Avid animal lovers will always approach travel with trepidation. The decision between leaving that beloved member of the family at home or taking them with you at the risk of dirty looks and grumbles is a hard one. Luckily, Tuscany is an extremely dog-friendly region. With plenty of open fields, gorgeous beaches and great outdoor activities, your dog isn’t just welcome on your Tuscan holiday, it’s a necessity!
In Italy dogs are welcome almost everywhere, including shopping centres, restaurants and supermarkets, as long as they are on a leash, but if you’re unsure, always ask before bringing your dog inside.
A selection of Southern Tuscan museums are extremely dog friendly. In fact, they invite you to bring your dog along. Some of the region’s best include Grosseto’s natural history museum, Massa Marittima’s mine history museum, Porto Santo Stefano’s aquarium and Sorano’s archaeological and Etruscan history museum.
If you’d prefer to get out and about, there are plenty of beaches where man’s best friend can frolic right alongside you. Ansedonia, Follonica, Marina di Grosseto and Punta Ala all have dog friendly beaches. To check which ones, pop into the local tourist information centre in these towns or ask at your accommodation for nearby facilities.
Since 2009, dogs are allowed to accompany their owners in Tuscany in all public areas, including certain gardens, parks and beaches, so there’s no reason to leave your four-legged friend at home when you visit, for example, Capalbio’s gorgeous outdoor art garden, the Giardino dei Tarocchi, or wandering the Etruscan superhighways in Pitigliano, Sorano and Sovana. The so-called Vie Cave are massive touring roads carved by the Etruscans thousands of years ago as their only means of transportation through the forests of Tuscany. In the centuries that followed, the roads continued to be used by the Romans, the Sienese and the Maremmans themselves. Even today many of the older farmers continue to use these Vie Cave to travel from their homes to their farms on foot. The entire scenery is breathtakingly beautiful and almost mystical with plenty for you and your dog to see and enjoy.
Unfortunately not all public parks are dog friendly. The Maremma’s largest nature park, the Parco della Maremma in Grosseto doesn’t allow dogs even on a leash. This is in an effort to protect the local fauna and you can expect most other nature parks to follow suit. Again, it’s always a good idea to check first.
But one of the best things you can do in the Maremma with your dog is simply to get out and walk, hike or cycle. The Maremma is covered in hundreds of trails that are perfect for your four-legged friend. Not only is it a chance for you to soak up the gorgeous Tuscan countryside, but also a way for you to bond with your pet and enjoy the scenery together. For a full list of cycling and hiking tracks in your chosen holiday destination, check with your accommodation.
There are different routes for different skill levels and different terrains ranging from seaside and hillside destinations, to cross country and forest walking tracks, all of which your dog will absolutely love.