Tuscany! A land known for its beautiful landscapes where arts, nature, food and wine converge in a unique mix, together with culture and hospitality.
Choosing to visit Tuscany off-season is a wise decision if you are yearning to discover this beautiful region and all she has to offer without the crowds, inflated prices and the sweltering heat of the summer.
Between November and the end of March you will find flights, accommodation and car rentals are usually much cheaper, however you will still be able to see the same beautiful landscapes and live the same experiences without the high season drawbacks.
Whatever you’re looking for whether it be art, history, landscapes, foodie experiences or wine tours all are available during the so-called low season. And in addition, you can also enjoy a little pampering at one of Tuscany’s natural hot springs known as Terme.
Here are some of our tips for visiting Tuscany in the low season – Fly into Pisa, Tuscany’s main international airport, and hire a rental car if you’re looking to explore both in and out of the cities!
Find a base to stay in a small town or village which will probably offer you a better off-season rate than the city hotels, along with the chance to experience Tuscany as a local!
Pisa airport for flights and car rental https://www.pisa-airport.com/en/
VISIT THE FAMOUS TRIO: PISA, LUCCA & FLORENCE FOR HISTORY ART AND CULTURE
The Baptistery Pisa, situated in the square of miracles
Famous worldwide for its unique Leaning Tower but there’s more to Pisa than this quirky monument. Firstly, the tower stands in the stunning square known as the Piazza deiMiracoli (the square of miracles) along with the city’s beautiful Cathedral with its stunning interiors of black and white marble and glistening mosaics.
The conical standalone Baptistery is also worth a visit if only to hear its marvellous acoustics which are demonstrated throughout the day. The last of the monuments is the Camposanto, Pisa’s ancient cemetery whose structure was built around sacred soil which was shipped back from Golgotha, Jerusalem in the 12th Century during the Fourth Crusade.
If like many you are searching for that famous photo of yourself propping up the Leaning Tower, you are likely to get a better shot during the less crowded off-season.
Pisa is primarily a university town with a large population of students and academics, we suggest you take the time to discover the Medieval heart of the city away from the famous Leaning Tower to mix and mingle with the locals for a truly authentic experience.
Official website Piazza dei Miracoli https://www.opapisa.it/en
Piazza anfiteatro Lucca
Known as the City of a Hundred Churches, Lucca always delights visitors with its maze of characteristic lanes and piazzas. It’s also a shopper’s dream with delightful one-off boutiques and artisan stores many sporting beautiful Art Nouveau facades.
A popular and highly recommended activity is to hire a bike and cycle around the Renaissance walls which circle the city. The 4.18 kms (almost 3 miles) of walls are solely a pedestrian zone, so you can also walk the walls without having to worry about the traffic.
Other important attractions are the charming Piazza Anfiteatro built on the ancient site of a Roman amphitheatre, to see this square without the high season crowds is truly a magical experience.
The Torri Giunigi is to Lucca what the Leaning Tower is to Pisa. Climb to the top for magnificent views and marvel at the giant tree which grows from its rooftop terrace!
Lucca Tourism http://www.turismo.lucca.it/en
Outside the Uffizi without the queues
Florence needs no introduction as the capital of the Renaissance and Tuscany’s most visited
city. In addition to its most famous show stoppers, the Uffizi gallery with its Botticelli’s, the Accademia with the magnificent statue of David and Brunelleschi’s spectacular Dome, Florence offers its visitors a large number of things to see and enjoy. During the low season there should be no need to buy tickets in advance to enter the monuments and galleries but we’ve added a link below just in case you prefer to be prepared in advance!
Iconic bridges, Renaissance palaces and wonderful gardens are just few of the beautiful sights which keep visitors returning to Florence.
The city is also a mecca for fashion lovers and for those who like to be seen, making this city a shopper’s dream. The city’s heart is small and compact and easy to navigate by foot. This is not a place to bring your car as there are lots of traffic restrictions and parking is expensive. We suggest arriving by train into Santa Maria Novella station which is just a stone’s throw away from the must-see sights.
Tickets to the galleries and monuments: http://www.b-ticket.com/b-ticket/uffizi/default_eng.aspx
LANDSCAPES, FOOD AND WINE
Beautiful landscapes can be witnessed all over Tuscany but it’s the classic image of the rolling hills and pretty hilltop towns with terracotta roofs that normally comes to mind and it’s also here in these beautiful landscapes where you will also get the chance to sample Tuscany’s excellent typical products and high-quality wines.
Discovering the wine region
If you have rented a car head south of the city of Pisa and discover a wonderful landscape of vine-covered hills and hidden hilltop towns. Here you can meet the wine producers and taste the quality wines of the Pisan Hills along the wine route known as the Strada del Vini delle CollinePisane. It is here where you will find the hilltop town of Terricciola with mesmerizing views over the hills and valleys. You’ll find the wineries open all year round here and wine tastings can be easily arranged.
You can visit the wineries all year round and at this time of year you may even get to see the grapes drying out in preparation for Tuscany’s famous dessert wine Vin Santo.
Extra virgin olive oils
Foodies can delight in following the olive oil route of the Monte Pisano a small range of hills that separates the plains of Pisa and Lucca. The route stretches from the area of Vecchiano not
far from the Tyrrenian Sea through a charming and varied landscape towards the picturesque town of Buti. Stop off en-route and buy quality extra virgin olive oil direct from the producers of which some also offer tastings of their delicious olive oil and other local products.
The olive harvest generally starts at the beginning of October and can go on as long as into January so coming at this time of year means you can certainly witness the olive oil come straight off the press! To find our more about the olive oil route click below. https://authentic-tuscany.com/discovering-the-olive-oil-route-of-the-monte-pisano-in-tuscany/
Gourmets should head to the hilltop town of San Miniato the halfway point between Pisa and Florence which is famed for its precious truffles. There is also the possibility where you can go
out with a Truffle hunter and his dog on a journey of discovery and adventure. From September to December is the precious white truffle season and during the month of November there is a truffle fair in San Miniato which generally runs over 4 consecutive weekends. Many restaurants in the area offer delicious gourmet truffle meals.
Pampering at the thermal baths
When exploring the Pisa, Lucca, Florence triangle you may want to take a well-deserved rest from all that sightseeing and activities. Tuscany is famed for its natural hot springs known as
In less than ten minutes from Pisa you can reach the small spa town of San Giugliano Terme where you will find a unique five-star resort Bagni di Pisa nestled at the foot of the Monte Pisano. The resort offers both indoor and outdoor bathing pools naturally heated by hot springs to 38°C. Further afield (35 minutes from Pisa) you will find the pretty spa town of Casciana Terme nestled within the Pisan hills and it is here where you will find naturally heated pools to 37°C where people have been bathing for centuries. Both spas offer a range of treatments and pampering!
Photo credit Roberto Filippi
WHERE TO STAY
To conclude, visiting Tuscany in the low season offers the best way to discover the authentic spirit of this territory. We believe that staying in a small Tuscan town will be a much cheaper option than staying in the cities plus you will get the chance to truly experience Tuscany like a local.
Vicopisano is such a town and the place where we call home. It’s here where you can find an
authentic Tuscan vibe away from the crowds but yet close to all the major
sights. In fact, Vicopisano is just 20 minutes from Pisa’s international airport, 25 minutes from the Leaning Tower, 35 minutes from Lucca, and 45 minutes to Florence. In addition to Vicopisano’s ideal location, the small Medieval town has its own unique history and charm as well as being the home of Brunelleschi’s fortress a Medieval masterpiece by the famous Renaissance architect and engineer. There’s also a selection of accommodation, bars, and restaurants to suit every taste and budget.
Vicopisano official website http://www.vicopisanoturismo.it/
Author Marie Kidd
Owner of Casa Colomba a romantic Medieval
tower house apartment in Vicopisano
Marie and husband Lorenzo is also the property managers for a selection of handpicked properties which can be found in the provinces of Pisa and Lucca for more information visit our website contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org