We can spend hours looking at the old men in this photo. Their facial expressions. Their hand gestures. Their clothes. Their shoes. Every part of them tells a story. If you stare at it long enough, you can write unique fictional attributes of each one of them. If you come back the next day and look at the photo again, the stories for each of them change.
We took the photo in San Gimignano in 2009. It hangs on our office walls as not just a reminder of our first trip to Italy but to let us know there are grace and wisdom in aging.
San Gimignano tells a story that dates back to the Etruscans three centuries before Christ. A shining city on a hill marked by its 14- towers, San Gimignano is a must stop for any tourist. 4-million people a year visit this mid-evil town in North Central Tuscany. Normally packed with people, beauty is found in the hustle and bustle of buses, walking tours, and onlookers.
Like most places in Itlay, specifically Tuscany, the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19 has taken its toll on the economy. But as you find out in this latest podcast. The people of San Gimignano are not sitting back and just crossing their fingers and hoping people return. They are using this time to rediscover themselves. Soul searching, should we say, to connect with its past so when the people do return, they get the authentic experience they want and deserve.
Just like the old men in the photo, the days go by, but the stories we share and pass down over time can live forever. Next time you visit Tuscany, make sure you make a story of your own in San Gimignano.
If you believe all the news stories and headlines, buying a house for as low as 1-euro in Italy is simple. But is it?
We have been doing this podcast for several years now. We travel to Italy (when there’s not a pandemic) yearly. I would say it’s our goal to have a home or an apartment in Tuscany someday.
But where do you start? Who do you turn to? Well, our guest on this edition of the Total Tuscany Podcast knows a thing or two about purchases homes and real estate in Italy.
Chris Sobolev operates the websiteSuper Savvy Travelers with her husband, Chris.
They fell in love with Italy a couple of years ago, started buying property, and now it’s their mission to people like you and me do the same.
Property in Tuscany is SUPER expensive. That’s not a surprise as Tuscany is the most popular region in Italy. Chris and Pete and settled in by the sea in Calabria. It’s cheap, beautiful, and provides easy access to other parts of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
You find or interview with Chris both enlightening and educational. After listening to it, you might be ready to start the process of making your dreams of an Italian home come true!
The two of the most popular things to do when you go to Tuscany are drink wine and take a cooking class. Well, since we can't travel right now, what if there was a way to put a sommelier and a Tuscan chef right in your kitchen?
COVID-19 has reinforced our need for connection to people. Linda Sorgiovanni from Italy Customized wants to come into your home, virtually. Linda collaborates with her friend Claudio Bisanzio on a unique cooking class and wine tasting with you and your family and friends. The 2-hour experience includes wine, a food menu with step by step coaching during the cooking process, a recording of your cooking class, a recipe booklet, and memories that will inspire you to travel to Tuscany to experience the real thing.
This virtual experience's price is very reasonable—$ 50 per person up to four people and $40 per person for larger groups. We recommend that groups are not larger than eight people.
Yes, there is a pretty big time difference between Florence and the United States. But don't fret; Linda and Claudio are night owls and will work directly with you to schedule a time that works for you and your guests. You can email Linda directly to set up your class.
In the first half of this edition of the Total Tuscany Podcast, we talk to Anthony and Becca about what they are going through.
The second half is a conversation with Anna Madaffari, who owns and operatesCool Tours. We also spent a day with her in the Tuscan countryside when we visited last December. A day to remember that ended with a conversation we featured inepisode 67.
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"So Mario, what about Etruscan history can you tell us?"
Again, if you want the answer, listen to the podcast! Not only will you get lots of information in detail, Mario tells us the best places to visit if you want to experience the history of the ancient people had had a significant impact on Roman culture.
It seems like Anna is always working. If you follow her on social media, you know she is doing tours almost daily. Her silver Mercedes van that seats eight is perfect for a trip to the Tuscany countryside. After our quick hits of caffeine, we were off on a new adventure.
Our first stop, a place we have never visited before, a small hilltop town in Chianti, Barberino Val d'Elsa. For the most part, everything was closed, and the streets empty. I don't want to paint a gloomy picture; it was quite peaceful. We were able to roam at our own pace taking in the historic structures and spectacular views of the countryside from the city wall.
After about an hour's stroll, it was time to climb back in the van. It was nearing lunchtime, and we were getting excited about our next stop - even though we didn't know where we were going.
Winding through the switchbacks of the Chianti hills, the Cool Tour's van ascended a steep incline. Once at the top, there was a gated villa on our left. A small wooden sign hung on the gate that was hard to read unless you were three feet from it. It read, I Balzini. I can try and describe the estate, but I wouldn't do it justice; their website captures it perfectly.
From the website: www.ibalzini.it
I Balzini is a classic example of a Tuscan working farm that has grown from the former country farmhouse around which vineyards and olive groves were cultivated. The central block of vineyards is located directly in front of the house, which serves as the owners’ residence as well, while a second vineyard parcel is just a short distance away. A wood and a small lake complete the property, giving it a harmonious and cozy air, one gathered in upon itself, and from which one looks out over some of Tuscany’s most celebrated villages. The long sunsets over the vineyards are perhaps some of the loveliest images to be admired at I Balzini and are the result of the extremely felicitous exposure of the property, which enjoys a special luminosity.
The name “Balzini” comes from the Tuscan word for small terraces, the exact site on which the vineyards were planted.
When we plan a podcast we are always looking for new, and unique experiences to inspire you to travel to Tuscany. We have done just that in this episode.
Lucrezia Cannito is and entrepreneur who’s taken her passions, cooking, and opera and brought them together in a quaint setting in the Tuscan countryside.
Opera in the Kitchen is specifically designed for small groups, 10-12 people and promises to make memories that will last a lifetime. You get to pick your own vegetables and herbs. You learn to make and cook pasta from a professional chef. You dine at sunset while drinking some of the finest Italian wine.
``A fantastic evening set in the amazing countryside of Tuscany. Beautiful views all around. Fantastic cooking course followed by dinner and intimate opera performance. Lucrezia and the other women were so helpful and gracious. They have a passion for what they are doing and it shows. This isn’t just another cooking class. This is a memory in the making! Thank you for this experience. I won’t forget it!``
``This was an unforgettable experience - one of the highlights of our trip to Florence! Lucrezia is a lovely hostess and a very engaging cook/teacher. We had a wonderful group, enjoyed one of the best meals in Italy, and experienced unbelievable opera while overlooking the twinkling lights of the Tuscan countryside - complete with snow-capped mountains in the background. Highly recommend this experience and Lucrezia. We will definitely come again!``
Travis Justice & Pat Campagna have been traveling to Tuscany since 2009. They produce the Total Tuscany Podcast and all the content on this website.
Barberino Val D'Elsa
Camino De Santiago
Certified Wine Specialist
Commonwealth Wine School
Extreme Adventures In Tuscany
Find Yourself In Tuscany
Florence American Cemetery
I Found Myself In Tuscany
Italian America Magazine
Italian Villa Rental
Jacopo Di Battista
KM Zero Tours
Lost In Florence
Love 4 Win
Mayor Jean Stothert
Naked In Italy
Opera In The Kitchen
Order Sons And Daughters Of Italy In America
Palazzo Del Moro
Palazzo San Niccolo
Panzano In Chianti
Querceto Di Castellina
Rent A Ferrari In Tuscany
Super Savvy Travelers
Total Tuscany Experience
Tuscan Women Cook
Tuscany Private Home
Tuscany Women's Tour
Urban Adventures Florence
Vacation Rentals In Italy
Villa In Tuscany
Villas For Rent In Italy
Way Of St. Francis
Your Place In Florence