There is nowhere that encapsulates the essence of Italy quite like Tuscany, which has been immortalised throughout the centuries in Renaissance paintings.The region is now among the most wealthy in Italy, and the classic imagery of vineyards, olive groves and medieval towns nestled into rolling hills remains; but there is far more to Tuscany than just the views.
Any good holiday, in our opinion, must begin with a drink or two, and where better to do so than in vineyards of the wine region of Chianti, where some of Italy’s finest vintages are produced. Wine tastings are offered at many vineyards in the region, with most including lunch or snacks and a tour of the winery – some even offer private drivers so there is no limit to your Chianti consumption.
If you are looking to explore more of the famed countryside of Tuscany than just Chianti, you may have to choose your preferred views, since each area of the region is home to entirely different landscapes. For example, northern Tuscany is mountainous and has many forests, but the further south you move, the more green hills and small woods there are, eventually leading to the southern views of cypress trees and endless fields that many associate with this part of the world. The coastline of Tuscany is often neglected by tourists, but if you want to explore this overlooked area, the Maremma in southern Tuscany is home to beaches that are generally uncrowded, family friendly and have many options for good food and drink.
There’s no way you could miss out on seeing some of the greatest artwork ever produced at the Uffizi Museum in Florence, whose extensive collection of Renaissance art is considered one of, if not the best in the world. Artists’ work featured in the museum includes masters of the Renaissance period, such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo and Botticelli, the last of whom is responsible for one of the most popular works in the gallery, ‘Birth Of Venus’. Plan ahead for your trip though, as Uffizi is one of the most popular destinations for tourists in Florence and at its busiest waiting times can be as long as five hours. Works by Botticelli can also be seen at the Galleria dell’Accademia, which is most notably the home of Michelangelo’s ‘David’.
If you find your mind strays back to fashion, you’re in luck: Florence is famous for its out-of-town outlets. The Mall is considered one of the best, and there you will find designer clothes accessories from labels such as Stella McCartney, Giorgio Armani, Fendi and Gucci with 30% up to 70% reductions. However, if you’d rather get your hands on something to keep the Tuscany sun out your eyes before you head off on your travels, these brands and many more are available through B Sunglasses, but we have a couple of suggestions if you want to truly take on the role of Italian fashionista.
And for the Children…These Stella McCartney Kids Childrens Cateye Sunglasses in Pink SK0001S 003 47
Of course, it would be impossible to visit Tuscany without stopping off at some of the most famous attractions of the region, which include The Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Santa Maria del Fiore, or the Duomo, in Florence and the Boboli Gardens, also in Florence. These are some of the most iconic and breathtaking sights in Tuscany, and significant world landmarks.
What better way to end an Italian adventure, or any trip for that matter, than at a spa. The Italians have been frequenting bath houses since the Ancient Roman era, and it seems they still excel in the area to this day. Some of the most impressive are located in Tuscany, such as Grotta Giusti, a thermal resort connected to natural hot springs and luxury hotel. Grotta Giusti features a unique thermal cave stretching more than 200m below the resort, split into three sections (named Heaven, Purgatory and Hell, somewhat worryingly), as well as outdoor springs rich in minerals for enhanced wellness. We want to be there all day, every day!
Will you be roaming the rolling hills of Tuscany this Summer?