Useful Italian Phrases

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Useful Italian Phrases That Will Help You Whilst Travelling in Tuscany

Posted by Dympna (30/09/2016)

In many of the main cities in Tuscany, you might be lucky enough to discover that some people speak English. You can also easily go to the tourist office in places such as
Florence and speak to an English representative. However, if you are planning on venturing into the Tuscan hills and visiting some of the smaller, more traditional towns and villages, you may find that the locals don’t speak much English.

Even if you do go to the larger towns and cities, it’s nice to be able to communicate with the local people in Italian. Making an effort to speak their language is polite, and even if your Italian is less than perfect, most locals will appreciate your efforts.

 It’s also handy to know a few key Italian words and phrases when you visit Tuscany, as this will help you to get by. If you get lost, you can ask for directions, you can also ask locals about the best places to visit and you might even learn a few more words and phrases while you are there.

Attempting to speak the language is often a key part of visiting any travel destination. It really makes you feel like you are on holiday and are enriching your life with the delights of learning a new language.

There are some places within the region where you can attend Italian language lessons, but unless you are visiting for a prolonged period of time, it’s best to get started in advance of your trip. Purchase an Italian language book, do an online course or attend lessons locally for a period of time. Bring an Italian dictionary with you to Tuscany so that you can look up any words you are unsure of, and learn more whilst you are away.

Here are some helpful Italian words and phrases for holidaymakers who want to be polite and make an effort to speak a bit of Italian in Tuscany.

     Hello/Goodbye – Ciao
     Do you speak English? - Parla Inglese?
     Please - Per favore/per Piacere
     Thank you - Grazie
     Good morning - Buongiorno
     Good evening -  Buonasera
     Good night - Buonanotte
     Excuse me - Mi scusi / Scusi
     How much does it cost? - Quanto costa?
     Goodbye -  Arrivederci
     Restaurant - ristorante
     Do you accept credit cards? - Accettate carte di credito?
     Pharmacy - Farmacia
     Hospital - Ospedale
     Doctor - Medico
     Supermarket -  Supermercato
     My name is - Mi chiamo
     How are you? - Come sta?
     Yes - Sì
     No - No
     Where is the station - Dov'è la stazione?
     I don’t understand - Non capisco
     Excuse me (to get attention) - Scusi

     Table for two – un tavolo per due
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Healthy Eating In Tuscany

Friday, September 23, 2016

Healthy Eating In Tuscany
Posted by Mikolaj (23/09/2016)

There’s no debating the fact that the Italians know how to eat, drink and live well. All these things are ingrained in their traditions and way of life. Italians don’t eat to live, they live to eat, and you will quickly notice this when you spend time in Tuscany.

If you expect Italian food in Tuscany to mainly consist of pasta and pizza you will be in for a surprise. Often people visit Italy and discover the ‘traditional dishes’ are not what they might expect, and are very different from the meals served up in ‘Italian’ restaurants in the UK.

Thanks to the variety of landscapes and being on the coast, Tuscany is able to grow and catch all kinds of healthy foods including fish (freshly caught from the sea), meat and vegetables. Wild game is always available thanks to the Tuscan countryside, which is home to animals such as wild boar, rabbit, partridge and pheasants.

Tuscan cooking
Traditional recipes are cherished here and often passed down through many generations. The people here very much believe that excellent food is based on the quality of ingredients that are used.
Fresh local ingredients are key to a delicious Tuscan dish. Elaborate sauces are rare, as the people here feel the mask the taste of the fresh ingredients. Think basic, hearty and wholesome dishes with simple yet tasty ingredients. The food here is consistent with the delights of the Mediterranean diet.
One of the reasons why the food here is so healthy is because no nasty additives are added and you benefit from the vitamins and minerals that are naturally found in locally grown ingredients. Of course a diet that consists of fresh, homegrown and homemade food is going to be extremely healthy. The food in Tuscany is a fine example of the very best of Italy’s home cooking.

Plenty of veg
Over centuries, the people here have learned how to grow their crops in a way that brings out their full flavour. You will have the opportunity eat plenty of fresh, locally grown vegetables in Tuscany.
Another tradition here is to only eat vegetables that are in season, which provides the local people with a healthy variety of different vegetables throughout the year. Plus vegetables that are in season simply taste better. Vegetables in Tuscany are often served raw or steamed and drizzled in a healthy drizzle of olive oil.

Bread and pasta
Bread and pasta are also extremely popular throughout Tuscany. Most dishes are served with some sort of bread. You may think this isn’t that healthy, but the bread doesn’t contain salt, and the pasta is usually always made from scratch.
Although we have been lead to believe that a diet full of carbs is unhealthy, we still need enough carbohydrates in our diet to stay healthy. Freshly baked bread and homemade pasta are far from unhealthy (if consumed in moderation).

Olive oil
One of the main things that Tuscany is famous for is its olive oil. When added to salad and drizzled on dishes, olive oil adds some much needed good fats to your meal. It’s much better than using animal fat for cooking and it has many beneficial properties. For example it is very rich in antioxidants such as vitamin E.

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Discovering the Local Side Of Tuscany

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Discovering the Local Side Of Tuscany

Posted by Virginie (16/09/16)

As well as Tuscany’s enchanting cities and main attractions, there’s a wonderful selection of smaller villages and towns to visit that better represent the local side of Tuscany. It’s nice to come home from your holiday feeling like you really got to know the area and immersed yourself in the local culture.

Tuscany is well-known for its charismatic little villages, with their traditional charm, beautiful architecture and distinctly local feel. It’s in these places where you will get a sense for the real Tuscany, and uncover some amazing hidden gems.

You simply cannot visit Tuscany without seeing some picturesque local spots for yourself. Taking part in some traditional activities such as wine tasting, a cooking class or attending a local festival can help you to discover the local culture. Spend a few days in a local town in Tuscany and see what local Tuscany has to offer. Here’s a few tips on how to see the local side of Tuscany.

People watching
One of the best ways to witness the local feel that is present in many Tuscan towns and villages is simply to do some people watching. Find a nice little cafe, order yourself a fresh Italian coffee and a pastry, and sit and watch the world go by. You will probably notice subtle things like the way the locals interact with each other and see the odd tourist wandering around.

Chatting with the locals
If you don’t speak Italian then obviously chatting with the locals may be difficult. However, if you can try and learn some basics, then you will be able to communicate with them on some level and ask them questions about the local area. If you're lucky some of the locals might have a chat with you in English.

Eating in small, independent restaurants
A great way of getting a sense of the local vibes in a little town is to eat at a traditional Italian restaurant. You can sample some of the local dishes and wines and dine with the local people. The culinary scene is a big part of the local side of Tuscany and it’s nice to get a feel for the sort of flavours they use and specialities they serve.

Visiting local markets
Whilst in Tuscany, make sure you find the time to visit a local market. Here you can pick up all sorts of things including local products like olive oil, and fresh fruit and vegetables. Try and buy some local products to take home with you. Restaurants in Tuscany pride themselves on the quality and freshness of their ingredients, many of which they pick up locally at the market.

Returning to the same village year after year
Another way in which you can really discover the local side of Tuscany is to visit the same town or village on numerous occasions. You will really get to know the locals and begin to understand the local way of life if you visit a few times.
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Best Things To Do In The Tuscan Countryside

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Best Things To Do In The Tuscan Countryside

Posted by Ruth (09/09/2016)

A trip to Tuscany wouldn’t be complete without spending some down time in the countryside. Lose yourself in the rolling hills, lush vineyards and magical scenery. The countryside in Tuscany is picture perfect, and there are many different ways to uncover its beauty.

You can be as lazy as you like while you soak up the peaceful atmosphere, or find active ways to explore the area. Here are some of the best things to do in the gorgeous Tuscan countryside.

Head out hiking
Put your hiking boots on and embark on a mesmerising journey through Tuscany’s landscapes. There are plenty of different walking and hiking routes to choose from, you could even book a guided walking tour.

Discover this region on foot and you will instantly fall in love with its beauty. Stop off at little hilltop villages on your route and grab a bite to eat in a local restaurant or cafe.

Go Truffle hunting
Even if you aren’t a truffle fan, heading out on a truffle hunting trip can be both fascinating and fun. This rather expensive fungus can be found deep within the Tuscan countryside. Tuscany is particularly well known for its white truffle, which is used in many pasta dishes throughout the region.

Not many people visit Tuscany without going wine tasting, and one of the best places to go wine tasting is in the Chianti region. Visit some of Tuscany’s top wineries and learn about how the wine is made, how to taste properly and what to eat it with. Take in the spectacular countryside views whilst tasting some of Tuscany’s finest wines.

If you want to cover more ground, then cycling is a great way to travel around Tuscany. Cycle past vineyards, castles, mountains and medieval towns. There are plenty of places where you can hire a bike and also cycling tours that you can join.

Get creative
Let your creativity flow whilst spending time in the great outdoors. The Tuscan countryside has inspired many artists, writers, musicians and photographers. Getting creative can help you to really absorb the scenery and the beauty that surrounds you.

Enjoy a picnic
Head to a local market, stock up on some fresh local ingredients, and throw together a delicious picnic to take with you into the countryside. Find a particularly picturesque spot, and enjoy a first class picnic that you will never forget.

Go on a road trip
Believe it or not, one of the best ways to see the Tuscan countryside is actually by car. This is because there are many scenic driving routes and roads throughout Tuscany that will blow you away. Make sure you take a drive on the Chianti Road (Via Chiantigiana) between Florence and Siena.

Hot air balloon ride
See the Tuscan countryside from the sky, and you will be mesmerised. Treat yourself to a hot air balloon ride and sip on some champagne or wine whilst you take in the views. A hot air balloon ride in Tuscany is most definitely an experience of a lifetime.
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