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Tuscany   A land of pure poetry...

A land of pure poetry Rolling hills enhanced by silvery olive groves, mountains covered with deep, shady forests of chestnut, medieval towns and villages, isolated farmhouses surrounded by tall cypresses, cities rich in the treasures of ancient times.

Tasty dishes , generous wines, the heady scent of rosemary and lavender.

The region of Florence is the homeland of the vine and the olive. Nowhere else do the pleasures of art, of the table and of the "dolce far niente" coexist as they do in Tuscany.

Dante with the "Divine Comedy" and Boccaccio with the "Decameron" laid the foundations of the Italian language.

Here Galileo revolutionized scientific research and Michelangelo brought Renaissance art to the height of its splendour and achievement.

Wondrous cathedrals and palaces bear witness to the fertile imaginative genius of the peoples of this land.

Allow yourself to be seduced by the treasures and tranquility of Tuscany.

http://www.damario.eu  Your Best Holiday in Tuscany!
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The territory

Northern Tuscany is characterized in the east by the heights of the Appennines and in the west by the Apuan Alps.

Here are found the marble quarries of Massa and Carrara. The region between the Appennines and the sea is characterized by lakes and narrow valleys. Of these valleys the most beautiful is the Garfagnana, through which the River Serchio flows towards the lovely city of Lucca.

Quite different is the region south of the Arno.

Rolling hills covered with vineyards and olive groves afford an ever-changing spectacle, and one in complete contrast to the barren, treeless landscape of the Sienese "Creta", with its evident signs of erosion.

The coastal plain offers fine beaches bordering'the Tyrrhenian, with a steep, rocky coast further north on the Ligurian sea. From the mouth of the River Cecina down to Civitavecchia the plain is better known as the Maremma.

Art and Culture

A brief surview of the infinity of artistic and cultural treats which Tuscany has to offer.


From the Middle Ages to the Renaissance the spiritual and cultural development of Italy had in Florence both its origin and its culmination.

Initially a Roman military encampment (1st century B.C.), in the course of the centuries the city became a leading commercial centre (wool and silk), and a centre of learning and the arts.

The dynasty of the Medici family brought Florence to the peak of cultural splendour and economic prosperity in worid-wide terms.

Places to visit

Il Duomo, Galleria dell' Accademia, Galleria degli Uffizi, Palazzo Pitti, Palazzo Vecchio, Piazzale Michelangelo, Ponte Vecchio, Santa Croce, Santa Maria Novella, Santo Spirito.


Midday on Easter Sunday the "Scoppio del Carro" in Piazza Duomo. The "Colombina", a rocket in the shape of a dove, sets light in the piazza to a huge wooden cart laden with fireworks. Football in costume. An ancient ballgame played in June in honour of St John, patron saint of Florence. From April throughout September many performances of concerts, operas and ballets.


The Gothic of Siena contrasts strongly with Renaissance Florence.

One of the most beautifui cities in Ttaly, it stands on three hills surrounded by mighty walls. Its palaces and churches built entirely of brick, as indeed are its walls, have in their triumphant redness survived the ravages of the centuries.

Place to visit

Duomo Santa Maria Assunta, Palazzo Pubblico, Palazzo Salimbeni, Piazza del Campo, Pinacoteca Nazionale, San Domenico, San Francesco.

"Il Palio"

On 02.07 and 16.08 the 17 "contrade" (divisions of the city) compete in the famous horse-race in Piazza del Campo.

San Gimignano

Of the 71 towers built by the leading families contending for power, only 15 remain.

As well as being defensive strongholds the towers were a demonstration of wealth: the higher the tower, the greater the prestige.

In origin an Etruscan settlement, it attained its greatest economic and cultural splendour during the Middie Ages.

Place to visit

Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta, Palazzo del Podesta, Palazzo del Popolo, Piazza della Cisterna, Sant'Agostino, San Jacopo


It is said to have taken 6 million bricks to build the massive city walls of Lucca. A walk around the ramparts affords a fine view of the red rooftops of this splendid city.

Place to visit

Anfiteatro Romano, Casa di Puccini (house of the composer Puccini), Case e Torre Guingi, Duomo San Martino, Piazza Napoleone, San Cristoforo, San Frediano, Santa Maria Forisportam, Stadtmauern.


An ancient Roman seaport, due to the continual silting-up of the Arno Pisa now stands 8km from the sea. Worid-famous for its "Piazza dei Miracoli" (in which stand the Duomo, Baptistery and Leaning Tower), Pisa reached the height of its splendour during the times of the maritime republics.

Place to visit

Baptistery, Camposanto (Cemetery), Domus Galileana, Duomo (Cathedral), The Leaning Tower, Museo dell'Opera del Duomo (Cathedral Museum), Piazza dei Cavalieri, Piazza dei Miracoli, San Francesco, Santa Caterina, Santa Maria della Spina, Santo Stefane.

Tuscan cuisine

Vegetables, herbs, wine, olive oil, chicken, rabbit, pork, wild boar, veal: these are the pillars of Tuscan cuisine, famous for its use of tripe, kidneys and offal in general. A living tradition in continual development throughout the centuries.

Olive oil

The production of olive oil is governed by precise regulations.

The qualities are distinguished as follows:

Extra-virgine: less than 1% acidity (in Chianti the finest quality of all -- 0.08-0.1%).

Soprafino-vergine: max.1.5% acidity Fino: max. 3% acidity.

Vergine: max. 4% acidity.

Oil with over 4% acidity cannot be put on the food market. "Vergine" in this sense means first pressing. Oil obtained from a second pressing bears no comparison.

When buying oil check the label, which should show the place of origin, degree of acidity and year of production.

A Tuscan lunch

I would Start with an hors-d'oeuvre of Tuscan "crostini" (tartines of chicken-liver paste), Tuscan prosciutto (saltier than the Parma variety of raw ham), Tuscan salame (coarsely minced, with dices of fat and peppercorns) and Tuscan bread -- important because our bread is unsalted, while the salame and prosciutto are very salty.

As first course a ribollita, a thick soup of bread and vegetables re-heated several times. Black cabbage and new olive oil are essential ingredients, so it is a winter dish.

For summer choose panzanella, bread steeped along with onion, tomato, fresh cucumber and olive oil.

Nor must we overlook homemade pasta with its various sauces. All generously washed down with Chianti or other fine Tuscan wines (l personally prefer young, unfiltered wines, unfortunately not easy to find because unfashionable).

Said Leonardo da Vinci: "Happy are those men born where good wine grows!"

For the main course I suggest rabbit fried in olive oil. An excellent dish is Trippa alla fiorentina, but it does not suit all tastes.

Otherwise there is T-bone Steak obtained from cattle of the Chianina breed (now served without beckbone). On the side, beans with plain oil or "all'uccelletto" (with sage and tomato). Naturaly the many kinds of salads in season.

We go on to pecorino toscano (ewes-milk cheese) which here we call Cacio, today rather rare in its original form. There is a proverb that goes: "Don't tell the peasant how good cacio is with pears." We who do know favour the variety called "Cosce".

To finish off, "torta della nonna", "tiramisu" or "cantuccini di Prato" dunked in vinsanto: your choice is a hard one!

Finally an espresso, a grappa and (for me) a Tuscan cigar.

To those who have followed these modest proposals I advise a long walk to aid digestion.