GRAZIE, BELLA TUSCANY
If you’ve ever dreamt of spending time under the Tuscan sun – in the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, the slow food movement and land of Chianti Classico – chances are you haven’t envisioned rushing it. The beloved Italian region is best absorbed through languid days spent hiking between fortified hilltop villages, enjoying long lunches in biodynamic vineyards, cycling alongside golden wheat fields and simply sitting in your private villa and living la dolce vita like a local.
G Adventures Europe & Middle East Product Manager, Sofia Montezo, says, “Tuscany was where the Italian language was born and everyone here is very proud of this.
“It also has some amazing natural hot springs, which most wouldn’t necessarily associate with the region, but locals will let you know where the good spots are.”
Tuscany is the Sophia Loren of Italy – undeniably beautiful, full-bodied and timeless. But besides its lyrical landscapes and slow-living spirit, for many people it’s all abOo nu Ft atc he bfoOoOdk.OnF ace bOOk
@es“cNaepaerl.c yO emve.rayu one visiting Tu@secsacnaypwea.clkOsm.au away wanting to learn to make duck pappardelle or picci pasta and how to make the delicious crusty Tuscan bread,” Montezo says. “We offer a hands-on bread making class on our Local Living Garfagnana trip and our Local Living San Gimignano also includes a On Instagram On Instagram Tuscan cooking class with picci and wild boar @escapesnaps @escapesnaps almost always guaranteed to be on the menu.”
Of course, with all the inevitable indulgence Tuscany piles onto your plate, being able to balance food and wine with exploring on foot is also appealing.
“The Alpi Apuane region in Northern Tuscany is a hidden gem for walking,” Montezo says. “(There are) marked paths everywhere, and you can explore small villages along the way as you make your way through beech forests and wildflowers.
“Tuscany’s rolling hills also make for fantastic and challenging cycling. Hill towns like Pienza and Montepulciano are rewarded with breathtaking viewpoints.”
WHEN TO VISIT
You’ll avoid the crowds and enjoy pleasant temperatures during spring (April, May, June) and autumn (September, October).
If you’re deadset on summer, it pays to be aware of the events happening throughout those months. The patriarchal Palio horse races take place in Siena in July and August – where 10 riders represent 10 of the 17 contrade (city wards) and space for spectators comes at a premium – and there are several wine festivals in late September/early October during the wine harvest.
“I would recommend going in the Fall (September, October) as this will coincide with wine harvests and you can roll up your sleeves and take part in the ‘vendemmia’ (grape harvest) and help locals collect their grapes,” Montezo says.
WHEN TO BOOK
“Anywhere between 3-6 months is ideal to ensure you get the dates you want, especially if you’re planning on travelling in the peak months of July and August,” Montezo says.
“The best deals for booking can often be found within 30 days of travel, but that is a very high risk to take as space can be limited then. January tends to be the most favourable time to book for those looking to travel in the summer monthsO(nJuFlayc/AebuOguOskt).”
When in Tuscany, do as the locals do – live la dolce vita. Stunning landscapes and languid indulgence will tantalise your senses, along with the food and wine, of course.