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Why Go To Tuscany, Italy

When the film adaptation of Frances Mayes' "Under the Tuscan Sun" came out in 2003, the idea that Tuscany was indeed a place of romance, chianti wine, olives, aromatic cooking and, of course, sunshine was deeply embedded in our brains. Today, many travelers visit this glorious region in northwest Italy to escape the hustle and bustle of Rome or Milan and instead take in the Italian countryside. The combination of castles-turned-wineries-turned-hotels, elegant cypress trees, cascading hills and sprawling vineyards is simply heavenly.

Time seems to slow in this effortlessly idyllic place. And what better way to unwind than by savoring a glass of vino or eating homemade gnocchi under the Tuscan sun? 

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Best of Tuscany, Italy

Tuscany, Italy Travel Tips

Best Months to Visit

The best times to visit Tuscany are between late September and October and between April and May. During these months, travelers will find comfortable temperatures and fewer crowds at the major sights. As expected, summer ushers in high temperatures and heavy crowds. If you want Tuscany all to yourself, visit during the winter low season, but expect the cold and lots of rain. 

What You Need to Know

  • Take a cooking class You can bring home some cooking skills if you take a class at traveler-recommended schools like Tuscana Saporita and Chef Paolo Monti's Cucina Italiana.
  • Take your time — the locals do Tuscany, like the wines it produces, should be savored. Life moves at a very slow speed. Try and relax, and if you can, spend at least a week here.
  • Public transportation is rough Thanks to the rolling hills, getting around the Tuscan valley with public transportation is tough. The best way to get from winery to winery is with a car (hired cars are readily available). If you're feeling brave, you can always rent a Vespa — just be careful, roads are narrow and windy.
  • Learn Italian English isn't as widely spoken as it is in other Italian cities. Knowing a few key Italian phrases will help, plus the locals love when tourists try to speak Italian. 

How to Save Money in Tuscany, Italy

  • Stay in an Agriculturismo Instead of staying at a fancy (and expensive hotel), consider staying in an agriculturismo — or an authentic Italian farmhouse, villa or winery. Most offer all inclusive deals that are incredibly cheap. 
  • Bike or walk Taxis and public transportation get expensive. Many of the towns in Tuscany are small and easily walkable. 
  • Skip the menu touristico Many restaurants — especially the touristy ones — will offer all fixed-price menus for tourists, except often times these are more expensive than ordering al la carte. Not to mention, you should probably just skip the restaurants offering menu touristicos altogether. 

Photos

Tuscany, Italy
Tuscany, Italy
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These are the types of sunsets you'll see in Tuscany. 

Peter Zelei Images/Getty Images

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