Twitter #italychat Transcript: Travel to Tuscany and Tuscany for Foodies with James Martin

|image1|On Wednesday, March 2nd, James Martin of href=”” target=”_blank”>Wandering Italy
and target=”_blank”>’s Europe Guide joined us on #italychat to talk about Tuscany! Shortly after our chat, James’ first app href=”″ target=”_blank”>Tuscany for Foodies was released!

Here we go 4 today’s #italychat – our guest is James Martin aka
His sites – href=”” target=”_blank”>
Read more about  guest James Martin and his life in Tuscany –
We’re talking all about Tuscany- everyone is welcome to
chime in on answers. href=”” target=”_blank”>@Wanderingitaly
is our guest.
target=”_blank”>@ilpalazzone href=”” target=”_blank”>@dreamofitaly  href=”” target=”_blank”>@Wanderingitaly
I’m here too!
target=”_blank”>@Wanderingitaly href=”” target=”_blank”>@dreamofitaly I’ve
got even more sites, you know. Some you don’t want
to know. 
Welcome href=”” target=”_blank”>@ilpalazzone.
Feel free to chime in on Tuscany travel advice!
target=”_blank”>@dreamofitaly href=”” target=”_blank”>@Wanderingitaly
Do you share any sites you feel comfortable, ahem,
sharing.  And tell us about your Tuscany iPhone app!
target=”_blank”>@Wanderingitaly href=”” target=”_blank”>@dreamofitaly 
My app should be out in a week. Tuscany for
Foodies and has info on classes, tours, and most of all restaurants.
target=”_blank”>@Wanderingitaly  href=”” target=”_blank”>@dreamofitaly 
I have a European weather site, for example.

Q1: So what is it about Tuscany that makes
everyone go gaga? True or hype?
Q1a: Does Tuscany live up to the hype of the movies, books, etc? What
makes it special?

Hype. No, I dunno. I like the rural parts of Tuscany, where people make
their own food. I’m not actually partial to Florence.
It’s cheesy, but there’s this quality to Tuscany like
you’ve known it before whether in dreams or paintings. Hype yes, but
certainly strong evidence backing up that hype.
I have some advice. Don’t come to Tuscany now. I’m freezing
my butt off. The wind is relentless.
A1/A2 I think href=”″
lives up the hype, what people imagine Tuscany is
like, but now too many tourists. Gorgeous.
target=”_blank”>@Wanderingitaly  href=”” target=”_blank”>@Melanierenzulli
Tuscany is everywhere. It’s a state of mind for sure.
In America, a restaurant called Tuscan is boring. Tuscan food is
simple. And you need great ingredients to
make simple work.
  href=”” target=”_blank”>@Melanierenzulli
So true

Q2 If a traveler has a week in Tuscany, what are your personal

Must sees? I’m a cultural relativist. You need to see what
floats your boat. Lucca is nice, living with my neighbors is better.
I always have to go to Siena. I’d love to spend a whole
week in just the Uffizi
target=”_blank”>@Hackneye I
have a general bias for the south. Siena, of course,
but also Montepulciano and the Val d’Orcia. 
I’ve started doing places nobody’s heard of on Wandering
Italy. Course you won’t find them if you don’t know to seach for them.
target=”_blank”>@Brigolante Reminds
me of funny Tuscan spoof story in The Onion:
Yeah, I like Siena too, but the horse race is for sissies
compared to L’ardia di San Constantino in Sardinia. I’m going to
Sardinia in a couple days for carnevale,
Sartiglia, another horse event. Should be interesting.
target=”_blank”>@Melanierenzulli I’d
really like to spend more time in Pienza, Pitigliano and some of
those lesser known southern Tuscan areas.
target=”_blank”>@SophieR Monteriggioni!
wrote about how more various Tuscany is than
the Florence & Chianti brigade would have us think
target=”_blank”>@Hackneye Going
smaller and less obvious, I really like Radicofani
(great butcher), Sarteano, Pitigliano.
I love the Lunigiana, the north, where I live. I like the
Val d’Orcia too–maybe it’s cuz I live here that I find it compelling.
target=”_blank”>@Melanierenzulli  href=”” target=”_blank”>@Hackneye
Pitigliano is very cool, what with its (quickly fleeting)
Jewish heritage.
target=”_blank”>@dreamofitaly Faves
in Tuscany – Maremma especially Saturnia. Val d’Orcia – see La
Foce estate. Bagno Vignoni. Radda, Greve, Panzano.  
target=”_blank”>@dreamofitaly  href=”” target=”_blank”>@Melanierenzulli  href=”” target=”_blank”>@Hackneye
Pitigliano is a cool place. Melanie, you
wrote a book on Tuscany, right? 
I have started a series of posts about things for families to do within
reach of Montalcino href=”″ target=”_blank”>
target=”_blank”>@Melanierenzulli  href=”” target=”_blank”>@dreamofitaly
Yes, I wrote about Tuscany for the Unofficial
Guides and Michelin.
target=”_blank”>@dreamofitaly  href=”” target=”_blank”>@ilpalazzone
I know  href=”” target=”_blank”>@casinadirosa
would agree, so much in
Province of Pisa. Pisa has much to offer despite tourists.
target=”_blank”>@Alextcone Cetona
and its intorni – The best food I ever tasted
occurred on a short trip to Cetona (and side trip to Montepulciano).
Next one will feature the Il Bosco della Ragnaia in S.Giovanni
D’Asso- superb landscaped garden by US artist Sheppard Craige.
target=”_blank”>@KreegadyKreegs  href=”” target=”_blank”>@Melanierenzulli
I was thinking about Southern Tuscany too – had
trouble finding a place to rent last time we planned a trip.  
target=”_blank”>@Melanierenzulli  href=”” target=”_blank”>@Alextcone
I’ve heard of Cetona – made from you – but never made it
there. Certainly on my list for next visit.
target=”_blank”>@FairtradeMiss for
me a week in Baths with a car to explore the surrounding
areas would be perfect.
target=”_blank”>@KreegadyKreegs Ended
up in Umbria (again) and took long drives from Perugia-area over
towards Montepulciano only- Montalcino was too far.

Q3: What must you eat in Tuscany and where? Specific restaurants would
be great to know!

have to buy my app for specific restaurants!
target=”_blank”>@dreamofitaly First
thing that came to mind, href=”” target=”_blank”>ribollita
– delicious Tuscan soup.
Also great meats in Tuscany esp. at Dario’s in Panzano. 
target=”_blank”>@dreamofitaly href=”” target=”_blank”>@Wanderingitaly
Don’t make me beg! Please share one or two fave Tuscan
restaurants and we will buy yr Tuscany Foodies app! 
I just ate a 12 Euro Lunch at href=”” target=”_blank”>La
Locanda del Gallo here.
Pasta with wild boar, Roast Suckling pig, cannelli beans, wine, caffe.
ll Silene di Roberto Rossi, Pescina, M.Amiata EVERY TIME! 
amazing primary ingredients, creative but not pretentious, gr8 wines.
Yeah, Pasquino does great steak and panigacci.
target=”_blank”>@Melanierenzulli 1
of the best meals was at href=””
target=”_blank”>Castello Vicchiomaggio
Roast had soaked in 2btls of wine for 24h.
Silene is also a romantic hotel plus Rossi runs nearby Spoerri
scultpure park… 
target=”_blank”>@Hackneye a
rare steak at href=”” target=”_blank”>Acquacheta
in Montepulciano.
target=”_blank”>@dreamofitaly Cinghiale
(wild boar) also great to eat in Tuscany.
target=”_blank”>L’Officina della Cucina Popolare
in Colle Val d’Elsa.
should be here  a brilliant source of
information on all aspects of Maremma, a great corner of Tuscany.
target=”_blank”>@dreamofitaly href=”” target=”_blank”>  href=”” target=”_blank”>@Wanderingitaly
Lampredotto Stands in Florence. Mmm, cow
target=”_blank”>@Luccaitschool A
Lucca, la torta di verdura, la zuppa di farro e href=””
I repeat: href=”” target=”_blank”>Antica
Locanda di Sesto for meat
outside the walls
of Lucca. Man, pig fat rules. My local href=””
target=”_blank”>Spino Fiorito
for three course lunch with all the
organic wine you can stomach for 10 Euros is nice as well.
must eat wild boar with polenta because the boar really,
really likes eating the corn the polenta is made of. style=”text-decoration: underline;”> If
you can’t afford a fiorentina, even a tagliata is good
here, a steak cut in slices, grilled rare.

Q4: What are some great places to stay in Tuscany- hotels, rentals,
agriturismi, etc?

target=”_blank”>@Melanierenzulli  href=”” target=”_blank”>Castello
Vicchiomaggio that I mentioned
earlier was once
the home of Caterina de Medici. Definitely ghosts there. I loved it.
target=”_blank”>**@Wizardofwords  href=”” target=”_blank”>@dreamofitaly
We really enjoyd stayng at href=””
target=”_blank”>NH Cavalieri in Pisa
as it
was right by the train station. More at href=”″ target=”_blank”>
target=”_blank”>@Melanierenzulli In
Florence, I like this little B&B  href=”” target=”_blank”>Il
Porcellino– reasonable rates for
the location.
Le 7 Camicie, agriturismo with view and thermal dipping pool or
Poggio Castellare B&B in hidden alleys of Montalcino.
target=”_blank”>@dreamofitaly My
friend Franco and family have nice rentals on their olive farm in

target=”_blank”>@dreamofitaly I
LOVE staying at Tuscan spas like href=”” target=”_blank”>Adler
Thermae and href=”” target=”_blank”>Saturnia.
r some nice spas in Pisa province. 
target=”_blank”>@Melanierenzulli Also
in Florence, I like href=”″ target=”_blank”>Hotel
Botticelli – superb staff, great
location near the market, free wifi.
target=”_blank”>@SophieR  href=”” target=”_blank”>Casolare
di Remignoli is quite nice.
Nice! Thanks for sharing : ) I love olive farms! 
target=”_blank”>@ilpalazzone very
high end href=””
target=”_blank”>Castello Velona
is due to reopen this May,
10 mins from Montalcino.
target=”_blank”>@FairtradeMiss  href=”” target=”_blank”>Casa
Cordati guest house has clean
comfortable rooms an
apartment and a museum housing the paintings of Bruno Cordati.
target=”_blank”>@Melanierenzulli must
also mention my friend’s agritourism place in Castellina in
Chianti- target=”_blank”>Collelungo
target=”_blank”>@dreamofitaly One
of the coolest places I have stayed in Tuscany
filled with modern art,
stay at target=”_blank”>Le Torri
near Poppiano Castle  href=”″ target=”_blank”>
target=”_blank”>@Alextcone  href=”” target=”_blank”>@Melanierenzulli
hotel – target=”_blank”>
and the ristoranti – (1)
(2) target=”_blank”>

Q5: What are some of Tuscany’s best historical sites?  href=”” target=”_blank”>@Wanderingitaly
has archaeology background.

There are over 160 castles and ruins in the href=”″
so I
love visiting them.
Dozens of trips to Italy but first time to Pisa this year. Liked it
way more than ever expected. 
target=”_blank”>@Usatourismboard It’s
all historical! href=”″ target=”_blank”>Florence
Historic Center, San
Gimignano…I like the Roman ruins in Fiesole and Ansedonia/Cosa.
I like just walking into the unknown. There is lots of stuff
out there people dont’ see. I like sites you don’t have to pay for.
Sarzana, a little town near here (in Liguria though) has a
couple of fantastic castles.
target=”_blank”>@Hackneye if
you’re talking proper old stuff, not Renaissance
etc, this place near Sarteano is mindblowing: target=”_blank” href=””>
All of these suggestions have been so great! I have learned
so much . . . Grazie mille!
I like the Roman house, in Spoleto.
are just starting to concentrate on real
people instead of palaces and gold. That interests me.
target=”_blank”>@Bellavitaitalia  href=”” target=”_blank”>@dreamofitaly The
necropolis of Luni
is pretty amazing.
target=”_blank”>@Melanierenzulli  href=”” target=”_blank”>@Wanderingitaly
Tsk tsk….Spoleto is in Umbria! lol 🙂 
Oh, yes, the etruscan stuff. Pitigliano, Tarqinia, et all.
Le terme romane di Massaciuccoli.
Post Comments:
everyone for joining  on Tuscany. See James Martin’s
site target=”_blank”>
for tons more on the region. James also has a Tuscany for Foodies app
coming out in a few weeks. Look for announcement on href=”” target=”_blank”>@Wanderingitaly.
I guess we’re done then. Phew. Grazie tutti. That hour went
target=”_blank”>@Melanierenzulli Thanks
for the chat about Tuscany
Goodnight  peeps let me know if you get to Montacino and
fancy a Brunello tasting.
Thank you to our participants for this week’s chat:
target=”_blank”>@Alextcone href=”” target=”_blank”>