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I've written about Tuscany's cultural hibernation before. So it's always a relief when in spring not just the plant world but also the event scene comes back to life. April doesn't just bring moody weather but traditionally opens the festival, food and wine fair season in Southern Tuscany. And luckily, from here on things will keep going strong for the following six months. 

Spring in Tuscany; green fields near the Castle of Porrona,
Spring at last

The Fiera del Madonnino is an all time favorite for anybody wanting to meet  the real Tuscany. Not the fake impression of overly restored medieval castles for touring tourists. But the 21st century Tuscany: who are the people who live here? What do they like doing and what do they live from? Join the crowd in Braccagni near Grosseto and find out. The event has something for every tasteagriculture (lots of tractors on show for your five-year old), industry (solar panels, etc), plus food and artisan stalls that make Southern Tuscany's population happy. 
Fiera del MadonninoApril 21 to 25 in Braccagni (10 min from Grosseto). Every day from 9am to 6pm. Entrance 7€ per person. 

Feste di Primavera (spring festivals) are taking place in two of Southern Tusany's small but scenic towns: Sorano (famous for its Etruscan legacy) and Castiglione d'Orcia (one of the five councils that form the Unesco heritage site Val d'Orcia). The mix of food stands, street bands and artisan markets will shake the last sleepy bears out of their winter lethargy. 
Festa di primavera Sorano: 28th of April until 1st of May, with free visits to the Etruscan archaeological sites. On the 1st of May a guided trekking takes place (approx. 3 hours) from Sorano to San Rocco. Call +39 0564 633424 for more info. 
Festa di primavera Castiglione d'Orcia: 25th of April. If you are into steam trains - the spring festival in Castiglione d'Orcia can be reached travelling the old-fashioned way from Siena (the train stops in Torrenieri where you'll have to hop on a coach).  

Hikers and nature lovers will want to check out the program of the Walking Festival in the Tuscan archipelago national park (made up by seven beautiful island scattered along Tuscany's coastline). The guided walks on Isola del Giglio and Isola di Giannutri will definitely remind visitors, that these islands should be known to the world for their incredible beauty and not for the madness of an irresponsible cruise ship captain. The Costa Concordia Cruise ship disaster amounts now to a death count of 30, and two passengers are still unaccounted for. The only good news is that after more than a month of pumping the cruise ship's fuel tanks have been emptied without leakage. A relief for the population and the flora and fauna of the national parks and protected areas along the coastline. 
Tuscan Coast & Islands Walking Festival with guided walks taking place from 6th of April to 6th of May. If you can't make any of spring dates, the next edition will take place from 29th of September to 4th of November 2012. 

And last but not least something for the wine lover: San Quirico d'Orcia's Palazzo Chigi will hosts the Orcia Wine Festival with plenty of wine tasting opportunities, a small market and some life music to round it all off:  
Orcia Wine Festival27th to 29th of April.  

For events in Siena in spring (concerts, exhibitions and urban trekking) check our What's on in Siena post.

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