Travel in Tuscany: Make the Most of Your Time in Italy
Spending time in Italy right now is probably not a possibility due to the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus. While customs and social ideologies have been altered slightly with the outbreak, we continue to be surprised at the genuine hospitality that still exists. When normalcy returns and you do travel to this beautiful region, take the time to slow down and enjoy the magic that still surrounds this beautiful country.
The assumption that taking some time in Italy itself is the perfect solution to reduce stress is true; however, that idea comes with some stipulations on how and where you choose to spend your time. This is no time to stress. That’s why we’re here. We have some excellent solutions that will keep you moving, relaxing and getting as much out of your time in Italy as possible.
When, Where & How to Start?
First of all, we know Italy is packed with tourists, almost year round. However, most vacationers and tourists in general don’t necessarily like to get out early. Many people would prefer a little morning down time and, while that works for some, our advice is to get out early!!
Being out and about early in Italy, and especially Tuscany, is the best way to beat the crowds, and get the authentic Italian experience. Roam the streets while the food vendors are setting up. This allows you to get the most fresh pastries, fruits and vegetables as the sun rises. You will also get to experience the beautiful morning air instead of the blazing sun and bustling crowds of the mid-morning or early afternoon.
Do as the Italians Do
Try eating and drinking like the Italians. If you do it right, you won’t need the usual and habitual needs Americans do, such as afternoon snacks or an extra cappuccino, but will find that you are energized throughout the day. The Italian’s eat and drink in moderation. Doing this, along with getting the correct mix of fruits, vegetables and proteins will help you feel in top shape for your entire vacation.
Another hot tip from the Italians is to stand at the counter when you order un caffè (a coffee). The baristas have a splendid repartee with the locals and you may pick up on some pointers for your time in the area. Such as, where the locals go to eat, spend their time or even some of the best beaches to visit in the area. There are no apps to pick-up food or order ahead. Once again, the slow pace of the country is the path you’ll want to travel.
Take in Some Extra Culture
There are many unique experiences outside of the traditional Italian cultural experience. You may be surprised to find these experiences are some of the most beautiful parts of the Tuscan culture. For instance, a former medieval prison has been converted to a center for the arts in Florence. It is left out of travel guides, but this center hosts dance performances, readings and photo exhibits from all around the world. The prison itself was remodeled, but it has the same medieval feel of ages past, giving you a bit of the old and new all in one.
Speak & Listen to the Local Language
You must know speaking Italian is not a necessity to get around and converse with the locals. It is definitely a perk if you can at least understand some of the language. The more you can understand the more small nuances, the more you will catch onto with the locals. Take in the church bells as they chime every hour, or the sound of boats on the water, or even just the hustle and bustle of the city. But mostly just listen to the Italians when they speak the most beautiful of the romance languages. They’re effusively emotive and tend to employ their entire being to communicate even the simplest conversation.
Make the Most of the Culture
- While a kiss on both cheeks may not feel comfortable or normal to you, it is the Italian way of greeting.
- Get in a nap. Most shops shut their doors for a few hours during the middle of the day. Most take time to have a shared meal with their family and many use this time to fare una reposa (take a rest) during the hottest part of the day, and you may as well do as the Italians do and get a little relaxing in as well.
- Dress up. It’s the norm and usual of most Italians to dress well every day.
- Slow down. Stop and chat with people you meet on the street. Italians move at a more leisurely pace and you could be considered rude if you are always rushing off somewhere.
Our thoughts remain with the inhabitants of this lovely country. Spending time in Italy offers a balm like no other. We hope we will soon be able to get back to Italy to enjoy all it offers.