Features Mann Overboard

Tuscany in Bloom

Photo courtesy of The Destination Designer

Nestled in the heart of central Italy, Tuscany beckons travelers from all corners of the globe. With its rich history, captivating landscape, delicious cuisine and world-renowned wines, this part of Italy is truly a land of enchantment. Popular during the summer months, Tuscany is also a delightful springtime destination. With mild weather, fewer crowds and abundant natural beauty, it is a perfect spot to immerse yourself in Italian life.

While the blossoms bloom, you will find picturesque villages draped in wisteria and the famous Tuscan hills adorned with verdant greenery and wildflowers. With the average temperature hovering between a temperate 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, this time of year is ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, horseback riding, or for the more daring, a hot air balloon ride, offering unforgettable panoramas.

Get lost in a countryside drive, and behind every twist and turn, discover the many unique and charming towns and villages. Home to seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Tuscany is a cultural gem, and a spring visit allows for easy exploration. There are no descending crowds, packed streets or long lines. The towns of San Gimignano, known for its striking 14 towers; Lucca, famed for its intact Renaissance walls and Siena’s historic medieval center are just a few worth visiting. Time permitting, be sure to include Montepulciano, Pisa and Pienza on your itinerary; and the bustling and vibrant city of Florence is an excellent place to begin your Tuscan journey. Brimming with art and heritage dating back centuries, Tuscany offers an ideal balance of activities for everyone.

Arguably, winemaking is the heartbeat of Tuscany. Here viticulture dates back to the Etruscan era, and today, Tuscan wines are celebrated for their exceptional quality and unique flavor profiles. Heavily regulated by the Italian government, wine producers must adhere to strict practices in order to receive the coveted DOC or DOCG rating, ensuring the quality of the wine. These renowned wines are not just delicious to drink; they are an integral part of the region’s traditions.

Today’s vintages are the culmination of centuries-old methods, innovations and excellence. One of the most famous Tuscan wines is Chianti, grown in the Chianti region between Florence and Siena. For something slightly more refined, savor a glass of Brunello di Montalcino, produced in the rolling hills of Montalcino. For an inventive twist, Super Tuscan wines offer a fresh approach and new philosophy to winemaking, using a mix of local grapes with those from other locations to create an imaginative blend. Sassicaia, Oreno and Tignanello are among the most famous productions.

Not surprisingly, the winemakers of Tuscany are passionate about and proud of their craft. Visiting one of the area’s vineyards is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the Tuscan way of life, connect with its warm and welcoming people and quite possibly sample some of the world’s most delicious wines. 

Pairing perfectly with its wine is the local cuisine. Like its wine, authentic Tuscan cuisine reflects a deep connection to the customs and values of the region. Embracing the farm-to-table principles well before it became fashionable, you will find dishes using the freshest and most flavorful ingredients available. Still today, small, local farms support their communities, providing towns and villages with fresh herbs, fruits, vegetables, cheeses and meats.

To best experience this unpretentious and delicious cuisine, visit one of the many local restaurants known as an “osteria” or “trattoria.” For a more hands-on approach, reserve a cooking class for an engaging opportunity to learn the art of Italian cooking. In the spring, you can expect recipes showcasing asparagus, fava beans and artichokes. One of our favorite dishes is Panzanella, a simple bread salad mixed with tomatoes, red onion, a hearty dose of olive oil and fresh herbs. For pasta, try Pici all’Aglione, a simple, hand-rolled pasta served with garlic, tomato and a dash of chili pepper, or Tagliatelle al Tartufo, a long delicate pasta tossed in olive oil or butter and topped with seasonal shaved truffles. Meat is a mainstay in Tuscany, and cinghiale or wild boar is a beloved local delicacy, commonly served either braised or as a ragu with fresh pappardelle pasta. Another favorite served throughout the area is Bistecca alla Fiorentina, steak from an ancient breed of Tuscan cattle grilled to perfection and typically topped with course sea salt and a few sprigs of fresh rosemary.

With diverse activities, Tuscany is also home to various accommodations from five-star resorts, charming villas, family-owned properties and agriturismi. For a step back in time, choose a stay at a “Borgo,” many of which are ancient villages converted into hotels. Whether you are looking for a pool with a view, a spa with thermal baths, a step back in time or an active golf retreat, there is a home for everyone in Tuscany.

Awakening from its sleepy winter, spring is an unbeatable time to visit Tuscany. So, pack your bags, prepare to make meaningful connections, create unforgettable memories and fall in love with the Tuscan dream.

To learn more about custom travel planning to Tuscany, contact The Destination Designer at info@thedestinationdesigner.com.