Tuscany - cradle of the Renaissance, many tourists never get beyond Florence to see the real Tuscany.

Tuscany - The Italian region of Tuscany is a sheer delight to the senses. Celebrated for its natural and historic beauty – its pretty hilltop towns, vineyards, cuisine and culture make it one of the world’s most sought-after destinations and a magical destination for all ages.

There are six locations in Tuscany, which are on
UNESCO ’s list of World Heritage sites - Florence’s historic centre, Siena’s historic centre, Pisa’s cathedral square, San Gimignano’s historic centre, Pienza’s historic centre and the entire Val d’Orcia. Tuscany’s capital city of Florence is considered to be the birthplace of the Renaissance. However, the rest of this beautiful region can easily equal its most famous city. Towns which can trace their origins to pre-Roman times where you can relax and enjoy Italian country life, modern amenities, regional foods and culture. A place full of history and beauty – (it is where Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa was born!).

Perhaps you have already experienced something of Tuscany at home. Foods like the fresh porcini mushrooms or the black and white truffles that can make some simple pasta into mouth-watering feasts. The exclusive extra virgin olive oils are world-renowned. The spectacular wines from Brunello, Montepulciano and Chianti. Or maybe its fashion from the likes of Prada or Gucci. Or films like La Dolce Vita (Life is Beautiful) or the more recent Under the Tuscan Sun. These are all mere glimpses of what Tuscany has to offer,

An example of Tuscany’s famed hill towns is Cortona. Cortona is the Tuscan hill town made famous by Francis Mayes in her book Under the Tuscan Sun. Cortona is surrounded by 3000-year-old Etruscan walls, and the town has a multitude of interesting medieval architecture, beautiful views restaurants and bars. During August, Cortona hosts the famous Tuscan Sun Festival. The 2008 festival was opened by Hollywood legend Robert Redford. This beautiful Tuscan hill town is usually a quiet place, but during the first weeks of August Cortona is transformed into an international stage for music, wine tasting, cooking and more. The Festival lasts for about 10 days. A truly stunning setting for a magical event.

Besides Cortona, Tuscany offers many festivals and fairs throughout the year. Arezzo has one of the worlds largest antique markets every month, Siena and Castiglion Fiorentino are home to Tuscany’s famous Palios, Pienza has its cheese festival, Valdarno truffles, There is usually something going on every week – even out of season there are specialist food festivals such as the Chestnut festival of Montechio (is there anything you can’t make out of a chestnut!) and the numerous cinghiale festivals of the Val di Chio, olive harvesting almost everywhere in November and early December – not forgetting wine tasting at many of the independent and internationally acclaimed wineries of Tuscany as well as numerous cooking classes offering a mere taste of Tuscany’s culinary delights.

 

Some of Tuscany's wineries include:

Antinori , Avignonesi Altesino, Frescobaldi,  Banfi Baron Ricasoli    Caparzo,        Just a few .......



 

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