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What to see, do, eat and drink in Tuscany

What to see, do, eat and drink in Tuscany

Tuscany, the most beautiful and historically rich region of Italy, offers so much more than you could ever hope to see or experience in a single holiday. However, if you are fortunate enough to go even for a few days, there are some essential activities, sights, foods and drinks which no visit to this stunning country should be without.

Things to do…

While everyone might think of joining a wine tour, strolling between the museums of Florence or taking that hilarious perspective photo holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa, there are some other activities which might capture the more adventurous tourists interest. Boat lovers can bask in the sun while cruising the Tuscan Archipelago, taking in the azure waters lapping against the rocky shores. The more inquisitive traveller would relish the chance to explore the walkways of Vie Cave, an ancient network of paths cut through the rock, found near the town of Pitgliano. If you are a keen hiker, you could take a picnic up Mount Amiata, the regions highest peak and an ancient volcano smothered with chestnut groves. If you find yourself at a loose end in Pisa after the kodak moment has been achieved, it is worth a trip to the park of San Rossore, which is best admired from an elegant horse drawn carriage.

Things to see…

Beautiful rolling countryside strewn with olive groves and vineyards and cities dotted with ancient Basilica’s (churches), Tuscany has a fantastic range of sights. It is a region which can be visited at any time of year, with a particularly spectacular colour display in autumn. The city of Florence contains some of the major attractions, including the Ponte Vecchio, Duomo, the Medici gardens and the famous Statue of David.

Things to eat…

The most exciting part of any holiday is trying out the local food, and in Tuscany you won’t be disappointed. The Italian are blessed with a bounty of fresh, natural, seasonal and local produce, and this is reflected in their delicious and colourful cuisine. The abundance of olive trees means that extra virgin olive oil is an essential ingredient and is often enjoyed directly on bread. The place to eat is in a rustic “Trattoria” where you will find yourself sharing a meal and probably lively conversation with the locals. Some popular Tuscan dishes to try include the Crostini di Fegado: a sauce of chicken liver, butter, capers, anchovies, onion and broth, spread onto toasted slices of bread. Antipasto of locally cured ham and salami is a must, while enjoying an aperitif on a sun dappled piazza. Try pappardelle, the thick spaghetti-like pasta, accompanied with a boar sauce, which still run wild in the woods of Tuscany. Vegetarians will love locally sourced porcini mushrooms and artichokes, drenched in olive oil and capers. The cuisine is predominantly carnivorous though, with the Florentine Steak (Bistecca) being another mouth-watering speciality. The thickly sliced beef is barely introduced to the pan before being served up, red and juicy with an accompaniment of white beans, and more olive oil! For the sweet-toothed there is Cantucci: an almond based biscuit, Necci: chestnut flour crepes, Zeppole: a carnival treat of deep-fried dough balls and of course the creamy dreamy Gelato, not unique to Tuscany but delightful nonetheless.

travelwithmates to tuscany

What to drink…

These culinary delights are best accompanied by the nations favourite beverage, wine. A sparkling white wine makes the best aperitif while at dinner, the only decision to make is rosso o bianco. The region’s top red wine to try is Chianti, while Orvieto is the local white, though aficionados will suggest you drink Brunello with your Bistecca. Vino aside, coffee is another essential part of a true Italian’s day, and by trying a different cafe each time you will soon find a coffee and cake you will remember forever.

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