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Life in Tuscany panoramas

When I say that I live in Tuscany, people look at me in awesome because my Region has gained a special place in the heart of most foreigners who think that Tuscany is a dreamland to live in.

Tuscany is world popular for the Renaissance art, romantic landscapes, rustic food and quality wines, attracting every year millions of travellers.
Some postcard images such as the cypress-lined roads of the Val d’Orcia, the leaning tower of Pisa or the Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence are today internationally known icons.

But, living in a place has nothing to do with visiting it on a vacation. How is life in Tuscany for real?

As every destination on the planet, there are pros and cons when you live here permanently and it’s only up to you and your priorities in life to decide if that’s the place of your dreams.
I live in a mountainous area in Northern Tuscany called Lunigiana, so forget the art cities that may come to you mind right now 🙂 Below are my personal pros and cons of a life in Tuscany.

Living in Tuscany: 5 reasons why I chose to live here

1- Family

Needless to say that, although I am not a mum’s kid because I have always been quite independent, family is one of the first reasons why I have decided to come back to Tuscany after few years living abroad. Be the responsibility of being an only child of divorced parents or be the idea of living one-day-travel distance from home, I felt my place was closer to my parents.

I tried to imagine a future where my children-to-be would have missed the chance to be spoilt by their granparents, or my parents would have needed my assistance in case of illness or any other reason, and I felt the urge to come back Home.

The freedom to pop into my father’s office any time I drive past just to say hello or invite my parents over for Sunday lunch is a privilege I couldn’t give up anymore.

2- From the mountains to the sea

I am not telling you this because that’s where I come from, but Lunigiana is a truly strategic place to live because you can spend a day hiking on the ridge of the Apennines or Apuan Alps peaks and the following day swimming in the crystal blue sea of the Gulf of Poets.
Being surrounded by 3 Parks and various natural sites, we can choose each day a different outdoor experience (Read more at Tuscany Adventure).

I confess, I am a moody person so to me the weather and the landscape are crucial if you don’t want to see the grumpy me 🙂 Living here I feel like being always on a holiday (Read more about Living under the Tuscan Sun).

3- Strong feeling of being part of a community

When you live in a small village of rural Tuscany characterized by century-old history and ancient traditions, you sometimes feel like you are suspended in past times. A community where everybody knows each other under the “son/daughter of…”, neighbours knock at your door to give you fresh eggs or veggies from their orchard, every single person in the village from the grannys to kids help in the typical local festivals called “sagra”. The beauty of feeling part of a community is something I have started to appreciate after I spent years in big cities where you hardly know the name of the people living in the flat next to you. I found here human relations to be so much more authentic.

4- Food

I must say that food is a hot topic in each Italian region where the variety of regional products and recipes is unbelievable. That is also the case in Lunigiana where you can find some exceptional local products impossible to find anywhere else.
Many are quality and certified like the chestnut flour and honey (my favourite!), delicate extra-virgin olive oil, slow food presidium like the testarolo (sort of big pancake cooked in traditional cast-iron pots and then boiled like gnocchi) or the chestnut bread called Marocca di Casola (today produced only by a young boy who has learnt from the old ladies in the village). And these are just some examples, I could keep going forever.

We are also lucky enough that food is quite cheap in this area, you can easily afford a full menu lunch for 10 euro or dinner for 25 per person, isn’t fantastic!?

5- Quality of life

Truth is in Tuscany in general, and in Lunigiana in particular where I live, life is good! You can live in a rural yet not isolated village, where you can enjoy the slow pace of living but still being well connected by train or highway, if you really are in a need for a city escape 🙂 Genoa, Parma, Pisa and Lucca are only 1 hour drive from here, whereas in 2 hours you can get to Milan or Florence.
You then have all the pros of a quality life in the countryside, yet having everything you need at hand.

panorama over Tuscany
Lunigiana (Tuscany) – View from the Apennines towards the Gulf of Poets

Life in Tuscany: no place is perfect

1- Jobs

The job market situation in Tuscany is not always easy. According to 2018 stats, youth unemployment rate is around 30%, even higher in my area.

If you want to live here, you have to make up something to cater for yourself. I was no exception, it took me quite a while to get organized and find a way to sustain myself living in this “depressed” area and giving up promises of well-paid jobs in the city. Today, I am able to work remotely on different projects I love, promoting responsible and sustainable local tourism. One of the few reasons why I love technology 🙂

2- Social life

I wont’ lie. Lunigiana is a sort of “depressed” area, not only as far as jobs are concerned, but also for the lack of social life opportunities.

A territory dotted by small medieval villages, mainly for sale, the main gathering point is the bar, where local youngsters grow old playing football table or cards.

In a way, it could be considered folklore but, believe me, not very promising when you are a curious child like myself.

For those who are not bar-enthusiasts, you have to be ready to drive at least half an hour before you can find a wider social and cultural offer. I am used to travel quite often to nearby cities to visit an exhibition, attend a concert or visit some friends. It’s my way of recharging my batteries and get some fresh air.

3- Freezing weather

Tuscany is not exactly an exotic destination, for sure we get better weather and temperatures if compared to Northern Europe but I still find myself defrosting my windscreen in the morning at –5 °C, sometimes with the help of the most unusual tools like cd covers or anything available in my car. Sorry to destroy a myth, but we are not the land of everlasting sun and warm.

4- Public transports

Living in a rural area you can forget an efficient network of public transports. I can still consider myself lucky as in my small village we get a couple of direct trains per day to Florence and Milan. A part from that, you basically need a car to do most things.

5- Close-minded attitude

Being an open-minded person with a passion for international cultures, you can easily understand that my life in a small village has not always been an easy one. It’s enough to say that my family moved here from Milan in the mid ’70s and we are still considered as “foreigners” 🙂

Anyway, there is no evil feelings rather a genuine proud for their origins.

Comments:

  • Phoenix N

    6 January 2021

    Interesting post. Glad you found your way back home. Speaking of Marocca di Casola, do you know how one could get a hold of it around Coreglia Antelminelli? And where could one by the chestnut flour directly from the source (Mulino) around here? Thanks in advance.

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  • Phoenix N

    7 January 2021

    Thanks for your quick reply I‘ll sure search for it the next time we’re in a Conad. Can’t wait to visit a fair around harvest time.

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  • lara

    19 July 2022

    Thanks for this low down. I assume i’d love to be there because of the gardens and stone homes. Though I know it’s not always so simple. I am from Sydney in a beautiful area but it’s weighing on me because I love the cultural elements we just can’t feel here in the mixing pot.

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  • Keith

    8 October 2022

    Would you recommend living in Verrucola? Easy access, it seems to Fivizzano, which seems to have most things.

    reply...

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