25 Mar Party the Year Away

So you’ve decided to embrace your inner romantic with a season or two under the Tuscan sun? Contrary to what the movies would have you believe, you don’t have to come of age or have an illicit romance to appreciate the region’s extraordinary culture and countryside. But if illicit romances are your thing, go for it! However, we believe it’s semi-compulsory to get to one of the many festivals. They take place throughout the year in and around the rolling Tuscan hills and craggy Tuscan coastline. Some Tuscan festivals have traditions stretching back as far as the 6th century. And if you don’t think that’s cultural enough, you could always check out some local frescoes or architectural masterpieces after the festivities! Here are our picks of the major Tuscan festivals happening in each season. +++ Summer Luminara, Regatta of St. Ranieri and Battle of the Bridge - Pisa This two-day candlelit extravaganza of Luminara celebrates Saint Ranieri, the patron saint of Pisa. The city is best known for its structurally unsound tower, but Luminara beats that for pyrotechnic drama. It kicks off on the evening of June 16, with more than 70,000 candles lighting up the palaces along the Arno river, and a fireworks display. The following day, four boats representing the city’s oldest districts compete in the Regatta of Saint Ranieri along the Arno river. A week later, on the last Saturday of June, Pisa locals parade through the city in their best medieval costumes. Even better, some then join the Battle of...

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27 Oct Tuscan Treat

[caption id="attachment_2306" align="alignnone" width="660"] Cheers to chianti![/caption] Wine can be a snob's paradise. High priced bottles and eloquent labels elicit importance and supposedly good taste. At a recent wine tasting I tried five reds from around the world, all Cabernet Sauvignons. It was a blind tasting. We didn’t know the label or any information until all wines were tried. At the event’s end we compared rankings with fellow tasters. The $9.99 bottle from a very young cultivation of grapes outside of Florence bested the $50 bottle from a 2006 vintage (supposedly a snobs favorite year for wine). Point being, no label or fancy cork can fool your tongue. It’s your palate, your preference. Italy is second to France in producing what many call good wine. And what region covers the gamut of taste, color and price better than Chianti. Region! Region! Region! Italy is a small country with dozens of types of wine. With each wine unique and only (legally) made in specific areas spanning no more than a few miles each, knowing where to go is important. Lets narrow it down to make your day of tasting productive and enjoyable. Know where you are. And know the history of the area. You have the world. And from there the continent of Europe, then Italy. In Italy, to the west, is a region called Tuscany (kind of like saying, “Out in the Southwest United States”). And within Tuscany small cities like Florence and Sienna were founded....

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