best area to see the Tuscany I fell in love with from movie and paintings


Hi all,
My husband is taking me to Tuscany for my 50th birthday, Starting Oct 28, we were planning to spend 4 days in northern part (Barga, Lucca) and 4 full days in southern part...

Have never been and want to enjoy those gorgeous views, hillside, vineyards, that I fell in love with just by admiring a painting of Tuscany or in movies (like i.e. Under the Tuscan sun)

We do plan to rent a car, what area would you all recommend we make our home base

All suggestions and recommendation will be welcome and greatly appreciated


The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
You'll love Tuscany at the end of October -- fall colors and dishes all around :)

Take a look at this article for general tips:

If you have already decided to stay in two separate bases for north/south explorations, then I recommend Lucca as a good base for exploring that area and heading into Garfagana as well and then in southern Tuscany I'd recommend Crete Senesi/Val d'Orcia.
Take a look at some of these places:


well we thought splitting the stay between Barga Lucca and Siena would be the best way to do, but would love to hear opinions, since I can change things up.

We are Marriott vacation club owners and were trying to use up some points expiring in December, so we booked the Reanissance in Barga for 4 days, however it appears to be quite north, so if that is not ideal I am more than willing to forgo that option, so please pretty please send all suggestions you have
thanks much


The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
A lot of people mention Barga and staying at Il Ciocco for the same reason. I think it is a good base for exploring that area --- the Garfagnana, which includes a lot of small towns and sights such as the Wind Cave, and Lucca (and towns in between, like Bagni di Lucca for thermal waters and the bridge of the Devil! ;). I wouldn't think of making long day trips out of that area to see other parts of Tuscany other than to the coast to the west of the mountains, so I'd reserve those for when you head south. Barga is along the Garfagnana valley and you have mountains all around, I think it would be beautiful at the end of October, just expect weather to be mixed.

I would normally suggest to either stay more centrally in Tuscany so that you can drive out in every direction on day trips or to do the two separate bases as you're planning to do. It is totally fine to have the two bases, just consider whether Barga will serve as the best "north" base for your trip.

I suggest you keep looking through our website and decide what are places or things you "must" absolutely see on this trip --- then map them on a map service, such as google's. If the places you want to see in central or southern Tuscany cannot fit in 4 days, you might just want to redistribute your days, maybe 3 in Barga, 5 in southern Tuscany or even 2 and 6 -- first, browse and make a list, there will be more than you can do in even 8 days so you'll need to reduce but the important thing in figuring out the best base is to be central to where you want to go ;-). Since you mention Under the Tuscan Sun, then Cortona and the Val d'Orcia are included for sure in the list (they are in southern Tuscany so that is why it is a good base for the second base).


Well-known member
Barga & Garfagnana


I spent 4 days in the area for my vacation just a month ago - and though it is definitely not the traditional Tuscany that everyone sees in post cards - I can say that I found it to be absoultely charming.

The area seems large and a bit empty until you start to roam around - and then you realize you don't have enough time to do everything! It is also a great position to do a trip into the Emilia Romagna region (Cerreto Laghi) or go into Lunigiana, Massa e Carrrara for a visit to the marble area or even a side trip to Viareggio or Cinque Terre.

I also visited Passo del Vestito (and had a great lunch at the Bar/ Ristorante Le Gobbie. (Polenta and wild game were the specialties - but everything looked good as it came out of the kitchen.)

Here is a link to an itinerary that you might find interesting:

Buon Viaggio,

Donna Denise