Embrace The Famed Dolce Vita Of Tuscany
Photo: © Tetiana Zbrodko | Dreamstime.com
Tuscany … just the very word conjures images of olive groves, history, art, castles, seaside villas and leisurely afternoons sipping wine beneath the blue Italian sky. This central region of Italy fills the beautiful space between the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Apennine Mountains. Along with Tuscany’s own archipelago of islands, its famous towns include Florence, Pisa, Siena, Lucca and Grosseto — each filled with art and historic sites ranging from the famous Leaning Tower in Pisa and the towers and alleyways of Siena, to the astonishing collections of world art found at the Uffizi gallery in central Florence. While you’re there, be sure to include time for a trip to explore the trails and waterfall on the wild island of Elba, where Napoleon was famously banished in 1814.
Tuscany is definitely more than just a visual experience: Along with renowned wines that include Chianti, Vino Nobile Montepulciano and Brunello di Montalcino, regional dessert specialties include castagnaccio (chestnut cake) and buccellato (anise cake). For a full-sensory experience, stay at Grand Hotel & La Pace in the world-famous spa town of Montecatini Terme, where fine dining and historic luxury are supplemented by a gorgeous spa with Rasul chamber and heated pools. Stroll, or grab a hotel bicycle and explore the nearby historic spa park, rimmed with stunning classic thermal spa centers. Other fabulous lodging choices include Il Salviatino in the village of Fiesole on the edge of Florence. This elegant 15th-century villa includes breathtaking formal gardens, a dreamy full-service spa and sweet suite touches that include original exposed stone, mezzanine floors, spiral stairways and ancient stone baths.