This is the 17th post of a guest series. We ask friends and colleagues to share with us what the expression to “feel at home” means to them. We believe that to truly enjoy a place, you need to really experience it, to make yourself at home. This means different things for different people, but it is an essential part of our lives, both as travelers and travel professionals. The idea came from a post I published in March 2010 and that you can read here.
10 Things I Will Miss About Tuscany – a farewell love letter
Just about a year ago, my family and I moved from Norway to Italy for a one year to stay in the city of the slanting tower. Naturally we had heard about this famous entrepreneural blunder, but I must admit we had hardly heard about Tuscany. If anything I had the impression Tuscany was a nice place for old and sick people in need of a peaceful place to reconvalescent or just relax. Now, after a year I see that, much as the shoe fits, Tuscany is so much more than that! We´ve had a year of adventure in this interesting region, and we are truly sad to go. Here´s what we’ll miss the most.
1. The Friendly People
Everywhere we go, from the urban city centers, to the quiet rural areas of Tuscany, the people are friendly and helpful in a straight foreward manner. Many of them speak little or no English, but they try to explain things to us non-italians, by using facial expressions, gesticulation, and body language (as do we).
2. The Relaxed Atmosphere
There is no rush in Tuscany. The workers always have time for a “buongiorno” and a smile to the passers by, if a store is closed you can always come back later, the houses and streets are worn here and there, but fixing them has no haste… Things actually get done, but only when the time is right. “Everything happens in its own good time”, seems to be the slogan of the region.
3. Towers That Are Everywhere
We must have visited about a dozen brick towers! They seem to pop up on every hill and everywhere they have some spare bricks, just for the love of such buildings… Naturally, some of them were put there for defensive purposes, but a lot of the towers seem to have some other, to us mysterious, purpose.
We have fallen in love with Pisa; the charming restaurants, the ever present city wall, the Campo dei Miracoli by the Tower, the June celebrations by the river Arno, Giardino di Scotto near the childrens school, our appartment in the historical city centre, etc.
5. The Climate – and The Funny Weather Forecasts
To us northerners, who are used to the conditions of the arctic circle, this has been a year without winter… and even though we actually missed skiing and skating a bit, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed the warmer climate here.
We have noticed that the Tuscan weather forecasts tend to be overly pessimistic. A lot of times the weather predictions have foretold storms and rain for both this region and our home town in Norway. The actual weather was not the same!
6. Other Cities of Tuscany We’ve Gotten to Know
Lucca, with its fabulous city wall, Florence, with its flourishing cultural life and history, San Gimignano, with its many – yes, towers, Pietrasanta, with its charming atmosphere, among others.
7. The Beautiful Countryside
Sloping hills with olive trees and vineyards, sprincled with elegant villas and groves. We even choose to spend our summer vacation in the Tuscan country side, at the beautiful Villa Albertina.
8. The Mountains
Leaving the dust of the city for a fresh mountain hike, has given us a welcome breather once in a while. The mountains are beautiful in a completely different way than what we are used to from our home country.
9. The Marina
We will definitely miss our favorite stretch of beach on the Marina di Pisa, as well as the water parks we have frequented this last year!
10. The Colors
Last but not least I will miss the colors of Tuscany! Sand and earth tones, orange and yellow, in addition to every shade of blue and green on the landscapes.
Arrivederci, cara Tuscany!