Tuscany Review

by Samuele Sodini

Dear Friends,

I found this nice post around the web and I decide to publish it here on PlunningaTour because in my opinion reading it you can taste the true way to visit Tuscany.

Tuscany is well known for many things. Florence, being the largest city, is the main attraction, but by no means the only draw in a region that, above most in Italy, has a reputation beyond its means.

Of course, there is Florence, but there is time enough devoted to her, and the beauty and uniqueness of that city. Pisa as well, has her fans and detractors, but is a worthy enough diversion, and the Tower really is a must-see (as well as the Cathedral which can hold a torch to any in Florence).

To get a true taste of Tuscany in her entirity it is necessary to head for the hills, so to speak.

The overwhelming sight that will greet you as you head south from Florence, is (depending on the time of year) the verdant countryside. The green-ness is overwhelming, and the lines and lines of vineyards and olive trees around Chianti lead to the famous landscapes often alluded to, in Tuscany.

The hills are larger than their English equivalents, for the most part, and intermittently, a hill town will appear, as if from nowhere, and ‘just popping in for a visit’ can lead to finding the a great little trattoria which will far outstrip anything in Florence. Although that can possibly be said for any Italian countryside.

Tuscany is full of small towns. San Gimignano is a perfectly preserved medieval town which did a lot more from me than San Marino (in Romagna), because although it is very touristy, it doesn’t seem to have sold-out to the tourist influx. Vinci (Leonardo’s famous birthplace) is worth a diversion, sitting on a hill, with its own Leonardo museum, although if you go to his actual birthplace (a little way out of the town itself) there isn’t very much in there to see.

Lucca as well, is a great spot to while away a day, and although I never got as far south as Siena, I’m told it’s a treat.

The Tuscan countryside cannot really be appreciated on the train from Pisa Airport into
Florence, and is it as well to take a day trip from Florence, if you can, to Siena or San Gimignano, or even to Fiesole if you are short of time, because it is good to set off the artistry of Florence against the natural beauty that inspired so many of her famous sons.

There are always a lot of expats in this area, but that can be quite comforting in a way, and the Tuscans are very proud of their own little corner of Italy, they are helpful to a fault, if a little particular. The wine is superb and the food is plentiful and excellent, and in my eyes, that makes it a good enough reason to stop, regardless of the countryside.

There are many particular cities to see within Tuscany, not all of which I could mention, and any number of which would have numerous treasures – stopping an a random church in a small village will uncover art pieces which would be the centre of any gallery in London – and that is more the pleasure of exploring this particular area of Italy. The joy is as much in the travelling as in the arriving.

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