In the late Middle Ages and throughout the Renaissance, Tuscany was a center for the arts and of learning. The Tuscan spoken language became the literary language of Italy after Dante Alighieri, Petrarch, and Boccaccio used it instead of the traditional Latin to create profound works that are still read today. Notable schools of architecture, sculpture and painting developed from the 11th century in many cities (particularly Florence, Pisa, Siena, and Arezzo).
Under the Medici, the ruling family of Florence, Tuscany became a grand duchy in 1569, and so a powerful political and economic force in addition to being one of the main intellectual and artistic centers in Europe at the time. A visitor needs only to stroll the streets of Florence today from ancient palace to cathedral, wander across the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) that straddles the Arno River, or visit any of the ancient towns such as San Gimignano to be overwhelmed by the region's glorious past.
The historic and artistic legacy of such a past is embedded in both the folkloristic festivals that take place throughout the year and the rich artisan traditions that still survive today.
Tuscany's winemaking industry counts on one of the most noble and ancient traditions that predates the universally known Chianti wine that often springs to mind when this region is discussed.
Tuscany accounts for over thirty DOC and half a dozen of DOCG wines. In addition to the great, well-known and appreciated reds, the local production includes a few distinguishable whites, the most notable among them being, without doubt, the Vernaccia di San Gimignano. Other delicious whites include the Bianco d'Elba, from the Elba Island, Bianco di Bolgheri, Vermentino, Bianco di Pitigliano and Bianco di Val di Nievole. (Bianco in Italian means, "white").
Last but not least, we can't forget the famous Vin Santo, or “Holy Wine”, a dessert delicacy usually made from Trebbiano grapes that have been left to dry in an airy place until the start of Holy Week before being made into wine.
Fattoria Il Palagio
Il Paradiso di Manfreddi
Stella di Campalto