And, speaking of delicious food… Ice cream parlors (Gelateria) abound with a range of flavors, textures (and even smells) that are truly sublime. Ice cream is a social activity in Italy so don't be surprised to find Gelateria packed at midnight. We recommend that you never miss the opportunity to enjoy ice cream in Italy it is truly unparalleled in both quality and flavor!
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Tuscany: A place for family fun, festivals, markets and wine!
You probably already have an idea of just how beautiful the region of Tuscany is. Rolling hillsides, fields of sunflowers and poppies, vineyards, fresh food and great wine, plus natural warmth of the Tuscan people. These are just a few of the images you might have thought about when planning your vacation here in Tuscany.Whether you plan to visit the jewel of a town Castiglion Fiorentino with its many festivals throughout the year, or try some delicious pecorino from Pienza or some of Tuscany’s famous wine, you will find it here. You can also discover the antiquities of Valdarno and Arezzo, the treasures of Cortona, Montepulciano and Siena or the tranquility that is Le Celle, even a day trip to Florence is within reach. These are just a few ideas to contemplate whilst you sit back and relax in a typical Tuscan cottage or villa, enjoying the sunshine and beautiful surroundings.What about a day spent discovering the many wines of the region. The key wine producing areas include Brunello di Montalcino, Bolgheri, Carmignano, Chianti Classico, Chianti Rufina and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Sangiovese is the main grape for most of Tuscany, producing everything from the light, refreshing and simple Chianti to the big and powerful Brunello di Montalcino or Chianti Classico Riserva. Visiting the vineyards is also a wonderful experience. Many are still family run businesses and the warmth and welcome you receive is like an old friend returning.Markets and festival too are plentiful. From fresh vegetables and fruits to the relaxed antiques markets and the classical concerts of Cortona and Montepulciano. Festivals include the famous horse racing events (Palio), which also takes place in some of the smaller Tuscan hill towns. Castiglion Fiorentino has its medieval parades plus Palio in the second week of June, which is one of the region’s most colorful events.Accommodations in the area range from small apartments in the historic hill towns to small family cottages in the countryside with pools, or for large family gatherings and groups of friends, there are many larger villas with pools and tennis courts.Generally, dining out need not be too costly for good quality and interesting dishes with which you may be familiar. The more rugged palate, local Wild Boar or vast Fiorentino Steaks (usually ordered by weight) are very popular, along with the ever-present delicious Crostini to start. Of course, pasta, in a multitude of forms, figures highly and in this area of expertise. 'Just go with the flow', you'll very rarely be disappointed. Or, you might also be visiting Tuscany for a special occasion. Many villas now offer a chef for the evening, to prepare a memorable celebration meal, without you having to lift a finger and usually for the same price as a good restaurant.