Farm holidays in Tuscany: a link relating past, present and future

Tuscan countryside

We always try to ‘administer’ you some little Tuscan history, culture and curiosities ‘pills’ so that, somehow or other, its fascination could win all of you over: “… pace dicono al cuor le tue collina con le nebbie sfumanti e il verde piano ridente ne le piogge mattutine” (now I am seeing your hills with their light fogs and the green, bright grass due to the morning rain, and I am at peace – Italian poem written by Giosué Carducci). It is not like everyone to be able to describe its own country as Giosué Carducci did in his poem Traversando la Maremma Toscana (Crossing Tuscan Maremma as it would be written if literally translated into English – those who are interested in going deeper into details can have a look at Giosué Carducci), but we will try to do our best as we always do!

It is strange to think that people come from anywhere to find out the places where you are born and grown up, where your family has lived for generations, the places you sleepily pass through every morning to go work, or those you used to go through when you were a sulky child and went to school; those little mountain villages with their narrow streets where, in Summer, you used to run like the wind to hug your grandfather waiting for you with a fresh egg in his hands, ready to be drunk! Those places which belong to your daily experiences, which are just “simple ornaments” of a familiar context for you…until you realize that thousand of people usually go across the whole planet to enjoy such sights…

This is mainly Tuscany: all the memories which belong to our cultural background, to our history, to our traditions, to a period far away in time are ready to come to life again through every daily act, the childhood of all of us, every image which has been carved into memory or caught by shots.
Nowadays, all the best that Tuscany can offer is the result of a socio-cultural evolution whose roots lie far away in time, even too much, obscured by ephemeral needs and life rhythms which are frantic, to say the least. That is way the first association for the protection and the enhancement of the agricultural territory was created some years ago.

While our Country was trying to recover its energies after two World Wars, the industrialization phenomenon was attracting most people towards the city, thus turning the sunny and bonny countryside into wide, desert, abandoned fields.

And so the idea of proposing the countryside as a tourist destination was hearty welcomed as a “bulb”, supposed to enlighten once again the hope of those people still very close to those lands. And as a Tuscan saying states, two birds were killed with one stone! The countryside was repopulated thanks to an enhancement of the existing buildings, such as farmhouses, old rural, country houses and farms, thus preventing those idyllic places from tumbling down.

And so people got the idea of using their farms also to give hospitality to those who had decided to discover once again those old lands and their beauties.

So that is what farm holidays originally were: farms cultivating their fields, producing food and wines, breeding animals and carrying on ancient traditions boasting of fascinating habits and customs, at the same time. On the other hand, the reputation for hospitality which is typical of Tuscan people, especially of farmers, is not a latest news: with their simplicity, they have always set their own table and opened their home to friends and passers as well.

The farmer, or the agricultural businessman, as he is called at present day, put himself in the shoes of the so-called ‘host’, without leaving behind his main activity – the agricultural one, using some of his rural houses, characteristic jewels of Tuscan landscape, for hosting tourists looking for that quiet which has been lost by now, for that peace and harmony which our soul and eyes can find in Tuscan landscape.

Rediscovering rural life also implies ancient recipes, natural food, popular traditions to be found out… and thus the ‘host’ turns himself into a sort of ‘Cicero’, a tourist guide for discovering the most farther and hidden places of his village and the surroundings, or story-teller, entertaining you with mysterious legends and tales of Tuscany, such as that of San Galgano and Siena’s legendary sword in the stone. You could even find your ‘host’ turned into a wine waiter, guiding you to taste his own made grapes juice or through wine tours of our delicious vineyards and wine cellars, where you could enjoy a glass of local wine: Chianti, or Brunello di Montalcino, or Morellino di Scansano, just to mention another area.

You could not enjoy a real wine tasting without eating some local cold cuts and cheese, served with honey, jam and several sauces. And what about a chef teaching you some secrets about the culinary tradition, even if behind the success of Tuscan food there are only the simple and poor ingredients of the original recipes:

That is what our region offers to those who want to discover its real essence: it is a mysterious and secret place, so much so that even who has always lived there is barely aware of.
And as Dante wrote in his Divine Comedy: “Abandon all hope ye who enter here”… especially if you count on the Mediterranean diet: it is made to make your mouth water!

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Commenti (0) | May 17, 2010

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