Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Europe (
-   -   Why do people go to Tuscany ? (

kaz11 Feb 21st, 2005 03:52 PM

Why do people go to Tuscany ?
My husband likes wine. I don't drink. We are not into visiting museum after museum, or church after church.

We can experience cafes, backstreets and daily life in any village I'm sure, but what makes Tuscany stand out over other regions?

I started reading and researching seriously months ago, and Tuscany was high on my list, but as I am learning about new places within Europe, Tuscany seems to be dropping down the list.

I think I am just becoming familiar with it and the initial excitement is being refocused elsewhere.

I don't want to make the mistake of missing Tuscany and regretting it,so can you please tell me why you think the area is so special. Is it just art and wine or something completely different?



bobthenavigator Feb 21st, 2005 04:53 PM

Wine and art are not my primary reasons to visit Tuscany. It is the look and feel of the place, Quaint medieval villages, rolling terrain, hills covered with vineyards, a stone farm house surrounded by stately cypress trees, you get the idea. Take your camera. It takes at least 6 weeks to see Italy. We have done 12 trips to Italy so far and will include Sicily this May. The Tuscany hill towns are # 3 on my top 10 list of destinations in Italy. Do not miss them.

shanart Feb 21st, 2005 04:57 PM

Katzll, We go for the breathtaking views and the hilltowns. Tuscany is a place to just "be". We usually do one-two towns a day. We stroll, sit and drink, shop , do the churches or museums. All at a delicately slow pace.
Somedays we get up and just stay in the town and pretend we live there. Watching people is one of our favorite pasttimes. You are absolutely correct, this can be done anywhere, and that is what we do, no matter where we are. It's sort of like going to a Wal-mart in different states. Take Kauai, there Wally-world is certainly nothing like ours in the south. In London, there is nothing like Harrods or F&M. To us, the essence of traveling is to just enjoy where you are and try not to think to hard about where you are going! But that being said, I could sit on a wall in Todi, San Jimmy or anywhere else for half a day and not get bored.

shanart Feb 21st, 2005 04:58 PM

Bob: You said it so much better than me!

Hagan Feb 21st, 2005 05:43 PM

It's the magical feel of the place, the way the sun sets over the vineyards and olive groves, the slow pace. Just immerse yourself, slow down, and enjoy life! It's one of the finest places on earth.

StuDudley Feb 21st, 2005 05:57 PM

The only comment where bobthenavigator and I don't agree, is with the ranking - I put Tuscany at least two spots higher.

My wife & I spend 2 months each year vacationing in Europe. About 75% in France, 20% in Italy, the rest elsewhere. I actually prefer France over Italy, but I don't think there is any prettier countryside anywhere else in Italy, France, England, or Scotland.

Siena is perhaps my #1 mid sized city in Europe, and the string of villages from Montepulciano, to Montalcino can't be matched.

Stu Dudley

MLT Feb 21st, 2005 08:01 PM

I also agree with bobthenavigator about the "look and feel" of Tuscany being a compelling reason to visit, however, wine is also one of my top reasons for going to Tuscany. My husband particularly enjoys Chianti and Super Tuscan wines. That being said, we would not visit any area simply on the basis of its wine production alone.

Let's not forget the food. Always an important consideration for us when we travel anywhere. And the food of Tuscany, while simple and even rustic, can be some of the most satisfying in all of Italy. Wild boar ragu over parpadelle pasta, tagliatelle with sauteed porcini mushrooms, and savory grilled sausages are just some of the dishes we lust after when we can't get anything near their equivalent in quality stateside.

I have never been, but I understand there are top designer outlets (Prada, Gucci, Dolce & Gabanna, La Perla etc.) around Florence. Don't know if they're worth it, but the next time I go, I'll definitely check them out.

And, of course, there is the art, culture and history of the region that makes it so unique. While it is the birthplace of the Renaissance, Tuscany also has some of the finest examples of medieval art and achitecture in the world.

francophile03 Feb 21st, 2005 09:05 PM

Tuscany has alot of small cities and towns. All descriptions above are true. I'd love to return soon as I have not spent enough time in this region.

summersquash Feb 21st, 2005 09:10 PM

I wish we had visited Tuscany instead of Rome. I think I would have enjoyed it more. I really did not care for Rome. I think I would have liked to have seen more scenery and less crowds.

kimerley Feb 22nd, 2005 01:32 AM

What exactly are you looking for in your trip?
How long are you away from America for this trip?
Why is any area special anywhere???? Each person will come up with a different response, thanks for asking but the vistas of most Italy grab me.

flanneruk Feb 22nd, 2005 04:40 AM

In a sense, it is just art.

Tuscany - or Umbria - is one of those lovely, reasonably affluent, densely populated but tastefully designed areas of Slow Travel that we're so lucky to have in Europe. But Tuscany and Umbria really stand out from places like the Cotswolds or the Dordogne for art. Not only do the smaller towns of T+U have more stunning art scattered about than anywhere has a right to, but Florence is the world's greatest repository of great art where it was designed to be (since most of the great stuff in London, Paris, New York and St Petersburg was originally designed to be somewhere else).

Wine's a non-issue: everywhere in Europe sells stunning ranges of wine, though it's a bit cheaper in Italy than in some other parts. Not drinking wine is just an great a misfortune in France or Spain as in Italy, and you have my sympathy.

There's no law or Commandment that you have to be turned on by great high art. But if you aren't, then there are loads of places in Europe that might suit you better - many of them a great deal less crowded than Tuscany in high season, and pratically all less expensive. The Slow Travel delights of Central Italy are different from what you'll find in Burgundy or Switzerland. But whereas nowhere on earth matches T+U for their art, absent an interest in that art the choice between Europe's Slow Travel areas ibecomes merely a matter of taste.

SFImporter Feb 22nd, 2005 04:54 AM

Two words: "The Renaissance"

It's like when people come to San Francisco to experience a little bit of the summer of love. It's long gone, but some of the vibe still exists.

Amplify that feeling with Tuscany and you really start to feel connected to the root of what makes humanity great. Art, food, a sense of being.

The world was reborn with the Renaissance - and they're still celebrating to this day.

sandi_travelnut Feb 22nd, 2005 06:48 AM

Go into any bookstore and find a nice "coffee-table" book on Tuscany, settle in to a chair and be prepared to be swept away. The natural beauty of the region is unbelievable.

cinquanta Feb 22nd, 2005 07:26 AM

You can read and research forever, but to answer your questions you have to go and experience "Tuscany". If you go on vacation worried about what you will miss, or what will not be up to your expectations you may not enjoy Tuscany.
This is a place to enjoy the simple pleasures of life and the company of your spouse.

mr_go Feb 22nd, 2005 08:05 AM

A picture's worth 1000 words...

kaz11 Feb 22nd, 2005 05:29 PM

Thankyou to everyone

Tuscany certainly does stir up the emotions.I don't know what I was thinking when I decided to cut Tuscany short.

If seasoned travellers can still be passionate about a place they've visited several times, then I'm sure I will enjoy every minute of the 6 days I will have there.

I enjoy photography,and the simple things in life(including eating),and you never know, I may even be pleasanly surprised by all of the art and fall in love with museums and churches.I'll keep an open mind and just enjoy.

bobthenavigator Feb 22nd, 2005 06:44 PM

Hmmm ! The pic from Mr_Go so inspried me that I must add these for your viewing:

Weezie Feb 22nd, 2005 07:01 PM

This is Tuscany to me: awaking in the middle of the night to a bird singing out my window. I got out of bed and walked outside to a full moon. It is completely quiet except for the bird. In the distance I see the hills of olive groves and I am overwhelmed by the smell of the lavender hedgerows. I grab a handful of lavender and put it in my robe pocket. A year later I find the lavender and when I smell it I am transported back to that night, the essence of Tuscany.

LoveItaly Feb 22nd, 2005 08:46 PM

Hello Kaz, you have had many Fodorites explain Tuscany to you.

IMHO you need to go to Tuscany to really experience the beauty of it.

And if you don't, well of course there are many beautiful places in the world.

My suggestion would be to go to Tuscany, and if it does not touch your heart as it has so many others at least you will know. But I do imagine that you will be glad your visited Tuscany.

cmt Feb 22nd, 2005 09:05 PM

I think may initially be attracted to Tuscany because they studied late medieval and Renaissance history and art, or read the works of Dante on their own or in school, or studied about Machiavelli in college classes, or became fascinated with the history of the city-states, or the changes in sculpture and painting and architecture during the Renaissance, or Leonardo's notebooks, or the Florence in the time of Dante. For people who had a fairly traditional education in European history and art and maybe Italian literature, central Italy, especially Tuscany and Umbria, may be the Italy of their imagination, so it may be popular for a first or a repeat destination in Italy. It's an easy area for tourists to visit, because it's prosperous, with good transportation and all the amenities people need or want, but it's also an area where efforts are made to presereve the historic look and character of the cities and countryside.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:08 AM.