When Tuscany comes to mind, I think of postcard perfect images of warm sunlight blanketing endless rolling hills. I think of large Italian families gathering for dinner at their backyard with a magnificent view similar to those in films such as Under the Tuscan Sun. True enough, it was as I pictured when I took my rented car out to explore Tuscany that’s so famous for its wineries and olive groves.
With so many photo stops, it can be hard to just put your camera aside and simply experience this piece of Italian countryside. Tuscany is a lot more than a picturesque region. It’s an area that boasts the natural flavours of slow cooking. The people are proud of its local food where farmers and wine makers work hard to cultivate produce that’s unique to their region, such as pecorino cheese, olive oil, red wine, truffles and handmade pasta. The history of the hill towns are so rich, you can see it in its architecture.
There is a great sense of belonging, as I experienced the warmth of Italian friendship. Every shop or restaurant I went to, they welcomed me with open arms. They possess a certain zeal to sharing with me more about their culture, especially about their food. There aren’t any rules as to how you should go about visiting Tuscany, but here are just some suggestions:
- Go for a wine-tasting at a winery.
- Stay in an agriturismo (farm) or a villa.
- Enjoy slow food at any restaurant.
- Shop for local produce such as cheese, olive oil and wine.
- Walk the cobblestone streets of hill towns that surprise you with every turn.