Best location for a base in Tuscany

Finding the best place to base yourselves for your vacation in Tuscany can play a big role in just how much you enjoy yourself while you’re here. I always recommend keeping the number of places you stay to a minimum.

Best base in Tuscany

Podere Tegline, a wonderful agriturismo in Chianti, Tuscany

There are interrelated two reasons for choosing just one or two bases for your visit to Tuscany:

Firstly, almost all corners of Tuscany are accessible from anywhere in the Region during a reasonable day excursion by car and, within limits, by public transport. If you’re staying for two weeks you might want to be based in Chianti for a week to explore the central part of Tuscany, and then either in the Val d’Orcia to explore southern Tuscany and Umbria, or around Lucca to explore the northwest, the Garfagnana and the Cinque Terre in Liguria.

Secondly, you can lose a lot of your valuable vacation time, really a lot, locating your accommodation, checking in, unpacking and then the reverse procedure when you leave, for each place you stay. This is essentially wasted time would be much better employed making day excursions. Remember, part of the fun, especially in Tuscany, is getting there.

Obviously, if you’re without a car, you’ll want to base yourselves in or near a town with good transport links, usually meaning trains. This is because bus routes generally radiate out from the provincial capitals, making cross country travel or travel to another province difficult without going through the main city. You can still rent a place in the country if you’re without a car, but see my notes on getting around in Tuscany without a car for tips on how to do this, together with a list of recommended vacation rentals and B&B’s that are practical when it comes to exploring Tuscany by means of public transport.

Chianti - the best location for a base in Tuscany

Beauty is always just around the corner in Tuscany – or in this case, right at the corner!

Once you have an idea of the town or area for your stay, you need to decide on exactly what kind of accommodation will suit you best. For more useful tips on this subject, see my notes on where to stay and my  notes on the different kinds of vacation accommodation available in Tuscany.

These webpages might also be useful:

Anna Maria Baldini on why Tuscany is Europe’s top budget tourist destination.

Anna Maria Baldini on the best place to stay in Chianti.

Elena Spolaor

Elena Spolaor

About Elena Spolaor

Although Elena was born in Venice, she was brought up in Tuscany and is a historian and frequent contributor to online articles about life in Tuscany and Umbria. Her specialities are Tuscan and Umbrian local history and folklore.

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4 Responses to “Best location for a base in Tuscany”

  1. Evan Lewis says:

    Elena, thanks for the great information on your blog! We are planning our trip to Tuscany and will stay near Pienza in the Val d’Orcia for one week. Then we would like to stay in a wine area. You describe Chianti as the best location for a base in Tuscany. But the Chianti area is quite big. Do you have a specific area that you would recommend above others?

    • Hello Evan, thanks for your kind comment on my blog. There are several good bases to stay in Chianti as far as wine is concerned (Greve, Radda, Gaiole) but as a base for exploration, Greve in Chianti is the best base in Tuscany in terms of its central location. There are many inexpensive but beautiful agriturismi in the hills around about and the area is packed with vineyards where you can taste wines. It’s the largest town in Chianti and so has a good range of restaurants, a supermarket etc. Also important is that you can park your car there and take the bus in to central Florence (1 hour).

  2. Connie says:

    Hi Elena, do you recommend basing myself in an apartment in town or at an agritourism in the country? Also, we will be there in June – is air conditioning necessary. Here in Texas we can’t live without it and I read that Tuscany is also a hot place.

    • Hello Connie, town or country – depends very much on whether you will have a car and what you like to do in the evening. There are rural vacation rentals within a 1 km walk of town but usually a car makes things much easier. If you are travelling without a car, then a B&B or apartment in town makes good sense. If a swimming pool is a must, you’re unlikely to find accommodation with a pool in town. (By the way, Greve in Chianti has a really good public swimming pool.) Similarly, if you will have the energy after a day of sightseeing to want to spend the evening in a bar or cafe, staying in town makes it much easier.

      Air conditioning – Tuscany is only really hot during a week or two of August so in general a/c is not needed and indeed is rarely offered. However, if you’re sensitive to heat, then stay in a rural rental because these are usually up in the hills where the temperatures are noticeably cooler and you’re more likely to have a breeze blowing.

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