Fabled green hills undulate beneath an iconic golden sun as sinewy cypress trees pepper a landscape that reaches far beyond the horizon line. Argent olive groves blanket an earthen carpet of terracotta as stalks of wheat bend and sway like the flaxen strands of a Renaissance muse – a barrage of watercolor images that overwhelm even the most reluctant of individuals, like unexpected kindness from a stranger. If Lazio is the emblematic beating heart of the peninsula, Tuscany (Toscana) is the breath that gives life to its nation.
From her ample belly she gave birth to Etruscan civilization, from her bosom she nourished an entire country with fertile agrarian treasures, and with her unwavering beauty she inspired a vision that would become the Renaissance. Like the resolute matriarch of a massive family, Tuscany has patiently taught her nation how to impress the world with what it means to be Italian – how to speak, how to eat, how to drink, how to love, how to appreciate the beauty of living. An ancient land of historical and cultural precedents, and a cauldron of gastronomic delights, Tuscany cannot solely be known as some mythological place made mundane by one too many soft-focus souvenir postcards. Rather, it is a region that has to be absorbed in the flesh, using every sense and faculty.
Bordered of the Apennine Mountains to the north, the Apian Alps to the north-east, the Tyrrhenian coast to the west, and the five regions of Liguria, Emilia-Romagna, Le Marche, Umbria and Lazio, Tuscany’s unexpectedly varied landscape has cast a far reaching net of influence across its regional sisters and brothers. Magnificent cities rise from the Tuscan scenery like beacons of heritage, with Firenze, Siena, Montepulciano and Lucca leading the charge. An unwavering wellspring of culture, cuisine and creativity, Tuscany has burgeoned genius in all of its rarest forms, from Giotto and Galileo to Michelangelo and Botticelli, and Dante and Puccini to Verrazzano and Meucci. Its viticultural jewels of Brunello di Montalcino, Montepulciano, Maremma and Chianti have forever changed how people across the globe appreciate wine, while the Tuscan kitchen has sent ripples throughout the culinary world with its tradition of simple preparations using only the most quality ingredients. With enviable ease, this overwhelming land of plenty has indeed made the living of life appear to be as seamlessly beautiful and alluring as its own velveteen hillsides and gilded sunsets.
About the author
Dejou Marano is Co-Founder of CountryBred and Founding Editor of The Bred Blog. Splitting her time between Los Angeles and Europe, Dejou seeks to bring the imagination and wonder of Europe to all travelers through her never-ending pursuit of undiscovered cultural gems and experiences, which she shares through her travel writing.
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