Beautiful Destination: Falling In Love With Tuscany
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.
Arezzo - Best known for its antiques and providing the setting for the 1999 Oscar-winning film Life Is Beautiful.
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.
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.
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.
Agriturismo and B&B
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.
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.
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.
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.