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Florence and More in Tuscany

Florence and More in Tuscany

The movie Under the Tuscan Sun made Tuscany look irresistibly delicious, and that was a true portrayal. It really is a perfect place, with invigorating weather and gorgeous landscapes that make you feel as if you’ve been swept into a Renaissance painting. And the food! That alone would make it worth the trip.

Tuscany has a lot going for it. As the home of Florence, it brings a lot of people in to see the birthplace of the Renaissance. And they are well-situated to explore Tuscany further. The rise of interest in cuisine over the last couple of decades has fueled interest in Tuscany because Tuscan cuisine is one of the world’s culinary treasures.

With all this in mind, I signed up for a tour that was designed to show a curated selection of some of the finer points of Tuscany. It was a beginning of an exploration that could go on indefinitely, without running out of things to experience. Tuscany is of one of Italy’s 20 administrative regions. It’s roughly the size of New Hampshire, and within that area, there’s tremendous richness to experience, the charming Tuscan hill towns of Siena, San Gimignano and Cortona; many fine vineyards and the near-vertical seaside landscape of the towns of Cinque Terre.

I booked a small group tour designed to be active and immersive, focusing entirely on Tuscany. My tour began in Florence, the city that gave birth to the Renaissance. I landed at the Amerigo Vespucci Airport in the early afternoon, was met at the airport and taken to my hotel near the Arno River at the heart of the old city.

The way my flights had worked out, I only had time to drop off my things in my room and then to head out on a walking tour. Within moments of reaching the hotel, I was out on the sunny, lively streets of Florence. The Renaissance city was dressed up in its most radiant glory. The weather was like heaven.

I was walking through the narrow, winding streets among the students, tourists, apartment dwellers, shop owners, restaurant workers, and the lady polizia. Italy is the one place I have been where the police look like fashion models in neatly tailored uniforms. Italians know how to wear clothes. It’s a mark of their culture. Even the older men look trim and stylish.

Walking around sightseeing was a perfect way to adjust to the new time zone, which was several hours later than at home. Florence was humming at a high pitch of energy. It was a thrilling introduction to the city.

Touring in Florence was a kaleidoscope…

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