Tag Archives: toscana

First thing you do when you arrive back in Maremma, Tuscany?

Enjoy catching up with my host family and relaxing in the beautiful Tuscan setting. The house is on the top of a hill with a stunning view of the Tuscan countryside.

What advice would you give to a tourist?

Take day trips, guided when possible,  to the many small towns and historic sites. Maremma is full of hilltowns, really worth a visit and with few tourists. Moreover many years before the Romans, Etruscan people settled here their villages and civilization. It’s like walking in the middle of history.

If you had to be locked in a building overnight, which would it be?


The Tarot Garden house which is a unique creation of art in a garden setting. Niki De Saint Phalle used to live in this house while working at this unique garden: even the bathroom is a masterpiece of art.

Best place for a romantic holiday in Maremma?


The seaside towns of Porto Santo Stefano and Porto Ercole in Monte Argentario, with their beautiful beaches, history, seaside walks, specialty shops and great fish restaurants. In clear days you can enjoy the view on some of the islands of the Tuscan archipelago, including Giglio and Giannutri.

What would you do if you were the Mayor for the day?

Have a family festival with local music, with specialty foods and products, as we enjoyed in Magliano the very first day of our stay. There was an exhibition of the village band and the atmosphere was really great.

What is your favorite Maremma discovery?


The little hilltop town of Capalbio, where the views are beautiful from the parapet walls and the town has old world character.

What are your favorite late-night hangouts?

The fabulous home cooking and sitting outside under the Tuscan sky: from Virginia’s house you can see the Milky Way with the naked eye! It was unbelievable.

Best meal you’ve had in Maremma?

I can’t choose between the homemade pasta dishes, the local meats (wild boar as well) and cheeses (Pecorino Toscano), the pizza, or the fig and ricotta gelato!

If you could buy any building in Maremma, which would it be?

An old villa where I could grow vegetables, olives, fruit, and cork trees and surround myself with the serenity and culture of the countryside.

 Best advice for other students?

Do a homestay.  After 3 years of traditional language schools in Italy, I found the homestay to be the best way to immerse in the language and culture. Virginia always spoke with me in Italian and I really had the chance of improving my skills: it was a real full immersion language course.

by Patricia from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Usa, student @ Poggiobono Country House

Being part of Italian family life made learning fun and easy: poggiobono.it  


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Discovering the beauty of Tuscany: Montepulciano, a wonderful town located on the top of a hill, surrounded by vineyards and olive groves with one of those views which has made Tuscany famous the world over.

Practice your Italian and fill the gaps with the expressions in the list, buon viaggio!

Una gita a Montepulciano

davvero / dove /insieme /Insomma /mentre /poiché /Qui /tutto

Level B1.2+

Una gita a Montepulciano non può definirsi tale se non ci si addentra nelle campagne e nei territori verdi della Valle d’Orcia: questo luogo, Patrimonio dell’Umanità, ci ha attirato nelle sue terre mozzafiato (1)_______ importante parco naturale, artistico e culturale. (2)_______ è possibile vagare per il verde, sedersi in riva all’Orcia e ritrovare il contatto con la natura e il benessere proprio (3)_______ si scopre passo dopo passo uno dei luoghi più ammalianti d’Italia.

Un momento (4)_______ romantico!



Poco distanti, i borghi di San Quirico e Montalcino sono mete da visitare: ricche di storia e cultura, con monumenti e strade che riportano con la mente a un passato lontano, e (5)_______ ancora si respirano le tradizioni e il folklore provenienti dalle memorie dei tempi. Una visita alle terme di Chianciano sono il coronamento di una vacanza davvero unica e ricca di fascino: qui c’è da restarsene (6)_______ il giorno in relax, godendosi le acque e tutto il benessere sprigionato da questi luoghi magici.

(7)_______, per chiunque desideri una gita davvero romantica (8)_______ alla propria anima gemella o anche con la famiglia al seguito non c’è bisogno di arrivare lontano: in Italia ci sono dei veri e propri paradisi per chi vuole restarsene in intimità con il partner e vivere pienamente tutti gli odori e le meraviglie della natura, coltivare il proprio bagaglio culturale e assaporare le delizie delle terre nostrane: a noi è bastato viaggiare e perderci tra le splendide terre toscane dell’area di Montepulciano, per ritrovare serenità, complicità e benessere!

Adattato da:  Silvia, teacher @ ilsasso.com, Montepulciano, Tuscany

Testo originale

Interactive exercise: una gita a Montepulciano

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Driving under the Tuscan sun

Culture mini courses in Tuscany





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When you take the Strada delle Crete, the road that leads down from Siena towards the south, the last strip of Tuscany before Umbria, you need to drive carefully. Every 100 metres or so there will be somebody who has pulled their car to a halt along the side of the road, and is taking photographs, totally enrapt, unaware of anything else.

Of course, tourists and travellers from all over the world have been crisscrossing Tuscany for centuries, but this more recent phenomenon begs the question of whether this desire to bring home a memory of this land is merely an example of the, very common, compulsion to collect beautiful images, or whether it is the result of a deeper intuition.
Could it be that the traveller discerns something of how this landscape has become so beautiful? How the people of this land have consciously moulded, protected and cared for it.
This countryside reveals its history, a history that is carved into its curves and apparent in its hills, in its fields, in the olive trees and cypresses. The cypress trees have become a symbol of Tuscany, although they were originally brought over from the Middle East. They still seem to beckon to us, evoking lost memories and celebrating a forgotten way of life.
The Strada delle Crete winds through gently rolling hills. The beauty belies the challenges of cultivating this poor soil: the grand, now empty, houses and a few hardy trees, casting no shadow, are the only remnants of the souls who once walked here. The seasonal changes of the landscape are sudden and stark. From light grey to burnt umber, from lush green to shimmering gold.
At the end of this road the city of Montepulciano appears before us. It climbs the steep hillside and stretches out over the top of the hill, dividing the Val d’Orcia from its neighbour, the Val di Chiana, a few dozen kilometres away.



The Val di Chiana is completely different, greener, bordered by lakes and mountains. Visitors continue to take photographs here, astonished by the contrast. From the higher hills the walled towns continue to look down over the valley, as if protecting the territory they have administered autonomously for so many centuries.

This land is generous, its vineyards and olive groves among the most famous in the world. Life here is more intense, and the countryside full of houses, in testament to the density of the population that once lived here, in the not so distant past. The Val di Chiana is the site of an immense hydraulic engineering project that was completed just over 200 years ago – a project that was four centuries in the making: the reclamation of the marshland that covered the entire area. This landscape, too, is the result of a project, a challenge, and human toil.



The lakes that border it are the remnants of this immense humid area. This land, too, reveals its history, captivating anyone passing through: it is not only the natural beauty that inspires such passion, but the histories of women and men, of their tenacity and creativity.
Perhaps this is what they feel, the visitors who are compelled to put images of this part of Tuscany in the virtual suitcase of their experiences. It is worth taking the time to travel these roads slowly, with eyes and ears open. There are endless ways to appreciate this landscape: just go beyond the superficial, and leave behind the rush and bustle of our everyday lives.

by Silvia, teacher in ilsasso.com, Montepulciano, Tuscany


Study Italian in Toscana

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