Although the rolling hills are not quite as green and the blazing sunshine is not quite as strong; Tuscany has just as much to offer its holiday-making guests in the winter time as it does throughout the busy summer period. And what better time to visit this beautiful and cultured region than Christmas?
Many families jet away for the holiday season every year in order to experience what the festivities are like in other countries, and anyone who has made the decision to spend a few days in one of our luxury villas this Christmas will not be disappointed.So what can you look forward to in Tuscany at this time of year?
Beautiful Festive Scenes –It’s not unusual for towns and cities to deck their respective halls as we head into December, but the people of Tuscany, and Italy in general, seem to do it better than most. Traditional, understated and magical are just three words that you could use to describe the lights and shop window displays that can be seen throughout the towns and cities of the region.
Perhaps the most heart-warming of scenes are reserved for the different churches around the area, though. It is a tradition that each one displays its own nativity scene, or presepio, for everyone to enjoy and this is usually the main focus of the decorations. As you take a stroll by the many churches you will realise that these nativities often go much further than just portraying the scene around the manger and are usually beautifully elaborate in nature.
Perhaps one of the most stunning of these presepios can be seen in Manarola, a small town to the north-west of Pisa, which uses over 15,000 solar powered lights to create a scene along the hillside and overlooking the sea.
Markets Galore –Anyone who loves to explore a good Christmas market at this time of year will not be disappointed by what’s on offer in Tuscany. Lucca, Pisa, Arezzo, Siena and Montepulciano all have brilliaHYPERLINK "http://goitaly.about.com/od/christmasinitaly/a/christmas_2.htm"nHYPERLINK "http://goitaly.about.com/od/christmasinitaly/a/christmas_2.htm"t markets that are littered with local food, drink and gift ideas; meaning it’s impossible to leave without feeling that Christmas tingle all over your body. Why not rest your tired feet with a hot chocolate in hand before you continue your adventures?
Winter Warmers –There may not be many grapes on the vines at this time of year but Tuscany still has plenty of food and drinks to warm your heart in the winter. It’s truffle season and so you are likely to find dishes that use these all over the restaurant menus. It’s also wild boar season and so if you have never tried this meat before then perhaps this is the perfect time. There is no end of hearty dishes available in the many restaurants that will fuel you for more winter exploring, but why not pick up some supplies from the Christmas markets and attempt to cook up your own seasonal concoction in the kitchen of your villa.
If you’re looking for something delicious that the whole family can get involved with then why not have a go at making your own panHYPERLINK "http://www.itchefs-gvci.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=258&Itemid=655"eHYPERLINK "http://www.itchefs-gvci.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=258&Itemid=655"ttone – a traditional Italian dessert eaten around Christmas.