Jenette recently returned from a week-long family trip to Tuscany, Italy, which is situated in the centre of this beautiful country. During this holiday, Jenette visited Bologna, Lucca, Pisa and Montepulciano; all were simply lovely.
Firstly: Bologna. This ancient city was recently described by Rick Stein as having “extraordinary features” with “elegant arcades” and he even says “walking through, you feel unjustifiably intellectual”; there is an undeniably brilliant atmosphere. The city is also famed for its cuisine: if you’re a foodie, this place is for you, with its rich and satisfying dishes. Jenette personally loved people watching – everyone was fascinating, with eccentric outfit choices and behaviours. The markets were also wonderfully traditional and intriguing – the range of fresh meats, pasta and cheeses were so impressive and
really captured the true essence of Italy, and made them feel like they were experiencing the real Italy. The multicoloured pastas and range of desserts were also so lovely; for Jenette, there really is nothing like Italian cuisine. Moreover, there’s the brilliant Leaning Tower of Bologna (Asinelli and Garisenda towers) – of course, much less known than Pisa, but still really interesting! This tower actually leans more than Pisa’s one, and is an iconic symbol of the city, and is somewhere which all tourists must pay a visit to. The San Petronio Basilica is another must-visit, with its impressive history and intriguing unfinished exterior.
Next up, Cortona. This town is a 3 hour drive from Bologna, and is a lovely place situated in Tuscany. It is characterised by steep, narrow streets on sloping hillsides – so ideal for those who love to explore things on foot! This hillside location results in beautiful views of the landscape surrounding the town. The town is small and charming, but there is still so much to see. You could easily spend hours wandering the streets aimlessly, but its impressive history means it is essential you pay a visit to their lovely cathedral and/or visit the MAEC: the Eutruscan Academy of the City of Cortona, ideal for all history lovers! Back in the heart of the town, whilst wandering through the streets, you can pop into dozens of small independent stores, selling all sorts of handmade items and food treats. This town is also perfect for wine-lovers, especially red wines, as the town is near to Montepulciano and Montalcino.
These two photos show the charm that Cortona possesses: the many archways and large courtyards make brilliant spaces for restaurants and cafes. It’s unsurprising that there are so many places to eat to choose from, where you can truly experience the magic of Italian cuisine. Good food whilst in fabulous surroundings – what more could you want?
Montepulciano and Pisa were other beautiful destinations which Jenette and her family particularly loved. Montepulciano is an iconic medieval hilltop town in Tuscany, boasting extraordinary views – it was the filming location of one of the Twilight films, which definitely helped boost its tourist numbers. However, it doesn’t have an intense, touristy feel – it still feels very authentic and atmospheric – and the views are utterly outstanding. The distinctive buildings are a beautiful contrast to the brilliant, almost never-ending fields stretching out as far as you can see. The best way of exploring Montepulciano is simply just by walking through it and taking in the stunning surroundings. The town is also well known for its produce, such as pork, cheese and lentils, and its wine is widely considered to be one of Italy’s best. In contrast, Pisa is a large, bustling city, which is a must-visit if you are in central Italy. Everyone just has to take an iconic Leaning Tower photo! Pisa is extremely historic and this is shown everywhere you look, with the numerous historic churches and the outstanding Piazza del Duomo, situated next to the Leaning Tower.
Jenette would recommend Italy to couples, friends and families alike, as there truly is something for everyone, and it is a country which deserves to be on everyone’s bucket list!