The Beauty of Cinque Terra

CT-Rio from above distance

We had never been to Cinque Terra and felt that it would make a nice, easy complement to our Tuscan trip. While the drive that Google Maps estimated at two and a quarter hours stretched to about three, it was well worth it. The views began shortly after leaving the decidedly non-scenic coastal [Read more …]

Favorite Tuscan Food and Wine Experiences-2012

Truffle-Paulo and dog

Florence is beautiful, the Tuscan landscape enchanting and the smaller medieval towns are charming. But let’s face it: the wine and the food experiences are magical. Although we love most things about Tuscany (other than the driving), it is the food and the wine that keeps us coming back. Throughout our recent week in Tuscany, [Read more …]

Tuscan Food and Wine Shopping Trails

Greve store-meat counter-g

Tuscany has no shortage in options for shopping for food. You can go to large supermarkets, neighborhood specialty stores and farmers markets. And, since we were tourists, going to many normal tourist towns, we found huge numbers of touristy stores that offer very attractive combinations of dried pastas, bottled and canned [Read more …]

Favorite Tuscan Restaurants

Chianti-favorite restaurant (2)

The western Chianti villa at which we are staying is a charming, rustic home down a steep dirt road and about 15 minutes from the nearest decent-sized town. Halfway between Barberino and Certaldo, it requires a drive to get anywhere. Although we sought out and generally ate nice lunches wherever we happened to be during [Read more …]

Tuscan Wine Tasting

Montelpul-Avinonesi-drying racks-Tom

Wine tasting in Tuscany is not quite the same as in Napa. The province has hundreds of small producers, spread over an area twelve times the size of Napa. Tasting times are seldom posted, and often flexible, distances between wineries great and the roads are long and steep, with hairpin turns. In fact, if you [Read more …]

Truffle Foraging in Tuscany

Truffle-sign

Tuscany is not the first place you think of as the source for truffles. But, while Tuscan truffles are certainly less well known than those in Piedmont’s Alba region, Tuscany’s San Giovanni d’Asso’s truffles are reputed to be "almost as good, but significantly less expensive.” The main reason that we decided to arrange a truffle [Read more …]

Exploring Central Tuscan Towns

San Gig from distance (2)

All of our Tuscan trips begin and/or end in Florence and most include stops (although so far, not stays) in Florence’s large, millennia-old rival, Siena. Although it is a lovely city and we still intend to get back, especially for the Palio di Siena horserace, we skipped it on this trip to focus more time [Read more …]

Planning an Exploration of Tuscany

Tuscan landscape-GREAT

Maybe it’s the wine, maybe the food, the atmosphere, the people, the scenery, the medieval towns and villas, or maybe it’s a combination of all of them. But whatever it is, we love Tuscany. Any trip to Tuscan must include at least some of its larger cities. Florence is truly one of the [Read more …]

When in Tuscany, Take a Cooking Class

Chianti-cooking class - picci (2)

One of the pleasures of traveling is exploring regional foods. And what better way to explore food than by taking a cooking class! Each of our last three trips to Tuscany have included a cooking class. While the others were in restaurant kitchens, this one was in the kitchen of a personal house outside the [Read more …]

Catching Up with Florence—in Less than a Day

Florence-Duomo, Campenile-nite-g

Since we had recently spent a few days in Florence and its museums, we limited our time (probably too much) to the equivalent of one day, spread across our first and last days in Tuscany. This, unfortunately, required that we skip museums such as the Uffizi, Pitti Palace and Academia for this trip. There, is, [Read more …]