Tourist-Free Tourism: Tuscany Without Florence

This article aims to answer one simple question: If you had a car and a weekend in Tuscany, and wanted to get away from the crowds, where should you go?

As requested by a friend, I thought I’d do a few posts on lesser-known tourist destinations for the regions of Italy that I am most familiar with.   Look out for words in red in the article. Where you find one, there will be a little fact at the end which corresponds to it. Consider these my gift to you, which you can use to blow your travel partners’ minds.

I have done one of these before with Veneto, but this is the big one. The granddaddy of Italy challenges. How to spend a weekend in Tuscany without signing over your personal space for the entire duration.

DISCLAIMER: The title is misleading; anywhere you go in Italy, you will encounter tourists. Stumble into a car-park on the outskirts of an industrial area in Lombardy and you will be sure to encounter a fellow traveller holding an open phrasebook exclaiming excitedly how “bello” it all is. This is doubly and triply true for Tuscany, where tourists wouldn’t hesitate to blow their entire holiday budget on a biro if you told them it was the one Dante used to write the Divine Comedy.

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Top 10: Italian Cities

This is not an original concept, I admit. Guilty as charged. I’d like to think I’m making up for it though with a top 10 which is significantly different from the hundreds of similar lists. I’ve mainly avoided overly touristy cities not because I’m an Italy-hipster (although I probably am) but because getting ripped off is among the things most guaranteed to reduce my enjoyment in a city. I also prefer smaller cities, and in fact the biggest city on my list is only the 23rd biggest in Italy (some of my choices aren’t technically cities at all). Entirely by chance, nine regions are represented in my Top 10, which is very pleasing. So here, without further ado, are my top 10 cities in Italy (plus a few honourable mentions):

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