What comes to mind when you think of Tuscany? Is it the infamous leaning tower of Pisa? The Tuscan countryside home to Italy’s famous wines? Or perhaps the profusion of art and architecture that has fashioned Italy onto the cultural map? Colin McKenna recently travelled to Italy with Transat Holidays and shares with us his time at a Tuscan vineyard tour at Il Poggio:
The Leaning Tour of Pisa is a staple of Italian tourism. The tower is featured on the frescoes of Italian restaurants worldwide, graces almost all guidebooks about Italy, and is sold in small ceramic forms all over Italy for one euro. The tower is in the walled city of Pisa, a city unremarkable otherwise. Beside the tower is a beautiful cathedral and baptismal chapel.
While these sites are rewarding, if you’re going to travel this far to experience Italian culture first hand, be sure to tackle other activities as well, like a vineyard tour.
On the way back from a Pisa tour in May, our guide stopped at Il Poggio farm in Tuscany where a brief tour will get you excited about the delicious foods to come. The farm is set amongst beautiful hills and features olive trees and grape vines, honey farming and livestock. You will learn the techniques and difficulties of olive farming, and learn the difference between good olive oil and great olive oil. You can walk through the vineyard and take beautiful pictures of cypress trees and Tuscan villages. The tour is brief, but the centre piece is the great lunch.
We started with sundried tomatoes and olives, then bread with the local olive oil. The meal continued with prosciutto, salami and toasted bread. Course four of six was a home made pasta with a Bolognese made with the local ingredients. You can sample one of four wines, (or all of them) and finish off with a dessert of cheese, biscotti, chestnut honey and a lovely dessert wine.
After our Italian meal, I had to head over to the gift shop and bring home some for the family as it all tasted terrific and the prices were reasonable.
So while I have nothing against the Leaning Tower and the beautiful buildings around it, you are missing out if that’s all you plan to see in your day. Find a tour that takes you to Pisa, but then spend the rest of your day at a Tuscan vineyard like Il Poggio if you really want to take in the Italian culture.
Looking for more information on travelling to Italy or with Transat Holidays? Colin McKenna is a Team Leader at our Promenade Mall location in Thornhill, Ontario and can be reached online or calling 1-888-709-3330