Tips for visiting Tuscany during the winter
In Tuscany, the winter period is the perfect time to discover the beauty of the region and its cities of art, without the crowds of summer tourists. There are plenty of activities to do during the winter, both outdoors and indoors, for both culture lovers and nature lovers.
Here are some ideas of things to do in Tuscany during the winter:
One of the best things to do during the winter is hiking in the mountains. Tuscany also has several mountainous areas, such as Monte Amiata, the Pistoia mountains and the Casentinesi Forest National Park. In winter, these areas become perfect for lovers of skiing and winter hiking. If you are not a ski enthusiast, you can still enjoy the beauty of the snowy landscapes during an excursion or a walk in the mountains.
Here are some mountain hikes you might consider doing:
- Foreste Casentinesi National Park: the park offers a wide variety of paths and trails for all levels of difficulty, including Monte Falterona, the highest peak in central Tuscany.
- Monte Amiata: is a mountain of volcanic origin with a long cultural history and offers numerous hiking trails, both in summer and in winter.
- Apuan Alps: these mountains are famous for their marble quarries and offer numerous hiking trails.
- Tuscan-Emilian Apennines: these mountains offer a vast range of itineraries that wind between Tuscany and Emilia Romagna.
Skiing in Tuscany
Tuscany is a perfect region for lovers of winter sports, such as skiing. There are several places where it is possible to practice this sport during the winter, both in the mountains and in the hills.
Here are some of the best places to ski in Tuscany:
- Abetone is an excellent ski resort, with many slopes perfect for intermediate and advanced skiers. It also offers a variety of leisure activities, such as winter hiking and snowshoeing. Nearby there is also the Doganaccia area which is ideal for novice skiers.
- Located in southern Tuscany, Monte Amiata boasts 12 kilometers of slopes and 8 lifts. Thanks to these numbers, Amiata is one of the most important ski areas in the region.
- In Lunigiana, the most north-western area of Tuscany, there is the ski resort of Zum Zeri which has 8 kilometers of slopes at an altitude of 1600 meters above sea level.
- Garfagnana has three districts: Careggine, Casone di Profecchia and Passo delle Radici. These are three small ski resorts with very different characteristics. Passo delle Radici is the right place to practice cross-country skiing, while in Careggine and Casone di Profecchia you can practice alpine skiing.
Visit the cities of art
During the winter, the art cities of Tuscany, such as Florence, Siena, Pisa and Lucca, are less crowded and therefore more pleasant to visit. Take advantage of the tranquility to admire the artistic and cultural treasures of these cities, such as the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Siena Cathedral.
Here are some ideas for visiting the art cities of Tuscany during the winter:
- Florence is famous for its museums and galleries, including the Uffizi Museum, the Accademia Gallery and the Bargello Museum. You could also stroll along its riversides and visit its many other monuments.
- Siena is an extraordinary medieval city famous for its well-preserved historic center and its famous Piazza del Campo. The Palazzo Pubblico and the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta are other attractions worth visiting.
- Pisa is famous for its famous Leaning Tower, but there are also other attractions such as the Duomo and the Baptistery.
- Lucca is a medieval city with a charming atmosphere, famous for its medieval walls, churches and historic buildings.
- Arezzo offers a variety of attractions including the National Museum of Medieval and Modern Art, the Basilica of San Francesco and the Church of San Domenico.
- San Gimignano is a stunning medieval city located in the Tuscan countryside, famous for its towers and narrow streets. The Piazza della Cisterna and the Torre Grossa are some of the attractions to visit.
- Volterra is an ancient Etruscan city which over the centuries has been enriched with many monuments such as its cathedral and the Palazzo dei Priori. Also not to be missed is the Guarnacci Etruscan Museum.
In general, during the winter it is possible to find fewer tourists and to be able to enjoy the beauty of the Tuscan art cities in more peace of mind, furthermore, during this season, you will find decidedly lower prices, especially for hotels.
Taste local food
Taste the local products: Tuscany is also known for its excellent cuisine and its typical products, such as Chianti wine, homemade bread and pecorino cheese. In winter, you can taste these and other local products in one of the many local producers’ markets or in a farmhouse in the area.
Tuscany is famous for its traditional and tasty cuisine, and especially during the winter there are many typical dishes to taste.
Here are some dishes with typical Tuscan products that you might consider eating in winter:
- Ribollita: it is a soup of vegetables and stale bread, a traditional dish of Tuscan cuisine.
- Pappa al pomodoro: it is a bread and tomato soup, seasoned with garlic, basil and olive oil.
- Tortelli mugellani: a typical Mugello first course, with a heart of potatoes enclosed in pasta made strictly without hands, which is seasoned with a meat sauce.
- Cinghiale in umido: another typical Tuscan dish, which is prepared with wild boar and vegetables in a tomato and red wine sauce.
- Bistecca alla fiorentina: the great classic of Florentine cuisine. A nice (and big) beef steak cooked on the grill, strictly rare!
These are just a few examples of the delicious dishes and typical products of Tuscan winter cuisine, which can be accompanied by a good local red wine such as Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino or Nobile di Montepulciano.
Spas and wellness
Tuscany is also famous for its thermal baths and spa resorts, such as Terme di Saturnia and Terme di Bagno Vignoni. Spending a day in one of these locations is the perfect way to relax and rejuvenate during the cold winter.
Here are some of the most famous spas in Tuscany to visit during the winter:
- Saturnia: they are located in the Tuscan Maremma and are famous for their natural thermal springs. They offer a variety of treatments and services, including outdoor spa tubs and jetted pools.
- Montecatini Terme: are located in the province of Pistoia and are famous for their thermal treatments and their magnificent wellness establishments.
- Rapolano Terme: are located in the Crete Senesi, in the province of Siena, and have been famous since the Middle Ages for their thermal waters and their beneficial properties.
- Bagni San Filippo: are located near Monte Amiata and are famous for their natural thermal springs and their beauty treatments.
- Bagno Vignoni: are located near San Quirico d’Orcia and are famous for their magnificent square made of water.
In general, all these spas offer wellness packages with spa treatments and massages, and many offer rooms and suites for overnight stays.