Wonder what makes Tuscany an ideal getaway? Read on!
Summer vacations have started and like me, you all must have made plans to enjoy them with your loved ones! With the World on the platter and varied interests of the people travelling with you, it gets really difficult to pin down a place that would suit both: the adventurous streak in you and one that seeks tranquility even if it is for a little while!
If you are facing the same dilemma, Tuscany is the place for you! A right mix of incredible landscapes, varied places to see and not to mention, the delectable food!
This mini-guide would answer all your queries regarding this stunning region of Italy and compel you to pack your bags and visit it NOW.
This gorgeous region of Italy is centrally located and covers about twenty thousand square kms. Dotted by beautiful regions like Liguira, Emilia Romagna, Umbria and Lazio; this region is renowned for its artistic legacy, rich heritage and breathtakingly beautiful landscapes.
Tuscany: Best season to visit
Tuscany is blessed with mild temperature throughout the year. Geographically, of course, the temperature lowers in the hilly areas while it is a little warmer near the coastal areas. The best season to visit Tuscany are the months of April and May and of course, the months of October and November. To motivate you a little more, the average temperature of Tuscany is around 13-25 degrees Celsius, bliss right!?
Tuscany: Best Places to Stay & How to Get Around
Cozy apartments, luxurious sea-facing villas, or medieval castles: how would you want to spend your vacation!? Yes! The choice is enormous and varied enough to suit all pocket sizes. Car, public transport or a two-seater bicycle! What is your idea of discovering this enchanting place? Tuscany and all its neighboring towns are accessible through all major modes of transport. However, on vacation I would suggest that you opt for a mixed bag of all, for it will allow you to discover the beauty of this place at your defined pace.
What to Pack
Apart from your regular comfortable clothes that you pack anyway, I would suggest you should also make room for ‘layered’ cloths to deal with changing climatic conditions as you move from hilly regions to coastal areas.
Tuscany: Places to See
As I mentioned earlier, you could spend a lifetime in Tuscany and still not get over its beauty. To add to it, you have these stunning places to visit and activities to indulge in. I mean, who hasn’t heard of Leaning Tower of Pisa, Piazza del Campo, Siena Cathedral, Piazzale Michelangelo, Piazza della Signoria etc.
A few of them are my personal favorites and I’m sure they deserve a mention.
Let’s begin with Montepulciano, a sleepy, medieval & Renaissance town in southern Tuscany. Words fail to describe the beauty of this place and I’m sure even the most celebrated photographer would agree that no camera would ever be able to capture the gorgeousness of this countryside. Spread over 166 kms square, this place is best explored on foot literally drinking its views through the eyes. And, no it is not only the landscape that is heavenly, Montepulciano is also known for ‘Pici’ pasta, cheese,honey, pork and wine.
Next on my list is: Castello di Sammezzano, which is surprisingly an abandoned palazzo, with not one not two, but 365 rooms. Yep! One room for each day of the year. And then, there is this colorful, vibrant ‘Peacock Room’ with neat, intricate design and colors that attracts you almost instantaneously. Can you believe this castle, which is like a painting on the real life canvas is abandoned for last few years and opens up only on special occasions?
Things to do in Tuscany
Hiking in the woods, biking along the coast, shopping till you drop, bathing in outdoor thermal springs or whipping up an Italian dish: courtesy numerous cooking classes held here… the things-to-do in Tuscany is a long list! Spoiled for choice? We, indeed, are!
Food that should not be missed while in Tuscany:
Okay the fact that Naples is the birth place of Pizza and all that hype can’t really drown the excellence that is served on plate at any of the restaurants of Tuscany. Foodies’ heaven, this place would seriously give every other place that boasts claiming the similar title, run for its money. While you are holidaying in Tuscany, I would recommend, you sample, Lampredotto, Crostini Toscani, Panzanella, Lardo di Colonnata, Ribollita, Bistecca alla Fiorentina, and finally, Castagnaccio.
Tuscany Guide: What to Buy
Souvenirs, no trip is ever complete without you taking a part of the place with you, home! Forget the hoity-toity boutiques of Florence and Siena and head to the smaller workshops run by local craftsmen, neighborhood markets and crafts markets. Buy alabaster in Volterra, knives in Scarperia, panno casentinese from Casetino in Montelupo, ceramics in Fiorentino and glass in Colle Val d’Elsa.
Tuscany: Did you know?
I have spoken at length about landscapes and museums and food and the best season of Tuscany, but did you know…that finding a “free” beach in Tuscany is quite a task. A good number of them require payment for access. The upside is you will get to see them cleaner, calmer and safer.
Movies shot in Tuscany:
With the view so beautiful, how could this place not attract the filmmakers? Some of the movies shot here are: Under the Tuscan Sun, Gladiator, Life is Beautiful, The English Patient and some part of the Twilight saga.