Tuscany’s famous for its beautiful, traditional villages. If you’re walking or driving through the countryside, it seems like there’s a new hidden gem around every bend in the road. Here are five of the villages that I think go above and beyond expectations when it comes to pouring on the Tuscan charm.
A torrent of red-roofed houses descends down the side of a steep hill in Collodi, an impossibly beautiful Tuscan village. It’s quite literally straight out of a fairytale, being the setting of Pinocchio. Carlo Collodi based “The Adventures of Pinocchio” here, and the village retains its Baroque gardens and sculpted features.
A small town not too far from Pisa, Peccioli offers a maze of narrow lanes and small cobblestone squares to explore. Highlights of this charming village include the Castellaccia gardens, perched on a hilltop and offering panoramic views. You can learn more about this medieval village by visiting the Archaeological Museum, housed in an ancient cellar with Etruscan artefacts. This village is featured in the list of cultural tours in Tuscany with Arianna&Friends due to its well-preserved architecture that feels lost in time.
Another medieval village with an Etruscan background, Montepulciano is world-famous for its delicious wine. Yet it’s also a notable centre for food production, including lentils, Pici pasta, and pork. The town itself sits on a clifftop location, surrounded by picturesque vineyards. The Piazza Grande is clad with marble masterpieces, and mosaic studios dot the narrow lanes.
Tucked into Tuscany’s eastern region is the village of Cortona. It’s hard to miss with its medieval tower looming above its stone and terracotta streets, with a network of alleys giving way to artist’s studios and quaint residences. It’s located on the hills giving way to the Apennines, and so you can admire views of the rolling vineyards below.
Flanked by massive stone walls, Monteriggioni is another village that genuinely feels lost in time. It was once positioned on the frontline of the battle between Siena and Florence, which led to the giant stone walls being erected around the town’s centre. This dates back to the 13th century, impressively. However despite the imposing entrances, the actual interior of Monteriggioni is a different story. Within this friendly village you’ll find an abundance of flowers, gardens, and laid-back village piazzas inviting you to slow down and enjoy the old-world ambience.