Dick Calabro

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Porcupines

  • Porcupines

    Of all the creatures populating Tuscany, the porcupine can be the most aggressive. Its poor eyesight means it is prepared to attack first and ask questions later. Porcupines are mostly active at night, but if one is spotted during the day it should be left alone. Aggressive behaviour includes grunts, stamping feet and rattling the spines on its tail.

    In a region with so many claims to fame, it’s highly unlikely that anyone has ever visited Tuscany for a porcupine-spotting holiday. But, in practice, that works out just fine. For bright-eyed visitors bristling with curiosity about the area’s wildlife, the sight of one of these quietly confident locals is an unexpected highlight. And as for the largely peace-loving ‘istrici’, they are happy to keep a low profile – if that’s the right phrase for a creature with a coat of white-tipped spines on its back. Safe from all but the most confident predators, they continue doing what they do best: roaming pine woods and farmland with typical rodent resourcefulness.

    These quiet creatures are most active between sunset and the early hours of the morning, when acute hearing, sensitive paws and a finely developed sense of smell are more useful than sight, particularly in the burrows and undergrowth that they love. Calm and insouciant by nature, they tend to move at an amble rather than a scuttle; although if you happen to see them at their most impressive, flaring their quills in defence, it’s probably time to get back in the car…

    Tuscany’s population of crested porcupines are the descendants of the first few pairs imported from Africa by the ancient Romans, who intended them as a food source. Nowadays, it’s the porcupines which do most of the eating, sometimes roaming over 10 kilometres from their lairs in search of windfall fruits as well as seeds and insects. Their fondness for roots and tubers, combined with an ability to tunnel under fences, infuriates the region’s gardeners, and although porcupines are less destructive than wild boar, they share a notorious appetite for Chianti – or at least the grapes.


Experience an official tuscany tour with

Cooking Class - Tuscan Food

This one-day Tuscan culinary cooking class is flexible, fun, informal and hands-on, either for individuals or small groups. A qualified chef will teach you all the tricks and techniques of the traditional and timeless Tuscan cuisine. Recipes vary according to the season following the fresh goods available at the local market. Special dietary needs and requests are welcome, offering vegetarian, gluten free and vegan menu options.

from 89,62 US Dollar

Panzano and Lamole the Essence of the Chianti Hiking Tour

Hiking tour: a 20 km loop, medium-high difficulty, from the village of Panzano in Chianti to Lamole (a fortified Medieval village) through the Tuscan sweeping Hills and Valleys in the heart of the Chianti area. We will stop in Lamole for a picnic lunch (included) and back to Panzano we will visit a local producer's cellar and taste their wine and olive oil. The geometric vineyards, the silver green of Olive groves and the panoramic views will leave you breathless.

from 100,83 US Dollar

Private Tour: Overview of Florence Walking Tour

It' a private guided tour of Florence. It covers all the historical city center: hearing interesting stories and anecdotes, you can get a general and exhaustive overview of Florence and its history.

from 168,05 US Dollar

Pisa and Florence Private Day Trip from Livorno

If your cruise ship docks in Livorno, and you have only a single day to see the surrounding Italian towns of Pisa and Florence, this tour offers a privately guided shore excursion to see the best of these picturesque cities

from 700 US Dollar
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