Planning a honeymoon or any other kind of romantic vacation in Italy can seem overwhelming, not for lack of choice or resources but for the overwhelming number of things you can add to your must-do list. This seems especially true in Tuscany, where every turn in the road reveals yet another postcard vista or fairy-tale hilltop town.
To visit a city during a local festival is to see a city at its best – especially when said festival isn’t meant for tourists, but is something the locals have been celebrating for centuries. Such is the case in the Tuscan town of Montepulciano, famous for the wine grape that bears the town’s name. If you’re anywhere near Tuscany on the last Sunday in August, you’d be smart to get to Montepulciano for the annual Bravio delle Botti festival and race.
The key to Tuscan food is simplicity. Fresh, seasonal produce is prepared to bring out the flavor and lose none of the natural goodness.
The region is blessed with a soil and climate that favors farming and one of the joys of traveling through Tuscany is stopping in any village and finding the market or the little local restaurant. Another reason people flock here to take cooking classes is that many of the most flavorful dishes are so easy to prepare, having only a few ingredients—the key is the quality of the raw food you use.
Tuscany is so famed for its food and wine that you can almost taste the flavors just by saying the name. So it’s no surprise that they love to celebrate every fruit and vegetable, meat and fish that comes into season.
When you’re traveling around Tuscany watch for signs advertising a Festa or a Sagra – a festival or a fair. Very often they’re food or wine-based and you’ll be in for a treat. The main food and wine festival season begins in April or May, and reaches a peak around October with mushrooms, chestnuts, chocolate, and truffles.
If you’re looking for something to do in Italy in July, here is an interesting option: About 18 miles (30 km) northwest of Florence is the often-overlooked town of Pistoia. But nestled within the industrial surrounds of the modern city is a lovely medieval heart inside historic 14th-century walls and once a year this place comes alive to the sounds of The Pistoia Blues Festival.
Volterra is tiny, gorgeous, historic, and a little off the main tourist path beaten through Tuscany. It’s located halfway between Pisa and Florence but further south, not far from San Gimignano, one of Tuscany’s main tourist sites.