If you are looking for a European tourist destination, consider visiting eastern Tuscany in central Italy. Depending on your interests, this beautiful area might be an ideal vacation spot. You can get classic Italian food, and wash it down with world-famous and other local wine. Many of its sites are very popular, especially in high season, but are well worth the visit. Be sure to read the companion articles in this series that present western Tuscany and the Chianti region.
Cortona stars in Frances Mayes’ Under the Tuscan Sun. It now hosts the annual summer music and lifestyle Tuscan Sun Festival. This medieval hilltop town boasts a view of the surrounding Val di Chiana Valley. You can see Lago Trasimeno where Hannibal ambushed the Roman Army more than 2200 years ago. The Palazzo Casali hosts the Museo dell'Accademia Etrusca, displaying Etruscan, Roman, and Egyptian artifacts. Don’t miss the Renaissance Santa Maria del Calcinaio Church 2 miles (3 kilometers) southeast of the city.
The town of Montepulciano sits on a hilltop more than one mile (almost two kilometers) high and has the weather to match, cool summers and chilly winters. It’s home to Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, one fine Tuscan red wine. You’ll enjoy the Piazza Grande whose Duomo should be appreciated from the inside. The Church of San Biagio sits outside the town walls. It houses a painting of a Madonna designated Madonna del Buon Viaggio (Madonna of the Good Journey) said to protect those touring Italy.
The medieval hilltop town of Montalcino is best known for the excellent Brunello di Montalcino red wine made from a clone of the Sangiovese grape. Try this wine and compare it with the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano discussed above. You can do so at La Fortezza, a Fourteenth Century fortress, with a spectacular view of the surroundings and an enoteca (wine bar). The Museo Civico e Diocesano d’Arte Sacra is located in a Thirteenth Century building formerly the property of Augustine monks. Make sure to tour the Castello Banfi winery complete with a castle that includes a dungeon.
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his website www.travelitalytravel.com devoted to Italian travel with an accent on fine Italian wine and food. Visit his central wine website www.theworldwidewine.com with weekly reviews of $10 wine and columns devoted to various aspects of wine including wine and food, humor, trivia, organic and kosher wine and lots more.Click to access the original, longer article on this Italian tourist location.
Feel free to reprint this entire article which must include the resource box