1) Is it a good idea to rent a car?

We do suggest you rent a car in Tuscany especially if you plan to visit various places, including those a little off the beaten track in addition to the main città d’arte. Note that the historic centres of most Tuscan cities, such as Siena and Florence, are car-free.
Touring Tuscany by car gives you greater flexibility and the chance to see some hamlets, villages and hills you would otherwise be unable to reach. To enjoy some breath-taking views and appreciate its unique atmosphere, we suggest that where possible you avoid the motorways and choose to travel along the Provincial roads. The main ones are the FI-PI-LI (linking Florence-Pisa-Livorno), SS2 (a two-lane road) and Florence-Siena (a four-lane road, which also runs beyond Siena). The trunk roads and motorways of Tuscany are conveniently placed, but can get crowded during peak hours. In particular, traffic to and from Florence and on the main motorway between Florence and Siena is quite heavy, because it is used daily by commuters.

2) What’s the weather like in Tuscany? What are the mean annual temperatures?

As Tuscany is quite a large region bounded on one side by the sea (west coast) and crossed by the Apennine mountain chain, its climate is not homogeneous but comprises three main climate zones:
- the coast enjoys a Mediterranean climate, where temperatures rarely drop below zero and the summers are hot and mostly dry.
- the area of the Apuan Alps has a mountain climate: temperatures may drop below zero in the winter, while the summers are mild and cool.
- the hinterland, the area set back from the coast and leading towards Tuscany’s plains and valleys, enjoys a sub-Mediterranean or continental climate. Average temperatures in January range from 4°C to 7°C, while in the summer months (July and August) they are between 24°C and 26°C.

Monthly average temperatures in Tuscany:

January - Min 3 Max 11
February - Min 3 Max 13
March – Min 6 Max 16
April – Min 8 Max 19
May – Min 12 Max 23
June – Min 15 Max 27
July – Min 18 Max 30
August – Min 17 Max 30
September – Min 15 Max 27
October – Min 11 Max 22
November – Min 7 Max 16
December – Min 4 Max 12

3) Best time of the year to visit Tuscany?

Tuscany is one of the Italian Regions with the largest year-round tourist flow, thanks to the broad range of its attractions. So it’s not easy to answer this question – much depends on the type of holiday you have chosen.
If you are aiming to explore the città d’arte, spring and autumn offer the ideal climate and scenery, as summers in the cities can be hot and humid.
In Versilia, all the coastal resorts and the islands are perfect for a seaside holiday.
Both low season and the summer are ideal for a stay in the lush green hills and on the slopes of the Apuan Alps, where you will find cool temperatures and relaxation.
For winter sports, the Apennines have several well-known ski resorts open in the winter season.
In short - the best months to visit Tuscany are from April to June, and September -October: mild climate, fewer tourists and medium/low-season prices.

4) Places to see in Tuscany? What are the differences between its main areas? (Chianti, Versilia, Maremma)

Here you will find the list of the Top Ten places to visit in Tuscany, a useful overview of things not to be missed and an idea of the type of holiday offered by each location.

5) Which are the best and most popular beaches in Tuscany?

Versilia is famous for its long wide beaches with fine white sand, while from Livorno down to the border with Latium you will also find some rocky stretches, small bays and charming inlets. Then, don’t forget the seven exquisite islands of the Tuscan Archipelago, true corners of paradise set in a crystal-clear sea.

Here’s a list of the Top 10 beaches in Tuscany:
Cala Violina, Scarlino
Lido di Camaiore
Marina di Alberese, Grosseto
Golfo di Baratti, Piombino
Il Purgatorio, Porto Ercole
Cala del Gesso, Porto Santo Stefano
Feniglia, Orbetello (Argentario)
Sansone e Biodola, Elba Island
Cala dell’Arenella, Giglio Island
Cala Rossa, Capraia

6) Best places for night-life?

During the summer the whole Versilia area, one of Italy’s best-known coastal destinations, is certainly the ideal choice if you are looking for a lively night-life scene. It includes the famous resorts of Viareggio, Forte dei Marmi, Lido di Camaiore and Marina di Pietrasanta, which in addition to beautiful beaches and top-notch beach lidos have a broad choice of restaurants, clubs and lounge bars open till the wee hours.

7) Best family-friendly hotels in Tuscany?

The Tombolo Talasso Resort and Hotel Biodola are the best choice among the hotels listed on CharmingTuscany.com for a holiday with the little ones in tow. They offer well-equipped play and activity areas and many services dedicated just to the kids.

8) Best golf courses in Tuscany?

Softly-rounded green hills, olive groves and cypress trees, gentle coastline… these are the bonuses you’ll enjoy on a golfing holiday in Tuscany.  

Here is the list of the main 18-hole courses:
Terme di Saturnia Spa and Golf Resort – Saturnia, Grosseto
Castiglion del Bosco Golf Club – Montalcino, Siena
La Bagnaia Resort Tuscan Living Golf Spa – Siena

Versilia Golf Club - Pietrasanta, Lucca    
Cosmopolitan Golf - Tirrenia, Pisa    
Castelfalfi Golf - Montaione, Florence    
Le Pavoniere Golf - Prato    
Poggio de' Medici Golf - Scarperia, Florence    
Punta Ala Golf club - Punta Ala, Grosseto    
The Ugolino Golf Club - Grassina, Florence
Montecatini Golf Club - Monsummano Terme, Pistoia

Here is a list of the hotels listed on CharmingTuscany.com offering golfing either on site (9-hole courses) or at nearby partner courses:

Hotel Hermitage  - 9-hole course
Hotel Biodola  - 9-hole course
L’Andana Tenuta La Badiola - practice course

Relais La Suvera (Castelfalfi Golf course 40 min away)
Villa La Massa (Ugolino Golf Club – 8 Km; Golf Club Le Pavoniere - 45 min away; Golf Club Poggio dei Medici - 50 min away)
Villa Sassolini (Golf Ugolino – 60 min)
Villa Campestri (partner Golf Course at 15 km - 15% discount)
Hotel Byron (Versilia Golf Club – 4 km)
Villa Armena Relais (info and bookings for Golf Club Valdichiana, Ugolino Golf Club, Golf Club Bellosguardo and Antognolla Golf Club)
Grotta Giusti (reduced green fee at Montecatini Golf Club "La Vecchia Pievaccia" (5 km away)

9) Pet-friendly hotels?

Here is a list of hotels welcoming pets – make sure to check costs and availability based on the dates of your stay:

Riva Lofts Florence (Florence)
J&J Florence (Florence)
Four Seasons Hotel Firenze (Florence)
Hotel Principe Forte dei Marmi (Forte dei Marmi)
Compagnie Des Hotels Radda (Radda in Chianti, Siena)
Villa Parri (Pistoia)
Chianti Village (Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, Florence)
Villa Mangiacane (San Casciano, Florence)
Villa Sassolini (Moncioni-Montevarchi, Arezzo)
Hotel Le Fontanelle (Pianella, Siena)
Tenuta La Bandita (Sassetta, Livorno)
Il Pellicano (Porto Ercole, Grosseto)
Hermitage (Elba Island)
Hotel Biodola (Elba Island)
Borgo Santo Pietro (Chiusdino, Siena)
Terme di Saturnia (Saturnia, Grosseto)
Castello di Velona (Montalcino, Siena)
Villa La Massa (Florence)
Castiglion del Bosco (Montalcino, Siena)
Hotelito Lupaia (Torrita di Siena, Siena)

11) How do I get to the Isle of Elba? Can I reach the other islands of the Tuscan Archipelago?

How to get to the Isle of Elba
To reach Elba take the ferry from Piombino Marittima.  

From the north
Take highway A12 Genova-Livorno in a southerly direction and leave the highway at Rosignano. Take the S.S. Aurelia as far as Venturina-Isola d'Elba and then follow the signs for Piombino Marittima, where you can take the ferry with car to Portoferraio.
From the centre
Take the highway Rome-Civitavecchia and then the Aurelia as far as Venturina-Isola d'Elba; follow the signs for Piombino Marittima, where you can take the ferry with car to Portoferraio.
From the south
Take highway Florence-Livorno, A12, as far as Rosignano-Piombino, where you can take the ferry with car to Portoferraio.

There are four ferry companies operating a service to the Isle of Elba: Toremar, Moby Lines, Blu Navy and Corsica-Sardinia Ferries. They mostly offer a year-round scheduled service on the Piombino-Portoferraio route (Portoferraio is the island’s main port), also reaching Rio Marina, Porto Azzurro and Cavo.
The crossing takes between 40 minutes and 1 hour, depending on route and ferry speed.

BY PLANE
Elba is served by the Airport of Marina di Campo (www.elbaisland-airport.it) about 2 km to the north of the village of the same name in the La Pila locality.

How to reach the Giglio Island
Accessible year round with a trip lasting about one hour (ferry companies Toremar and Maregiglio) starting from Porto Santo Stefano: 18 km. Ferry links reach Giglio Porto, the island’s main port. Access of cars to the island is restricted during the summer months.

How to reach Giannutri Island
A ferry journey of about one hour leaving from Porto Santo Stefano (Gosseto). The ferry service, provided by the Maregiglio Company, is limited during the winter but are daily during the summer months, enabling a return day trip.  

How to reach Capraia Island
From Livorno the ferry journey takes about 2 h 30 min. and is operated by the Toremar Company. The link is available year round but the access of cars is limited during the summer months.

Can I visit the Island of Gorgona?
This island hosts a penal colony and stays are not permitted. However guided day trips are available to small groups. Accessible from Livorno with the Toremar Company.

Can I visit the Island of Pianosa?
Formerly home to a prison, Pianosa has been accessible since 1998. Visits are guided and for limited numbers only. Daily connections are available. (Aquavision www.aquavision.it) from the port of Marina di Campo or every Tuesday from Rio Marina (Toremar Company).

Can I visit the Island of Montecristo?
Access to this island is tightly controlled for environmental protection reasons: only 1000 persons per year obtain the joint authorisation of the Forest Rangers and the Park Agency to go on guided walking day trips which are physically quite demanding.