Tuscany - Unique and authentic experiences away from the crowds
Tuscany - Unique and authentic experiences away from the crowds
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Tuscany! The stomping ground for those holidaymakers who reckon the height of sophistication is a selfie with the Tower of Pisa looming in the backdrop. But fret not, dear traveller, for I am here to elevate your holiday from a run-of-the-mill Instagram parade to a bona fide escapade.

Steering clear of the all-too-predictable jaunts to Florence and Siena – where the selfie sticks outnumber the locals – I present to you an array of activities in Tuscany that would astonish even the most world-weary wanderer. Picture culinary road trips, cooking classes (where you can actually learn to cook rather than just posing with a spatula), horse rides across the stunning Tuscan landscape (a splendid chance to burn off those extra gelato calories), and naturally, wine tastings that elucidate the perennial cheerfulness of Italians. These, my dear friends, are my top picks for a truly splendid Tuscany holiday.

  • Tuscany: Cooking Class and Farm/Cheese Tour at Podere Il Casale: Podere Il Casale, an organic farm in Tuscany, is a beacon of sustainable farming and delectable local produce. Here, a cooking class offers you the golden opportunity to master the art of traditional Tuscan cuisine, using ingredients so fresh they still think they're in the ground. And let's not overlook the cheese tour – Tuscany’s claim to fame, particularly the pecorino, is not to be missed. The intimate setting, limited to just two couples, makes this experience as personal as a handwritten postcard.
Podere Il Casale
Podere il Casole - Via Podere Il Casale, 64, 53026 Pienza SI - Website: https://podereilcasale.com/it/
  • Tuscany: The Castle of Brolio: Here's where you'll find everything in one neat, medieval package. The Castle of Brolio, laying its first stones in the Middle Ages, came into the Ricasoli family's hands as early as 1141, presumably without the help of a real estate agent. Towering over the Chianti Classico's largest vineyard, the 1,200-hectare estate is not just a castle but a wine lover's paradise, complete with 240 hectares of vineyards, 26 hectares of olive groves, and a agriturismo, restaurant, and a tasting room for wine enthusiasts.
  • Castello di Brolio
    Barone Ricasoli Spa Società Agricola - Loc. Madonna a Brolio, 53013 Gaiole in Chianti (SI) - Website: https://www.ricasoli.com
  • Wine Tasting at Castello di Meleto: Nestled in the heart of the Chianti region, Castello di Meleto is not just a castle with a history dating back to the 11th century, but also a prime spot for the discerning winetasting enthusiast. The focus here is on Chianti Classico wines, known for their distinction and character. Besides tantalizing your taste buds, you'll find a cosy 0 km bistro that's the talk of the town – or at least the local vineyard.
  • Castello di Meleto
    Castello di Meleto - 53013 Gaiole in Chianti (SI) - Tel: +39 0577 749129 - Website: https://www.castellomeletohospitality.it/
  • Castello Banfi: One of the crown jewels of the region, Castello Banfi is not just for wine enthusiasts. Here, you can indulge in tastings of their exceptional Brunello, tour the impressive castle and winery, and even take a stroll through a wine museum – because why not learn while you sip?
  • Bagni San Filippo
    Castello Banfi, castello di, 53024 Poggio alle Mura SI, Italy - https://www.castellobanfiwineresort.it/
  • Tuscany: Free Thermal Baths (Bagni San Filippo and Bagno Vignoni): For a proper soak, Tuscany’s natural thermal baths are just the ticket. Both Bagni San Filippo, with its limestone formations and sulphurous waters, and Bagno Vignoni, famed for its historic bath and picturesque setting, offer a delightful way to unwind. Tip: To dodge the tourist throngs, arrive at the crack of dawn or during the off-season. Just remember, at Bagno Vignoni, it's look but don't leap!
  • Bagno Vignoni
    Bagno San Filippo, Via Fiume, 5, 53023 Campiglia D'Orcia SI, Italy
    Bagno Vignoni, Via delle Sorgenti, 34B, 53027 Bagno Vignoni SI, Italy - N.B. (You can't swim here)
  • Horseback Riding at Borgo di Pieve a Salti: Fancy a jaunt through Tuscany on horseback? Borgo di Pieve a Salti offers horse riding tours that cater to both novice and experienced riders. Trot through the rolling hills and verdant fields for a perspective of Tuscany's rural charm that's hard to beat.
  • Riding in Tuscany
    Borgo di Pieve, Strada Provinciale di, 53024 Pieve a Salti SI, Italy - http://www.pieveasalti.it
    • Fiat 500 Tour with 500 Touring Club: Imagine yourself zipping through the Tuscan hills in a vintage Fiat 500 – Italian style at its finest! These charming little cars, symbols of Italian flair, add a delightful twist to the tour. The grand finale? A wine tasting and lunch at a 15th-century villa – because what's a jaunt in Italy without a nod to the local tipple? Just remember, you'll need to be chummy with a manual transmission – it's all part of the authentic experience. It's clear as Chianti why this will be a standout in your Italian escapade!
    Enjoying the Tuscan landscape
    500 Touring Club, Via Franceschi, 23, 50018 Scandicci FI, Italy - http://www.500touringclub.com
  • Food Tour with Curious Appetite: Join Coral Sisk, a food blogger and sommelier with a knack for uncovering Florence's best-kept culinary secrets. This tour is your ticket to a smorgasbord of local delights, whisking you away from the well-trodden tourist trails and straight into the heart of Florentine food culture. Each restaurant stop offers a unique course, showcasing the region’s culinary diversity. It's educational, scrumptious, and quintessentially Italian. Run in English with small groups, it's an absolute gem for those wanting to dig deeper into Tuscany's food scene.
  • Coral Sisk by Curious Appetite

    Curious Appetite - For a proper nosh-up in Florence, have a gander at https://curiousappetitetravel.com or for the full lowdown, click here on Viator.

  • Pasta Making Class (Pasta Mania): Diving into pasta making isn't just about cooking, it's a foray into the heart and soul of Italian culture. These classes are a mix of fun and learning, perfect for anyone keen to take a slice of Italy back home. Pro tip: Booking through a platform like Airbnb often uncovers these local gems, offering more personal and hands-on experiences.
  • Pastamania cooking lesson


  • E-bike Hire in Florence from John (E-Bikes Florence): Renting e-bikes is a cracking way to see Florence and its surrounds at your own leisure. It's like sightseeing, but with a bit of a buzz. For the full scoop, pedal over to their website E-Bikes Florence.
  • More information?

  • Cooking Class at Osteria di Passignano: Here's a recipe for success: a cooking class, wine tour, and lunch at a Michelin-starred restaurant. It's an all-in-one deep dive into the luxurious world of Tuscan cuisine and wine. For a sneak peek, visit Osteria di Passignano.
  • Cooking school on Fonte de Medici
    Osteria di Passignano, Via Passignano, 33, 50028 Badia A Passignano FI, Italy - http://www.osteriadipassignano.com

    More activities in Tuscany?

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