How to visit Tuscany cheaply
Cheap Tuscany, Italy
It’s no surprise that one of the most popular regions of Italy is also one of the most expensive. Between accommodation, food and sites, you can really burn through the euros on a trip to Tuscany. But the good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way – it is possible to travel Tuscany on the cheap.
By accident, I discovered a way to keep the cost of visiting Tuscany right down. And the bonus? Well, it might actually be better suited to your style of travel as well.
Introducing… dramatic drumroll… the hostel in the countryside!
Cheap Tuscany accommodation
In the quiet little village of Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, the hostel is one of the largest buildings. That’s not to say it’s large, more that everything else is appropriately proportioned for a village. It’s called the ‘Ostello del Chianti’ and a bed in a dorm will cost only 16 euros. There’s a large common area to relax and mingle in, a good dining room which is usually quite quiet in the evenings, and a garden with a bbq. There are plenty of rooms so it’s ideal for larger groups or for those travelling solo.
The advantage of staying in the hostel for sightseeing in Tuscany is that the village is centrally located. It’s only a short bus ride to Florence or Siena, or to some of the smaller and more charming towns like San Gimignano and Volterra. To Florence, for example, the trip is slightly less than an hour and costs 3.30 euros.
It means it’s possible to base yourself in one place for a week and take day trips to various locations to get a broad sense of the area. If you had a car, it would be even easier. Even with a bike there are a number of places you can explore.
Cheap Tuscany food
You’ll also keep your food costs down. Firstly, breakfast is provided, unlike with many of the hotels in the larger cities of Tuscany. If you’re back in Tavarnelle Val di Pesa by the evening there are some great pizzerias to choose from for dinner and, guess what, they’re cheap. An average pizza will set you back about 4 or 5 euros and half a litre of wine costs about 4 euro. That’s more than half the cost you’ll find at the basic restaurants in Florence.
At the bar in the main street of the town, you can get a cheap drink and even do some wine tasting. The owner speaks good English and gave us a large variety of local specialties to try – all for only 2.50 euros per (large!) glass.
There are a number of other wineries in the area that you can walk to and will do a wine tasting during the day, if you’re interested in that. There are also some beautiful hikes and historic villages all within walking or cycling distance. It’s a nice way to see some of the Tuscan countryside and scenic views, away from the hordes of tourists in other parts of the region.
If you want to spend day after day looking at the museums and galleries of Florence, this might not be the best option. But if you want to get a sense of Tuscany, see some smaller villages as well as the big cities, eat some genuine local food and drink the delicious Tuscan wine, AND do it all on a tight budget… then this is a great option to consider!
* You can find out more information about the Ostello del Chianti hostel in Tavarnelle Val di Pesa here.