As some of you may know, I spent the last four weeks in England and Italy with my boyfriend. We spent about two weeks in England visiting his family and the next two weeks traveling through Tuscany.Our days were filled with walking and eating, almost exclusively. In England, it was bangers and mash, steak and ale pie, or fish and chips. In Italy, it was everything. In Tuscany, I had some of the best meals I've ever eaten.
For me, the scenery was what grabbed my attention and held it throughout the entire trip. I've seen it before but it still seemed like it was my first time looking over the rolling hills covered in golden fields and rows of grape vines. It was breathtaking, romantic, picturesque, and rustic.
We mostly kept to the smaller towns in the countryside. We wandered through tiny little town where there was not a single other tourist. Old Italian women waved to us from their garden and groups of old men sitting on benches greeted us with, "Buona sera" and a nod of the head. We saw neighbours chatting to each other on their doorstep. It felt like we were intruding on their own little world, but despite that, or perhaps because of that, I wanted to stay there for days and just watch their lives go by.
There was a marked difference in their lives than ours - the pace. It seems cliche, but it does seem like theres a much slower pace in those tiny towns. Most of them only allow cars on the main streets, so the rest is pedestrian traffic. People walking down the street would stop and chat with anyone they saw - most likely because they knew everyone. Even scooters whizzing down the street would stop and chat to a neighbour tending their garden.
In the evening, every person and their dog seemed to be out. Having dinner, strolling the tiny winding streets, or just sitting in the local square. Even at ten or eleven at night, people would be eating dinner or having drinks outside. It was different than back in Vancouver where the only people having drinks at that time would be the ones that are going out to a bar or a club. In Tuscany, it was just an extension of dinner, to keep on enjoying the company you're with. Quiet, casual, and friendly. More than anything, friendly.
To anyone that has been daydreaming about a trip to Tuscany - go for it. It really is as great as it seems. Stick to the small towns, the countryside, and you'll really get a feel for what life in Italy is like. Don't plan every single thing out, go to a town and just wander. Get lost and find somewhere you never would have seen before. Learn a little bit of the language and you'll be surprised by how much the locals appreciate it, even if it's just 'buongiorno'. Eat good food. Enjoy the way they live there. You won't regret it.
All photos taken and edited by Mat Lo