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How to visit Tuscany cheaply

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This is the website of travel writer, Michael Turtle. After working in broadcast journalism for a decade in Australia, Michael left Sydney to travel the world indefinitely and write about his discoveries.

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

cheap tuscany, tuscany accommodation, tuscan food, cheap, affordable, budget (4)

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.

**More things to do in Tuscany**

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21 Comments
  • Pieter | Jul 8, 2012 at 3:55 am

    Ah, the big pizza from the big mamma with the big bottle of wine!

    • Michael Turtle | Jul 9, 2012 at 1:03 am

      Oh yeah, the big mamma. It’s just lucky her pizza was tasty and her wine was cheap… she didn’t have much else going on for her…

  • Jess | Globetrottergirls | Jul 8, 2012 at 9:21 am

    Hey this is great to know about! We did a post on Tuscany on a shoestring last year when we were there, too. In general, Tuscany can be really cheap, especially because food and wine are actually economical, but it’s the accommodation that can run up costs. Great that this hostel is so near to San Gimignano and Volterra – those were my two absolute favorite little towns!
    Jess | Globetrottergirls recently posted..Notes from the beach house | Week OneMy Profile

    • Michael Turtle | Jul 9, 2012 at 1:03 am

      The food isn’t exorbitant but you’re definitely going to be paying tourist prices at most places in the big cities. That’s why getting out to the smaller areas can be really economical.

  • The Travel Fool | Jul 8, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    Great advice. Would love to check it out someday.
    The Travel Fool recently posted..Turning Down Lunch at The White HouseMy Profile

    • Michael Turtle | Jul 9, 2012 at 1:04 am

      Please let me know if you do!

  • Angela | Jul 9, 2012 at 5:40 am

    Beautiful pictures! I haven’t been to Tuscany in such a long time..
    Angela recently posted..Video: S’Ardia, running a wild horse race for faithMy Profile

    • Michael Turtle | Jul 9, 2012 at 10:12 pm

      Well now you’ve got a good reason!!

  • Samuel @ Backpacking Travel Blog | Jul 9, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    Nice shots! I’m all about cheap travel :)
    Samuel @ Backpacking Travel Blog recently posted..Eating Korean Walnut Cakes in Cheonan, KoreaMy Profile

    • Michael Turtle | Jul 9, 2012 at 10:14 pm

      It’s good to know you don’t have to stay in Asia for your whole life then :)

  • Stephanie - The Travel Chica | Jul 11, 2012 at 12:54 am

    Great tip on the wine tastings…. at least for a wino like me :-)
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..Punk Tango in Buenos AiresMy Profile

    • Michael Turtle | Jul 11, 2012 at 6:59 am

      You wouldn’t regret it. Gotta love a good chianti!

  • 100 places to visit | Sep 1, 2012 at 1:57 am

    Great tips, loving the photos looks like a great place to visit
    100 places to visit recently posted..10,000 Pinterest followers reached!My Profile

    • Michael Turtle | Sep 2, 2012 at 12:44 am

      Thanks. It’s definitely worth looking into, if you’re interested in that area.

  • Liz | Sep 20, 2012 at 5:49 am

    I found Tuscany to be surprisingly cheap. Dining out at restaurants can be expensive but the supermarkets are fabulous. You can buy a great bottle of Sicilian wine for less than 2 Euros. I found a great studio with a with a kitchenette on booking.com and used it as a base to explore Cinque Terre and Tuscany for just 50Euros/night.

    • Michael Turtle | Oct 1, 2012 at 3:22 am

      Good advice. For 50 euro a night you can definitely find some nice (but small and simple) places to stay. And the supermarkets are really cheap. it’s the restaurants that will eat away your cash (pun intended).

  • Far East Holidays | Sep 27, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    Tuscany is really beautiful destinations in the world. Great ideas to go for Tuscany.
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  • Eddie @Mogan Apartments Gran Canaria | Apr 12, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    Hi,
    Just superb images and from that i will give visit for sure..and as you quoted “it might actually be better suited to your style of travel as well.” and my opinion to this is DEFINITELY “BETTER SUITED” :)
    Eddie @Mogan Apartments Gran Canaria recently posted..Marina Apartments on trip advisorMy Profile

    • Michael Turtle | Apr 16, 2013 at 11:31 pm

      Thanks, Eddie. It is a great way for many people to see the region, I think.

  • Isabelle Stratton | Aug 19, 2014 at 10:24 am

    Tuscany is one of the beautiful place of the World. It will be so memorable to spend some time at this place. All the accommodation and also the affordable rate is so good. Thanks for sharing this……………………….
    Isabelle Stratton recently posted..Warm up with our winter menuMy Profile

  • Dana | Sep 6, 2014 at 2:09 am

    Curious as to the name of the pizzeria and the town it is in. We’re planning to “pizza eat” our way through Tuscany next year and this looks like exactly our kind of place!

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