Highlights

Tuscany – it can evoke so many thoughts in just one word. One thinks of rolling Estrucan hills, tall cypress trees, and picturesque medieval towns and cities. Unequivocally the most beautiful wine region of the world. There is nowhere quite as stunning as the forested and vine laden hills of Chianti or the freshly tilled clay hills of the Val d’Orcia,  with their cypress tree driveways and further afield Bolgheri in the Maremma with its unique maritime pines and stunning coastal views.
Tuscany is located in central Italy and extends from the Apennines to the Tyrrhenian Sea. It has ten different provinces of which: Florence, Arezzo, Grosseto, Lucca, Pisa and Siena are of interest to us touristically and in wine.  We are not going to try and rewrite was has been said a 1000 times. What we can tell you is our guides are top of the line, Working in the Uffizi, or fully involved in the wine business in Montalcino. Tuscany, covered in castles, medieval villages, so many sites of outstanding beauty, its tempting to try to do and see too much, with unparalleled art and history dating back to 750 BC with the Etruscans and so much to see it is a little daunting when planning a trip. The most visited part of this rich region is Florence and Siena, We like to give you an overview of both towns with our native guide Cristina.

Exceptional landscapes and wonderful foods and cooking experiences are all for the taking. We have have sourced really super food and culinary experiences: Florence, Chianti Montepulciano and Montalcino. Remember Bologna is only 1 hours train from Florence so that can really work and its heaven.

Florence, Duomo and Uffizi Gallery,  statue of Michelangelo’s David, Piazzale Michelangelo and much more

Siena with its World famous Piazza del Campo  which hosts the famous horse race the  Palio di Siena

Val d’Orcia famous for its cypress trees, natural landscapes, medieval castles and ancient hamlets

Arezzo the most eastern central part of Tuscany is well worth a visit and we like to pair it with Cortona

Chiusi extraordinary necropolis and  Porsenna’s Labyrinth and home of the  National Archaeological Museum

Bolgheri in the Maremma amazing coastal views leading the pack with their international varietal blends

Think the Masseto and Messorio Merlot or the Cabernet Franc / Cab Sauvignon and the Bordeaux blends from Ornellaia

Get to grips with Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Noble di Montepulciano, all Sangiovese based but with totally different terroirs and winemaking methods

Castelnuovo Berardenga built in 1366 as a stronghold of Siena a perfect stop while visiting Southern Chianti

Cetona  along the Val di Chiana is a delight and Valentino the designer has a home here

Lucca one of the jewels of Tuscany, we know a super spot for lunch and a look at the walls and gardens and Piazza dell’Anfiteatro

Ponte della Maddalena  also called the Devil’s Bridge. It is one of the most photogenic spots of Tuscany

Monteriggioni, mentioned in the Inferno of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy a tiny medieval  hamlet that provided the first line of defence for Siena from Florence

Populonia is one of the best-preserved Etruscan archaeological sites in Italy

Saturnia, Etruscan  natural hot springs of Saturnia close to the wine zone of Morellino de Scanzano

Pienza is known as the perfectly designed town  UNESCO World Heritage Site and  “capital” of pecorino (sheeps) cheese

Pitigliano Sovana and Sorano are all towns built into the Tuffa rock making them impossible picturesque

Vinci where  Leonardo came from is home to the most incredible Museum that presents all his inventions in a well designed way
Volterra a spectacular road and a village that works when we move between certain zones. The road takes in some stunning views but has plenty of twists and turns


How long do I need

We suggest a minimum of 4 days in wine and food and as for the rest, how long do you have?  3 nights makes sense in Florence and 4 nights south in Chianti or towards Siena. The normal entry point is Rome and it would be a shame not to enjoy Caput Mundi at the start or end of the tour. If you really want the whole overview of what is going on in Tuscan wine, we need you in wine country for 6 days with 2 in Florence or Siena or Rome.  We could base you outside of Siena, in the foothills of Florence, or close to Bolgheri. The wonderful towns of Pienza, Montalcino, Montepulciano, Radda-in Chianti, Castellina-in-Chianti and all deserve a stay. Leisurely lunches are normally the order of the day as you are on holiday. Why would you want to rush around?  Tuscany is world famous for a reason: come and discover it with us.

When to come 

May to July and September to October are the busiest times, August works in Tuscany if you are ok with the heat, most people are on the coast. May is a glorious time to come and so is September, if you would like to miss the crowds then Late October through till April is ideal but we cannot make  any guarantees on the weather.

The Wines of Tuscany

Tuscany’s dominant red grape variety is Sangiovese – there are over 180 presumed clones of Sangiovese according to Consorzio Marchio Storico Chianti Classico . If you really want to appreciate this wine, you are going to need five full days of wine touring and tasting to grasp the subtleties of each of the different sub-regions. These sub-regions each have their own micro-climates, and of course, the massive influence of the soil which changes sometimes meter by meter. Chianti the name is thought to come from the Etruscan civilisation. Its name comes from the Latin “Sanguis Jovis” meaning “Blood of Jupiter”.

Brunello di Montalcino, made from a Sangiovese clone (locally Brunello) and grown in areas surrounding the town of Montalcino, is among the most well known and interesting wines from the area, however its is austere when young and needs oak ageing to soften and tame these tannins and acids. Many other varieties have prospered and none more so than Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in areas along the Tuscan coast. Whites are by no means secondary with some amazing examples of Vermentino and the Vernaccia of San Gimignano.

As there is so much to say about these wine regions we have created these two pages for those who would like to know about the wines in more depth and to know what is FIVI and why its important.

Cuisine

Food in the Tuscany region of Italy has been defined by its elegant simplicity for millennia. Tuscans tend to eat locally grown produce, pretty much the norm in Italy that is locally grown, The olive oil from this region is the most highly regarded in Italy, made up of Frantoio the major variety then Arbequina, Picual and many more. Rosemary and sage are the two most commonly used aromatic herbs, surprisingly saffron is also grown in this area of Italy with San Gimignano being the most famous. Tuscan dishes tend to be meat focused with the famous wild boar, Chianina cows are famous mainly from the Val Dorcia as are the Cinta Siense Pigs with their belt of white hair around their middle. White truffles are to be found in and around the hamlet of San Miniato north of Florence, unique as white truffles are only found in Piedmont.

Black truffles can be found in most regions of Italy and they can be grown as opposed to the white. Cheeses especially from sheep are famous from the Pienza region making the Pecorino Toscano. Fresh & Cured Meats will often be served at wineries or as Antipastas,  Lardo di Colonnata, Prosciutto Toscano and Vitellone Bianco dell’Appennino are all highly prized. Frankly it would take volumes to discuss all of the dishes you can enjoy, but the bread is unsalted, the oil delicate, and the rest we are sure you will find out when you are here, Having a bad meal is not going to happen with us.

Tuscany breads feature heavily. Pane toscano,  served fresh, with olive oil on the side or with garlic before grilling

Pane toscano, is unsalted the only region in Italy, a tradition left over from onerous salt taxes

A popular Tuscan recipe using leftover bread is panzanella salad that everyone should try: imagine, Radicchio, Fennel, and Olive Panzanella

Zuppa di pane, or bread soup, and pappa al pomodoro are very typical examples of this technique

Ribollita, literally translated to “reboiled”, is another popular soup that features bread to give it a full bodied texture.

Pastas feature heavily such as hand rolled papperdelle and spaghetti often with wild boar or ragu

Cacio e Pepe, just “cheese and pepper”, pasta is a total comfort food and simple to make

Farro (Spelt) is used in soups or ground into flour  for baking or making pasta

Corn polenta and rice are eaten but less so than in more northern provinces

Braised hare and duck  with Sangiovese wine sauce

Assorted roasted meat called arrosto misto will often include pork, rabbit or different types of poultry and fowl

Cibreo, a famous Florentine chicken stew with  chicken eggs

Bistecca alla fiorentina. This Florentine style steak comes from Chianina cattle and is  a large T-bone or porterhouse cut

Wild boar, sausages or stewed for ragu & can also be served grilled or roasted

Along the coast, seafood is naturally more common with sea bream, mussels and clams, shrimp and squid all present

Cacciucco is a hearty soup made with fish and shellfish flavored with tomatoes, wine and chili peppers

Baccalà alla fiorentina, features salt cured cod, which is fried and then stewed with tomatoes, garlic and onions

Linguine and Clams, and Mussels in the Livorno style are a must try

Cantucci, Biscottini or Rcciarelli are different forms of hard cookies to pair with Vin Santo

Pandoro is a cake made with dried fruits and nuts with its origin being Siena

Chestnuts feature heavily and the flour is used for crepes and pine nut cakes

Honey (Miele) features heavily with cheese, sourced from Lunigiana, and infused with Saffron from the commune of San Gimignano


 Below you will find more information on what we get up to in Tuscany, We are extremely confident in all our relationships across the board in Tuscany 

 

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