3 reasons why you should be going on a Tuscany holiday
The region of Tuscany sits on the Italian coast. It is a place filled with natural scenery, where the Tuscan hills are filled with fruitful offerings, and places of architectural beauty, steeped in history. Tuscany is home to famous artwork and attractions, and perhaps not known by many, it is also the home of the modern Italian language spoke today, originating back to the Renaissance period. The birthplace of opera, Tuscany holidays sing beautifully for people who love a perfect mix of culture and nature, with plenty of things to see and do.
Tuscany has always been a place to admire by foot; the Italians even knew this in 1339 when they became the first European city to line their streets with pavements for safer walking routes around Florence.
Today Tuscany has more UNESCO World Heritage sites than other holiday destinations like Australia and South Africa, making it a perfect place to visit for keen culture travellers. These UNESCO, which stands for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, heritage sites include the famous town of Florence, often referred to as the ‘Cradle of Renaissance’.
Florence is the birthplace of Renaissance art and splendour, and is a place rich in art, culture and history. It’s the stomping ground of renowned artists such as Michelangelo, Giotto, Brunelleschi, Buontalenti and Vasari. Michelangelo’s pure marble statue ‘David’, from 1501, is shown today in the Accademia Gallery in Florence. Admire the spectacular architecture by staring at the impressive Cathedral that stands in Florence. Florence became the first place to be knighted with a UNESCO World Heritage site, and we are not surprised why from its beauty and its artistic roots that leave you breathless and in love with the wonderful city.
Other UNESCO World Heritage sites in Tuscany include the Piazza dei Miracoli, or ‘the square of miracles’. The square is made up of the cathedral, baptistery, the famous leaning tower of Pisa and a graveyard. This is the place for people who love history and architecture to visit. (Don’t forget to take your tourist picture holding up the leaning tower). San Gimignano, with its medieval towers and the beautiful Siena, home of the Palio, are two more UNESCO World Heritage Sites worth visiting. Valdorcia, south of Florence, offers tourists a glimpse at rural tradition and beautiful landscapes. Or why not visit the Medici villas and gardens, also not far from Florence, to view some of the most spectacular artwork from the Renaissance era? Tuscany has always been considered a “nation within a nation” because of its unique linguistics and strong cultural identity.
Whenever one thinks of Italy, they automatically think of wine tasting looking over a glorious vineyard with the sun shining down on them. This is something Tuscany has in abundance. Over two thirds of the province is occupied by hills and blessed with a warm climate, essential elements for fine wine. Tuscany is Italy’s most ancient wine region, perfecting their technique for centuries. Perhaps amongst its most famous offerings are the Chianti and the Brunello di Montalcino.
Visiting wineries can be a great day out for friends and couples alike, a special experience every time you go. Learn about the craft, history and innovation that goes into the very glass of wine you are drinking; this slow pace activity is perfect for people who want to relax and wind down after a busy day of site-seeing. (Plus who can’t help but fall in love or appreciate their loved ones more when you’re enjoying their company and soaking up a gorgeous view over a glass of wine?).
Italy is renowned for its food, but when you focus more on the region’s cuisine you will truly get an authentic and unique Tuscan culinary experience. For people who love their food, Tuscany is a place not to miss.
Citizens of Tuscany love their bread, olive oil and traditional bruschetta, which is more commonly known as fettunta in Tuscany. It makes a great starter before your meal. Your fettunta will be rubbed with garlic, drizzled with a light dash of green olive oil and sprinkle of salt. Don’t even think about throwing away the stale bread in Tuscany. Leftovers can be made into a summer bread salad, alongside sun-ripened vegetables: tomatoes, onions and cucumbers. A traditional Tuscan farmer dish, this salad is generously seasoned with olive oil and vinegar. For a richer dish why not try your panzanella with tunas and capers too?
If you’re into your street food, why not head to the energetic port city of Livorno and try their renowned torta di ceci? It’s a thin savoury cake that is crisp on the outside, because of its chickpea flour coating, and soft inside. It’s vegan and gluten-free, so great on sensitive stomachs. Try this cake with a black pepper seasoning. If you’re more into hearty food why not try Tuscany’s quintessential definition of comfort food? The Pappa al Pomodoro is a bread tomato soup, which often differs from town to town depending on how they learnt to make it. The main three ingredients that make up a delicious result are stale bread, juicy tomatoes and a great Tuscan olive oil. If you have a sweet tooth why not try Castagnaccio which is a chestnut cake, that originated from the mountains in Tuscany, made from chestnut flour and water. The sweetness of the cake derives from the flour and the sultana and pine nuts used for this cake. The cake is finished off with a drizzling with olive oil and a sprinkle of rosemary.
There is plenty of culture, wine and food to soak up on your Tuscany holidays. When will you be visiting?