Off to Southern Tuscany with G Adventures
In the past two years, I’ve watched the travel industry shift toward a new style of travel — local travel, slow travel, the kind of travel where you experience a single destination deeply rather than several destinations superficially.
This travel takes many forms: renting an apartment instead of staying in a hotel. Couchsurfing and meeting up with locals. Perusing farmers’ markets and eating at local restaurants. Staying in one location for a week or longer instead of splitting your time between two or more destinations.
I’m happy to announce that I am about to leave for one of these trips — to Tuscany, a region that I hold dearly in my heart, with G Adventures, the travel tour operator that I recommend to my readers the most! I’ll be heading out on a four-day version of G’s Local Living Southern Tuscany trip.
The timing couldn’t be better. After a very scary and stressful week in Boston, I need to get away from 24-hour news channels and live feeds on Boston.com. Had this trip not been scheduled, I would have been spending all my time outside the house, just staying away from the news.
Italy — Perfect for Slow Travel
Italy is my favorite country in the world (though believe me, places like Thailand, Cambodia, Spain and Croatia give it a run for its money!). It’s the kind of country where just being there is an experience in itself — Italian culture permeates each moment, from having a caffe while standing at a bar to marveling at a sunset over towers built during the Renaissance.
Italians are very sense-oriented, and their values reflect that. Italians prioritize things like tasting the freshest, most delicious food possible; taking an hour every evening to stroll around the neighborhood and chat with friends; keeping their towns and homes beautiful; and, I have to admit, they prioritize spending lots of money on designer black clothing and grooming so that they look just as beautiful as their surroundings!
Most first-time visitors to Italy do a city-hopping tour: Rome-Florence-Venice, perhaps with some Pisa or Verona or Sorrento thrown in. And while that’s a great way to get introduced to Italy, I think there’s so much value in settling in one place in the countryside, far from city noise, and enjoying the charm of rural Italian life.
The G Adventures Local Living Southern Tuscany trip is set on a beautiful farm outside the tiny town of Chianciano Terme. The farm is an agriturismo, and you stay there for a full week. From what I’ve read so far, the host, Stefano, is passionate about organic farming and feeds you more or less nonstop!
Our trip will be for just four days, but we’ve got quite a bit planned — exploring small towns in the area, biking through the countryside, tasting everything from wine to meats to cheeses to olive oil, and learning about the slow food movement in Tuscany and the value of organic farming.
Remember my UNESCO challenge, where I made a goal to get from 52 to 101 sites visited by the end of the year? On this four-day trip, we’re going to THREE that I haven’t yet visited: the Val d’Orcia, a landscape that was designed for maximum beauty during the Renaissance; the historic center of Pienza, a small and beautiful town near the farm; and the historic center of Siena, a popular Tuscan city that I have somehow overlooked until now.
I’ll be on this trip with some travel, food, and wine bloggers, along with a few G Adventures team members. Be sure to follow the tag #gLocalLiving as we cover a few days of bliss in southern Tuscany.
Fresh air, fresh caffe, and fresh plates of salume at every meal — I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to this trip.
Many thanks to G Adventures for hosting me in Tuscany. All opinions, as always, are my own.