Tuscany in December.
If you could taste the way the Tuscan countryside looks right now, it would surely taste like cinnamon.
The leaves and the birds have left the trees, abandoned nests left in full display. The countryside has evolved from its bright spring-time hues of royal purple and burning yellow of the wild flowers nestled amongst the greenest of greens, with shocks of red red poppies bursting out here and there.
At this time, the trees are full of shimmering green leaves that wave furiously in the breeze, as if they themselves were excited by the beauty of the Tuscan countryside around them.
As summer in Tuscany bears its full but delightful weight upon the land, the flowers change, there is more green and the sun is brilliant yellow during the day, but renders the Tuscan sky a lively pink in the early evening.
By the time of Tuscany autumn, all the colours turn to dark yellows, muted oranges, burnt umber. The breeze causes the drying leaves to applaud the coming of the end of season, as they cling to the branches for the final time before they let go. A shower of dried golden leaves sprinkles down onto the water that carries the leaves downstream until they collate, forming a bobbing sea of autumn.
Our dog loves running through the fallen leaves that have landed on the river bank and crackle underfoot (or rather, paw) and kick-up in the air as she runs through them.
Then, later in the season and if the weather permits, it snows. Greta, part mountain dog, loves the snow – she snaps at it, trying to catch it in her mouth as it falls! After the snow, the whole river area glows white, the trees nearly black and totally bare the only contrast. No-one else comes out here then and our lone foot prints press into the snow, circumvented by paw prints that have run joyous rings around us. The water still runs slowly as it does not get cold enough here to freeze the water up, although the puddles do solidify. If you stand on them, they squeak under the pressure as the air squeezes out between the fine rim between the ice and the muddied dirt track that lies below the snow.
But for now, the colours are muted. The sky is less blue, its whited hues bright in the day, and early to darken. In the early morning, when these photos were taken, the sun struggled to rise from behind a blanket of white sky. But as the morning in Tuscany went on, the sun slowly but surely emerged to present a lovely pale blue sky above.
At this time of year in Tuscany, the air is clear and fresh, the trees bare, the birds have all relocated to their summer properties. It is a time of rest for the vegetation, for the animals and the Tuscan countryside itself. And for us, it is a time to enjoy the great food that the cooler weather permits, the slow-cooked meals whose perfumes teasingly intensify over the hours they take to cook, the baked desserts that make the house smell sweet for days on end.
Dinner parties are no longer hosted on balconies but move to the rooms with fireplaces, where grills are set up to cook meat over crackling fires, served after slices of baked pasta dishes or slow-cooked soups and stews.
To learn about food and have fun learning discovering tasty ways to use seasonal Italian ingredients to make delicious, typical dishes before indulging in a delicious meal made by you, we have hands-on cooking classes in Florence and Cooking Classes in a Tuscan Villa.
If you would like to immerse yourself in the Tuscan culture, we have a small-group Best of Tuscany tour visiting Siena, San Gimignano and Monteriggioni too, as well as stopping for lunch and wine tasting at an award-winning wine estate. See the highlights of Tuscany in one spectacular day tour from Florence – Best of Tuscany small-group tour.
Join us to have fun on an exhilarating bike ride from Florence to the Tuscan countryside, whizzing up and down the rolling Tuscan hills that form the stunning Tuscany countryside as you tour to a great Tuscan villa wine estate to visit their wine cellar for a Tuscan wine tasting, and dine at an award-winning Tuscan restaurant. During the warmer months, you may want to add a splash of extra fun to your Tuscany bike tour with our unique Tuscany Bike Ride with a Villa Swim. Should you wish to skip the Tuscan bike riding altogether and head straight pool-side, we have our Wine Tour and Villa Swim with lunch or simply enjoy a Villa Swim and Lunch in Tuscany.
Visit a Tuscan villa on the Taste of Tuscany at the Villa wine tour. Explore historic wine estates before undertaking a wine tasting. Tread through the terrain, enjoying spectacular views of the Tuscan countryside up-close and personal.
Stroll through the Tuscan countryside, join us for a Perfect Morning in Tuscany small-group walking tour. Leaving from Florence’s city centre and heading to the surrounding countryside, this small-group walking tour includes, well, walking in Tuscany, as well as lunch with wine at a stunning Renaissance Villa Estate, accompanied by an expert tour guide.
If you would like to have a private guide accompanying you, we have private tours that cater to your every desire. From Florence (and Tuscany) to Rome, Venice to the Cinque Terre and beyond, we are at your beck and call.
To explore other areas of Italy, can check out our Artviva Walking Tours website to read more about the tours we have to offer in Florence, Rome, Venice, Cinque Terre, Umbria, Naples, Pompeii and more.