My first taste of Italy; Tuscany
What better way to be introduced to Italy than with a trip to Tuscany? Quaint traditional villages, outstanding cuisine, laid-back lifestyle and exceptional scenery.
Although I only sampled a 4-day taster of the 'Walking in Tuscany' trip, I came back satisfied that we had sampled authentic Italian life, not just by drinking copious espressos and tasting as many flavours of gelato as possible! But, by staying in a traditional farmhouse amid the rolling hills of the garfagnana, eating home-cooked meals prepared by the incredibly hospitable 'Mama' and soaking up the exquisite scenery at a leisurely walking-pace. The lack of tourists was noticeable and added to the feeling that we were off the regular tourist trail. Even in the main towns of Lucca and Barga, the bustle of local life and incredible architecture added to the feeling that we were immersed in the 'real' Italy.
The Braccicorti farmhouse accommodations were extremely comfortable and waking up to the view of the Apennine Mountains was an added bonus. Unfortunately we didn't get a chance to take a dip in the swimming pool, but imagine that it would come as a welcome refreshment after a long mountain walk. However, being greeted with tea and cake after our walks was welcome enough! The hospitality, homemade food and wine made from the local vineyards were unrivalled, it's just a shame we couldn't stay longer!