florance
Whether to focus on Florence or the countryside of Tuscany depends on the interests and preferences of each individual traveler. Both areas offer unique experiences and attractions, and there are many factors to consider when planning a trip.
The choice between Florence and the Tuscan countryside depends on the visitor’s interests and preferences. Florence is best for visitors who are interested in history, art, and architecture and enjoy a vibrant city atmosphere. It is also a good option for those who want to explore other parts of Tuscany, as it is well-connected by public transportation.
On the other hand, the countryside of Tuscany is best for visitors who are looking for a more relaxed and authentic Tuscan experience. It is a good option for those who want to explore small towns and villages, and who are interested in food and wine.
It is also a good option for those who want to get away from the crowds and enjoy the natural beauty of the region. Overall, both locations offer incredible food experiences, and the best time to visit both is from April to June and from September to October.
Here is everything you need to know about Tuscany countryside vs Florence. Visitors can choose to explore the rich history and culture of Florence or immerse themselves in the natural beauty and local traditions of the Tuscan countryside.
Whichever option is chosen, a trip to Tuscany will be a memorable and enjoyable experience. Stay with Trip Pursuit!