Under the Tuscan sun

My visit to Tuscany a year ago was nothing short of magical. Despite the intense heat that plagued the group (scraggly hair and short shorts all round – I don’t recommend going in the summer months) and the embarrassing lack of proficiency in Italian; our visits to areas including Florence, Siena, San Giminiano and Chianti hold a special place in my heart.

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If you’re a culture lover and art and sculpture are up your alley, you really can’t go wrong here. You don’t have to go to the Uffizi or Bargello museums for your culture fix, (although as an ex-art student myself, I would heavily recommend them); as works of art are rife all around. From the awe-inspiring Duomo in the centre of Florence to the many ancient buildings dotted around every city we visited, Tuscany’s rich history and heritage is beautifully evident everywhere you look.

If you’re more the outdoorsy type, Tuscany boasts some of the most breathtaking scenery this side of the Mediterranean, and is sure to present a highlight. Chianti and San Giminiano are particularly gorgeous in this respect, each oozing heaps of charm from rolling vineyards to quaint bell towers, cobbled alleyways and charming details every step of the way. If you want to make the most of this, I suggest renting a bicycle or motorino and enjoying the scenery in what I consider to be the best way you possibly can – al fresco.

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This brings us to a favourite topic among us Maltese – the food. Needless to say (and as anyone reading this is undoubtedly expecting), we had no complaints when it came to filling our bellies. I recommend a diet of freshly baked foccaccia, rucola and aged cheese from San Giminiano, or even just merely drizzled with fresh olive oil; watered down with a glass of Chianti from Chianti – I salivate at the memory in an alarmingly Pavlovian fashion. If you can fit in a wine-tasting session somewhere in your visit, even if the only word that comes to mind when describing wine is ‘red’, I can guarantee you won’t regret it.

Sarah Micallef