02 Jan 2010

Inspired by the many top 10 lists I’ve seen over the last few days, I’ve decided to publish mine too!

10 good … about Tuscany

Inspired by the many top 10 lists I’ve seen over the last few days, I’ve decided to publish mine too!

10 interesting books about Tuscany published in 2009

  1. 100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go (Travelers’ Tales) by Susan Van Allen. I found this book really great. It’s a thematic selections of places that every woman should see. A really well-researched book, and a lovely present for your girlfriends.
  2. Secrets from my Tuscan kitchen by Judy Witts Franciny, a great cook book written by an experienced chef and teacher.
  3. Pathways of Chance, by David Peat. It is the biography of the physicist F. David Peat, from his boyhood in an eccentric family in wartime Liverpool, to the swinging sixties of the Beatles, his years in Canada, and finally settling in a medieval hill top village of Pari in Tuscany.
  4. Reading the White Stone: Travels Through the Italian Marble Quarries by David Macfarlane. It’s an interesting overview of the life in the mountains near Carrara, where marble is extracted.
  5. Rick Steves’ Snapshot Hill Towns of Central Italy: Including Siena & Assisi (Rick Steves Snapshot) by Rick Steves. Of course he does not need a presentation, and I have to admit that in the past, I was not very enthusiastic about his work. But this guidebook is nice, even if it pushes always the most popular ones, other than proposing some less travelled and equally beautiful hilltop towns. I liked the idea behind the book.
  6. Tuscany by Alistair Moffat. It’s a diachronic account of what makes Tuscany so popular among the British people. An interesting historical overview.
  7. Treading Grapes: Walking Through the Vineyards of Tuscany by Rosemary George. It’s a nice book, that reads like a travel journal about a journey in the wine industry.
  8. Encyclopedia of Pasta (California Studies in Food and Culture)by Oretta Zanini de Vita. This is a really interesting book about all the different types of pasta, with substantial and terminological differences.
  9. Tomato Rhapsody: A Fable of Love, Lust & Forbidden Fruit by Adam Schell. It’s a novel, a weird, interesting book. A nice read.
  10. A Castle in Tuscany: The Remarkable Life of Janet Ross by Sarah Benjamin. The story of a remarkable character, one of the first “expats in Tuscany”!

10 beautiful photos of Tuscany taken in 2009

  1. A beautiful shot of the Maremma
  2. A  dramatic area of Tuscany, the Apual Alps
  3. Piazza dei Miracoli in Pisa without the Leaning Tower
  4. A beautiful set of landscapes of Tuscany
  5. What is left of the marshes of the Maremma, la Diaccia Botrona
  6. A set of photos of the Maremma, for those who don’t know that it’s a hilly region!
  7. Quintessential Tuscany
  8. A spring shot at my house in the countryside
  9. Olive tree in bloom
  10. The colours of Autumn

10 movies shot in Tuscany between 2000 and 2009

  1. New Moon (2009) – shot in Montepulciano… which in the movie is actually Volterra…
  2. The certified copy (2010) by Abbas Kiarostami, not yet released.
  3. Miracle at St. Anna (2008), by S. Lee
  4. Quantum of Solace (2008), by M. Forster
  5. A room with a view (2007), by N. Renton
  6. Unrelated (2007), by J. Hogg
  7. Under the Tuscan Sun (2003), by A. Wells
  8. Ciao America (2002) by F. Ciota
  9. Hannibal (2001), by R. Scott
  10. Gladiator (2000), by R. Scott

10 undiscovered spots in Tuscany to visit in 2010

  1. The Alta Maremma, the hills between Siena and the plains of the Maremma. Unspoilt countryside, beautiful hamlet, natural hot springs, castles, abbeys and great food and wine.
  2. Maremma Nature Park and the Tuscan archipelago (Isola del Giglio is amazing!) You can take day cruises from Castiglione della Pescaia. The dunes in Marina di Grosseto are also a unique spot.
  3. Monte Amiata, the highest mountain in Tuscany, an undiscovered area of the region, very different from the most popular areas. Charming secluded towns, forests, walking trails, ancient countryside parishes, breathtaking views over the Val d’Orcia and the Maremma. Sky runs in the winter, cool picninc areas in the summer.
  4. Val di Merse and the mysterious Abbey of San Galgano, home to the “sword of the stone“: the Arthurian legends probably originated here. This is a photo of the Abbey after the snowfall of a few weeks ago.
  5. Petriolo Hot Springs and the beautiful medieval hilltop village of Pari, perfectly preserved.
  6. Montemassi, Roccatederighi and il Sassoforte: ancient hilltop villages with stunning views over the Maremma.
  7. The fascinating area of the Monti Pisani, the hills around Pisa, that include beautiful tows like Buti, Calci (home to a great Certosa), and Vicopisano.
  8. Val di Cecina, the area comprised between Volterra, Pisa and the coast. Less popular than the Val d’Orcia, it has an extremely similar feel.
  9. Media Valle del Serchio, between Lucca and the Garfagnana. It’s a great area.
  10. Casentino, near Arezzo. A hilly area covered in forests, home to Saint Francis’ la Verna and to a nature park.


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