5 Dishes You Have To Try In Tuscany

Thursday, January 21, 2016

5 Dishes You Have To Try In Tuscany

Posted by Dympna Docherty (22/01/2016)

Italy is known for it’s delicious cuisine, most people associate Italian food with pizza and pasta. However, Italian food is so much more than this. It’s not until you visit specific regions that you appreciate real Italian delicacies. Tuscany is also celebrated for its cuisine, people in this region take immense pride in their food.

Tuscan food is based around fresh local ingredients, and dishes are often centred around what’s in season. Cooking here is simple yet full of taste and freshness. The local people will throw together meals based on what they find at the local market. Dishes are often filly and wholesome, and dishes are always served with bread baked within the region.

Tuscany has a long history of serving delicious foods,  and there is often a focus on simplicity, favouring fresh quality ingredients over complex sauces and seasoning. The flavours in the dishes speak for themselves and a lot of the food is homegrown. If you are travelling to Tuscany, here are some of the classic, traditional dishes you have to try.

1. Panzanella
You will find this dish in most of the restaurants in Tuscany. It’s basically a bread salad which is made with unsalted bread, red onions, cucumber tomatoes, basil, vinegar,salt and lots of olive oil. Italians don’t like to throw bread away so they use leftovers and slightly stale bread to make this simple yet delicious salad. It’s an ideal summer dish that’s perfect for lunch or a light dinner.

2. Papa al pomodoro
This is a real Tuscan favourite that’s very comforting. It’s a very thick bread and tomato soup made with bread, lots of tomatoes, basil leaves and olive oil. You might find the ingredients used and the taste of this dish varies from town to town. Despite it being a soup, you will find it quite filling and satisfying. You can have this dish as a start or a light lunch and it can be a great winter warmer.

3. Bistecca Fiorentina
This is the dish that everyone wants to try when they visit Tuscany. It’s specific to this region in Italy because of the way it is cooked and where the steak comes from. It’s a very large T-bone steak that is extremely thick.  Local butchers are extremely proud of this steak and say it is different from the steaks served in all other regions.

It’s so big that it is usually split between a couple or several people. It comes from a specific breed of cow, the Chianina and your waiter will probably bring it out before it's cooked to show you the size. The steak is normally served rare.  A lot of restaurants serve this dish although it's worth finding a top quality restaurant as this dish can vary in taste and quality. It’s usually served with cooked beans and potatoes.

4.  Pappardelle Alla Lepre
You have to try some freshly made pasta whilst on holiday in Italy, it’s the best place in the world to eat homemade pasta. One of the more popular pasta dishes in the Tuscany region is Pappardelle, which is a type of pasta that is much like spaghetti, but it is much thicker and is made with egg. Pappardelle Alla Lepre is serve with a hare sauce and hare that’s cooked for a long time. This dish can also be served with boar sauce instead of hare if you fancy trying something different.

5. Cacciucco
Finally, you should also try Cacciucco, which is a traditional fish stew. This dish originally used to be made from the leftover fish from a catch. The fisherman would use the fish they couldn’t sell to make a fresh fish stew.

Nowadays the recipe has been refined to include more expensive varieties of fish such as mussels, prawns and various shellfish instead of ‘bottom of the boat’ fish such as octopus and squid. It usually contains around five different types of fish and contains garlic, sage, chillies, wine and tomatoes.

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Best Places To Get Married In Tuscany

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Best Places To Get Married In Tuscany

Posted by Mikolaj (15/01/2016)
Browsing through endless wedding magazines trying to find the perfect wedding location can be quite overwhelming. There’s so many amazing places to choose from, and picking somewhere to spend the biggest day of your life is an important decision. If you are looking for a beautiful setting for your wedding look no further than Tuscany.

Tuscany is a popular place for those wanting to get married abroad, for many reasons. It is blessed with some of the most stunning countryside in the world, medieval cities packed with character and delicious local cuisine. Many celebrities have chosen Tuscany as their wedding location, including power couple Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.  42% of the global wedding market share is in Tuscany.

There’s so much choice when it comes to Tuscan weddings, choose from the rolling vineyards in the countryside, the sandy beaches of the Tuscan Riviera, or wonderful cities such as Florence and Pisa. Tuscany is one of the most romantic places in the world, which makes it an ideal wedding destination.

The sensational sunsets, rolling hills, endless vineyards and charming medieval villages all create a romantic atmosphere. If you are thinking of getting married in Tuscany, here are some of the best destinations to say I do.

Florence is an ideal destination for weddings, it’s perfectly located, has some amazing venues and a rich history. Kim and Kanye got married in Forte di Belvedere in Florence. Of the 42% global wedding market share that Tuscany has, 19% of this is in Florence. There are some truly gorgeous villas in Tuscany

Florence will be hosting the Wedding Planners Congress in 2016, attracting some of the best wedding planners from around the world. The city is surrounded by green rolling hills, there are many stunning stone palaces and the city makes an impressive backdrop for photos.

Another excellent place to get married in Tuscany is in the Chianti area. It’s filled with vineyards, olive groves and medieval hill towns. The atmosphere is very relaxed and here you will get some of the best food and wine in the region. If you are looking for an authentic Tuscan wedding, then Chianti is the right choice.
There are lots of lovely places to get married, from luxury private villas to hamlets and rustic castles. Chianti is located between Siena and Florence, some of the bigger towns include Castellina, Radda, Greve and Panzano.
Get married near to one of the world’s most recognised landmarks, the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Pisa is actually one of the oldest towns in Italy. Pisa is also only about 10 kilometres from the coast, which is handy if you and your wedding guests want to spend some time on the beach. There are numerous places where civil ceremonies can be held in the city centre, amongst gothic churches and medieval architecture.
The Tuscan Riviera
As well as beautiful countryside, Tuscany also has a picture perfect coastline. You may prefer to have your wedding near the sea rather than in the heart of the countryside. You could even spend part of your honeymoon on the Tuscan beaches after your wedding. Elba and Giglio, two small islands are also within reaching distance.
Medieval Towns
A lot of Tuscan weddings are held in the numerous medieval towns that are such a big part of this region. They provide an amazing setting for romantic weddings with picturesque views. Each town has its own personality, so you can select the perfect Tuscan town for you and your partner.
San Gimignano is a well-known Tuscan village with striking towers and impressive medieval architecture. It’s classed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is often known as the Town of Fine Towers. Lucca is another great choice for a wedding location, it’s a walled city with a rich history and a large park.

If Florence is too large for your taste then Sienna is an excellent alternative. It is much smaller than Florence Siena but isn’t any less charming. It’s is a walled citadel with a distinctive medieval feel and cobbled streets. There are plenty of monuments that would make a lovely backdrop for wedding photos, such as the Duomo Cathedral. There are plenty of private villas in around the city that are ideal for weddings. 
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Tuscany Travel Bucket List

Friday, January 8, 2016

Tuscany Travel Bucket List

Posted by Virginie (08/01/2016)

Tuscany is blessed with contrasting scenery, from the Renaissance influenced architecture in the cities to the diverse countryside and scenic coastline. Its beauty and variety makes it very difficult to decide what to do during your stay.

There’s the more obvious big tourist spots and famous towns, but you will also find that Tuscany has many quiet spots and unique experiences to try. If you are planning a trip to Tuscany, make sure you have some of the following things on your itinerary.

Here’s our Tuscany travel bucket list.

Go on a Chianti wine tour
You can’t go to Tuscany without going on some sort of wine tour. If it’s world famous reds you are after, head to the Chianti region. The landscape here is filled with well looked after rows of vines which make up the vineyards. Book a wine tour in Chianti where you will get to taste some of the best wine in Italy and learn how it’s made.

See the leaning tower of Pisa
This may be a huge tourist spot, but if you are happy to brave the crowds you should still try and see it. It’s definitely something to tick off your bucket list, being one of the most recognisable landmarks in the world.

Tuck into an ice cream in Florence
The ice cream in Florence is divine. You will find plenty of ice cream shops dotted around the city selling a wide range of mouth-watering flavours. You just can’t beat Italian ice cream, and it’s meant to be particularly amazing in Florence. Many shops are in competition to be voted the best Gelato shop in the city, including Gelateria La Carraia, Perche No (which means ‘why not?’) and Marco Ottaviano Il Gelato Gourmet.

Relax in the thermal baths
Make sure you find some time to visit one of the thermal baths in Tuscany. One place that’s well known for its thermal baths is Saturnia. The water here is supposed to have therapeutic properties and you can also enjoy the outdoor waterfalls which are open to the public.

Wander around Siena Cathedral
This is definitely the top site to visit in Siena. You will be in awe of this enormous cathedral which showcases Italian architecture. Make sure you buy a ticket to gain access to the Cathedral as it’s equally as beautiful inside.

Drive through the medieval villages and hill towns
Tuscany is known for its medieval villages and hill towns. Take a road trip through Tuscany so that you can see as many different villages and towns as possible. San Gimignano,is one of the more famous spots, but there are smaller, quaint villages that are also worth a visit.

Cycle around Lucca
Lucca is a city that’s located on the Serchio river. It has huge Renaissance walls lining the city, charming cobbled streets and historic cafes where you can enjoy a spot of people watching. It’s the perfect city to cycle or walk around, you can hire bikes around the city. This area is known for producing fantastic olive oil so make sure you pick up some from one of the local shops.

Travel around Florence on a Segway
You can hire Segways in Florence, see the city from a unique perspective and have a lot of fun on this quirky mode of transport. If you book a Segway tour you will get shown around the city and taken to all the main sites by your guide.

Stop off in San Gimignano
If you are going on a road trip through Tuscany, don’t miss San Gimignano off your list of places to stop off at. It is a popular tourist spot, but it has to be seen to be appreciated. It’s known for its impressive medieval towers which you can see from the countryside as you approach the city.

Take part in a food tour
Get a real insight into Italian cuisine by booking a food tour during your stay. These tours aren’t just about tasting the food, you learn about Italian traditions, get shown around food markets and visit a few different shops. Some of the foods you get to try include balsamic vinegars, olive oils, breads, cheeses and different meats.

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