Our trip through Tuscany has been a while back, but because I am in the middle of planning our second Italian road trip (through Umbria this time) it is all coming back. We have seen so many beautiful sights, eaten so many delicious meals and done fun things that it seemed about time for a short overview of the things and places you do not want to miss in Tuscany. In the end the region is quite large so the odds of us coming back for a second trip are definitely there. We visited the following ten cities in the three weeks we were there, but a few places we will revisit this year as well. Just because we want to see it again!
There are two kinds of people: those who love Florence and those that love Siena.. Well that is nonsense of course but I do like Siena better than Florence. Don’t get me wrong, Florence is beautiful and a total must see but Siena is smaller and with the beautiful square in the middle a fantastic city to roam around in for a day or so. Less crowded than Florence and it somehow felt more authentic too.
I’ve written about it before, but don’t go to Pienza if you hate cheese. Because chees, that is what they make here. The very best pecorino is made and sold in Pienza. The result is that the entire town had this really strong cheesy smell. I love cheese but even I thought it was a bit too much. For Tom – who hates cheese – it was like hell on earth…
Wih a bit of luck we will be going back to San G, as an American friend called it. If you think away the tourists (because they are there in abundance) it is like going back in time. San Gimignano is known for the beautiful architecture from the middle ages as well as their saffron, ham and white wine.
Tuscany is filled with pretty old towns and Lucca is one of those towns. Pretty little squares, nice shops but the local specialty buccatelo is one to skip. It is some kind of raisin bread but way dryer. We had it at thé place to have it in Lucca, but quite frankly I have no idea what all the fuss is about. Not delicious at all.
If you love balsamic than you must have heard of Modena as the birth place of the vinegar of all vinegars. A visit to the balsamico museum is a must. Technically Modena is not in Tuscany but in Emiglia Romagna, but who is counting right?
The city of cities in Tuscany of course. I definitely thought it was a beautiful city but may be I had expected more of it. Like I mentioned above I think Siena is the better of the two cities, but still Florence is not to be missed in the row of cities to go to.
At the edge of Tuscany you will find the famous Cinque Terre, a beautiful area by the sea but one where tourism is taking it’s toll. Skipping it is not an option, because it is absolutely gorgeous but try and avoid the big masses of people. if you’re planning to walk the trail along the sea you will soon lose most of the tourists. Just keep going and don’t look back. And avoid going during the high season.
The entire Chianti area is more than worth a visit. The landscapes, the delicious wines and the wonderful food. If you like sausage than definitely go to Greve in Chianti and walk inside Macelleria Falorni. Probably the most famous butcher in the whole of Tuscany. Make sure you buy some of that fennel sausage. The Chianti area is dotted with small wine producers and it is great fun to visit a few of them, taste some wine and buy a box (or two) to bring home. Our car was pretty full by the end of the trip.
For the movie lovers this town is better known as Volterra from the movie Twilight. Because despite the fact that there is an actual real Volterra, it seems that the scene in which Edward wants to expose himself to the sunlight, is shot right in Montepulciano. Or so we were told by the proud owner of the bar in which the crew apparently had a drink or two. The pictures of the behind the scenes were on the wall, so I guess he must be telling the truth. The fountain where Bella has to run through, is especially build for the movie. But that door below? I think that must be thé door, don’t you think?
And let’s be honest: almost everything in Tuscany is beautiful. I cannot wait to go back and explore more of this wonderful country!