We have developed several new experimental model systems that demonstrate anisotropic diffusion of light. These systems, consisting of aligned fibers, stretched plastic foam, and stretched plastic frit, have relatively simple microstructures and are easily sliced, making them ideal for testing theoretical models of diffusion. We demonstrate that the solution to the diffusion equation for arbitrary orientation of the diffusion tensor is consistent with experimental measurements. We also show that simple models of microstructure, based on cylindrical and planar scatterers, are consistent with the experimental results. These models provide simple analytical expressions for predicting the degree of alignment of the scatterers from diffuse transmission measurements. The combination of experimental results and theoretical support demonstrates both the power and the limitations of the diffusion model for providing information about microstructure via simple experiments and modeling.