In the mood for a travel destination with history, character, culture, wine and great food? Well, Tuscany might be exactly what you are looking for. There is plenty to do in Central Italy, but the question is “where do you begin?”
Perhaps your love of wine is what brings you to Tuscany. Large and small wineries across the region of Chianti offer hundreds of unique wines to try. Not only are these vineyards delicious, but they also provide scenery like no place else. You can spend several days just traveling from vineyard to vineyard.
While navigating the wine capital of the world, a great option for your stay is to rent an apartment. This allows you to get the full night’s rest you need to do extensive exploring during the day. Also, it’s nice to have a full kitchen so you can attempt cooking some Italian dishes of your own. There are plenty of farms, as well as the wineries where you can pick up local specialties to try your hand at.
If you feel like you need guided instruction there are plenty of cooking schools in this region where you can learn to make regional pastas and fresh dishes with local vegetables and the wonderful regional olive oils.
After a good meal (whether prepared by you, or with the teacher’s help) and much needed sleep, continue your tour of the beautiful landscapes which inspired some of the most influential artists of the Renaissance area. Spend a day being lazy and enjoying the beauty of a region that has not yet become too touristy.
Now, depending on your mood: energized or ready for some pampering you can either head out to Monte Forato, one of the most common destinations in the Apuan Alps where you can hike for 4-5 hours. Along the way you can see the natural arch that joins two twin peaks and create a hole which legend says was caused during a tremendous clash between San Pellegrino (the God, not the water!) and the Devil himself.
If pampering is what you need you can visit the thermal baths in either Val d’Orcia or Saturnia. Both offer baths of varying types, spa services and massages. Saturnia also has natural waterfalls that form into pools of warm thermal water open to the public for free all year round.
No matter what you do you will build up an appetite for a hearty dinner with plenty of wine and will promptly fall into the bed inside your Tuscan vacation rental smiling in delight with the words ‘grazie’ slipping out of your mouth as you fall asleep.