to Tuscany Italy - Inside Tourism Information
Travel to Tuscany
for inside tourism information for
your Tuscany vactions! We share our information with you with our
travel guide on what to see and do, what wine to look out for, what
villas to rent, when it is the best time to visit as well as restaurant
reviews, and regional dishes of this area of Italy.
Tuscany, Italy in the Arezzo Province
Tuscany is a beguiling
lover. When you
visit you are
overwhelmed by the beautiful countryside of vine-clad hills, Cyprus
trees that line winding roads, olive groves with their silvery-green
and hill-top towns built out of stone that haven't changed in a
Tuscany is really the
heart of Itlay. It stretches from the Appennines to the sea, midway
between Milan and Rome. Its scenic beauty is unmatched in Italy and its
towns are justly famous for its artwork and architecture. But it is the
simple, yet delicious Tuscan
food, the fine wine, the hospitable locals and
unspoiled hilly landscapes that people are even more enthusiastic about.
This is an area to really
stop and explore. Slow
travel is essential to get the best experiences. Take
leisurely strolls to watch bent women picking wild greens in the fields
for their lunches, wander aimlessly around the countryside and see
snapshots of daily life; the mushroom hunter, the wild boar hunter, the
farmer, the artisan. This is where the true soul of Tuscany can be
Tuscany gets under your
skin, and she beckons to be visited
again and again, long after you have left. Built on layers of history;
the Romans, the
Etruscans who lived in many settlements around Tuscany,
and those before. And so therefore, it is not just the large towns that
are of interest and are custodians of great artworks, but these can
also be found in the smallest of towns too.
Tuscan countryside changes with the seasons, each season showing a
different face of her beauty. Therefore, no
matter what time
of year or season it is always a good time to visit Tuscany,
Italy for that matter. There will always be something for you to see
Travel to Tuscany in the Spring
In the spring from April to June you
see swathes of red poppies growing in the wheat fields of Tuscany. The
hills are covered in wild flowers and new grasses. Wild irises line
ditches and river beds, and roses and magnolias start to bloom.
Travel to Tuscan in the Summer
Travel to Tuscany in the
farmers are busy with their summer produce.
Sun-kissed melons can be eaten; the sweetest melons I have ever had and
the tomatoes in Italy cannot be beaten. They also have flat, white
peaches that look a little like a doughnut that are sublime; juicy and
sweet and delicious.
Tuscany's wine and
food is famous around the world. The food is rustic and simple but made
with passion and care. The red wine is heady, full-bodied and robust.
Grape harvesting differs from region to region, but in Tuscany, the
grape harvest starts in September. By mid-September, the grape harvest
is in full swing and there are a number of grape harvest festivals
in villages around the province.
You will come
layers of history in town walls where buildings have been built on top
of existing structures. Go to San
Gimignano, or Cortona.
The Medieval Towers of San
Look for Etruscan sculptured block work
in the town's walls. They
are easily visible and a reminder of how casually Italy accepts her
rich history. Or visit Montalcino
In the autumn or
fall, the Tuscan
countryside starts to change from green to autumn hues of gold
brown an the many oak trees deepen in color as the season progresses.
The farmers are busy with their grape harvests and in November it is
olive picking time. The weather is fresh now, and winter is fast
Autumn fields in the Arezzo Province of Tuscany
Travel to Tuscany in the Winter
Finally, after 3 seasons of
productivity and produce, the winter months bring a biting cold, snow
in many places and a time of rest for the farmers, the vines and the
olive trees waiting until spring for the cycle of life to begin again.
I think that it is this cycle of life that is so evident in Tuscany
that makes us so fond of this region when we visit. The people fall in
with the seasons of planting and harvesting, they eat locally produced
food that is seasonal, most of which has been grown organically. They
remain unhurried. They close their shops for lunch to spend time with
their families to enjoy their main meal of the day.
Travel to Tuscany: The
Various Areas to Visit on your Tuscany Holidays
The Casentino Valley where we have a
As Italy is regional, so is Tuscany,
even though it
is a region of Italy in its own right.
We tend to think of Tuscany as
being just the Chianti area, or the area next to it
called the Valdarno.
Most people when they travel to Tuscany
will only see this area. Which is a pity really, as there is so much
more to Tuscany than this.
However, when you travel to Tuscany no
this is the first place you will go. However, when you travel to
Tuscany one of the places you cannot miss is of course Florence,
home to Michelangelo's David, the Arno River and the Ponte
and the Palazzo della
is the heart of the region and the landscape that matches the
quintessential Tuscany. It is here that you will see fields of
sunflowers and poppies, vineyard clad hills and olive groves.
is a small town crammed with art and history and seethes with tourists
during the summer months. It is a beautiful example of the Renaissance
period, and Botticelli, Michelangelo and Donatello turned the city into
one of the world's greatest art capitals.
The city of Florence Italy,
showing the Duomo
However, Florence didn't have it easy
in the past with Siena
rising up against this city, jostling for power and position. And it is
a beautiful medieval city. The historic center of Siena has been
declared by UNESCO a
Site and the surrounding
countryside is equally as breathtaking as the city itself.
there are places outside of the main touristy areas where you can
continue to enjoy the beautiful Tuscan countryside. One such place is
in the Casentino
Valley. I think that this is a
little slice of
paradise, because it is not overrun with tourists, even in the height
of summer, and it has some wonderful gems to visit such as Poppi
and its wonderful Poppi
for its stunning Medieval architecture and monthly antique markets,
a perfectly walled Medieval town, the Casentino
National Forestjust to name a few.
The Medieval town of Anghiari,
The Arezzo province is beautiful and
of the same name
is a gem that is often missed by those who travel to Tuscany.
wonderfully preserved Medieval
architecture in the places that weren't ravaged by World War II and has
Francesca's famous "The
Cross" in the
13th century church of San Francesco.
in the province of Arezzo was the birthplace of Piero della Francesca
and it's famous too for their annual Palio
of the Archers competition that has been taking place
for 500 years.
The Palio of Sansepolcro
The Arezzo province offers a wealth
of tourist opportunities where you will find some lovely places
di Chiana home of the large white Chianina
And then there is the Garfagnana.
The landscape is varied with a variety of climates and vegetation. It
is a particularly striking and beautiful part of Tuscany owing to its
mountains and it is here that you can find the walled town of Lucca,
a pretty hill-top
village. The hills are covered with
chestnuts in the autumn and with snow in the winter.
is seldom visited by tourists and yet it has many Etruscan
reminding us of how ancient this area of Tuscany is. The red-soil is
fertile and produces tonnes of fruit and vegetables every year, as well
as olive oil, flowers, grain and wine.
Some places that are not to be
missed in this area are Massa
Marittima is no where near the sea
despite its name and is an ancient Etruscan site with hot springs,
rising straight out of the tufa rock that it is built on
with caves and tower-houses, and the nature reserve of Monti
When you travel to Tuscany try and see
more than just Chianti. Travel to the Mugello
area north of Florence which is a wide, green valley protected by the
Apennine mountains to the north and is well-watered by the mountain
springs that feed into the Arno. Visit Scarperia,
fortified village and the principal town of Borgo San
The countryside of
Finally, travel to Tuscany and
explore the coast strip to the north of Italy known as the Versilia.
It is a haven for sun-worshipers with miles and miles of white sandy
beaches and a mild climate.
Marmi is sought out by the
Italians for their holidays. However, be careful where you go along
this strip as you can find yourself thinking that you are in Benidorm,
or Blackpool rather than in a Tuscan coastal haven as there are places
here that are squalid and overrun with tourists and unsympathetically
built hotel blocks.
Forte dei Marmi
For some of you, you
are traveling to Italy to live the Italian dream cleverly weaved by
novelist Frances Mayes, in her book, "Under the
looking for that Tuscany holiday villa that will evoke the same
emotions you had when you read her book. The traditional stone
farmhouse, set in fields of sunflowers and olive groves, on a hill
lined with Cypress trees with not a car or tourist in sight.
Not many people know that Tuscany is
not just an
area of castles, vineyards and art but also an area of beautiful
beaches. See the Best
Tuscany Beaches and discover some
best beaches in Tuscany Italy. Crowded and elite Tuscan Versilia,
rustic and natural Maremma, picturesque Livorno and splendid Elba
Best Places to Visit in Tuscany for the First Time Visitor
and Map of Tuscany showing Provinces
If you are visiting Tuscany for the
first time, it can often be confusing deciding where to go in this
large region. Here is a map of the Region of Tuscany so that you can
see what provinces make up Tuscany. The second map of Tuscany below is
more details and shows you towns, roads and villages and the major
airports of Tuscany.
Because Tuscany is such
a large region, people do get confused as to where they should visit to
see that quintessential Tuscany that people see on calendars, posters,
coasters and postcards.
As I have demonstrated above, the whole of Tuscany is worth exploring,
but unfortunately so many people head just for Siena believing that
this is Tuscany. It is and it isn't. By limiting yourself to
this area you are missing out on so much more.
Having said that, if you want to see the typical Tuscany that people
travel from far and wide to see then you will want to start your trip
in the province of Siena. It is the largest province of Tuscany and
does offer some magnificent scenery and fine wine!
If you like your wine, head forthe wine region of Siena, Chianti Senesewhich
is the southerneastern part of Chianti.
Stop here to drink in some
panoramic scenery of olive tree clad hills, rows of grapevine and
gentle, rolling hills supporting ancient stone farmhouses that turn an
ochre yellow in the setting sun.
People seem to flock to Chianti and there are so many Brits in Chianti
owning property here that back in the 80s it was known locally as
As a result, although you will be well-catered for and
find many people speaking your language it is an area that is no longer
authentically Italian. To find authentic Italy head rather
for Siena and its immediate surrounds.
Outside the city of Siena there are some villages that are surrounded
with views just as beautiful. VisitSovicille,
Travel south and you will come across the UNESCO
protected Val d'Orcia.
Although Val d'Orcia is rather pricey to visit, it does provide you
with unforgettable almost moon-like landscapes, iconic vistas
and strange and bizarre local festivals.
Shopping in Tuscany
Every time I visit Tuscany, I come home with food, rather than
possessions. I love buying truffle oils, dried porcini, zolfini beans,
Pecorino cheese, good olive oil, a couple of bottles of Brunello and
unusual pastas. However, I am sure that you will something that will
take your fancy too.
If you are looking to buy specialty items then Arezzo is know for
its production of gold, and lovely jewelry. You can also buy
some spectacular knitwear here too.
Some of the best olive oil in the country comes from Lucca. Prato makes
the hard, almond cookies that are my weakness; biscottini
and although traditionally served at the end
of the meal with a bottle of Vin Santo,
they really are good to eat at any time of the day!
Siena is known for a variety of medieval
panforti and ricciarelli
as well as for ceramics.
Volterra has a number of shops selling
boxes , jewelry and other objects made of alabaster.
Don't forget to head for Arezzo if you
are in the area over the first weekend of each month to see a huge
antique market that takes place not just in the Piazza Grande
but spills out onto the streets leading to the piazza.
Yes, you can go skiing in Tuscany, and the best spot to do this, is at Abetone.
There are extensive slopes that offer a number of winter sports -
learning to ski, cross-country skiing, Alpine skiing and snowboarding.
Abetone can be found 80 km northwest of Florence and about 50 km
northwest of Pistoia.
villa rentals don't need to be expensive, and often, if you are staying
for a while, they end up being cheaper than hotels. Have a look at some
wonderful villa accommodation in Tuscany with Tuscany
Holiday Villa. They don't just offer villa
rentals, but they also offer cookery
and if you are looking for a Tuscany wedding,
are also wedding planners as well, offering you a full service.
If you are looking for some more
pictures of Tuscany, you can see them here. Pictures
of Italy. And if you travel to Tuscany
please add some of
your photos here.
Getting to Tuscany
Travel to Tuscany by Car:
The best way to explore Tuscany is by car. This allows you to visit
places off the beaten track and gives you far more freedom in places
you want to visit.
The A1 connects Florence with Bologna, 105 km (65 miles) north, and
Rome, 277 km (172 miles) south. There is an exit road to
Arezzo on this road, as well as to Chiusi where you can visit
A toll-free superstrada links Florence with Siena.
A Travel Italy Grapevine Travel Tip:
If you are looking for the town center of any town or city, follow the
signs that say Centro Storico.
Travel to Tuscany by Train:
The coastal line from Rome to Genoa passes through Pisa. The
main line from Rome to Bologna passes through Arezzo, Florence and
Travel to Tuscany by Plane:
The largest airports in the region are Pisa's Galileo
Galilei Airport and Florence's Peretola
Airport. There are direct flights from Paris to Pisa or
Florence; from London there are direct flights to Pisa and Florence,
from the United States you will have to get connecting flights from
Rome or Milan.