Tuscany should be visited all year round and the many small local realities give the region its continuing fascination. Our latest Tuscany travel articles below.
The Vasari Corridor (Corridoio Vasariano) or the Prince’s Passage in Florence, links the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge to one the city's finest Renaissance palaces.
This passageway, located above the famed Uffizi museum, not only showcases beautiful and rare views of the city, but also contains over 1000 priceless paintings.
These include self- portraits of many famous artists, such as Rembrandt and Bernini.
Ice cream, or rather gelato, is part of the cultural heritage of Italy. The city of Florence celebrates it with a dedicated annual festival (see gallery below) which sees several piazze of the historical centre set up with kiosks where you can taste fabulous ice creams from local gelati makers and others from around Italy and beyond.
The itinerary starts in Piazza di Santa Maria Novella. You can't miss it for the huge mobile gelato making bus called 'Il Buontalenti'. It's impossible to resist, but do note how each artisan gelato maker only presents one flavor for the event. This obliges the visitors to sample at least 3 types and pass by all the stands before making a (difficult) choice.
This itinerary through the heart of the religious and political heart of Medici Florence has been suggested by Hotel La Gioconda.
From Panzani Street turn right, along Cerretani Street, as far as San Giovanni Square.
The Baptistery is the most ancient building of the square; it was dedicated to San Giovanni, the Florentine patron saint.
Going straight on you will arrive in Cathedral Square. Stop to admire Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral.
The large dome, planned by Brunelleschi, ends with a lantern, that Vernocchio finished with a ball surmounted by a cross. The Bell Tower was begun by Giotto in 1334.
The following Renaissance Florence menus were indicated to us by B&B Giglio Bianco in Florence. The first is taken from the "De arte coquinaria" by the maestro de Martino di Como in 1450 while the personal chef menu is a modern take on the original.
Learning how to make fresh pasta does actually change your life. What could be more Italian and what could be more tasty than the correct combination of flour, eggs, salt and water. Here's a recipe from an evening pasta class I took part in in Tavarnelle Val di Pesa near Forence at www.lamiapasta.
This recipe has its origins in the Garfagnana zone of Lucca in north west Tuscany.
Farro, or triticum dicoccum, is a cereal which kept the Roman legions fed and was also used as payment for their services.
They commonly called the vegetable 'farris' which was turned into a flour to prepare their daily dish or 'pulis'.
Castagnaccio is a classic autumn sweet from the chestnut woods of Monte Amiata in south Tuscany, although slight variations can be found wherever there are chestnut woods in Italy.We ate lots of it in the cantine of Castel del Piano as part of the vino novello celebrations one December weekend.
300g chestnut flour, 100g raisins, 50g pine nuts (or walnuts), 4 spoons of extra-virgin olive oil rosemary, salt, water.
The recipe for these common carnival fried pastry or frappe is similar across Italy, but regional dialects and slight variations have led to a handful of local names such as 'bugie', 'risole', 'manzòle' and 'fiocchetti'.
In Tuscany, these doughnuts may also be called 'chiacchiere'. In Venice 'fritole'. All are delicious and typically sprinkled with icing sugar like a light layer snow on the hills of the lower Appenines at this time of year.
250g flour, 80gr sugar, 2 eggs, caster sugar, olive oil, orange and lemon peel, sweet wine, salt to taste.
This traditional and delicious soup recipe with tomatoes and bread is very simple and typical of Tuscany. The secret is selecting top notch ingredients, so stay away from the supermarket and buy from your local 0km market. Once you've mastered this, try you hand at ribollita.
300gr stale Tuscan bread, 500gr mature tomatoes, basil, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 liter of broth, olive oil, salt & pepper
The majority of the Italian national parks preserve a great heritage of typical food products.
It is essential to rediscover them and to make the most of them, not only to protect the local biodiversity, but also to support traditional activities and the economy of the territory in general.