Why do people go to Tuscany ?

Old Feb 23rd, 2005, 11:16 AM
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kaz11,
Pretend your a native and enjoy the Italian life style of relaxing meals, evening strolls and gelato. If you do it will provide you with a vacation from all the stress and worry of your normal everyday life. The feeling won't last forever but with your photographic skills you can relive your trip whenever you need a lift.
We are going to Tuscany and Rome in June and this is our 3rd trip in 5 years. We spend 6 months anticipating the trip and 6 months after reliving our favorite moments from our trip. Then we start saving for the next trip.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2005, 07:41 PM
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Boy, Kaz, have you lit a spark in all of us who love Tuscany--not only returning often but dreaming of it when not there. Tuscany is peace, beauty, charm, history, good food, wonderful people, grapes, the best olive oil imaginable, the ancestral home of great artists, a center of artistic culture. If I could be there now, beyond my dreams, I would be. For pictures of why this is all true and commentary on why we love it, go here

http://www.janeandken.com/italy2004/...04Tuscany.html

Then, you can navigate the site more for pictures and thoughts from other trips.

Hope this inspires you!
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Old Feb 24th, 2005, 04:44 AM
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I think there may be a huge difference between why people were initially attracted to Tuscany (I gave my explanation above) and why people continue to go back or why it has become "trendy" to go there.
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Old Feb 24th, 2005, 05:53 AM
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kaz11:

I have also wondered why people are so fascinated with Tuscany, specifically. I agree with many of the comments here: I am a big fan of Italian art, and of course Tuscany takes the cake on that one, plus I think that the landscape is quite nice, and there are many charming towns. I really love Siena and Florence and some of the smaller towns as well.

However, I do think it's weird that Tuscany, more than other Italian regions, personifies that "sunflowers and central Italy" idea. I have oddly always been a bit turned off by the region, and I'm also always in favor of the underdogs.

I live in Le Marche, Italy, which is another part of central Italy, and it is relatively tourist free. I think, for the idea of "just being in a place," I would definitely choose Le Marche, or Umbria. Tuscany has too many tourists for me--how can such a touristy area symbolize the slow life of Italy?

For a first visit to Italy, however, Tuscany makes a good starting off point, because it IS touristy, and there are more possibilities to speak English, to take group tours, to do things like that.

But, I would say: don't let Tuscany be your only image of Italy, or even of Central Italy, for that matter. The general feeling of Italy congregates much more often in regions that still don't have much sense of tourism, and the quiet crumbling hill towns and amazing art of Central Italy is not only to be found in Tuscany. Umbria, Le Marche, and even the enchanting region of Abruzzo are great next steps on the path to getting to know Central Italy better.

(do I sound too much like an advertisement for Le Marche, or what? )

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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 02:54 PM
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When this question first came up a few months ago, it seemed easy enough for me to explain why I was initially attracted to the region, and why I thought it might be a priority in many people's first trip to Italy. But the more I read Fodors, the more I realize that the reasons I'd thought of do not seem to be factors for many people. So I, too, wonder why Tuscany.
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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 04:13 PM
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Bobthenavigater, Is there a way to get a post on your top 10, I am sure they will be worth a look,thank you.
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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 04:15 PM
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Bth nav, sorry just noticed the posting dates.Well if possible.Thanks
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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 04:16 PM
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I've just been reading the new novel "The Historian" by Elizabeth Kostova and came across this quote: "The Tuscan countryside is the real thing. It rests your eyes and excites them at the same time."

If you haven't been there, this may not mean much to you, but if you have, it will strike a chord.
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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 05:22 PM
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Hmmm ! It has been a while since I compiled my top 10 list and it may have changed based on more recent trips. But, here is my best shot:
1. The Lakes[ really 3 destinations]
2. The Amalfi coast
3. Tuscan/Umbrian hill towns
4. Venice
5. Veneto/Trentino & the Dolomites
6. The Ligurian coast
7. Rome
8. Sicily
9. Puglia
10. The rest of Italy

You will note that big cities are not my favorite haunts. I love natural splendor and small villages. Hope this helps--just one opinion.
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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 05:31 PM
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One of my most poignant memories of tuscany was a simple domestic exercise of hanging out a load of washing on a line strung between olive trees, overlooking the 800 year old villa we were staying in (well parts of it were that old)with nothing but rolling hills and cypress trees and of course lots more olive trees in the distance. I thought I had stepped straight into one of those "Year in xxxx" type novels, hanging out the washing has never been the same since.
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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 06:02 PM
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I found Tuscany enchanting, but I would suggest that you go before the heat and crowds arrive. Some of the small towns were filling with tourists even in early April. It is so much more enjoyable to go when you can stroll and to drive leisurely. PJK
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Old Jul 16th, 2005, 06:31 PM
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Old Jul 16th, 2005, 10:00 PM
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Okay, you've got me hooked on seeing Tuscany. One question - is it possible to see it without a car? I'd be travelling alone so would use the train. If it's doable, I'd appreciate a mini itin from you knowledgeable travellers.
Thanks,
Naomi
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Old Jul 17th, 2005, 04:39 AM
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Yes, it's possible to enjoy Tuscany without a car. However, it's a slower way to travel, and you have to be willing to give up squeezing in visits to several different cities or towns in a day or getting to tiny towns and hamlets(unless you either hike or hire a taxi or private driver for part of a day).

There's good public transportation from Florence and from Siena. There may also be adequate bus transportation between smaller cities and towns, but that's harder to find before you get there. From Florence or Siena, some places are best reached by train, some by bus. You can easily get train route information on the Trenitalia site. I'm not sure how you can get the bus route information in advance, but if you post specific questions about public transportation routes, maybe Steve James will see it. He doesn't post too often, but he's very knowledgeable and helpful about this kind of topic. If you post on the Slowtravel site, there are a few people there who might also be able to help with ways to get around to smaller places in Tuscany without a car.

Re itinerary, you really have to make your own. It will be easiest if you base in Florence, second easiest
in Siena. Identify some small cities/large towns (e.g., Cortona, Lucca, Montepulciano, Pienza) that you definitely want to visit, and then search the Trenitalia for train routes and frequency, and post here with questions regarding how to find specific bus route information after you have decided which city you might use as a base and where you'd like to go. Then if there are some places you really want to see that are not reasonably reachable bus or train, e.g., a monastery, or Chianti countryside, you can inquire at the tourist office or at your hotel (or ask here ahead of time for the more expensive specialized ones) about commercial day tours to those places, or you can ask your hotel for advice about hiring a private driver for the day if you really want to get off the beaten track and are willing to pay a lot more.
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Old Jul 17th, 2005, 12:56 PM
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Whenever and wherever I have gone in Italy, I have always found the views not only breath taking, but also invigorating at the same time. There is no place I would rather be spending my time to relax and recharge, the way of life the scenery, fine food and wine to name but a few, people have often asked me what I love about Italy, I have never been able to answer the question other then, unless you have been and experienced it for yourself you will never understand. If you manage to take time out and sit in the piazzas and watch the world go by or drive through the rolling hills with the views of Sunflowers, vineyards and olive groves. The stone buildings and cobbled streets its where past and present compliment each other perfectly. To me its the look, smells, food, wine the culture just everything about Italy and the Italian lifestyle that makes me go back time after time, to me its a case of what is there not to love about Italy.
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Old Jul 17th, 2005, 07:27 PM
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We learned something interesting about Tuscany from our licensed tour guide, Roberto Bechi, a native of siena. Tuscany doesn't stay picturesque accidentally...it is kept that way by strict laws about building, etc. Very wise, otherwise Tuscany would end up losing its distinctive character!

If you are a person who usually enjoys the countryside, Tuscany will stand out in your memory as a special and unique place. Hard to explain. I want to return there for a whole week in Tuscany someday. Rome was my other favorite place...and they are so different!
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Old Jul 17th, 2005, 07:39 PM
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I think that sometimes you fall in love wwith your first love(like me with Provence) but you later also have a mistress like Brittany. So with Italy, People have all the books about Tuscany as we do about provence(you would not believe how different Gordes was years ago) These countries all have beautiful areas worth seeing. I restrict myself to one mostly in France because of friends we have made there.
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Old Jul 17th, 2005, 08:31 PM
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Thanks, cmt, for your informative response. I definitely will keep for reference for when I start my trip plans (probably not until fall or next spring. I welcome additional info from others as well.
Thanks,
Naomi
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Old Jan 2nd, 2006, 07:19 AM
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topping because of several recent inquiries
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Old Jan 2nd, 2006, 07:42 AM
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It can't be described, only experienced. The rolling hills, vineyards, olive trees, the sky, the sun, the air, the fantastic little towns....sigh. Tuscany is one place we ALWAYS visit. Can't get enough of it. It's not only a place it's a way of life or looking at life. I can't put down on paper.
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