Considered amongst the most beautiful places in the world, Tuscany is one of the most sought-after destinations in Europe, due in part to its paradisiacal landscapes.
Revel in the majestic beauty of Chianti, the gray colored clays of Crete Senesi and the gentle, undulating hills of the Val D’Orcia. The southern coast of Tuscany is characterized by long sandy beaches and natural protected oases, perfect for interludes of relaxation following days of roaming the countryside. Tuscany also boasts some of the most fascinating cities in all of Europe, including Florence, Lucca, Pisa and Siena. As such, it is considered the most popular and highest-profile region to visit in Italy.
FOOD & WINE EXPERIENCES
When it comes to food and wine, no other region of Italy can match the multitude of offerings in Tuscany. With such variety and quality of products, this is the premiere region to go to for wine and food enthusiasts. In terms of wine, Tuscany hosts some of the most revered and renowned appellations including the celebrated Brunello di Montalcino, the noble red of Montepulciano, and the legendary Chianti Classico. It is also home to some of the most precious vintages in the entire world, such as the illustrious ‘Super Tuscans’ of Ornellaia and Sassicaia from Bolgheri… a truly decadent experience for both aspiring wine connoisseurs and the most experienced oenophiles amongst us.
For epicurean delights, we encourage you to dig into the Tuscan culture with a visit to Mercato Centrale, the ‘central market’ of Florence, for samplings of the most delicious local, seasonal products with one of our expert gastronomists. Tuscan cuisine lovers should not miss the opportunity to participate in an unforgettable cooking experience with us. We offer a wide range of tailored cookery classes – suitable for beginner to advanced cooks – taking place in luxury villas, private homes or a local agriturismo (a farm featuring local produce). Get to know the secrets of the Cucina Povera (literally translated as ‘the cooking of the poor’ or ‘peasant cooking’) – including some of the simplest yet most delicious cooking techniques in the world.
At Viandando, we are passionate about culture and art. You will feel this passion yourselves when you take a professionally guided tour with us through Florence. Here, you will discover the sensational museums of the Uffizi and Accademia Galleries, Bargello, or Palazzo Pitti. Explore the less known yet stunning Casa Buonarroti and Museum of San Marco. Viandando can also open the doors for a private visit to the famous Vasari Corridor while offering themed itineraries based on Lorenzo de ‘Medici, Dante, Masaccio, Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci and other Tuscan geniuses. Florence is more than just the European capital of Art, so at Viandando we have crafted a number of additional experiences based on a diverse blend of interests such as Fashion, Beauty and of course … Gelato! We offer noteworthy tours dedicated to Florentine fashion – including, but certainly not limited to, the Ferragamo Museum and a tour of Lorenzo Villoresi’s studio for customized scents and perfumes. We have also developed an excursion exclusively devoted to the Buontalentian roots of our world famous Gelato (Italia’s version of ice-cream), dedicated to those with a sweet tooth and a passion to satisfy the most hedonistic of cravings!
Our expert guides have also created numerous compelling itineraries encompassing the ancient walled city of Siena, famous for its Palio horse race; Arezzo, with its popular Antiques Fair and medieval plaza where the age-old Giostra del Saracino (or the Joust of Saracino) takes place every year; Lucca, with its palatial royal villas; Pisa and the legendary ‘Leaning Tower’; and numerous small, quaint towns such as Pienza, Bagno Vignoni and San Quirico d’Orcia. All of this and more contribute to making Toscana the most sought after destination in Italy.
When it comes to outdoor activities, Tuscany is the most ideal of Italian destinations. It’s legendary and varied landscapes offer travelers an incredible range of potential experiences. Let us enthrall you as we wander through the eternal hills of Chianti, trek through the Apuan Alps, or hike in the coastal Parks of Maremma and the unspoiled expanse of the Casentino forest. At Viandando, we have tailored a number of diverse and exceptional activities directed at all ages and aspirations. You can cycle in Val d’Orcia or Crete Senesi, enjoy leisurely walks in the Chianti countryside, enjoy a thrilling hot air balloon ride over the verdant Tuscan hills, participate in a truffle hunt in beautiful areas such as Crete Senesi and San Miniato, go horseback riding along coastal Maremma, book a boat trip to any number of beautiful islands in the Tuscan archipelago (including Giglio and Ciannutri and so, so much more.
Tuscany has a western coastline on the Tyrrhenian Sea, containing the Tuscan Archipelago, of which the largest island is Elba. Tuscany has an area of approximately 22,993 square kilometres (8,878 sq mi). Surrounded and crossed by major mountain chains, and with few (but fertile) plains, the region has a relief that is dominated by hilly country used for agriculture. Hills make up nearly two-thirds (66.5%) of the region’s total area, covering 15,292 square kilometres (5,904 sq mi), and mountains (of which the highest are the Apennines), a further 25%, or 5,770 square kilometres (2,230 sq mi). Plains occupy 8.4% of the total area—1,930 square kilometres (750 sq mi)—mostly around the valley of the River Arno. Many of Tuscany’s largest cities lie on the banks of the Arno, including the capital Florence, Empoli and Pisa.
The climate is fairly mild in the coastal areas, and is harsher and rainy in the interior, with considerable fluctuations in temperature between winter and summer, giving the region a soil-building active freeze-thaw cycle, in part accounting for the region’s once having served as a key breadbasket of ancient Rome.
Simplicity is central to the Tuscan cuisine. Legumes, bread, cheese, vegetables, mushrooms and fresh fruit are used. Olive oil is made up of Moraiolo, Leccino and Frantoiano olives. White truffles from San Miniato appear in October and November. Beef of the highest quality comes from the Chiana Valley, specifically a breed known as Chianina used for Florentine steak. Pork is also produced. Wine is a famous and common produce of Tuscany. Chianti is arguably the most well-known internationally. So many British tourists come to the area where Chianti wine is produced that this specific area has been nicknamed “Chiantishire”.