Last time I was in Italy, I spent some time in Tuscany, about an hour outside of Florence. I’d never had much of an interest in the rolling hills or the wine industry, but I accidentally booked a room 30 kilometers outside Florence. It turned out to be quite the blessing in disguise.
Tuscany is an outstanding destination for couples, backpackers, and even families. For backpackers, it can be a pleasant break from the typical European backpacker circuit. For families, Tuscany’s slower pace can be more conducive to a relaxing family vacation than one of Italy’s larger cities, like Florence, Rome, or Naples. For couples, this place is romantic!
I learned quickly that Tuscans are less likely to speak English than Italians in the larger cities, so it’s important to be prepared for that. I stumbled awkwardly through an Italian phrasebook for a few times, before realizing that Italians just talk with their hands anyway. It’s true. The city in which I stayed was Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, and it seemed to by typical of the small towns in Tuscany. There was a small city center with many cafes, bistros and gelaterias to choose from.
As I mentioned, the pace in much of Tuscany is quite slow; many find this desirable, though some do not. The benefit of staying in rural Tuscany is its proximity to Florence. I enjoyed taking the bus into the city to see the museums and cityscape, then returning home in the evening to my small town. Transit between Tavarnelle Val di Pesa and Florence is incredibly easy, as Italy’s bus service, SITA, makes multiple daily trips to and from each destination.
I really enjoyed my time in Tuscany. Particularly in the municipalities south of Florence, there exists a rich culture and friendly people that will surely make your visit to Italy worthwhile.
I stayed here: Ostello del Chianti