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Top activities in Tuscany

Tuscany is the birthplace of the Renaissance, the crucible of modern philosophy, the home of some of the world's finest wines and provided the roots of the Italian language. Historians agree that it was Tuscany's brightest minds in centuries past that led to the unified Italy that we love to visit today.

It's not all museums and galleries round these parts, but you'd be remiss not to indulge yourself in some of those classic historic buildings. Tuscany has plenty of activities to offer visitors, so take a few of our favourites in mind when you head out for your holiday.

Riding through the hills

Stunning Siena, fascinating Florence, peerless Pisa and plenty more besides – the towns and cities of Tuscany are a joy.

But it's the rolling green and gold fields of the countryside, dappled by streams of sunlight, that always keep us coming back.

It may sound like a scene from a film, but it's something that can be enjoyed on a cycling tour or via bike rental, and it makes for a wonderfully liberating way to see the sights. For an added dose of Italian chic, rent a Vespa scooter rather than a bicycle, and cruise like a local through the sunshine.

Take a wine tour

Touring the culture of Tuscany is all well and good, but with the wines of Chianti forming such a big part of local life, you can't be blamed for taking a little tipple during the vineyard trip.

Spending time on a wine tour isn't just an excuse to sip on the good stuff, of course. You can get an introduction to the heritage of Chianti wines, find out how the dulcet flavours are evoked and the finest ingredients are chosen, as well as the nuances of the ageing process. It's a wonderful way to gain an insight into our favourite dinnertime accompaniments.

Tour Tuscan towns by train

And by this, we mean a charming steam train from days gone by, always popular with the little ones. And let's not pretend you won't be the one wishing you were driving and pulling on the whistle. Steam train tours across Tuscany are slow and languid, which gives plenty of time for talks about the history of the region, as well as numerous stops at some choice points along the winding route.

Tuscany's culinary legacy is something we all can get behind, and train tours factor that in as they wind down the track. Heading south, you'll have the chance to stop and visit a chestnut farm where sacks of the robust treats are filled and stacked, ready to be delivered. While further along the line is the chance to try some of the truffles that make Tuscany so rich in flavour.

Take a cooking class

When we think Italy, we think food. Yet in Tuscany, they have their own unique ways of preparing pasta and savouring their meals, which makes Tuscan cooking techniques slightly different to the conventional Italian kitchen style.

Luckily, there are plenty of local experts who are more than happy to take you through the basics, as well as the more advanced steps, on specialised courses in which you'll have the chance to prepare some truly mouthwatering meals.

From making your own pasta and pizza to baking bread in the Tuscan tradition, you'll have the chance to take home some choice skills that'll make your meals at home all the more delectable.

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