Centuries ago, the Tuscan countryside was dotted with farming estates and fortifications. The same is true today thanks to Italy’s remarkable efforts to preserve its history. The structures remain but their purposes have changed (though many of the villas here still boast olive trees and other sources of agricultural wealth).
Many agree that Italy is the best country in the world to vacation in. All its provinces are wonderful, but Tuscany has won many plaudits over the years as the country’s most appealing region. This is thanks to its beautiful landscapes, enduring cuisine, and many charming cities and towns.
Florence, its largest city, was the center of the Renaissance, a legacy that lives on through the city’s architecture and museums. Siena is similarly a beautiful medieval city with many a fine restaurant featuring truffles. Though most famous for its faulty tower, Pisa has many a sight for guests to pore over. But beyond these, there exist dozens of lesser-known towns filled with excellent examples of Italian architecture and slices of history and culture (slices of the culinary sort are particularly delectable).
Relatively small, all of Tuscany is reachable by car from any corner of the region, so a villa in Pisa doesn’t preclude a day in the mountains. Tuscany is worth visiting any time of year, but don’t expect a warm Tuscan sun should you come in winter. Spring and early fall are the most pleasant seasons and therefore the busiest.
To prepare you for the trip of a lifetime, here is a list of eight Tuscany villas you can rent on Vrbo. Covering a geographic and stylistic range, there’s something for everyone on this list, as of course there is in Tuscany itself.
A hidden circle of paradise in an already heavenly land, Villa Maestrale is a coastal villa ready to take your breath away. The property is surrounded by over 2 square miles of private gardens beyond which lies a much larger nature reserve. A pebble beach awaits at the end of a private path. The estate is shared with a second villa of equal stature, but there is plenty of room for everyone.
Guests are encouraged to arrange for a boat trip to the nearby islands so as not to miss out on the fact that Tuscany is beautiful by land and sea. The home is furnished in a modern style but full of timeless Italian flourishes, namely the beautiful marble gracing the bathrooms and countertops.
Dating back to the 16th century, this lovingly restored villa promises guests an unforgettable exploration of the Italian way of life as well as the Tuscan countryside. The property consists of a former farm and watch tower which, in days past, were associated with the local castle. It is a mere 12 miles from Florence.
The historic structure is complimented with extravagant traditional furnishings, with an emphasis on 18th-century antiques. Modern elements have been added, including a steam shower and outdoor pool. From the marbled bathrooms to the rich decorative fabrics, the home is a showcase of the material beauty of Europe. There is natural beauty as well, seen throughout the villa’s grounds and in the views of the surrounding countryside.
The Old Country Villa sits on a stunning 5,000 square feet fenced plot, complete with sprawling gardens and large private swimming pool. The property is surrounded by olive groves and overlooks the city of Lucca, a short 6 mile drive away. Take in these serene views while sipping a glass from the vine-covered gazebo steps outside the front door.
However, don’t get too distracted by the outdoor scenery to forget to oogle the charming interior of this villa. The decor is beautiful and thoughtfully unique, without being too stuffy. The home has a large living room to gather around the cozy fireplace and a fully-equipped kitchen, both ceiled with exposed brick and wooden beams. The three bedrooms include four beds, making this an ideal option for family travelers. Plus, you can’t beat the nightly price.
Bonus: This vacation villa is dog-friendly if you plan to bring your pooch along!
On a hill overlooking Florence sits Villa Tantafera, a residence whose charms stem from its origins in the 15th century. The estate consists of 5 acres of terraced gardens dotted with fountains, centuries-old olive trees, and beautiful lemon trees. The home boasts high ceilings and a delightful mix of contemporary and classic design (the kitchen is built to modern tastes while the living areas and bedrooms trend toward the rustic glamor Tuscany is famous for). The home has seven bedrooms, five of which have king or queen beds (the remaining pair are smaller and more suitable for younger guests).
Florence’s cathedral is magnificent from afar just as it is up close. Guests will discover this as they look out on the city below and spy the great dome rising from the city.
Many a fine villa is to be found nestled amongst the vineyards of Tuscany. As storied and tasteful as the wines themselves, this splendid villa outside Lucca is an excellent Tuscan base for lovers of wine and life. Situated on a wine-growing estate, guests will enjoy the beauty of the region while outside and appreciate the exuberant Italian style within the villa.
The home has a variety of bedrooms; the sizes are different but the level of splendor is almost uniform. Naturally, the home features a pool, and a gourmet restaurant recently opened on the estate’s grounds.
Just 5 minutes from the walls of Lucca, all of Tuscany is at your fingertips, no more than an hour away by car.
A pair as storied and grandiose as Romulus and Remus, the twin villas at Burlamacchi promise guests a vacation like no other. Tucked away on the edge of Tuscany in the mountains bordering Emilia-Romagna, the villas are incredible in every sense. One dates from the 15th century; the other is a creation of the Victorian age.
The estate is a short walk from the local village which, though small, is big on charm and has a number of restaurants and shops, the latter being more important for most guests as the villa comes with a private chef ready to instruct visitors’ palettes on the wonders of Italian cuisine. The home also boasts verdant gardens and a spa area with a sauna and massage facilities. Given the size, the home has a wide range of bedrooms suitable for various arrangements of guests.
Fewer than 5 miles from the incomparable medieval city of Siena, this serene villa offers guests a taste of the good life, a way of being once open only to the most privileged of nobles. Enjoy the grace of life on a country estate while residing within a short drive of one of Tuscany’s brightest urban jewels. (Florence, the obvious rival to Siena’s claim of being the pinnacle of charm, is about an hour away by car or train).
A restored haybarn, the property is a reminder of the site’s agricultural past, still visible today on any stroll through the verdant grounds. Inside it is a beautiful mix of wooden frames and stone walls. During the remodeling process, special care was taken to ensure each of the five bedrooms gets its share of natural light (great views come in with the light, of course).
Though humbler than other entries on this list, Villa la Poiana nevertheless promises guests a taste of Italy, a morsel so savory and wholesome as to capture the diner’s palette and leave them wanting more. Guests will enjoy stunning views of the countryside from atop the hill on which the villa sits. The grounds, though small, boast gardens, olive trees, and a beautiful pool.
The interior is a mix of rustic wooden beams and stone walls with modern furniture. Perfect for a family or small group, the home has four queen bedrooms (one of which also contains a twin bed). The ancient village of Buti has around a dozen restaurants and is reachable on foot via a 5-minute walk. For those going further afield, the property is well-placed to explore the breadth of Tuscany, with all the major cities and towns reachable in less than an hour by car.
To discover some of the can’t-miss things to do while in Tuscany, check out: