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Wild Boar

  • Wild Boar

    Wild boar are numerous in Tuscany, and the best time and place to see them is at night near cultivated land. Boar love to feed on grapes in the vineyards. They are hunted between November and January, and boar meat is so popular that one dish - Pappardelle Cinghiale - is known as Tuscany's national dish.

    The Tuscan wild boar – or 'cinghiale' – has the dubious double honour of being a local emblem and a local delicacy. It enjoys a measure of protection, particularly in the densely forested slopes of the Maremma and in other regional parks, but the snuffling and foraging which usefully aerates the woodland floor is less welcome in village gardens - or in Tuscany's famous vineyards. Tempted down from the hills by the scent of ripening grapes, wild boar can rip through rows of vines in minutes, causing damage counted in the millions.

    Given the animal's reputation as a pest, few locals argue with the need for population control. The hunting season – between mid-September and late-January – remains part of the rural year, particularly for the older generation, and provides a prime ingredient for rich and sustaining recipes. When simmered, the lean meat lends a subtly gamey flavour to the sauce for pappardelle cinghiale: the closest thing Tuscany has to a national dish. Savouring it on a winter's day with a fine wine may demonstrate why many in the countryside are reluctant to abandon their tradition.

    Fortunately, Tuscany's visitors tend to take a gentler interest in these creatures. Your best chance of spotting a wild boar is when driving along a winding country road at dusk. Look for a blackish-grey back, with a slight bristly ridge, hidden in the undergrowth; if the boar ventures out, you'll notice the distinctive, wedge-like silhouette, the animal's long snout and its surprisingly dainty trot. The young are more or less as Walt Disney would have drawn them: cute piglets with pale stripes running through their chocolate-brown fur. Be aware that their mothers may attack if they feel their family is threatened; however, this is probably the only time that you have anything to fear.

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Badia a Passignano Visit and Chianti Tasting Experience

Tucked into the enchanting hills of Chianti is an ancient Benedictine Abbey, la Badia a Passignano. Surrounded by a sacred and spiritual atmosphere, the abbey reflects the presence of Florence and the strong influence of the Medici, who summoned famous artists to decorate the complex. The monks residing at the abbey promoted scientific research through vine growing, which is still one of the main activities in Chianti. A tour of the abbey is followed (or preceded in the case of afternoon visits) by a visit to a winery for a wine tasting.

from 58,81 US Dollar

Private Tour: Siena, Monteriggioni, San Gimignano and Castellina from Florence

Enjoy a day exploring the landscapes and artistic small towns that Tuscany can offer. In this full-day tour with a private English-speaking driver, you will be able to visit Siena, Monteriggioni, San Gimignano and Castellina in Chianti. Pick up and drop off will be at your accommodation in Florence.

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Palazzo Davanzati Private Tour

A tour of one hour discovery of life of the wealthy Florentine families in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. It is a way back to experience the traditions of ancient merchants, the echoes of home life and marriage taking place in a noble Gothic house.

from 21,08 US Dollar

Full-Day Tour of Pisa and Lucca from San Gimignano

Explore the historic cities of Lucca and Pisa on this 13-hour tour from San Gimignano. Discover some of the most beautiful Renaissance architecture in Tuscany. Marvel at the monuments in Piazza dei Miracoli, such as the stunning Duomo and more.

from 64,36 US Dollar
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