Summer under the Tuscan sun
Guest blogger Jacinda Tutty is lucky enough to spend time in a villa in Tuscany every year (jealous much?!). Get the lowdown on her top tips for exploring what this gorgeous region has to offer.
I have fallen in love. Passionately. The kind of love that makes you want to denounce your citizenship and run to the nearest airport out of here. You may call it a summer romance, but my love affair with Tuscany will last a life time.
Tuscany in the summer is full of hot steamy days by the pool, adventures through 16th century wineries, street parades, wild horse races in the town square and history and art in abundance.
Here’s my guide to a Tuscan adventure to remember…
No trip to Tuscany would be complete with a good dose of vino. Wineries cover every inch of the landscape and tours can be organised through any local agency or online. There is something really magical about being in an underground cellar with the enchanting aroma of oak and wine drifting through the air.
The beautiful sprawling city of Florence is full of history and life. The home of many great artists and revolutionaries of the renaissance, there are art galleries and statues to make you swoon. To start off it’s a good idea to book the Hop On Hop Off bus tour to get a feel for the city, soak in the sights and learn a bit about the history as you drive by in air-conditioned comfort. Tickets are normally 35EUR and can be purchased on the bus or online.
As you enter through the marble foyer try to take in the unfinished works of Michelangelo and save the best for last because the second you set your eyes on the David it will be hard to look away. The detailing on the skin, showing the muscles, veins and intricate hairs over the body are a true mark of genius. You aren’t really allowed to take photos in here, but here’s a sneaky preview!
Food markets and cooking class
Try to organise a walking tour or take a traditional Italian cooking class and fall into a deep food coma you’ll never want to crawl out of.
There are an abundance of street artists who make masterpieces out of chalk. Stay a while and marvel at their work.
I may be alone in this thought but the frescos on the ceilings of the Duomo are far better than those seen in the Sistene Chapel. You can climb all the way up into the dome of the cathedral for a small fee but it is well worth it! You will need to travel up centuries old stairs one at a time winding your way up into the ceiling to bring you so close you can almost touch the frescos.
There is designer shopping galore, but Florence is also home to the best leather markets in Europe. You can find them on most street corners and be sure to barter but don’t push your luck too much – the vendors are happy to walk away from a sale if the price is too low.
Sienna is best for a day trip on a Wednesday for their weekly market day. It is full of amazing produce, meats, clothing and jewellery. Best of all, in August Sienna hosts the annual Palio horse race. This is one crazy spectacle! The riders all have to ride their horses bare back around the town square. The aim of the race is to push other riders off their horse and the winner can still win even if there is no rider on the horses back!
This is a beautiful medieval town set high up on one of the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside. It is the perfect place for a day trip to get a plate of pasta, cool down with a world famous gelato and take in the most amazing views of the Tuscan landscape.