Ten Days in Tuscany, an Italy Road Trip Review – Teaser Ensures a Return

Umbrella pines in the background of Tenuta Argentiera vineyards


Many of the roads are winding and most are very scenic


Duomo in Florence. Photo courtesy of Florencetown Tours


From Florence



to Volterra and



nearby Mazzolla,



on to San Gimignano,



to points on the Etruscan Coast (Livorno, Baratti and Popolonia, and more),



to Montecarlo



and Lucca,





and then a quick stop in Vinci



One could do a completely different 10 Day road trip through Tuscany – and many do go to see Siena, Pisa, etc. that were not on this itinerary.  




Then again, there wasn’t one place we visited to which we wouldn’t return, and for ten days to each if our schedules permitted, if not ten months.



We traveled in mid April,




when the landscape was exploding with the lighter greens of first spring, wild flowers and fruit tree blossoms.  



The roads were often winding and the GPS trails would take us on paths where the pavement had ended.   




If we hadn’t been scheduled for appointments these were just the kind of roads you would want to get lost on, turning off all navigation systems and seeing where luck will land you.




You’ll be winding through groves of olive trees, amazed by reports from many such as Sabina Vitarelli of Tenuta Bellavista Insuese that last year was the first one in thirty when they did not do a harvest to make oil, due to weather and insects spoiling the fruit.   A backdrop of vineyards will become second nature to you as sidewalks are in a US city.  You’ll fall in love with umbrella pines along the coast,



and wonder why so few Americans seem to know that Livorno is a culturally-rich city worth visiting or that the entire Etruscan Coast is worth a wander.




When you stop at vineyards and take their tours—whether its near Montecarlo or in coastal areas where trees that produce cork grow-- you’ll begin to cultivate a visceral sense of what wine experts like Isabelle Benedetti of Tenuta Argentiera Bolgheri call “terroire” and how both the minerality of the land and its microclimate impact the wine that they later pour for you to taste.



“The people are great” might be something you hear from many a happy traveler about points all over the world.  But we are talking about Italian culture—warm and welcoming, with everyone seeming so comfortable in their own skin. 



Broad generalization though this may be, in ten days time we couldn’t find one person who was an exception. 



It was also the passion we met everywhere—for the land,



its history,





art, how they make cheese, wine, honey, olive oil, how to run museums,



or the fine points of the food set on our table



that made it so easy to rally with excitement at every stop, no matter how tired we had arrived. 



The most universal passion is food




Giovanni Cannas of Lischeto Farm, who makes organic pecorino cheese, asks why anyone wouldn’t make organic food on land that is so lovely. 



Others answer that their farm’s food has been produced in organic ways since time began, and they simply don’t want to bother with bureaucratic certifications.



Do not go to Tuscany on a diet.  Instead, come home, join a new gym, and admit that the 8 pounds you gained in only 10 days were entirely worth it. 


And, if you shrugged off the moniker of foodie before you went to Tuscany know that you’ll come home wanting that label as a badge of honor. 


Don’t worry about accommodation anywhere.  From historic luxury hotels to their more modest farm hotel cousins and everything in between, even oases for adventure travel, there is no shortage of options.  What struck us often was how the many hotels we stayed at were especially family-friendly, for example by offering fully equipped kitchens for self-catering.  


So much to do, so little time. Ten days in Tuscany is NOT enough.



Stay tuned to this blog to find out if we realize our dream to return to Florence in the dead of winter to better enjoy the Uffizi art treasures without a crowd.




For more information on Tuscany, see the Tuscany Promotion Agency website.




Photos:  Peter Kachergis, unless otherwise indicated



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