WHY WE LOVE IT
- Home of the great Renaissance city Florence, this beautiful and historical Italian region is where one dreams of retiring.
- Startlingly intact medieval hill towns, wine-producing villages, countless amazing restaurants of all grades, exquisite hotels.
- Pisa (and its leaning tower); Siena (and the Palio); fortified towns like Lucca and Pienza; the medieval Manhattan, San Gimignano.
- The newly fashionable Maremma region and Monte Argentario with its port towns, Porto Ercole and Porto Santo Stefano. Beach resorts such as Forte dei Marmi.
- Prehistoric thermal pools and caves, some now swanky spas. Cooking schools.
- Good buys: ceramics, alabaster carvings and bargain Prada, Balenciaga, Ungaro, La Perla and Ferragamo, to name a few. Extra-virgin olive oils; aged balsamic vinegar; Chianti, Montepulciano and Brunello wines; and Florentine leather goods and handmade papers.
WHEN TO GO
Tourist season runs from May to September making spring and early fall the best times to visit. We recommend you not go in August as most Italians vacation at that time and many shops, hotels, and restaurants will be closed.