First visit to Tuscany


I want to plan our first visit to Tuscany. We prefer a more laid back type of holiday. A smaller town, walking around to local shops and making our own meals (along with going out of course). Something that feels like we're truly experiencing Italy. We'd be looking to stay at a VRBO.

We also thought about the possibility of staying in a villa where we could just relax and do some driving day trips to scenic areas.

We're not into big crowds, but I realize we'll encounter those on some trips.

Love to visit wineries as well. And I'd love to cook some authentic Italian food with someone that has small or private classes that aren't super pricey.

Thought about Siena, but I'm afraid it might be too large for what we're looking for.

I think Italy is somewhere we'll want to visit many times, but we need somewhere to start!

First timers


You are exactly right, you have to start somewhere.

It sounds like you guys might enjoy a place that has some cooking on site, so you don't always have to be driving around.

This link has a few places that might really fit the bill, taking you outside of the city centers but not too far that you can't enjoy a day trip visiting the historic sites.

For your first time, I wouldn't miss the chance to explore Florence (even though it can be a bit of a madhouse with tourists, however if you hit it earlier enough you can miss the crowds and then enjoy the surrounding countryside later inthe day) the same goes for San Gimignano and Siena (both a better in the earlier morning hours or twilight hours.

If you are looking for an area which is definitely more low key, try looking towards Val d'Orcia and the Maremma area - both offer wonderful opportunities and not a lot of tourists. I suggest you have a look at this link, not only will it offer some great wine suggestions, but many of these itinerary suggestions are in areas that aren't always heavily frequented by tourists.

Buon Viaggio,

Donna Denise
Consider that many countryside lodgings in Tuscany are old farmhouses and villas that have been renovated and divided into apartments, with a shared pool but most with their own private garden area spaces. Many are not huge places, with a few apartments, so you still get the chance to relax and enjoy without feeling that your privacy is impacted negatively.

Just wanted to make sure you consider all these places where you can get privacy, independence in moving around once you have a car and the chance to enjoy Tuscany in the countryside.

I agree with Donna, a cooking class on site would be the best solution - take a look at these:

You don't say what period of the year you're coming in.... so as far as crowds, some popular places might be okay during the period you come, depends on when you come ;)