The “Real” Tuscany

Friday, June 22, 2012

For many people, Northern Italy’s charms may come down to a warm climate, delicious food and drink, and quaint Tuscany villas. However, those who wish to go beyond the blatantly touristy side of the region will find that, unlike in other parts of the world, the influx in interest from the ‘outside world’ has not been enough to completely eradicate the more rustic aspects of Tuscany just yet.

In fact, in contrast with regions such as the Caribbean and Southern Spain, the charming Northern Italian province has not let the holidaymaking charm of Tuscany villas do away with its traditional lifestyle, and visitors to the region can still get a glimpse of how ‘real’ Tuscans live their everyday lives. Counties such as Chianti and Montalbano keep the artisan tradition very much alive, while typical dishes, prepared with local ingredients, can be found all over the province. Rural architecture, unspoilt landscapes (offering plenty of hiking opportunities) and quaint, undiscovered corners are also amongst the many charms of the “real” Tuscany.

Tourists staying in Tuscany villas will also be happy to know that they, too, can have a taste of the region’s traditional lifestyles and cuisine. Many entities throughout the area offer small booster courses on Tuscan cuisine, arts and crafts or traditional medicine. In addition, the region boasts over 200 “learning farms”, where foreigners can literally “get their hands dirty” as they experience first-hand what it is like to live in a Tuscan farm - from bread-making to basket weaving and traditional cooking methods.

In short, then, it is clear that Tuscany has not let tourism overtake its more traditional side, and foreigners visiting the region will still get a wonderful glimpse of how native Tuscans lead their everyday lives.

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