Tuscany seduction. Four cities to visit, four dishes to taste
Our tour leads us to one of the Italian regions most loved by Americans. Let us accompany you on this journey through landscapes and flavors.
Americans and Tuscan, a love story
Official data states that every year millions of Americans choose Italy for their vacation. We are very proud to register that among 16 million arrivals in Europe from the US, almost half of tourists come to Italy! Amid our 20 regions, Tuscany is unquestionably the most loved region by US travelers. Some define Tuscany as "American heartland." Americans know Tuscany for 5 reasons: first of all, for its beautiful and unforgettable postcard landscapes, second for its art, culture, and history (this is the birthplace of Renaissance), third for its delicious food, fourth for its incredible wine, fifth for its warm and welcoming people. Besides, movies like "Under the Tuscan Sun", a 2003 American romantic comedy-drama, directed by Audrey Wells and starring Diane Lane, have shown to a large American audience the beauty of the Tuscan countryside. The film, set in the city of Cortona, has contributed to the appreciation of this unparalleled region's beauty and magnificence. The result? A significant number of US citizens in the last 20 years have bought their own "casolare" or villa, especially in the Chianti area, dubbed Chiantishire. The worldwide tragedy of the Covid-19 pandemic has obviously had a terrible impact this year. The tourism industry has suffered enormously, as all international leisure travel has been drastically banned and the sand border closed. Unfortunately, American tourists can only read (and dream) about "La Dolce Vita." Waiting for this pandemic to be just a nightmare of the past, and hoping to start traveling again soon...here is our special ranking of the 4 cities not to be missed, combined with 4 dishes definitely to taste.
1. Go to Florence and try the famous Fiorentina steak
Florence – the charming "capital" of Tuscany - is undoubtedly one of Italy's most beautiful cities. Its art and culture have no equal in the world. A walk in Florence will allow you to immerse yourself completely in the most fascinating and refined Italian art. Visit its magnificent museums, such as the famous Uffizi, its historical monuments, and churches, and let yourself be seduced by its timeless charm. However, do not miss one of the city's most sublime pleasures, the famous Fiorentina steak, one of the most popular Tuscan specialties. Fiorentina is a Chianina cow T-bone steak, cut very thickly, grilled for 3 to 4 minutes per side, and served rigorously rare, "al sangue."
2. Go to Siena and try its lavish Christmas treats
Do you remember the Tuscan scene in Quantum of Solace, the James Bond movie? The lovely city is Siena, one of the most beautiful medieval towns. The city's principal square, Piazza del Campo, is famous for Il Palio, the well-known horse race (before Covid) held twice every summer. The city of Siena has an extraordinary tradition of Christmas sweets. Among them, there is the ancient Panforte. It is a spicy cake made with honey, herbs, black pepper, candied dried fruit, almonds, and nuts. Try also the ricciarelli cookies, made with almonds, sugar, and egg whites.
3. Go to San Gimignano and try its unique saffron
Located between Florence and Siena, San Gimignano is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This stunning and charming little medieval town, without doubt, is one of the most precious pearls of Tuscany. The rich and beautiful architecture of its towers and its incomparable art will leave you speechless. When in San Gimignano, stock up on its two most appreciated local products: saffron and Vernaccia di San Gimignano, a dry white wine.
4. Go to Pisa and try a Cecina
This city is famous worldwide for its leaning tower, in the scenic Piazza dei Miracoli, the Square of Miracles. Your trip to Pisa should include a nice Cecina. This popular dish is a savory pie made with chickpea flour, water, oil, salt, and pepper. It is a very excellent gluten-free alternative to bread.
Last but not least, do not forget to visit Chiantishire and try a glass (or two) of red Chianti
Chiantishire is the central Tuscany nickname (from Florence in the north of Siena), the land of world-famous Chianti vineyards. This area is trendy among American travelers. A consistent number of celebrities and VIPs have chosen this place for their vacation residences among medieval towns on sweet hills, vineyards, and terracotta-roofed stone villas. Today, this is Italy's most expensive area, with a sought-after real estate market extremely expensive. The king of this area is – of course – the Chianti wine, mainly made from Sangiovese grapes.
- Donatella Mulvoni