The postcards don’t do it justice, Tuscany absolutely lives up to all of the cliches – sun baked villages, old mamas dressed in black and clapped out farm vehicles chugging along to tend to the fields. A soft, sumptuous landscape filled with sunflower yellow, olive green and the ubiquitous cypress trees. Away from the tourists, you can unearth hidden Tuscany – just you, rolling fields and the odd masterpiece or two. Exodus’ Amanda Ceralo reports.
When I first visited Tuscany, I was expecting to be dazzled by the beautifully traditional landscape, historically fascinating cities and of course the incredible food and wine. Of course I enjoyed all the wonderful characteristics of this century-old region, yet there was something more to the wonderful Tuscan way of life that I was not expecting.
My week was spent in the unknown area of Tuscany called Garfagnana, which means ‘enchanted woods’, where I sampled an Exodus leisurely sightseeing trip. Based at La Pozza, I could enjoy incredible views across this mountainous area whilst relaxing beside a large swimming pool. There is certainly something magical about this area and staying at this traditional farmhouse, I could understand how isolated it must have been before tourism reached the major Tuscan cities. So not only was I blown away by the beauty of Florence’s Renaissance history and Lucca’s romantic atmosphere, I was mostly struck by the unexpectedly strong agricultural side to this region.
I only sampled the essence of Tuscany on my visit to the Garfagnana and this strengthened my desire to discover more of this vast area. Exodus also offers a Walking in Tuscany trip, based at Braccicorti, a family-run farmhouse also in the Garfagnana area with locally produced sumptuous cuisine so I have the perfect excuse to return!