Stephanie Yoder a RoamRight Blog Author

A Guide to Exploring the Tuscan Countryside

TuscanyContent

Tuscany is one of the most popular regions of one of the most visited countries in the world–Italy. Even so, instead of exploring this beautiful region, most visitors will simply flock to Florence for its tremendous art and culture and then maybe stop by Pisa or Siena before heading off to Rome. These cursory visitors are missing out on some of the region's greatest beauty and riches; to truly understand and enjoy Tuscany, you need to get out into the gorgeous country side.

 

How to Get Around

The best way to explore Tuscany on your own terms is to rent a car. This allows for an open itinerary where you can wander the back roads, stop at your leisure and really soak up the countryside. However, driving in Italy is not always easy and starting your trip out of Florence can be difficult.

If a car is too expensive or too much of a headache, Tuscany also has a good train system with easy connections to much of the region. Guided bike tours have also become popular over the past few years.
 

Where to Go

You actually don't need to venture too far out of Florence to get a taste of the Tuscan countryside. It's possible to do a day trip from the city to Chianti (wine country), Val d'Orcia (its landscapes were named a UNESCO World Heritage site) or Montepulciano and Montalcino.

If you've got the means to venture further, consider basing yourself in Siena and exploring its famous hill towns. Another option is Arezzo, which is full of gorgeous walking trails and Etruscan historical sites.
 

Where to Stay

Accommodations in rural Tuscany range from bed & breakfasts to great Italian villas and everything in between. Agrotourism is also very popular in the area and the most entertaining option is to arrange a stay at a Tuscan farmhouse, where you can often participate in the daily life of the farm.

 

What to Eat

Tuscany is one of the centers of rich and hearty Italian cuisine. Often times a full meal will consist of a first course of pasta or soup and a second course of meat, with a contorni or side dish of salad or veggies. Italians eat late and it will be very difficult to find any restaurants open between the hours of 2 pm and 7pm.

In Tuscany you'll find freshly pressed olive oil, fresh meats and a huge variety of produce. When truffles are in season they can also be found in many dishes as a delicious and aromatic addition to already amazing meals. Many towns and regions have their own signature dishes, but wherever you are be sure to try panzanella (bread salad), ribollita (vegetable soup) and tagliatelle alla boscaiola (pasta with porcini mushrooms).

No trip to Tuscany would be complete without sampling some of their famous deep red wines. Super Tuscan wines are quite popular at the moment, they are extra forceful varieties mixed with cabernet sauvignon. The most popular regions for wine tasting are Chianti, Montalcino and Montepulciano.

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About the Author

Stephanie Yoder

Stephanie Yoder, a RoamRight Blog Author

Stephanie Yoder is a girl who can't sit still! Since graduating college in 2007 she has either been traveling or planning to travel. She's lived on four continents and visited everywhere from the Great Wall of China to the Great Barrier Reef. She now writes and travels full time, blogging about her adventures on Why Wait To See The World? (formerly Twenty-Something Travel). Follow Stephanie on Twitter or visit her on Facebook.

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