With its spectacular landscapes, cities full of priceless art and unique local cuisine, Tuscany is arguably one of the most compelling destinations in Italy.
Tuscany is the fifth largest and one of the wealthiest regions in Italy, partly due to agriculture and tourism. Although Tuscany is predominantly rural with vast landscapes much like those of half a millennium ago, you will find six World Heritage Sites within its boundaries. They include Florence, Siena, Pisa’s Piazza dei Miracoli, Pienza, San Gimignano and the Val d’Orcia.
In addition, Florence, the capital of Tuscany, welcomes 16 million tourists each year, all eager to line up to see the immense collection of Renaissance art and architecture, the largest in the world according to many experts.
The mix of natural beauty and man-made creations illustrates why Tuscany is one of the most exciting destinations in Italy – and a dream for visitors near and far.
Tuscany was the homeland of the Etruscans, which was annexed by Rome in 351 BC. After the fall of the Roman empire, the region, which became known as Tuscany (Toscana in Italian), came under the rule of a succession of rulers (Herulians, Ostrogoths, etc.) before emerging as a political entity on its own.
By the 12th century, the Tuscan towns were gradually gaining their independence as republics. And by the high Middle Ages, the cities of Pisa, Siena, Arezzo, Pistoia, Lucca, and especially Florence had become wealthy thanks to trade, banking, agriculture and the textile industry.
Today, Florence is the capital of Tuscany and a major cultural centre, with museums, galleries and churches full of superb sculptures, paintings and frescoes, and magnificent monuments built by the greatest masters of all time.
Tuscany has an immense cultural and artistic heritage, expressed in churches, palaces, art galleries, museums, villages and piazzas. Many of these artefacts are found in the main cities, such as Florence and Siena, but also smaller towns scattered around the region, such as San Gimignano.
If Tuscany has a unique artistic legacy, Florence is one of the most significant water-colour centres and is often referred to as the “art palace of Italy”. Additionally, the region is also believed to have the greatest concentration of Renaissance art and architecture in the world.
Painters like Cimabue and Giotto, the fathers of Italian painting, lived in Florence and Tuscany, as well as Arnolfo and Andrea Pisano, renewers of architecture and sculpture; Brunelleschi and Donatello, forefathers of the Renaissance; and the universal genius of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.
The region contains countless museums and art galleries, many housing some of the most precious works of art. These museums include the Uffizi, which keeps The Birth of Venus by Botticelli, the Palazzo Pitti, and the Bargello, to name a few. Today, most of the frescos, sculptures and paintings are held in the great churches and cathedrals of the region. Art in Tuscany is truly unmatched.
SENSATIONAL SLOW FOOD
The Slow Food movement promotes local food and traditional cooking, founded by Carlo Petrini in Italy in 1986, and has since spread worldwide. In Tuscany, restaurants have exemplified this Italian-invented slow food movement, and its inhabitants spend a lot of time thinking, discussing and consuming food and wine.
Local, seasonal and sustainable is the keyword, and Tuscans take great pride in the quality of their products.
Eating a bistecca alla Fiorentina or pici with truffles alongside a Brunello or Super Tuscan wine is a valuable education in the ingredients of this fertile area and a gourmet experience like no other!
Postcard images of medieval towns straddled high in the peaks, and rolling terraces of vineyards and cypresses in the valleys below, are quite what you would expect to see on a visit to Tuscany today.
Tuscany has a timeless familiarity with its iconic Florentine cathedral dome, gentle hills shrouded in the soft morning mist, and sculptural avenues of cypress trees.
Get out, explore, hike and ring your bike bell, as this exciting landscape is waiting for you.
Our experts say
“Second homes in Italian cities and the countryside have always held a special place in the hearts of foreign buyers. 47 nationalities own a holiday rental in Tuscany. And, amongst US and UK second home buyers, Italy is ranked as their second favourite destination. A range of tax incentives, relatively lower prices and remote working becoming the norm has kindled desire to buy second homes in this sunny country.
The rolling hills and stunning coastline of Tuscany are also a big draw, always within reach of beautiful scenery, and the warm waters of the Mediterranean resonate with many families living near and far. Furthermore, three airports and numerous helipads easily connect owners across the globe to their properties – a perfect gateway to a unique Italian lifestyle.”
Tom Haworth – Property Consultant
How to get there
If you come to Tuscany from outside Italy, it is essential to know that the main entrances to Italy are: Mont Blanc tunnel from France, Grand St. Bernard tunnel from Switzerland and Brenner Pass from Austria. Italy has a great system of highways. Roads are also generally good throughout Tuscany, and the system is comprised of regional, provincial and state roads and motorways.
The Italian railway system, run by Trenitalia, is connected with the rest of the European rail system, and it is easy to reach Tuscany from locations across Europe and Italy. The primary train station of Florence is Santa Maria Novella (SMN). Direct international trains arrive here from Paris, Calais, Brussels, Amsterdam, Basel, Munich and other European or Italian cities.
Tuscany has two international airports, the Galileo Galilei International Airport in Pisa and Amerigo Vespucci Airport, also known as Peretola, in Florence. Located only 80 km apart, the Pisa airport is the larger of the two airports. Both airports handle flights to major European cities. Pisa operates most scheduled European flights, so it may be easier to find flights to Pisa if you are travelling from Europe. If you are flying from further abroad, most airlines connect to major cities in Europe and, from there, you can choose to fly to Pisa or Florence.
Tuscany is a triangular shape, and the long side of the triangle is the varied and beautiful coastline that overlooks the Archipelago of Tuscany. Ferry services to Tuscany consist of links to the archipelago and further afield to Sardinia and even Barcelona in Spain. The main ferry ports in Tuscany are Livorno, Piombino and Porto San Stefano. The main companies operating on the routes to the islands are Tirrenia Navigazioni, Trans Tirreno Express, Moby Lines, Sardinia Ferries and Toremar.
The climate in Tuscany is generally mild, with differences depending on the geography of each region. The coast and valleys tend to have hotter summers than the hills or mountains, although the coast benefits from sea breezes even in the hottest months.
In summer, Tuscany is usually hot and sunny with pleasant warm evenings. Humidity levels can get high, especially in the cities. Spring is one of the most rewarding times to visit Tuscany, as the average temperatures are warm and comfortable. However, it can be one of the wettest seasons, but generally, by May, rain is rare, and the days are longer with up to 10 hours of daylight.
In winter, Tuscany rarely experiences severe weather. A day or two of snow with wetter weather and lower temperatures are usually mixed with crisp clear days and blue skies. Autumn, like spring, can be an ideal time to visit Tuscany, with warm average temperatures into October and sometimes later.
Italy is the fifth most visited tourist destination in the world, and the third in Europe, with over a high of 65 million tourist arrivals in 2019. World renowned, Italy attracts tourists from many continents and is easily accessible from all over the world with a wide variety of direct flights arriving into major cities such as Rome, Venice and Florence, making it a popular short break destination. Bordering France, Switzerland and Austria, Italy is also ideally situated to serve a large northern European tourist market.
With a GDP of over $2 trillion, Italy has one of the largest economies in the world. And as a member of the EU and the European Economic & Monetary Union (EMU), the country offers a well established, strong economic climate in which to invest. Italy is also a member of the G8, consequently ranking among the world leaders. These factors help further increase investor confidence in Italy as a safe and stable economy in which to do business.
Richly diverse, Italy has everything to offer visitors, from lakes and historical cities in the north to unspoiled coastline and the simple rural life found in the south – especially in Tuscany.
There is a multitude of reasons to invest in Tuscany real estate. From the idyllic countryside filled with vineyards that offer some of the most renowned wines in the world to the cosmopolitan cities that house well-known treasures; there is much to explore. And importantly, there are some great real estate investments to be had. It is no wonder people fall in love with Tuscany.
The most searched locations with the highest values are those in prime sites. Properties with panoramic views of oceans, mountains, hills or cityscapes retain their value due to their location. Worldwide famous for its scenic beauty and incredible history and architecture, Tuscany represents one of the most desirable locations in the world.
The Tuscan Hills are one of the most famed destinations in Italy, and the rural countryside offers plenty of investment and renovation opportunities. But, the Tuscan seafront has some equally fantastic investment opportunities too. You can find some glorious stretches of beachfront with excellent real estate options. Enjoy the sun, sea and sand of the Tuscan coast, and secure an ideal Italian investment property at the same time.
But of course, buying a property in Tuscany does not just need to be about securing an investment. One of the favourite reasons for buying real estate in Tuscany is the culture, and a big part of that culture is the food and the wine.
Beyond its beautiful scenery, Tuscany offers a unique lifestyle: the outstanding excellence of food and wines, little restaurants and trattorias, museums, concerts and pageants, and charming people that welcome you to join in with their cultural events.
Residents share the same values, creating a friendly Italian and International Community. This further enhances the property value of the region.
Tuscany attracts over 40 million visitors each year, and its tourist industry growth is directly related to the increase in low-cost airlines now serving Italy – making holiday homes and buy-to-let investments more popular than ever before.