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Tuscany Revisited

tuscan cooking vacationsWith a population of about 4 million people, Tuscany is most famous for its landscapes, ancient traditions and history, and fine arts. Having a strong linguistic and cultural identity, it is sometimes considered “a nation within a nation”. Seven Tuscan localities have been designated World Heritage Sites: the historic centre of Florence (1982); the historical centre of Siena (1995); the square of the Cathedral of Pisa (1987); the historical centre of San Gimignano (1990); the historical centre of Pienza (1996); the Val d’Orcia (2004), and Medici Villas and Gardens (2013).

As the center of the Renaissance it was home to many influential scholars, inventors, scientists, philosophers, and artists who still capture the imagination. The sheer number of museums, like the Uffizi and the Pitti Palace showcase the many brilliant minds and talent of the centuries during and after the great revivals of their time.

Tuscany is also home to the lands and people who produce many world renowned wines that include Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Morellino di Scansano and Brunello di Montalcino. In 2007, the city became the world’s 46th most visited city, with over 1.715 million tourists converging on the area to experience the Tuscan ways of life- the food, the wines, the culture and the slow ways of life that have made it so famous.

Tuscany has over 120 protected nature reserves, Blue Flag seashores and small villages and attractions up and down its western coastline on the Tyrrhenian Sea, containing the Tuscan Archipelago, of which the largest island is Elba.

Tuscany has an area of approximately 8,878 square miles and is surrounded and crossed by major mountain chains, and with a few very fertile plains and hilly regions with rich soils that are perfect agriculture. Many of Tuscany’s largest cities lie on the banks of the Arno, including the capital Florence, Empoli and Pisa.

Tuscany’s mild climate and considerable fluctuations in temperature between winter and summer, gives the region a soil-building active freeze-thaw cycle. These cycles have sustained much of the country with highly nutritious produce, meats, and cheeses- which from ancient times made it the breadbasket for ancient Rome.

Tuscan dialect and the modern Italian spoke today are forever linked as Italian is in practice a “literary version” of Tuscan. It became the language of culture for all the people of Italy, thanks to the prestige of the masterpieces of Dante Alighieri, Francesco Petrarca, Giovanni Boccaccio, Niccolò Machiavelli and Francesco Guicciardini. And it became the official language of all the Italian states and of the Kingdom of Italy, when it was formed.

Tuscany has rich ancient and modern traditions that can only be appreciated by immersing oneself in the culture. And the people of this land are more than happy to share the love of their home with visitors. There are families who welcome people from all over the world at their working farms and villas. Wine, culinary, and cultural tours are led by the people who call this land home and is really the only way to truly appreciate all that Tuscany was, is and will be in the future. La Dolce Vita in Toscana!