Hilltop Towns in Tuscany and Umbria

Lonely Planet Travel Editor Tom Hall is on a mission to discover 52 of the most awe-inspiring places to visit across the world. This week he delights in the magic of the Tuscan hills.


August in Tuscany is magical. Fields of sunflowers dot the countryside, baking sunny days feel endless and an atmosphere of total relaxation is in the air.

The region’s hill towns come to life in the summer months as crowds flock in to sample local food and wine, take in the jaw-dropping views and generally enjoy a taste of la dolce vita.

Best areas to visit in Tuscany and Umbria

The region’s big names are well known and popular. You should by all means see Tuscany’s San Gimignano and Montalcino, but look elsewhere for quieter beauties.

In the Umbrian towns of Todi, Amelia and Spoleto you’ll find tranquil piazza cafes, excellent restaurants and an even more relaxed atmosphere.

To explore the region you need your own wheels – motorised or not – somewhere to stay for the night and a pair of sturdy walking shoes for those cobbled slopes.

Accommodation in central Italy

Renting a villa is one way to tackle the area, but in-the-know travellers head for agriturismo – working farms which offer accommodation and fantastic food to visitors. Argriturismo cater to all budgets, while villas can be expensive in the peak summer periods. Book ahead for the best deals.

Planning your trip

Bella Umbria and Turismo in Toscana are comprehensive guides to the region.

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