Things to do in Tuscany
Our top activities in Tuscany
Staying on an agriturismo property in Tuscany is all about enjoying the good life as you eagerly await the call from an open kitchen doorway or the allotted chef cooking succulent sausages on the barbecue or sliding a dusted board from an outdoor oven. Many working farms include swimming pools and a choice of self-catering or full-board accommodation and if you’re longing to immerse yourself in the rural lifestyles and landscapes of Tuscany then there really is no better option.
Don your Lycra
UK cyclists will want to prepare themselves for a real challenge as some of the inclines may be gradual but they tend to go on forever with the Strade Bianche route from San Gimignano to Siena, certainly no exception. And make sure you cycle around the city ramparts of Lucca.
Go down to the woods
Getting into shaded beech, fir and chestnut forests, especially in the summer, provides a much more tranquil alternative to crowded piazzas and crammed city streets. Orecchiella National Park in Garfagnana, for example, offers an excellent excuse to escape into a semi-wild Tuscany with a range of well-posted trails leading through dense woodland and protected habitat for wild boar and roe deer. The closer you get to the coast and the more pines and firs extend skywards with Cinque Terre National Park in the north and the Maremma shoreline, further south, allowing for often solitary summer strolls moments away from packed slithers of sand. Enter deciduous Tuscan woodlands in the autumn and you’ll become enveloped in a riot of colour with fairy-tale fungus popping out of leafy beds and shiny conkers competing with sweet chestnuts for easily pocketed souvenirs.
Learn the language
Friends of mine once drove to Tuscany from the UK and stopped off en-route for what they thought was going to be a large white coffee. ‘Caldo?’ the barman asked. It was the summer so they all agreed that the colder the better would be just fine. Three pints of warm milk later and they were back on the road. Try to learn some Italian before you visit Tuscany; it’s good fun and might well keep you awake past Pisa. Shopkeepers, market traders and café staff will usually welcome a friendly bonjourno, grazie or come si dice questo in Italiano ‘how do you say this in Italian?’ and the trick is to get the accent right and act with confidence as you try a new phrase or word without reverting to English. If you get really stuck, younger Tuscans tend to know more English than the older generation and will be more than happy to help you out as they show off their own language skills.