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You finally relocated to Tuscany. One can safely assume that you have either visited the beautiful region of Tuscany before or are very familiar with Tuscany. It is very normal for new Expats or immigrants to get into a daily routine that very soon will become very boring. So it is very important to always have “plans’ to keep the excitement going.
Tuscany is one of the most beautiful places in Italy, if not the world; and the charming province encapsulates everything that makes the country such a beloved place for tourists and Expats alike.
Visitors to the area are instantly struck by the outstandingly picturesque scenery, the stunning hill top towns, sprawling vineyards amongst rows of cypress trees and the Sunday markets bursting with high quality local produce; but in fact, there’s so much more to Tuscany that you must discover to truly understand the wonder of the place.
As an Expat in Tuscany you have a unique opportunity to really get to know the region. So instead of following the tourist trail you can afford to get off the beaten track and delve into the things that truly define the traditions of the province.
With its ancient history and predominantly rural landscape Tuscany has a wealth of culture, heritage and treats just waiting to be discovered. So throw yourself into the province and explore the incredible diversity of sites, food and local traditions that have made Tuscany the most desirable location to live in Southern Europe.
The following are the unmissable things for Expats to do in Tuscany:
Taste The Truffles Of Tuscany.
Truffles, a specialist and extremely expensive gourmet mushroom, are loved by chefs and food buffs for their aromatic flavors and deliciously mouth watering taste. To try truffles for yourself, why not visit the small agricultural town of San Miniato which specializes in truffles and is located approximately halfway between Florence and Pisa?
The traditional way to find truffles is by using either specially trained dogs or even pigs! Pigs are used because they have a powerful sense of smell and can root out the valuable mushrooms which grow as much as 3 feet underground. The pigs are kept on leashes and guided through the shady groves of sustainably grown hazelnut and pine trees by their handlers. Alternatively, truffle hunters use dogs to find the elusive mushrooms. The only dogs that can do this difficult task are the Lagotto Romagnolo breed of dogs. To learn more about this regional tradition you can join the guides on a truffle hunt and then taste the freshly prepared little morsels in the evening.
Go On A Wine Tasting Tour.
Tuscany is well known for its Montepulciano wines but there are also hundreds of other local wines that each have their one unique flavors. You can arrange to go on a wine tasting tour that will take you to a number of vineyards with a guide who can tell you the history of the wine and what to look out for when you taste it!
Some of the high end wine tasting tours will even take you by helicopter so you can hop from vineyard to vineyard while marvelling at the beautiful landscape of Tuscany below! Taking your friends or family on a wine tasting tour will create some wonderful memories and also makes the perfect birthday present for a loved one!
Take Italian Cooking Classes!
Italy, and specifically Tuscany, is world famous for its superb cuisine and the only thing better than savoring a slow meal in a local restaurant is to learn how to make your own!
The secrets of Italian cuisine are hard to learn without the help of a teacher and as you pick up the authentic tips, tricks and techniques you’ll soon be putting on dinner parties at home that will seriously impress your guests! Taking some cooking classes is also a fantastic way to meet new friends and the skills you learn will be with you for life.
Visit The Major Cities Of Tuscany.
Just because you’re an Expat it doesn’t mean that you can’t do all the touristy things too! If you’re living in Tuscany you can easily visit the magnificent cities of Florence and Pisa as often as you want. One major advantage you do have over the average tourist though is that you can visit during the quieter seasons so you won’t have to wait in long lines for the attractions and the streets won’t be flooded with people.
While you’re in Florence you can see all the iconic tourist sites at your ease, such as the Duomo di Firenze, also known as the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower and the Uffizi museum which is full of incredible Renaissance art, including Botticelli’s ‘Birth of Venus’. However, since you have more time on your hands you’ll also have to visit the Mercato Centrale. The amazing 2 floored market is a heaven for food buffs with an astounding array of local produce on display; and what better way to put your Italian cooking classes to good use than by sourcing some of the region’s finest ingredients!
In Pisa, Tuscany’s second city, you can, of course, visit the infamous leaning Tower of Pisa, but you can also take a relaxing walking tour of the River Arno so you can take in the breathtaking city at leisure while a guide points out all the major sites. Another wonderful idea, for Expats visiting Pisa, is to have a picnic in the University of Pisa Botanical Gardens and spend some quality time chatting with your friends or family. The lovely gardens, built by the Medici family in the 16th Century, are in the old historic town and contain ponds, an arboretum and several greenhouses.
Take A Biking Tour Of The Region.
One of the best ways to really experience the magical countryside of Tuscany is to join a biking tour. There are tour options for all ages and abilities so you don’t need to worry about being a Tour de France level cyclist!
There is no better way to connect with the landscapes while stopping into small towns and villages along the way than to take a biking tour. You can arrange your cycle tour or you can go with a group. The tour organizers will handle all your accommodation and make sure you don’t get lost en route! When you travel through Tuscany by bike you’ll also find a thousand perfect photo opportunities tucked away off the beaten track.
Visit The Cinque Terre.
The Cinque Terre is found along the stunning Italian Riviera and is made up of the five towns; Monterosso, Vernazza, Manarola, Riomaggiore and Corniglia. The beautiful towns are interconnected with hiking trails, boat connections and a train service. Exploring these towns is one of the nicest things you can do in Tuscany with each one having its own unique personality to discover.
Monterosso, the largest of the Cinque Terre, has plenty of hotels and some of the best seafood restaurants in Italy! You can go shopping in the town, walk along the lovely sandy beach or go kayaking in the sea.
Vernazza is set in a natural amphitheater shaped rocky harbor with a calm natural pier. There are less hotels in this smaller town but there are also Bed and Breakfasts and rooms you can rent privately. The small port is ringed with charming colored houses and the piazza is full of great bars and restaurants for the evening.
Manarola is another small harbor town with the classic colored houses looking out to the sea. It is best known for the Via dell’Amore, or ‘Lover’s Lane’, and is a favorite spot for romantic getaways among Expats in Tuscany.
Riomaggiore is the most relaxing and peaceful of the Cinque Terre and looks out over a tiny harbor. You can explore the small town on foot and even walk to Manarola in under 30 minutes while taking in the superb coastal scenery.
Corniglia, the central town of the Cinque Terre, is the only one which is not built right on the sea front but instead it sits on a 100 meter high cliff! The ocean views are a dream come true but it is the least popular among tourists so you can enjoy a more genuine Italian experience here than in the others. You can easily catch a train, or walk, to the other towns of the Cinque Terre as well if you want to see them all in a single trip.
The Cinque Terre is one of the cultural jewels of Tuscany, and Italy at large, so if you haven’t visited yet you should put it on your bucket list. Exploring these towns makes the perfect holiday in the region where you can walk, swim in the sea, eat outstanding seafood and relax on the Italian Riviera!
Enjoy The View From The Tuscan Hill Top Towns Like Volterra.
One of the most iconic features of the Tuscan landscape are the medieval hilltop towns, with spectacular views, charming local stores, restaurants and some of the best hiking in the region. One of the most famous of the hilltop towns is Volterra which was built in the 8th Century BC and has been thriving as a trading town ever since. It is also my home in Italy!
The ancient walled town makes the perfect day trip or a stress free holiday for Expats and because it has less tourists than some of the other hilltop towns you won’t have to wait in long lines or queue for attractions.
While you are there you can visit the Etruscan Museum which houses some of the best preserved artifacts from the civilization that predated the Roman Era! As you explore the museum you’ll get a real sense of what life must have been like for the Etruscans more than 2000 years ago.
To discover more about the history of Volterra you can watch craftsmen working with traditional techniques at the Alabaster Ecomuseum. Alabaster has been a vital part of Volterra’s economy since the 8th Century BC and its history is beautifully portrayed in the museum. The exhibits show how the alabaster is quarried and even more fascinatingly, how it is worked by master craftsmen in real time. It’s definitely worth seeing if you’re interested in history because it was alabaster, in large parts, that made Volterra such a wealthy and prosperous town through the ages.
Tuscany Is A Treasure Trove Of Culture And Beauty.
It can be easy as an Expat to get caught up in your daily routines and forget to take advantage of the incredible region of Tuscany that you chose to make your home. Of course, you have to work, and get the usual things done, but always try to make the most of your time off.
It’s easy to take a day trip to a local attraction or book off a week or two to explore the Italian Riviera, see the major cities or go on a relaxing wine tour. You can also fit fun new experiences into your daily life by taking cooking classes in the evening or just taking a leisurely stroll through the town square at night!
Tuscany is one of the most desirable places to live in the whole world; and so if you find yourself living there, make sure to see as much of the province as you possibly can!