Some people pinch themselves, some think they are in a dreamland, some run out of adjectives to describe this place and some think they have been transported to an otherworldly destination when they visit the most surreal destination that is Tuscany. This gorgeous location in the central part of Italy is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes and exquisite vineyards. If someone is not falling in love with this place, there must be something terribly wrong with that individual.
The rolling hills of Tuscany is straight out of a postcard and we were head over heels in love the moment we drove into this stunning location. The long and winding roads surrounded by golden wheat fields, leading towards enchanting hilltop villages lined with cypress trees were just mesmerizing. Words and photographs really cannot do justice to this irresistible destination and one can comprehend the beauty of Tuscany only by being there physically. It’s really hard not to hold hands with your loved one, look in their eyes and fall in love once again. No wonder Tuscany has been used as a backdrop for many romantic movies.
Its extremely hard to cover the whole Tuscan region unless you are living in the region. In this blog post, we will try to provide as much information as possible on Tuscany based on the experience we had during the three days that we spent as tourists. We must have visited probably 5% of Tuscany and we highly recommend you to do more research on other parts of Tuscany.
Things to do:
Just drive. The best way to explore Tuscany is by driving around. Rent a car and drive through the spectacular scenery. An ideal location to rent the car is from Florence, if you are flying into Florence or flying out of Pisa. Most of the Italian rental companies accept non-EU driving licenses as long as its in English and over one year old. However, its always better to confirm first before booking the car.
The world famous Chianti Classico is produced in the vineyards at Chianti. The wineries go through some rigorous testing and multiple inspections to bottle their red wines as a Classico. Chianti is a region that sits between Florence and Sienna, dominated by picturesque vineyards, small towns with stone farmhouses and churches built during medieval ages. We stayed in a town called Barberino Val d’Elsa in a self-catering, refurbished 150 year old farmhouse for three nights, which was a thoroughly satisfying experience and an insufficient duration to take in the beauty of this wine region. Visit the Chianti page for more info on other towns and attractions at Chianti.
This is a small town to the south of Barberino Val d’Elsa, just about an hour away. The drive to this hill town should not be missed and would be a breathtaking experience. As this town is in the province of beautiful Siena, the moment you get off of the highway, you would be greeted with a sublime landscape. The curving roads, gorgeous wheat fields and perfectly lined cypress trees on the hills would be a feast for the eyes. It would be hard not to stop at every corner and take in the view of the majestic Tuscany.
As one can never get enough of Tuscany, we highly recommend you to drive further south to another charming town in Siena region. Val d’orcia features in many renaissance paintings depicting the gentle rolling green hills. Unfortunately due to time constraints we could not visit this place, hence you can check this site for more information.
Where to stay:
If you want to truly experience Tuscany, the best option is to rent a farmhouse or a villa. Even though it would be a bit expensive than the traditional hotels, the rustic farmhouses would take you back in time and would go perfectly with the mood of countryside Tuscany. We stayed at Fattoria Casa Sola, a farmhouse on top of a hill with sweeping views of the Chianti countryside. The stay was well worth it and the owner Anna was extremely pleasant. They produce Chianti Classico Riserva and extra-virgin olive oil as well. She gave us a tour of the winery which also included select varieties of prestigious wines. We were in awe listening to the story of how grapes turn into wine, the meticulous work that goes behind it and how hard it is to maintain the quality of wine, year over year. We just chilled out all three days, cooking our own pasta, enjoying some high quality wine with every meal, relaxing at the pool overlooking the valley and just strolling around the estate.
Tuscany was exhilarating to say the least and we were left wanting for more. We are planning to come back here and stay longer to appreciate the true beauty of this alluring region. The impact of Tuscany on us has been so profound that we are considering living the rest of our after-retirement years at Tuscany.!