International: Tuscany, Italy

December 18, 2015

“Under the Tuscan Sun” is still the best statement that represents this special central region of Italy.  Few places in the world have as much to see and learn.

Tuscany is the birthplace of Leonardo, Puccini, Michelangelo, Petrarca, and many other famous artists. The medieval cities: Florence, Siena, Pisa, Arezzo, Cortona, and San Gimignano all reflect the spirit of Renaissance. The palaces, statues, squares and museums all make the most famous region of Italy a center for the arts.

It’s also romantic!  Everywhere you turn, you will fine breathtaking panorama views to inspire or a dreamy location to share. In Tuscany, even cities are surrounded by a sort of passionate aura that no one is immune to. We have selected a few locations that stand out for their particular intimate, romantic atmosphere.

Lucignano, a charming small village located between Siena and Arezzo and commonly referred to as the Town of Love, since it houses the famous Golden Tree of Love.  Legend has it that it always brings good fortune to couples that stand in front, declaring their eternal love to one another.

Another romantic place is Pienza, a suggestive gem of a Renaissance town where only its delicious food may equal the rare beauty of its natural and urban landscape. Right in the heart of the historical center, let yourself get lost among the tiny streets and explore its intimate soul.

Florence is where the names of the greatest painters, sculptors, and architects have become one with the city. The Piazzale Michelangelo with its impressive panoramic views on the city roofs and Ponte Vecchio, where each single brick reminds of its long, interesting history. After all, Florence, like most of Tuscany, is a city that naturally makes you think of romance: wherever your gaze rests upon, a dream comes alive.

Another wonderful Tuscan city of art, the Square of Miracles in Pisa has been inspiring awe in visitors for centuries! Have you ever thought how many couples have held hands right under the Leaning Tower, promising eternal love to each other? A very romantic place for saying I love you!

Tuscany also has a long coastline offering romantic sunsets on the beach! Don’t forget to bring along a blanket, bottle of Tuscan wine, and two glasses as you stare over the sea at the horizon while the sun slowly sinks into the sea. In particular and especially at night, we highly recommend visiting the Terrazza Mascagni in Livorno, a balcony along the sea in front of the city. Hear rather than see the waves break against the rocks, for a magical atmosphere that you won’t ever forget.

Other outstanding activities to consider:

Biking:  Tuscany offers an ideal scenario for cycling enthusiasts of all levels, from amateur cyclists to anyone just wishing to pedal calmly while enjoying the beauty of the region. For your adventure on two wheels, choose from a variety of itineraries. On paved road for anyone who loves racing bikes or off road on mountain bikes to get away from traffic and be surrounded by nature. Every area in Tuscany offers routes rich in interesting places to visit and see as well as extraordinary panoramas.

Hiking:  Monte Forato is one of the most common destinations in the Apuan Alps because of the suggestive natural arch that joins two twin peaks and create a hole that can be seen from Garfagnana and Versilia.

Open-Air thermal baths:  Relax amidst nature and enjoy the outdoor thermal springs. Since Tuscany is the Italian region with the highest number of thermal centers and natural water deposits, you can enjoy the benefits without breaking your budget. Even the indoor spas offer many packages for all budgets, and there’s several free hot springs areas still offered which let you enjoy Tuscany in a very unique way. In this case, be prepared to bathe in the hot, curative waters but to be a bit smelly afterward!

Horseback riding: Excursions on beaches have become very popular, especially in Maremma, where the equine culture is still very present in many aspects of daily life.

The classic candlelight dinner should be a definite. We recommend dedicating lots of time to this special meal, like 3 hours minimum! Order every course, as Tuscan (and Italian) meals have an antipasto, a primo (usually pasta or rice), a second (a main dish, usually with meat and a side dish) and dessert. This is why people spend several hours at restaurants, as eating out is a special occasion! Enjoy slowly sipping your Tuscan wine.

Famous for its wealth of art, history, striking landscapes (yes the scenery is really that gorgeous), delicious food and superb wines, Tuscany really does have it all!