#LuckyLinky Week 44
5th February 2018
#ABloggingGooodTime Week 80
8th February 2018
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I make no secret of the fact that I adore Italy. Having lived in gorgeous Sicily for three years, I can honestly say I felt so at home and alive out there that I crave any visit I can make back to such a beautiful country. I did learn to speak Italian whilst living there and sometimes even now, almost five years after leaving, I still find myself sometimes thinking in Italian and when I’m really tired will often shout “Basta” at Alyssa which means that’s enough! I have not been back to Italy since Alyssa was born but it is definitely somewhere I want to take her when she is older. One thing I’d love to do is get a rental villa in Tuscany and explore the region as it’s one I’ve not been to. So, I thought I’d do some research on the best things to do whilst visiting beautiful Tuscany, Italy…

sunset in tuscany over green hills

Countryside

One of the most prominent things to stand out about Tuscany, is the miles and miles of roaming, glorious countryside. The best way to explore it to the fullest would be to enjoy a scenic drive. One such suggested drive is that from Siena to Grosseto and back again which can be managed in a day. The trip takes you from beautiful Siena to the sea and takes you through some of southern Tuscany’s most beautiful areas including the wine town of Montalcino.

All of Tuscany

It is such a huge region you’d be surprised what come’s under Tuscany and will definitely need at least a week to take a look at it all. As I said before, it includes Siena but also Pisa, Lucca, Arezzo, Chianti and of course Montalcino to name but a few and each of these holds it’s own treasures.

Obviously, one of the most famous would be The Leaning Tower of Pisa which is definitely high up on my list of things to see. I really want to take one of those cleverly posed photographs where it looks like it is falling on you or you are trying to push it back up yourself!

Siena is described as a gorgeously unique and proud Medieval city with a layout of winding lanes around the open shell-shaped space of the Piazza (like town square) del Campo. One of the things I loved about living where I did in Sicily was the fact it was like stepping back in time. Men still sat in there chairs outside their houses or in the Piazza whilst the women were hanging washing off balconies and we walked down cobbled streets. Italy is steeped in tradition and Siena is a perfect location to experience that.

Lucca is said to be a really great place if you just want to lay back and unwind for a few days as it’s all beautiful piazzas and al-fresco restaurants. Or if you like walking then just to the north is the green Garfagnana Valley which is full of villas and gardens to explore.

Full to the Brima chopping board with flour eggs and pasta

One of the biggest appeals for me to returning to visit Italy is of course the food and wine. Tuscany, in particular Montalcino, is a huge provider of wines to the world so it really would be rude not to spend some time sampling them… either by eating and drinking in as many different places as possible or booking a tour and tasting at one of the many beautiful vineyards and perhaps purchasing a few samples to bring home!

Now, I quite regularly make “Authentic Italian Pizza” from scratch in the way I was taught when I lived in Italy and the whole family love it and enjoy when I turn our kitchen into a pizzeria. However, as much as I love it, there is absolutely no comparison to the food of Italy which is honestly some of the best cuisine in the world. I am very fortunate that this week I shall actually be attending an Italian Culinary day with some famous chefs, Giovanni and Fabiola, from Tuscany who will be showing me how to make pasta as well as one of their signature sweet pastry dishes.

Shockingly, when I lived in Italy I actually lost A LOT of weight despite the fact I ate pizza out at least twice a week and lived opposite a bakery. I think the reason for this is that everything is so fresh and delicious, I stopped snacking completely and the Mediterranean diet really suited my lifestyle and it is something I am desperate to enjoy once again.

a wooden barrel with green and red grapes in front and 2 glasses one with white and one with red wine

Sun, Sea and Sandblue sea, coast line, beach, deck chairs, sun

Obviously, the weather in Italy most of the year (from March/April until October) is absolutely gorgeous and something that a lot of tourists go to Italy for is the beaches and Tuscany is no different though it is not necessarily the first place that comes to mind when you think of Italian beaches despite the fact that it has almost 250 miles of coastline.

As with a lot of places, some parts are your standard holiday beach where there are rows and rows of deck chairs and towels, squeals of delight from the sea and smelling of sun tan lotion and cocktails. However, there are actually places of interest to explore as well such as the sand dunes of Migliarino-San Rossore which are in fact a nature reserve or the much quieter southern Maremma which has beautiful beaches, unspoiled scenery and lots of good places to eat – if you like fish and seafood this would be a good place to go!

a sun set over a tuscan vineyard

I could go on for a lot longer on all the things I’d like to do in Tuscany – cultural visits to all sorts of monuments, amphitheatres and churches as well as probably draw up a menu of all the different foods I want to try and beaches I want to lie on. However, I will stop here and leave you with thoughts of gorgeous Tuscany rolling through your mind. Have you been to Tuscany? If so, is there anything else I should add to my list of must dos?! If not, is it somewhere you’d like to go?

*This is a collaborative post.

 

14 Comments

  1. Emma says:

    Oooh, I am hoping to go here in a couple of years time!

  2. Italy is up there as one of my must see places, I was to dive into the culture and cook and eat pasta! These images make me want to go even more, it is so far from Australia though.

  3. Ren says:

    How did you not gain weight!? I think I would eat so much pasta they would have to roll me across the border! It looks amazing, I will get there someday! #ablogginggoodtime

  4. Adrian and I had our honeymoon in Tuscany – we stayed in a gorgeous villa in Volterra. We planned to travel around a lot, but because of issues with our rental car we spent most of the time just wandering around the village, eating great food and drinking wine – and it was amazing. I’d love to go back. #ablogginggoodtime

  5. I adore Tuscany – one thing we’ve never done are the beaches. It’s never occurred to me. Lovely dreamy post! x

  6. Tubbs says:

    We went to Tuscany for our honeymoon and I’ve got such great memories. We really need to get it together enough to go back. Thanks for bringing back some great memories 🙂

  7. Berni says:

    Jealous! The closest I’ve ever been to Italy (apart from dating an Italian for 3 months in my teens), was our long weekend in Rome last year. I need to travel more .
    #ablogginggoodtime

  8. I did Rome as a city break once but never Tuscany. I love Italy but it makes me fat. God damn you pasta. *shakes fist.

  9. Sophie says:

    We stayed in a converted barn on a working fruit farm near Arezzo near Siena a few year ago and had such a fabulous time. The whole area is beautiful and laid back. The little towns are, like you say, like stepping back in time and the local people so friendly. I’d love to go back and explore some more. Thanks for sharing this post. #ablogginggoodtime

  10. It makes me want to go there! It looks lovely! #blogginggoodtime

  11. Sounds amazing! I’m getting full of wanderlust lately, need to go exploring new places 🙂 #abloggingoodtime

  12. Martina says:

    I love Italy so much that we even bought a tiny little mountain house in northern Tuscany a couple of years ago. So now the kids get to experience a little taste of Italy every summer for 6 weeks. Hope you’re going to blog some of your recipes!

  13. Michelle says:

    I’ve wanted to visit Tuscany ever since I saw the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun. The countryside looks so beautiful and the people seem so friendly. My boys are part Italian and they still have distant relatives in Italy so I really want to take them there someday:) #ablogginggoodtime

  14. Helena says:

    Love Italy and I would say that it’s the most romantic place over France any day. Shush don’t tell hubby. #ablogginggoodtime

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