The heart of Italy both geographically and spiritually. The region whose dialect gave rise to what is today the Italian language, a place of breathtaking beauty, outstanding culture, the best food and wine in the world, great cities, rolling countryside and seaside resorts. Tuscany really does have something for everyone. Its a big region stretching over the centre of Italy from the coast on the west through hillside villages to the capital, Florence and beyond. For many people their visit is restricted to Florence due to time constraints, but even if you take a morning or afternoon trip from the city you can get a taste of what lies beyond Florence. Its really too good to miss. Here are 5 things we suggest you try in Tuscany.
5 things not to miss
1 See Siena
- A perfectly preserved medieval city (see above
photo). The city is centred on the Campo, the central square which hosts Italy's
number one festival, the Palio, a crazy horse race in which local districts
compete for bragging rights over their neighbours. There are races twice annually,
both in summer, the square gets almost unbearably crowded, but if you can stand
the crush its a sight not to miss.
2 Visit a vineyard
- Tuscany has Italy's best wines. Three names in
particular are known worldwide, Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Montepulciano,
these red's stand comparison with any found elsewhere. The vineyard will allow
you to sample the wines and then you can buy those that please you most.
3 See the Island of Elba
- The third largest island after Sardinia
and Sicily, this is a mountainous island famed for its splendid beaches and
clear water. In summer its packed with mostly Italian sun seekers, but inland
from the resorts the villages are largely ignored by the visiting hordes.
4 Visit a hilltop village
- There are a number of fabulous villages
to choose from. The highest of the towns is Montepulciano, 65kms from Siena.
The town's main street is a steep incline which leads up past numerous wine
shops to the imposing church at the top. Another slightly larger alternative
is Pienza, as fine an example of Renaissance architecture as exists in Tuscany.
5 Eat -
Tuscan food has had a huge influence on what we now
consider traditional Italian food. The food is basically very simple with local
produce being used to the fullest. Olive oil is the essential condiment, bread
a staple, add to this soups, meat cooked over a simple grill, followed by great
cheese and sweet biscuits. Simply fanstastic.