Falling In Love With Tuscany

Piazza del Campo in Siena © Eileen Hsieh

Piazza del Campo in Siena © Eileen Hsieh

It is very difficult to stay concentrated in Tuscany. From the fervent sun to the comforting food and wine, there are simply too many elements that tantalise the senses, putting me in a constant state of sweet coma. 

The essence of Tuscany lingers after one leaves. Luckily for me, the memories of the beguiling sights and sounds have hung around long enough for me to put together a list of my favourite Tuscan experiences.

* Click here for our Nature's Best Palette: Tuscany Itinerary *

Historic Towns

Arezzo - Best known for its antiques and providing the setting for the 1999 Oscar-winning film Life Is Beautiful.

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Florence's famous Fiorentina steak - this is the portion for one person! © Eileen Hsieh

Florence's famous Fiorentina steak - this is the portion for one person! © Eileen Hsieh

The Chianti Region - The name is synonymous with wine excellence, but only Chianti Classico carries the famous seal of the black rooster.

Florence - Cathedral of Santa Maria with the most recognised Duomo is here, along with world-class museums such as Galleria dell'Accademia (home to Michelangelo's David) and Uffizi Gallery, and the most renowned bridge with shops - Ponte Vecchio.

Lucca - The old town is confined within an ancient wall wide enough to accommodate traveling cars, bikes and people. 

Montalcino - Where the acclaimed Brunello diMontalcino wine comes from. 

Montapulcino - Hilltop town famed for its red wine, including Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. On the outskirt of the town lies the imposing Church of San Biagio.

Monteriggioni - The most adorable town in Tuscany in my opinion, with a well-preserved 13th-century circular wall. 

Pisa - The city needs no introduction. Just don't miss the Leaning Tower. 

Rapolano Terme - A popular thermal station with hot sulphurous waters. The popular San Giovanni Terme Rapolano Spa has four thermal pools with varying natural temperatures. 

San Gimignano - A UNESCO World Heritage Site. During the town's most prosperous era in the 13th and 14th centuries, rival families built soaring towers as symbols of their wealth and power. Today, 14 of the 72 towers have survived. 

Siena - Another UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most visited tourist attractions in Italy, with the most unique public square - Piazza del Campo.

The perfectly preserved miniature walled city of Monteriggioni. (source: www.turismo.intoscana.it)

No visit to Tuscany is complete without a stay in an agriturismo. Sunrise at Fattoria Voltrona. © Eileen Hsieh

No visit to Tuscany is complete without a stay in an agriturismo. Sunrise at Fattoria Voltrona. © Eileen Hsieh

Agriturismo and B&B

Dinner time at Fattoria Voltrona. © Eileen Hsieh

Dinner time at Fattoria Voltrona. © Eileen Hsieh

Antica Dimora Johlea B&B - Florence

Dainty B&B in the heart of old town Florence, with breakfast served on the rooftop overlooking the city. 

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Fattoria Voltrona - San Gimignano

We could not have picked a better place for our very first agriturismo experience. The place oozes rustic charm. The rooms are spartan but large and comfortable. Do not miss the communal dinner - the food is delicious, and the wine is produced from grapes grown in Fattoria Voltrona's vineyards and flows all night.

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Everything at Villa Buoninsegna is grand, including its windows. © Eileen Hsieh

Everything at Villa Buoninsegna is grand, including its windows. © Eileen Hsieh

Villa Buoninsegna - Rapolano Terme

An imposing mansion in the famous spa town, surrounded by vineyards and two pools. Dinner here is a bit more formal than at the Fattoria Voltrona and very good.

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B&B La Romea - Lucca

Historic residence in the heart of the Old Town with gorgeous decor. The suite is gigantic with a bathroom to match. Generous breakfast with a good selection of sweet and savoury offerings.

Many Happy Returns: Loire Valley, France

Many Happy Returns: Loire Valley, France

Nature's Best Palette: Tuscany, Italy

Nature's Best Palette: Tuscany, Italy