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 Italy’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 second 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 production 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, making this region a great Italian vacation spot. 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.
The team at Trips2Italy did a wonderful job planning our trip 5 years ago for our honeymoon and did another great job for our trip earlier this month.
Emily was so quick to answer our questions and planned the perfect trip. When we had some weather related travel issues, Ana got us moving as did the Milan office.
Our hotel was the best we've stayed in so far and all the plans/tours were such fun.
We truly couldn't have planned a better trip ourselves and we will continue encouraging others to use Trips2Italy.
My husband & I recently returned from the Tuscany/Cinque Terre escorted tour. We had an incredibly wonderful trip!
The itinerary was well planned and included the best that Tuscany & Cinque Terre have to offer. We really enjoyed the classy wine-tasting experiences & the boat ride to Cinque Terre.
In addition to the escorted tour, Trips2Italy assisted us with customization of our own itinerary. We could not be more pleased with Emily at Trips2Italy. Her communication was excellent, including prompt responses to emails and well-researched answers to questions. She organized a terrific trip for us!
During an overseas trip, we have huge peace of mind in knowing that there will be assistance available in case of a problem situation. Trips2Italy gets top marks for this. Due to a minor glitch, we had occasion to call the Trips2Italy 24 hour Emergency Assistance number. Tommaso immediately answered the phone, took care of the issue and followed up with us to assure that all was proceeding smoothly. Emily and Tommaso, thank you for our amazing trip to Italy!!
Good Morning Stacie and Tommaso,
As Stacie can verify, I posted pictures and my adventures of the trip on Facebook daily. Here are some notes I wrote to my son, Erik. It was truly a trip of a lifetime for me. I loved every minute of it. From the seamless travel of connections and drivers to the locations of the hotels. I will be a walking billboard for Trip2Italy. Thank you so much for everything!!!! It was a fantastic trip. Really, it was!!!
Now back to the trip of my life time..
This was my first tour into Chianti region. As you can see the rolling hills, the vines, and cypress trees. The lust green country side. This tour had about 30 people and was on a big bus. The kind I did not want to travel on but it only happened once. All the other tours was in small vans or cars. I picked one seed from the tree and now trying to grow it here. Its got a sprout coming out of it and of course, its in an expresso cup. LOL
If a picture could say a thousand words. The right is a photo and the left is my painting of the roof tops. I love Siena and all its earthy colors!
Siena is on top of hill and you can see for miles. I am thinking of painting the roof tops thinking watercolors. You could see the lines of the city change over time as the walls of 1300s to protect their fine city grew wider with time. I climbed a tower of the town hall that had over 400 steps up and 400 steps down. The stairwell was narrow and the steps were worn. Can you imagine what these steps could tell you about the history of the town of Siena. The wars, the joy, and sorrow of the town. The black plague was a big influence on the town. Generations were destroyed.
Volterra, Alabaster mined there then Siena Again.
Siena, since the age of the city has very narrow streets. Old fashion lanterns. One of the couples I met on my last wine tour were from Canada, St John Island. After the tour we went out to eat on one of these narrow steep alleys. Well, after tasting a number of glasses of wine. Here we sat at a restaurant that had outdoor seating. Tasha and I had Pici spaghetti with sheeps guts intestines with a gravy sauce. It was quite good. Well after sharing a bottle of wine with them and the meal ended. I was starting to be effected by this steep narrow avenue. Our stools were cut to feel balance on the hill. I thanked them for the time together and excused myself. I was fine once I started walking back to my hotel. It was a wonderful day and evening but the feeling of falling down the hill.
I think the best part ( besides the expresso, gelato, and wine, in that order) was meeting others from around the world. A number of Australians, Americans, English, Canadian, and Switzerland. Tasha and Steve was my first connection.
Then came Sheila from Switzerland, and Liz from Baltimore. I spend a day with each of travelers and it made it much more enjoyable. We shared experiences and knowledge of the trip and day. I have still connections from Liz. I wrote to Tasha via email and no reply yet. They both might be still traveling. I think they were having a 6 weeks holiday.
Kathrina S. - Travel Time Agency's Client