Tuscany needs no introduction – think stunning countryside vistas, a clutch of UNESCO listed cities and stylish beach resorts favoured by the great, the good and the glitterati. A unique combination that can offer travellers a city break, country escape and beach lounging without hours of travelling in between.
Forte dei Marmi and Viareggio are the best known coastal locations in Tuscany. Forte dei Marmi enjoys its status as holiday destination of choice for a raft of celebrities, lured by the achingly hip beach clubs clustered upon the stunning coastline, designer boutiques and world-famous night scene. By contrast, Viareggio enjoys a classic take on the above. A cluster of private resorts and public beaches have become firm favourites with Italian families, thanks in part to their soft sand, shallow water and family-friendly vibe. The town throngs with excellent restaurants – awash with well-heeled locals catching up over espresso, pizza and freshly-caught seafood.
A trip to the beach resort of Tirrenia, puts you in the centre of Tuscany’s three big cities. Florence is home to a raft of priceless renaissance art and architecture, in particular the world-renowned Duomo and Michelangelo’s David, and can be reached in 90 minutes by car. A half-hour car journey gets you within posing distance of the leaning tower in Pisa, where you can also sample culinary treats from the cities thriving cafe scene. The final city, Siena is 2 hours away and your road-trip will be richly rewarded in the form of shell-shaped Piazza del Campo – the largest of its kind in Europe, and home to a twice annual horse-race made famous by James Bond.
The perfect antidote to the buzz of the cities is surely relaxing in the Tuscan countryside, surrounded by rolling hills, olive groves as far as the eye can see – and fortified by the regions world-celebrated wine. This area is peppered with medieval towns and villages, perfect for leisurely exploration while you work up to another bowl of pasta.
Hire a car during your stay. So, you can shop at Florence’s markets, wander Siena’s piazzas and towers, or discover the vineyards of Chianti, all at your own pace.