If you want to chalk off Italy’s big-name cities and superb countryside scenery without forfeiting your annual beach break, holidays to Tuscany are just the ticket.
City, country and coast
As far as holiday destinations go, Tuscany has one of the most impressive CVs in Europe. Its skill set includes city breaks, country escapes and beach getaways. And it’s well-versed in subjects like history, cookery, art and architecture, to name just a few.
Forte dei Marmi and Viareggio
The big names on Tuscany’s beach scene are Forte dei Marmi and Viareggio. Forte dei Marmi has a celebrity following. Tennis players, fashion designers and European royalty own private villas in the area. They’re baited here by a long leash of sand, stylish beach clubs and designer boutiques. Viareggio takes a more traditional approach. Both the private beach resorts and public beaches here are a favourite with Italian families, thanks to their soft sands and shallow waters. In the town's restaurants, meanwhile, well-heeled locals meet up for espresso, pizza and freshly caught seafood.
Tuscany’s holy trinity
The beach resort of Tirrenia, meanwhile, puts Tuscany’s three big cities at your disposal. Pisa, with its iconic leaning tower, is a 25-minute drive away. An hour-and-a-half’s journey gets you to the centre of Florence, where you can admire the rose and mint-coloured façade of its cathedral. Siena’s the furthest of the three, but a two-hour road-trip rewards you with the biggest piazza in Italy, which opens up a huge space in the centre of the city.
Elsewhere, you can escape the hustle and bustle and surround yourself with rolling hills, cypress trees and miles of olive groves and grape vines. These picturesque landscapes are typical of Tuscany’s inland areas – particularly in the Province of Siena and the Province of Florence – and often come complete with Medieval villages and fortified towns. What’s more, if you stay in either of these resorts, you’ll get car hire included. That means you’ll be able to head off and shop at Florence’s markets, wander Siena’s Piazza Il Campo or see the vineyards of Chianti at your own pace.