There´s no way to talk about Italy without feeling good: it´s a great country, with an impressive cultural diversity, rich cuisine and breathtaking landscapes. We all know the typical attractions of Rome, like The Coliseum, St. Peter´s and Sistine Chapel and The Ancient City, as well as other main cities as Venice, Milan or Naples, but there´s much more to do and see in Italy that one wouldn’t expect.
Even when everybody plans to visit the most common attractions, we wonder: what else is there to do and see? And you might find out that there are incredible regions in this country. The Tuscany region is one of those, a land of green and warmth, coming both from the clear air and sun, but also from the hearts of the people who inhabit that zone.
1) Patisserie: one of the first thoughts about this word is France, but Italy has proved a lot of people wrong. The country has a long-term tradition of cakes and pastries that will take on every sense in your body and is quite hard to make some examples without excluding something important, but let’s give it a try: the Milanese “panettone” is the most iconic winter pastry in Italy, while the Sicilian “cannolo” is probably the most famous abroad, “tiramisu” is also quite well known, as the “chiacchiere” (translated as “gossip” crunchy dough fried or cooked in the oven) which are the main pastry during the carnival, Venetian’s tourist probably know them as “crostoli” as basically every region in Italy call it with a different name…
2) Painting lessons: can´t think of anything more romantic and soul-filling than sitting in a bench, in a majestic landscape and paint it. If you are into art, well Italy and specially Tuscany are great options. At Fattoria Montemaggio, one of the best vineyards in Tuscany, you can learn the creativity process behind a painting by taking classes with local artists, and then exploring this amazing world by yourself, with your soul mate and even with your friends. You can also check some of the Sacred Art Museums in San Casciani Val di Pesa, Greve in Chianti and Tavernelle Val di Pesa.
3) Cultural diversity: the country known now as Italy is the result of the blend of dozens of kingdoms that used to exist in that part of the world. Some regions as Sardinia still speak their own dialect as a way to keep their traditions. Of course gastronomy changes a lot from one province to the other, depending on the ingredients available and of course the traditional way of cooking them. Also people ways and costumes change in a matter of miles, from the way they look (coastal are hardy and reserved people) to their dances and music.
4) Accommodations: visiting Italy doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to “break the bank”, there´s a way to enjoy it and at the same time keep your bank account “safe”. The agrarian tourism is a great option in the country, and most of the time you can find “gems” for less than 100 euro the night. And if you are used to Airbnb, the new frontier for travelers, you can find plenty of cheap or unusual places to stay (also boats!) as well as common rooms with all the services you can expect from a Hotel but with a lower price.
5) Island life: the Tuscan archipelago is the home of some picturesque islands. They are the best option for tourists that like to explore new and seemingly “untouched” places of the Earth. Giglo, near Elba is one of those jewels, where you can practice watersports, enjoy their beaches and take panoramic mountain hikes. You can also visit the port life of some impressive little fishing villages, where you can taste some of the best fish of the Italian gastronomy.