When you’re choosing between sweeping hills, peppered with vineyards and cypress trees, and long sandy beaches on historic coastal towns it can be hard to decide. Tuscany is home to some of the most loved historic cities in Italy. But if you’re looking for a true taste of Tuscan living, you can’t just have the city break, you must stay in the idyllic villas that the region has become known for. But when you’ve got a region as big as Tuscany to parse, with a mind boggling choice of villas inland and by the sea, it can be hard to pinpoint exactly where to visit. That’s why we’ve come up with this handy guide to a few of our favourite spots for inland and coastal villa renting in Tuscany.
The ancient hilltop town of Cortona (near the eastern border of Tuscany), and its surrounding countryside have a plethora of villa rentals available. The town caters well for holidaymakers looking for a quiet, rural break, but still wanting access to sightseeing spots. The old town is a gem overlooked by most tourists, lined with steep cobbled streets of high medieval housing.
Villas among the vineyards on the Chianti hills are another excellent spot for inland getaways. Hire a car and visit the historic towns. Visit the wineries and sample the local produce, straight from the source. Many of the properties in the region have vineyards right out the back door (a true Tuscan fantasy) and are often period buildings fit with pools.
Gambassi Terme is our recommendation if you’re looking for a deeply relaxing, luxurious experience. Located within the region of Florence, Gambassi Terme is not far from the action if you wanted to see the city for a day or two, however it’s far enough out of the city to get a taste of rural life. Not only is it an area steeped in history, it also has access to several spas kitted out with the region’s famous thermal baths.
Forte dei Marmi has been a favourite holiday destination for the Italian upper classes for many years, and it’s easy to see why. The town sits between the breath-taking Apuan Alps and sandy beaches looking onto the sea. The exclusive, luxury villas in the area stunning, situated in classic Italian architecture looking out onto pine groves.
Porto Santo Stefano is a seaport town on an almost-Island (connected to the mainland by just a thin strip of sand) off the coast of Tuscany. Though it is astonishingly beautiful – both naturally and architecturally – it is little known by tourists. Sat upon the mountain of Argentario, the town looks on to the beautiful, blue Tyrrhenian Sea dotted with boats coming in and out of the port. Villas there are impressive, including Torre di Talamone, a rentable villa that featured in the Bond film ‘Quantum of Solace’.
Torre Del Lago Puccini is another of our top recommendations for seaside holidays in Tuscany. It’s still mostly unknown to most tourists, so expect a quiet stay (except for when the annual, world-famous, opera festival is on). On one side of town is a tranquil lake surrounded by pine forests and mountain views, and on the other is miles of sandy beaches.
Whether you’re a fan of beaches and sea air, or vineyards and mountains, Tuscany has it all. Take a look at our accommodation options here.