Tuscany is a charmed land, equally blessed by the genius of man and nature, and often by the combined efforts of both. Think of the vineyards: rows of baby green vines that manage somehow to march in arrow-straight formation up the gently rolling hillsides, bounded by single files of darker green cypress trees, snaking sandy roads leading to rust-coloured farmhouses and moss-coated castles, symmetrically rounded hilltops surmounted by towns so homogeneous as to seem one single building. Every inch of land has been sculpted, first by the elements, and then by generations of inhabitants whose goals were always twofold: make the land produce as much as possible, make the land as beautiful as possible. Tuscany enchants us today because it holds together as a region, and every corner is worthy of visit: Firenze, Siena, Chianti, the D’orcia Valley.
In the south of Tuscany lie the hills and vineyards of Chianti, Italy’s premier wine region. The classic Chiantis, perfect prosciutto, and pasta served up in the city’s best trattorie and osterie (restaurants) alone are worth a visit to this classically romantic setting, even if you never set foot inside an art gallery! The well-preserved medieval city of Siena (where the world-famous Palio horse race takes place), also lies to the south. Pisa (with not just one, but three leaning towers) lies slightly to the North, while San Gimingiano (Tuscany’s Medieval Manhattan) is to the east, and the palm-lined beaches of Viareggio to the west. Around thirty minutes northwest of Florence towards Lucca lie the historic neighbouring towns of Prato and Pistoia, both of them full of art and historic architecture.