We created these pages to help you really Discover Italy. Journalists Donald Strachan, Steve Keenan, Jasmine Boni-Ball, Sara Sherwood, Sabrin Hasbun, Alicia Peacock, Chloë Sibley— who visit several times every year — have gathered a rich crop of local stories and written destination guides to help you make the most of your vacation. As they say in Italy, “Buon viaggio!”
Broaden your horizons beyond Florence and Chianti and head west towards the coast for an afternoon in Montelupo Fiorentino. This hilltop town, renowned for its Chianti wine and ceramic production, is located on the banks of the Arno river, under an hours’ drive from Florence. While it is becoming less of a secret to tourists, Montelupo Fiorentino’s local charm and character make it the perfect getaway for art lovers, especially for those with an interest in discovering Tuscany’s ceramic capital.
Regarded as one of the greatest architects of 16th century Italy and one of the most resoundingly influential figures in Western architecture, the Veneto’s countryside is brimming with Palladio’s famous designs. From his acclaimed La Rotonda in Vicenza to his first ever commission at Lonedo, this guide has attempted the almost inconceivable task of narrowing down the best Palladian villas worth visiting.
This fascination with Chianti is not a recent trend. As a matter of fact, this region of Tuscany has bewitched many historical figures and celebrities in the past. Discover the famous lineage of visitors that were charmed by Chianti — you will be surprised to see whose steps you are following.
Italy has the highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world. It’s no surprise for a country that counts the Duomo di Firenze and Basilica di San Marco amongst its cultural and historical monuments. Discover 7 of Italy’s greatest cathedrals now.
Shakespeare’s plays are pinnacles of English literature, and include many Italian locations. But do these places suggest only Shakespeare's vivid imagination, or might they prove personal knowledge of Italy? Could the son of a Stratford glove-maker have written plays about a country he’s unlikely to have visited? Or is another hand behind the masterpieces? We consider the evidence from areas near our villas in Italy.
Italian still varies widely depending where you visit, including in Tuscany. During the medieval and Renaissance periods, this dialect shaped standard Italian spoken today. Modern Italian is mostly Tuscan. But how did this Tuscan dialect come to be? We fill in the blanks, and then suggest a few words of modern Tuscan slang to use when you're there.
When you travel around central Italy, you will encounter remains of the ancient Etruscan civilisation. These were the people who left their name to the region of Tuscany, after all. The trouble is, they didn’t leave much else, either there or in neighbouring Umbria and Lazio. So much of their culture was destroyed or assimilated by the Romans... but not everything. Our short guide gives some background on these mysterious Etruscans, and explains where you can see their best archaeological sites.
Tuscany gave us the Renaissance and the modern Italian language. The region's inhabitants invented banking and issued the first European currency. Did we mention landmarks in painting, sculpture, architecture, philosophy, science and more? We introduce 16 of our favourite historical Tuscans. Have you heard of them all?
We're huge fans of the Netflix show, "Medici: Masters of Florence". Do you wonder how close to the truth was season one's story of Cosimo de' Medici and his powerful Florentine family? Or how accurately the show portrays life in 15th-century Florence? And where can you visit today to see the landscapes and locations from its hit first season? We give you the lowdown.