Toscana

The birthplace of the Renaissance. This is a region in Central Italy where some of the best red wines are produced. The capital is Florence.

1. The Land

Tuscany is a hilly region with a western coastline on the Tyrrhenian Sea. The climate near the sea is Mediterranean and becomes continental as you move inland. The rolling hills provide different macroclimates, with altitudes ranging from 250 to 610 meters.

2. The Soil

The soil type varies from sandy clay to limestone and iron-rich soils. The two main types are alberese (sandstone) and galestro (chalky marlstone). As you go south, the soil becomes stonier with more alberese.

3. The Produce

Tuscany is synonymous with the Sangiovese grape. This is the grape which Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino is made from. The region is also known for its Vin Santo (holy wine) – a sweet dessert wine usually made with a blend of Trebbiano and Malvasia – and for the quality of its pork and beef. Extra virgin olive oil made from Moraiolo, Leccino and Frantoiano olives are produced here. Truffles can also be found in October and November.

Did you know?

- Regarded as the birthplace of the Renaissance, Tuscany especially Florence is home to many historical important figures of art and science. This is where famous painters, architects, writers and sculptors dwelled such as Botticelli, Donatello, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo

- The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a bell tower in the city of Pisa that is part of UNESCO World Heritage. The tower used to lean at 5.5 degrees caused by the soft ground lacking of structural support. After stabalisation efforts, the tower leans at about 3.99 degrees.

- Other places to visit is San Gimignano (a classic medieval walled town on the hills), Lucca, Siena and Cortona (made famous by Francis Mayes in here book Under the Tuscan Sun).

- Tuscan cuisine consists of bread, cheese, legumes and lots of olive oil. The dish Bistecca alla Florentine (Florentine T-bone steak) is a must-try in this region.

Cacciucco (fish stew) is served near the coast of Livorno and Viareggio while Ribollita soup containing cabbage, beans, onions and carrots is served during the winter. For dessert, Castagnaccio is a traditional cake made from chestnut flour.