Docking In Livorno? Fun Tours To Do In One Day

You’re travelling to beautiful Tuscany and there’s plenty to see and do for an immersive experience, and since you’ve docked in Livorno – or Leghorn – why not take part to some of the fun tours that can be done during the day in and around the city? Livorno has a rich history and has a lot of interesting and beautiful sights to offer. Let’s take a look at some of the options for those looking to do a one-day tour around Livorno.

Boat Tours Around Livorno

Livorno, Toscana, Italia

Discover Livorno by gliding over its canals with these fantastic, exciting boat tours that will teach you and show you all there is to know about the history and sights of the city.
During a 50 minute tour you’ll see the network of canals of the Quartiere Venezia, with its picturesque, unique 18th century architecture, moving underneath the walls of the Old Fortress and of the New Fortress. The tour will take you under Piazza delle Repubbliche, the largest suspended square in Europe with its 220-meter width.
A 1 h 45 minutes tour will take you from the 16th century Old Fortress to the harbor, but there’s also a 35 minutes tour on a venetian punt boat through the Venezia Nuova district.
Themed boat tours are available if you want to have a different experience: “The traditions of the Palio Marinaro”, a tour that showcases the history of the city’s rowing competition; “Pirates, Corsairs and Smugglers” a tour that will teach you about pirates of the Mediterranean; “The City of Nations” a tour that showcases the cultures and foreign communities that contributed to the creation of the cosmopolitan city of Livorno. Boat tours with cocktails and appetizers can also be booked, or you can ask about a boat tour with a wine tasting experience package.
The boats can seat 50 people and in case of bad weather conditions the tour can be replaced by a visit of the city by foot.

Secrets of Livorno

This tour will take you through the history of the many fortresses in and around Livorno. You’ll have a taste of the rich tradition of Tuscan noble families, conflicts and wars as you visit towers, citadels, and strongholds that made history.
Livorno, known for being a cosmopolitan city, a free port and a stronghold citadel is one of few cities in Italy that still has remains in good conditions of the architectural elements of its medieval features: with moats filled with seawater, towers (one dates back to the year 1000), two Renaissance fortresses and six bastions from the 1600-1700s, they can all be visited with a tour by foot through the evolution of the city’s fortifications. The tour will take about 3 hours, but can be shortened or extended based on your needs and interests.
What you’ll see during this tour has been a cornerstone for medieval defenses and the architecture was an inspiration for all of Europe. Measurements for the architectural elements of towers and strongholds were made with the advent of firearms and gunpowder in mind and it reflects in how these structures are organized. The art of war is tangible in the locations you’ll visit during this tour and it will evoke memories of spies, soldiers and ancient wars…

Visit Bolgheri

Olive trees - View from Bolgheri, Tuscany

Nestled between Tuscany’s picturesque rolling hills, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, you’ll find the town of Bolgheri and that of Castagneto Carducci. Surrounded by rich history you’ll be immersed in the atmosphere of these borghi, medieval villages of Lombard origins. An excellent culinary tradition will accompany you as you visit the sights and landscapes of the area, and you’ll have the chance to try local, traditional dishes and produce of the region.
A visit to Bolgheri won’t be just about seeing beautiful places, but it represents a part of Italian history, and will make for a unique, memorable visit. In Bolgheri you’ll find the Viale dei Cipressi and the Castle of the della Gherardesca family. The town overlooks an expanse of vineyards and olive groves, which produce some of Tuscany’s unique and prized wines and olive oils. You can stop by some of the local wineries and oil mills to try out these local productions, such as the world-famous Bolgheri Sassicaia, Ornellaia and Bolgheri Superiore DOC wines. Nearby, you’ll find Castagneto Carducci, with another della Gherardesca Castle, dating back to the year 1000. You can learn more about the noble family while you stroll through the streets of the town and enjoy the breeze over the valleys. A tour of the area normally lasts about 2 h 30 minutes (but can be shortened or extended to fit your needs and preference) and you can look into local wineries to book a tasting/dining experience as well, to get the most out of your visit to the area.

Best Prosciutto and Salumi Tours Around Florence

Cold cuts and salami are a big part of Italian cuisine. Consumed with a variety of accompanying dishes and in a wide range of ways, there’s always something new to try. Traditional and local salumi are one of many productions you can look into when travelling through Italy, and each region likely has its own unique products. And depending on the time of year you find yourself vacationing to the Country, there are many things you can try: melone with prosciutto, carpaccio with bresaola, grana cheese shards and arugula leaves, or even just a simple panino with salame, or a platter of cold cuts with mostarda. If you are staying in Florence, here are some places you can visit for a taste tour of the different kinds and varieties of Prosciutto and salumi that can be found in Tuscany.

Salumificio Anzuini

anzuini
anzuini

 

 

The Salumificio Anzuini is a deli that has been providing clients with excellent salumi ever since the 1920s, sourcing their meats from the best local farms. It started as a pork meat processing establishment, but it now provides many types of artisanal, homemade salami and cold-cuts such as Salame Toscano, Fiocco di Spalla, Prosciutto, Capocollo, Salamella and salame with fennel seeds. They can be enjoyed at two Anzuini locations in Florence: the main store is the Norcineria Anzuini in via Faentina, where you can find all of their products as well as local wines and more; at the historic location in via De’ Neri 84/r you’ll find the Antica Macelleria Salumificio Anzuini, a restaurant and store where you can enjoy all types of salumi available, as well as purchase them. Here you can also try an excellent Bistecca Fiorentina, a must-have of Florence, Tuscany and Italy! Wash it down with some Chianti red wine and don’t forget to buy edible souvenirs: the choice is varied and there will be some type of salume to fit the tastes of everyone.

Antica Macelleria Falorni

Halfway between Florence and Siena, in the town of Greve in Chianti, you’ll find this deli-restaurant with a long family tradition, dating back to the 1800s. For 9 generations, they’ve been producing, selling and showcasing the excellence in cold cuts; the family has a private farm and their products merge high-quality pork meat and expertise to achieve a wide range of salumi with PGI status, which follow the Tuscan tradition of handmade, artisanal cold cuts. The Falorni family chooses the best breeds of pigs for their products, which can be purchased and sampled at their location in Piazza G. Matteotti 71, in Greve in Chianti. Here you’ll find a deli counter, to buy sliced samples of their products, a shop where you can buy salami and prosciutti, and a bistro, a small restaurant where you can have a unique dining experience, surrounded by tradition. The menu can be find on the Antica Macelleria Falorni’s website, and features cold cuts platters, bruschetta bread, soups, sandwiches and desserts, all paired with local wines.

La Prosciutteria

prosciutteria
prosciutteria

This quaint, unique deli is located in Florence, in via De’ Neri 54rosso. It doubles as a shop and as a self-service restaurant, for a completely interesting experience. The brand has locations in other major Italian cities, but the first shop to open was this one, in Florence, and it sources its meats and cold cuts from local farms and butcheries. Close to the Museo degli Uffizi, it’s the perfect place to stop for a quick meal and to buy some salami for the road. Platters with a cold cuts selection, bruschetta bread with sauces and a trickle of local olive oil, sandwiches of all kinds and a selection of traditional cheeses await you, followed by a nice glass of Tuscan red wine. Completely affordable and totally perfect even as a snack or appetizer – although perhaps not the lightest choice if you’re on a diet!

Casa del Prosciutto

The Casa del Prosciutto is a traditional Italian restaurant, also called a “trattoria” and offers a wide menu filled with excellent dishes of the Italian and Tuscan tradition. Located in Fiesole, in the town of Torre di Buiano, it’s a favourite of tourists and locals, with excellent reviews that are completely justified by the quality and choice offered in this establishments. Here you’ll be able to sample many types of cold cuts, salami, prosciutto – all served in an enticing platter with bread and other local productions. Don’t miss out on the exquisite Fiorentina while you’re here, and try other dishes with meat, like the pasta options. They also have a sizeable wine selection, so you can pair the best red or white wine with your meal, for an enhanced dining experience. It’s your best bet if you want to eat in a traditional environment while also enjoying local salumi.

Discover and Tour The Best Oil Mills Of Tuscany, Florence, Chianti and Livorno.

Italy has an age-old tradition of olive groves and all the products that can be acquired from these trees. As one of the world’s biggest producers of olive oil, second in quantity only to Spain and hardly paralleled in quality, Italy features some of the finest olive oils on the market, and most of them come from Tuscany.
If you’re visiting Tuscany and its stunning countryside, historical cities and diving into the culinary tradition of this Italian region, you have to stop by an oil mill to try from the source a sample of Italian olive oil, and discover the process and history behind this golden liquid that graces everyone’s table.
Here are some of the best oil mills in Tuscany. There are many more throughout the region, so don’t forget to check if there’s a mill close to you, or else you’ll miss the unique opportunity to try some of the best EVO oils of Tuscany, Italy and the world!

Antico Frantoio Toscano Peccianti

Antico Frantoio Toscano Peccianti
Antico Frantoio Toscano Peccianti

In Bibbona, near Livorno, we’ll find this first oil mill. Family owned for the most part, the Frantoio Peccianti focuses on producing extra virgin olive oil IGP Toscano (“Protected Geographic Indication”), sourcing olives from the several groves owned and handled by the Peccianti family. The mill has one of the largest production lines of Italy and produces cold-pressed EVO oil exclusively through an innovative, unique technique and fully automated machinery that allow for the milling of olives in the first 24 hours after the harvest. The entire process behind the production of olive oil happens inside the Peccianti mill: harvest, clean-up, milling, pressing, chemical analysis, preservation and bottling. The farms that provide the mill with olives grow the Tuscan varieties of Frantoio, Leccino, Pendolino, Cipressino and Moraiolo olives. The Frantoio organizes workshops and tasting courses and here you will also be able to buy their oil and other products. For more info or to book a visit to the mill, refer to the Frantoio Peccianti contacts page at www.peccianti.com/contatti/.

Frantoio Pruneti

In San Polo in Chianti, near Florence, you’ll find the Frantoio Pruneti, an oil mill with a 160 year long history of hard-work, family traditions and innovative technologies all contributing to the production of fine IGP Tuscan oils. The mill offers extra virgin oil as well as a separate collection of monoculture oils, made exclusively from olives of the Frantoio, Leccino and Moraiolo varieties. In addition, the Frantoio Pruneti produces fruity blends of oils that are perfect to pair with different foods and meal courses. If you want to learn more about how the oil is produced, from harvest to bottling, the mill offers visits and tastings. A 45-60 minute tour of the mill will allow you to discover the production process, the differences in the types of oils produced and what makes for a high-quality oil, along with a tasting experience. From April to September, another tour is available that will teach you how to best pair olive oils with food. You can book tours any day of the week and shop at the Frantoio Pruneti Mon-Sat from 9:30 to 18:30. Contact info at www.pruneti.it/contatti.aspx.

Gonnelli 1585

In Reggello, just outside Florence, you’ll find Gonnelli 1585. As the name suggests, the history of the company goes way back, and the mill now sources its raw ingredients from 43.000 olive trees from olive groves of the area. The mill receives olives of many varieties to produce EVO oil recognized as DOP Chianti and IGP Tuscan. With a wide selection of quality products, you can book a tour of the mill at the Gonnelli 1585 contact page www.gonnelli1585.it/it/contatti. The Gonnelli brand includes the Frantoio di Vertine oil mill, which you can visit to discover the cold-press production techniques as well as enjoy the surrounding countryside and medieval buildings.

Azienda Olearia del Chianti

azienda olearia Chianti
azienda olearia Chianti

Near Florence, in Panzano in Chianti, you’ll find the Azienda Olearia del Chianti. An oil mill that produces a stunningly wide selection of different oil varieties and oil-related products and snacks, this company is worth a visit just for the goodies it has to offer in their shop. The extra virgin olive oil they produce is of the highest quality and meets all production standards, and includes the DOP Chianti Classico oil, IGP Tuscan oil and 100% Italian and biological oils, made from cold-pressed Tuscan olives. The mill carefully and meticulously carries out chemical and taste tests to ensure quality down to the smallest detail on their 4 bottling lines, that produce over 20,000 bottles of oil per hour. State of the art machinery and innovative techniques meet with the age-old oil milling tradition and the purity of the locally sourced Tuscan olive types. Closed on week-ends, you can visit the Azienda Olearia del Chianti Mon-Fri from 8:00-12:30 and 14:00-17:30.

5 best restaurants in Chianti according to TripAdvisor

If you are heading the Chianti region in Tuscany, you might want to check what the best places to eat are. Here a list of the beat eatires in the area according to Tripadvisor

Vegetarians, please don't look
Have a bistecca alla fiorentina in Chianti

1. Il Ristoro Di Lamole

This is a beautiful little restaurant situated in the Chianti hills with the most gorgeous views. It has earned the highest rating in Trip Advisor for restaurants in this area due to its high quality food and beautiful setting. The food is quite simple as far as Italian cuisine food goes but it’s really delicious and this place is definitely worth a visit during your time in the village of Lamole. It’s a fantastic restaurant and you also have the option to sit out on the terrace which is a great choice during a warm day. Some of the most popular meals at Ristoro Di Lamole include pasta dishes, pork fillet with vegetables and a whole lot more. Don’t fill up too much on mains because the desserts are sure to make your mouth water and are so popular with locals and tourists alike. All the ingredients are locally sourced and of the highest quality to ensure that you have only the best experience at the restaurant. Complete with a wine cellar, you have a lot of equisite bottles to choose from to make your meal extra special. It can be guaranteed that this will be a restaurant you will want to return to, again and again.

2. Ristorante la Castellana

La Castellana is a small restaurant that is found in Chianti, between Florence and Siena. The food is comprised of fresh Tuscan ingredients and the staff at the family run restaurant really care about customer satisfaction before anything else. Some of the delicious meals served include sliced beef, chicken liver pate and of course your typical pasta dishes. The prices are very reasonable especially when the quality is taken into consideration. This is one of the best restaurants in the area, the food will leave you more than satisfied and there are a variety of wines for all different tastebuds. The location is charming and you will be made to feel like family during your time at Ristorante la Castellana. The truffles are very popular with customers at this restaurant and are worth sampling for yourself. Be sure to book a table beforehand as there are very few tables at this quaint establishment, the compact atmosphere is what makes it so great. The decor is beautiful, there is lovely music and the tables are displayed with candles for a little extra ambience. A place that you just MUST visiit if you are iin Chianti and looking for great places to eat.

3. Cantinetta Sassolini

Cantinetta Sassolini is a restaurant in the heart of Chianti that is always jam packed with eager customers wanting to sample the dishes. You can dine in the courtyard or the restaurant itself depending on the weather and what you are in the mood for. There is a varied menu and there will be something for you whether you like authentic tuscan cuisine or your classic t bone steak! The service is quick and the prices pretty cheap in Cantinetta Sassolini, so perfect if you are on a budget but still want a high quality meal. The simple cuisine is truly the best and you will be made to feel welcome at this restaurant which will only heighten your time there. Delicious food, exquisite wine and an amazing atmosphere all amount to a great dining experience and this is why this has its place on the top 5 restaurants in Chianti. This venue has it all and it is not pretentious, what you see is what you get with Cantinetta Sassolini.

4. La Cantinetta di Rignana

If you are looking for a picturesque restaurant on the hills of Chianti, look no further than La Cantinetta di Rignana. It’s scenic setting is probably the most beautiful on this list and the place itself is well known for great food and ambience alike. You will discover a whole variety of Tuscan delicacies that you never ever knew existed. The freshest ingredients of the highest quality are used in all dishes that are prepared and served at this restaurant. You will be high on life after you sample the amazing food and drinks on offer at La Cantinetta di Rignana. This restaurant has been running for many years but it is still really popular with tourists and locals. It can be a bit of a trek to reach this restaurant but once you do, the views alone will be more than worth it. The cheese board is a dish that is particularly popular with customers and once you sample it, you will soon discover why. Whether you want to eat inside or outside, the establishment is decorated beautifully and the staff are very welcoming. The traditional pasta dishes on the menu are delicious but there is a variety of meals to choose from, if something else is tickling your taste buds. For one of the best meals you will ever have in Italy, visit La Cantinetta di Rignana during your time in Chianti.

5. Gallo Nero

Gallo Nero is a restaurant that has been perfected over many years, providing excellent service and high quality food to anyone who decides to visit. If meat is something that is important to you, you are in luck because the finest steaks, sausages, ribs and much more is cooked in an open fire in this establishment. You will be spoilt for choice with the wine menu also, so this will give that extra special touch to your meal. It’s a spacious restaurant with a nice atmosphere, where the staff are friendly and attentive to all customers. The roasted lamb and the steaks are particularly popular with customers which is why this has earned the final coverted place of the best restaurants to visit in Chianti. If you want somewhere that is easy to find in the region but you don’t want to scrimp on quality, Gallo Nero is calling your name. It’s the most modern restaurant out of the others that have been named but the fact that it is family run means that it still has an authentic atmosphere that promises a great outing for the entire family.

How (And Where) To Drive An Exotic Car in Italy

Going to Italy is on the bucket list of almost every person alive. This is because Italy is said to be one of the most romantic places on earth. It’s also home to great fashion trends and has the most exquisite shopping places. On top of the retail therapy and exotic food, Italy offers its tourists the chance to drive super cars on the public roads and also on the racing tracks. Several companies offering this service are available to make your trip to Italy simply unforgettable.

How to Drive an Exotic Car in Italy

You can hire a super car in any agency for a few hours as a driving test or take it on a spin for two days. Every car comes with a driving instructor who is always with you for safety.

Where to Drive an Exotic Car in Italy

Ferrari F12Berlinetta 6.3'12

1. Maranello and Modena

A test drive in Maranello starts with a private driver picking you up from your hotel and taking you to the heart of Italy of motor sport. This area is also known as the home of Ferrari or Italian Motor Valley. You board your super car of choice right after you pass the Ferrari factory. At this point you get to sit behind the wheel of a Lamborghini or a Ferrari and feel its roar and power. The instructor will sit right by you to give you instructions as you start slow in normal roads. You can increase the speed and use F1 super gear as you get used to the car until you reach the Modena racing track.

At this location you can combine road drive and tracking driving at the Modena autodromo. This is a complete racing track with amazing bends and gradients. The instructor will take the first lap as you watch closely so you can know how to do it. After that you are given back the pilot seat to take four exhilarating laps on the track. You then get to drive the car back to Maranello for thirty minutes before giving it back.

2. Imola Racing Track

The city of Imola is known as the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari. It is famous for hosting formula One San Marino Grand Prix .The Imola racing track is one of the biggest tracks in Italy and is also a tourist attraction. Imola has the biggest Lamborghini academy where people are taught to drive this high-end car safely. The instructor stays with you but you stay in control. The instructors are patient, polite and let you make your own decisions. The benefit of the Imola race track over other tracks is that you get unlimited laps and different super cars.

3. Mugello Racing Track

At Autodromo Internazionale Del Mugello, one gets to learn all the tricks of race cars before test driving one. It is a big race circuit in Tuscany that enables one to take long laps and enjoy the super high speed. The facility is upgraded regularly to meet safety standards because it’s used by a lot of companies and individuals. You can test the power of an amazing GT car in this exhilarating descents and long straights with the guidance of an instructor.

At the Mugello’s circuit it also possible to drive a Formula one car.

4. Monza

Monza circuit is the most famous sports complex in the world because it hosts the prestigious grand prix events .It has long straights and fierce bends that will take your breath away. Monza circuit has 3 tracks; Gran Premio, junior tracks and the Speed track. Get a driving course in the junior track and then get behind the wheel on a fast race in the GT program. Monza circuit is also great for watching famous racers do their thing on track days. 

At the Monza’s circuit it also possible to drive a Formula one car.

How to Get An International Driving Permit

If you plan to drive a super car in the public road in Italy you should obtain an international driving permit.

Drivers from outside EU are required to get an international driving license if they are to be allowed to drive in Italy. This license must then be translated into Italian to avoid problems with the traffic police. Anyone who has a USA driving license is eligible for an international one from any AAA club in US or Canada. It does not require a driving test, only an online application with photos and a $15 fee. It must be renewed annually, just like every other driving permit. The process is real fast and comes with minimal hassle.

5 Stunning Chianti Wineries you can Visit from Florence

The beautiful and historic city of Florence is a place of many wonders, and it’s no surprise it remains one of the most visited places in Italy. Apart from the fabulous architecture and art galleries, Florence offers you a chance to experience another of Italy’s wonders: the fabulous wines of the Chianti region of Tuscany. Food and wine make up a great part of the culture of this beautiful country, so we have looked at five amazing chianti wineries within easy reach of Florence.

#chianti

Castello di Verrazzano initially an etruscan and then a roman settlement, this castle is one of the most famous of all the Chianti wineries, and a tour of this magnificent and historic place is a must for anyone visiting the region. With a history of winemaking going back almost 1000 years, you will be taken on a wonderful tour through the estate, and encouraged to indulge in tasting some of the very finest wine produced in all the world. This is an experience never to be forgotten, and a very beautiful place to visit.

The Castello di Brolio is another fabulous castle and historic winery, and offers a variety of exciting tours. Easily accessed from Florence, take in the spectacular Tuscan countryside as you tour a place that is as enticing as possible, and enjoy fine wines in exciting tasting sessions in what can only be described as a spectacular setting. This family winery has been in the same family since the 12th century, and the wines produced here are simply superb. The wonderful gardens, stunning castle and quaint museum are a must, so make this one for your shortlist.

Castello del Trebbio is next on our list; this magnificent estate combines an historic winery, dating back many hundreds of years, with wine estate tours options, and allows you to enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery in Tuscany. Some of the finest wines of Italy have been produced here – and still are to this day – so make sure you enjoy a wine tasting tour. Relaxed and yet invigorating, the slow pace of life of Tuscany is evident all the time here, so take the time to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the region.

Fattoria il Lago is situated on the site of an ancient farm, once owned by notable Tuscan nobles, and is now a fabulous winery, olive oil producing estate and also offer tours of the wine production. Just a short distance from Florence, this is a place where you can relax and enjoy the location, take in wine tasting sessions and simply experience rural Italy at its best.

Finally, Torre a Cona is a great choice of place to visit and taste Chianti wines, and offers both a wine estate and activities in a quite wonderful setting. A choice of dinner on demand and cooking classes with excellent facilities – including a pool – and stunning views make this a very good choice if you are looking for a Tuscany holiday with wine as a feature.

The Chianti region is one of the most glorious of all in Italy, and any of the above wine estates make for a great place to visit or to stay when taking a holiday in the Tuscany region.

Interested in wine tours in the Chianti region? We offer chauffeured tours departing from Florence and Siena, for more information please click here.

A short guide about cycling in Chianti – Tuscany.

Have you ever thought about experiencing a day bicycle tour in the heart of the Chianti wine region? It can be a very original idea for spending a weekend in a different way. Many kinds of bicycle tours are offered through the hills of Chianti visiting vineyards, villas and olive groves. You will have the chance to enjoy stunning landscapes and obviously, to taste a glass of wine and some Tuscan olive oil on  bread.
Here are some suggestions to combine fun and adventure through the Chianti region. 2012 L'Eroica

South of Florence: Between Radda and Volpaia.

Radda in Chianti is one of the most popular Tuscan areas chosen by bike lovers, located in the province of Siena. This itinerary starts in Radda in Chianti and is 19 kilometres long. We can say that it’s a short route, but not so easy to cover, as it is it has slopes and steep elevations. For instance, you’ll find a steep rise towards Castelvecchi and Volpaia. Nevertheless, the effort is worth it. There you’ll enjoy a view of the Chianti landscape that seems to be really postcard perfect. This itinerary is part of a cycling loop check this website for the whole map.

East of Siena: Tour of Chianti from Castelnuovo Berardenga.

This great network of cycling routes around the Chianti region covers the four main municipalities of Siena. If is dotted with countless wineries that offer chianti tasting.  If you choose to take part in this journey, you will start from Castelnuovo Berardenga and you will have the choice to pedal for as long as long 98 kilometres. In certain areas, It can be a demanding tour, suitable for people who love working hard and are not afraid of long distances and steep rises.
Up and Down visiting Abbeys and Castles from Castelnuovo Berardenga to Castle of Montalto

Starting from Castelnuovo Berardenga you can choose this track that is just 28 kilometres. As a matter of fact, short itineraries can be the most demanding ones. The elevation profile is really varying. There are no long rises but at the same time, you won’t find any flat ground for almost 27 kilometres from Badia to Berardegna, as well as in the areas of the Monastery d’Ombrone and of the Castle of Montalto.

Towards Monteriggioni.

It’s a demanding itinerary,  51 kilometres long.
Is a tour of great historic interest but characterised by stunning views at the same time, above all in the Val d’Elsa. Tackling this route, you can choose to take a dirt shortcut, recommended for those who love riding mountain bikes.
The hardest part of the itinerary is the short but steep ride from Staggia towards the state highway Cassia, as well as the final rise to Castellina.

Towards Siena.

This 65-kilometre itinerary is one of the hardest ever. You really need a suitable bike to experience the demanding tour that starts from Radda in Chianti. The route is bumpy, with lots of bends, and it doesn’t present sudden elevations or drops however from start to finish there are more than 800 metres of difference in elevation.
A deviation towards the historic centre of Siena and the Certosa of Pontignano is strongly recommended. Don’t forget to fully enjoy the final part that goes through the authentic Chianti of San Sano, Lecchi, Ama and Andine.    

Going Meat Free in Tuscany: Ceci, Cicerchia and Beans.

Tuscan cuisine is largely based on legumes, for this reason there is a wide selection of Tuscan legumes which characterise many of the most delicate and flavourful Italian dishes. We are talking about Cicerchia, a traditional and ancient legume that cultivation dates back to the Mesopotamian era, and it looks like a squashed chickpea of some sort. In Italy is still widely grown in Tuscany. Cicerchia contains proteins like other legumes, B group vitamins, salt minerals and polyphenols. These beans need to soaked overnight and they are perfect for soup preparation, as well as Ceci (chickpeas), used for soup and pasta, they are indeed very nutritious. Finally, there are also some types of beans (cannellini and borlotti), tender and fine, appreciated for the easy digestibility. Furthermore, do not forget that they can be a good substitute for meat.
We propose three simple and flavourful recipes. Emilia Delizia compiled this short guide about going meat free in Tuscany. Enjoy!

fagioli borlotti
Tuscan borlotti beans

Zuppa di Cicerchie

The soup of Cicerchie is a nourishing dish. It is based on Cicerchie with sautéed celery, onions, potatoes and tomatoes, seasoned with rosemary and sage.
To prepare the soup, first you have to leave the Cicerchie to soak for at least 24 hours, changing the water frequently. Once they are ready, chop the onions and the celery; then clean and cut a tomato and two potatoes. In a quite big pot, brown two slices of garlic in some oil; once they will be ready, take them out and add celery and onion. After ten minutes, add potatoes, tomatoes, Cicerchia and season with salt and pepper. Add some vegetable broth from time to time.

Finally, add a sprig of rosemary and sage and cook for an hour. Once it will be ready, take out the sprig and serve the soup while it is still hot.

Pasta e Ceci

It is a simple and rich dish, perfect to eat in cold days. It is simple because it comes from the poor Tuscan tradition and it is rich because it puts together carbohydrates and proteins.
Firstly leave the Ceci to soak for 12 hours with a pinch of bicarbonate. Then rinse the legumes and cook them with rosemary. In the meanwhile, prepare a tomato sauce, with some garlic and rosemary.
Once Ceci are well cooked and soft blend them in a food processor, the result it should look like a liquid soup. Add the tomato sauce at cook it again until boiling; now you can add pasta (you can choose Ditalini or even broken Spaghetti) and keep cooking until is the pasta is ready.

Fagioli all’ uccelletto

It is a typical Tuscan dish from Florence. It is based on very simple ingredients and despite of its name, (uccelletto in Italian means little bird) you will not find meat in it.
Start cooking with the usual soaking and cooking of the beans: put them in a pot (made of terracotta if possible) and cook them in plenty of water, until they will be tender.
Once the beans are ready, brown them (again in a terracotta pot) with some oil, garlic and sage; add 200 gr of peeled tomatoes and cook it all until the sauce becomes dense.
Finally add the Beans, season with salt and pepper and keep cooking for an extra 15 minutes. Serve them as hot as possible.

Exploring Tuscany With a Personal Tourist Guide

I started working as a tour guide in Tuscany in 1987, when I was 23. I’m now almost 51. I started with German guests. As a tour guide I travelled almost everywhere through Europe (France, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Spain, Switzerland, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Greece) and also to Canada (Ontario and Québec) and to New York. In 2002 I specialized as a licensed tour guide for Lucca, a medieval town in Tuscany. I am also a graduated translator and interpreter and I’m about to get my second deegree in ?Mediator in Foreign Languages and Cultures’ at the University of Siena. I speak fluently following languages, beside Italian as a mother tongue: German, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese. I speak also Swedish at a A2 level and I’m dealing also with Russian (A1 level) and Chinese at the moment! Continue reading

If you are are looking to visit Tuscany or any other area in Italy with an experienced local guide please keep reading below. This can truly enhance your vacations! 

This tour is guided by: Massimo

I started working as a tour guide in Tuscany in 1987, when I was 23. I’m now almost 51. I started with German guests. As a tour guide I travelled almost everywhere through Europe (France, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Spain, Switzerland, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Greece) and also to Canada (Ontario and Québec) and to New York. In 2002 I specialized as a licensed tour guide for Lucca, a medieval town in Tuscany. I am also a graduated translator and interpreter and I’m about to get my second deegree in Mediator in Foreign Languages and Cultures’ at the University of Siena. I speak fluently following languages, beside Italian as a mother tongue: German, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese. I speak also Swedish at a A2 level and I’m dealing also with Russian (A1 level) and Chinese at the moment!

Meeting the clients.

I will meet my guests either in Montecatini Terme, a very well-known spa resort in northern Tuscany, where I am at home, or in other towns like Florence, Siena, Pisa, Arezzo, etc. but also outside my region, all over Italy, and show them the beauties of my country.

In which area in Tuscany are you specialised?

I’m of course specialized for Tuscany (my ‘highlights’ are Lucca, Florence, Siena, Pisa, Pistoia and Arezzo), but I can also guide my guests through other regions like Lombardy (Milan, etc.), Emilia Romagna (Bologna, etc.), Umbria (Assisi, etc.). We will do a guided tour in town, where we can organize a lunch break in a typical restaurant, then also hire a car or minivan to travel through the countryside and see something else of our marvellous landscape.

What the clients can see? 

We can also visit some typical farms producing wine and olive oil, cheese, ham and other alimentary products, we can also taste and do shopping in town or in wholesale factories where they produce and sell typical handmade products such as leather shoes, bags, marble or alabaster souvenirs, etc. It will last up to about 8 hours with some breaks for a coffee or so.

The costs of my tours depend on how we will organize them, i.e. if I have to move to my guests hotel/house and live there with them for the whole period or just meet them each morning at their premises.

tourswithmassimo
Explore Tuscany with Private guide Massimo