11 Free things to do in Tuscany
Creating a guide that includes all the free things you can do in Tuscany will probably need hundreds of pages. From beaches and verdant lands to important landmarks, architectural marvels, and medieval sites, Tuscany is full of things you can enjoy without having to pay a penny for them. Below, we give you a tiny taste of some places worth visiting, each for a different reason!
- Piazzale Michelangelo
A beautiful 10th-century piazza offering the most panoramic vistas of Florence. You will find plenty of Michelangelo’s sculptures (copies, of course) decorating the square, which are a spectacle on their own. However, most people come here for the incredible views.
- Val d’Orcia
Orcia Valley adorns the center of Tuscany and features the typical (absolutely wonderful) Tuscany landscapes. Vineyards, big plains, cypress avenues, and charming towns perched on the hills comprise the perfect backdrop for pictures. If you arrive at sunset, expect to be mind-blown by the burst of nature. A great place to visit with children, as they can run on the land and have fun while you enjoy spectacular vistas.
- Costiera di Calafuria
A must-visit coast south of Livorno that will steal your heart with the beauty and the harshness of the surrounding cliffs. Providing seascapes from above, you will also have the chance to admire cobalt waters and unique rocky landscapes. Although it would be difficult to swim here due to the winds that often blow and the usually rough sea, there are several swim-friendly beaches further down the coast.
- Le mura di Lucca
A walk on the Walls of Lucca is something worth experiencing even once. The hike itself is around 4.5 km and is more than enjoyable, especially during autumn, when the leaves of the trees are changing colours. The truly magical place offers amazing sights both inside and outside the Walls. You may also go around the Lucca Walls by bike (do try a 4-person “bicicletta”) while there are plenty of freshwater drinking spots along the way.
- Terrazza Mascagni
One of the most romantic and biggest terraces of the Italian coast with striking panoramas. Some people describe Terrazza Mascagni as the finest sea promenade in Europe when referring to the views. This iconic place in Livorno with the white bannister and the checkered floor tiles gives you the opportunity to watch the sun slip behind the Gorgona Island while listening to the hypnotising sound of the crashing waves. No wonder people from all around Livorno come here for a stroll, a quick dip, or a relaxing walk to clear their mind, rain or shine, day or night.
- Historic Centre of San Gimignano
You will instantly feel as if you have stepped back in time. Indeed, the authenticity of the historic center and the town of San Gimignano, in general, is awe-inspiring. Once you get here, you will be greeted by magnificent towers and picturesque vistas. The historic castle town has something for every taste, from art, culture, and music to fab architecture, tasty gelato, delicious pizza, shopping, and heart-stopping views of the Sienna rolling hills.
- Piazza del Campo
The quaint shell-shaped square is the beating heart of Siena. The one side of Piazza del Campo is full of inviting terraces, while the other side is home to the 102-metre high Torre del Mangia and the town hall (Palazzo Comunale). Back in the day, a famous horse race called Palio used to be held here in July and August. The atmosphere here is magnetic, especially in the evenings, when you can just sit and have a tasty meal, listening to the town hall bells and watching people walking through.
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- Piazza Grande
This central place will leave you almost overwhelmed by it. It is much more different than virtually any other square in Tuscany due to its inclined ground (most Tuscany tends to be flat). The reason behind this peculiarity is that Piazza Grande was designed for bare-back and chariot horse races, as well as other sporting events, such as football. Its uneven shape breaks all the rules and enchants with its spine-tingling charm. Also worth visiting is the Cathedral, which is a sight for sore eyes on its own even if you only view it on the outside.
- Eremo Le Celle
Franciscan places stand in a secluded site rich in landscape values. Eremo Le Celle could not have been otherwise. Closely tied to Francis of Assisi, the monastic settlement is also home to Francesco’s cell, which is preserved in its original position and shape. Expect to feel as if being whisked back in time the moment you crest the hill and see the Celle. The peaceful sanctuary is nestled on a hillside and comes with well-marked trails that you could walk and have a relaxing walk in the woods.
- Piazza del Duomo
Accentuated by Filippo Brunelleschi’s dome, the historic central square of Florence impresses with its picturesque buildings and iconic landmarks, including the Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore, the world’s 3rd largest cathedral, after St. Paul’s in London and St. Peter’s in Rome. If you decide to visit the impressive monument on the inside, you will be welcomed with great moments of both European and Italian Art History, alongside other not-so-famous but equally top-class artists. Or you could climb to the top of the Duomo (roughly 400 steps) and pamper yourself with magical views over the city of Florence.
- Piazza dei Miracoli
A sight in Pisa that should not be missed. Piazza dei Miracoli, indeed, exudes a sense of admiration and wonder. You can spend several hours here, treating yourself to fantastic architecture and still not have enough of it. As you will notice yourself, the piazza is comprised of several buildings, including the:
- Pisa Cathedral
- 12th-century Baptistery (the place where Galileo Galile was baptised)
- Camposanto Monumentale (a 15th-century cemetery)
- Campanielle (the Leaning Tower of Pisa with its 297 spiral steps)
- Palazzo del’Opera (a 14th-century complex of houses)
- Di Santo Spirito (a 1257 construction that used to house the abandoned, poor, and sick children of the time).
Note, though, that you need to buy a ticket for each of the buildings, so visiting them is not for free. You can admire them on the outside and still grasp their captivating beauty.
Without a doubt, Tuscany is an Italian region rich not only in natural beauties but also sites of profound architectural significance and allure. As for the views you get from the ones on this list here, be prepared for once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Are you ready to visit?