TASTES OF TUSCANY

Stepping into Tuscany

Everyone knows when something rather special is happening. There is a feeling in the air, an excitement transcendental charge that your body picks up on. When stepping into Tuscany for the first time it feels like this – it’s an authentic perception, as if one has stepped straight into an episode of a favorite show.

Often described as a magical region dripping with history, there is no better place to start your encounter within the Tuscan capital city, Florence. On foot or bicycle Florence slowly unravels her long and history, as you crisscross the ancient city. For those urban adventurers among us, there is nothing riding over the cobblestones of the narrow, centuries-old alleys, in search of sculptures and other produced by such masters as Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Botticelli.

Around every corner you find striking Renaissance architecture, gorgeous medieval bridges like Ponte, and unscripted pleasures like enjoying a gelato or taking in some modern street art.

An Open Road to Discovery

Leaving such a richly appointed city behind can seem tough, but having traded in your city street map upgraded your means of transportation, it is time to head out and explore the region. This doesn’t come easy, with hard choices still to be made upon passing the city gates and choosing your route at the theoretical crossroads you will encounter along the way.

You could opt for a more retro inspired exploration between pristine beaches and ancient inhabited coves in vintage Alfa Romeo. Or for something a little more adrenaline fueled, a trip into the indomitable Tuscan. Here you are whisked up winding mountain roads in a more rugged SUV type of vehicle, led past marble quarries, across cavernous mountain passes and then taken directly up into the clouds and.

Then there is the sort of route available where you wander gently out into the countryside with no real set, apart from knowing that immersive discovery awaits. This is the Tuscany of rolling hills and tree-lined country lanes that takes you from place to place on a path of pure wonderment.

Vino, Truffles, and a Bond with Living History

The bond between the land and the people living on it runs deep here and after hitting the open road it is pretty much a given that you will soon become inextricably entwined into this bond as well.

Drawing you in are the numerous olive and wine trails that weave their way across the region. These ancient pathways have linked villages, monasteries, farmers and all sorts of craftsmen for centuries, and it doesn’t take much to begin imagining you have stepped back into the distant past of Roman antiquity.

Imagine awakening each morning in a villa atop of hills that afford instagrammable vistas. The same vistas from which you shared a gourmet meal with new and old friends the evening before. Each day here is different and builds on the previous day’s adventures, such as taking an early morning stroll down to the ancient olive grove that lays just outside the villa’s wall. You watch as the olives are pressed just as they were in ancient times, when armored soldiers marched through the land.

Perhaps you have decided to compile a personal top five list of locally produced wines? In which case, today is the day you are going to find that particular Chianti you heard was produced nearby by a small vineyard where the art of winemaking has been kept in the same family for generations. But hold on – that means you have to put off following the napkin map that the local bar owner drew especially for you; the map that takes you to the home of a local family who still hand make Lardo, a true Tuscan specialty of cured pig fat.

And what about the mythical truffle that you had a taste of the other night? Tuscan forests are a sacred place for truffle hunters and you could be lucky enough to take part in this most ancient of traditions. Once ‘on the hunt’ with your local guide and their dog, it is impossible not to get carried away with the excitement of the experience, especially with such a deliciously edible prize as a reward.

Authentic and Simple = Memories

The true magic of your Tuscan experience comes from that air of authentic simplicity that surrounds a visit from start to finish. This is the stuff that real memories are made of. These are memories that no words or pictures can do justice to. This is an experience of a lifetime.