In the middle of the Italian peninsula, an enchanting region which the locals call Toscana lies underneath the golden sun. Tuscany is characterized by indescribably gorgeous panoramic views, a wealth of architectural and artistic wonders, and a culinary presence nearly as famous as Italy itself.
With more than four million people who call it home, the region offers a snapshot of what life might have been like in the days when cherishing the simple pleasures of life was all that was required. Locals revel in life’s most precious, yet uncomplicated joys- a splendid glass of wine, a simple yet elegant meal, the views of a beautifully rolling countryside, and a deep-rooted appreciation of art and architecture.
In this region, known worldwide as the “Cradle of the Renaissance,” modern cities such as Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, and Pisa exude the long-lost character of days gone by while still maintaining their own unique and modern interpretations of Tuscany’s rich history. The timeline of the which is celebrated by Tuscany’s many world-class museums, classic architecture, and seven designated UNESCO world heritage sites.
Tuscany is the birthplace of the Italian language, as well as some of history’s most important characters, such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Dante Alighieri, and Galileo Galilei. It boasts the most important and highly regarded wine production region in all of Italy if not, the world. It houses Tuscany’s capital city, Florence, in which stands the world’s most iconic museum, The Uffizi. It has made its mark on the fashion industry by hosting the world-renowned fashion event, Pitto Uomo, and is home to world-class designers such as Gucci, Cavalli, and Ferragamo. Its mild climate and rich lands provide incredible local products such as cheeses, meats, and vegetables that make the region’s rustic and simple cuisine incomparable to any other.
Centrally located in Italy near Liguria, Lazio, and Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany is a region of Italy known for its unparalleled landscapes and jaw dropping geography. It offers a variety of natural sights, as it has a western coastline that touches the deep blue Ligurian and Tyrrhenian Seas as well as an inland that is comprised of everything from stunning mountain ranges, to rolling hills, to a few fertile plains, and the fourth longest river in Italy, the Arno. The north eastern and north western sections of Tuscany are characterized by their Alpine environments where the Alpi Apuane and Appenini mountains provide ample skiing and mountainous views. The Southern area of Tuscany is home to wide open fields on which one can find cows, horses, quaint farmhouses and Butteri, the original Italian cowboy. Whereas Tuscany’s coasts offer seaside views and pristine waters. The seasons are marked in Tuscany by the change in temperature from mild in Spring and Fall to colder in Winter and hot in the Summer. This traditional change in seasons provides the ideal climate in which to grow crops. Therefore, much of the region’s landscape is covered with olive groves, luscious vineyards, or rows of cypress trees, making the panoramic views from the hilltops a favorite. While Tuscany has many resources, the greatest is its geographical variety and colorful landscapes throughout its changing seasons.
Tuscan Road Trips
With its rolling hills and breathtaking views, road trips are ideal. The scenery to be had along the winding roads of Tuscany is filled with gorgeous hills, vineyards, and olive groves perched against the clear blue sky. One of the most famous road trips in Tuscany is the route along the Chiantigiana, the main road that leads through Chianti, the world’s most famous wine producing region, which almost connects Florence to Siena. Along this path, the breathtaking views include medieval castles, a few of the area’s many wineries, which offer tastings, and restaurants with menus crafted of local produce. Other great road trip routes include the Val D’orcia, located south of Siena, and Marmemma, located in southern Tuscany. Both routes offer unique wines characteristic of the areas and unique sights.
Tuscan Way of Life
Life in Tuscany is lived at a slower pace. The locals take time to be truly present in the moment, enjoying their delicious meals, strolls through town, or lengthy road trips in a deeper and more meaningful way. Local residents enjoy having great conversations with others as they walk their passeggiate (walkable streets and historic centers) only interrupting to perhaps enjoy a frozen gelato or visit a charming cafe to indulge in a glass of red wine or top of the line espresso. Never hurried, Tuscans truly embrace life and the small things that bring joy.
This slow-paced way of life is reflected even in meal times in Tuscany, as lunch and dinner are heralded as not only moments in which to feed the body, but also to connect with one another. In cities throughout Tuscany, restaurants, trattorie, osterie, and even bars are considered essential meeting places for this reason. The Tuscan cuisine is simplistic and rustic, featuring star ingredients such as olive oils, cheeses, meats, and vegetables produced locally. When dining at the lunch or dinner table, it is expected that guests swap life stories, funny jokes, and life experiences, making meal time the most important time of day, one during which far more than food is shared.