No please! not another guidebook about Tuscany, was what I thought when I first met Veronica Ficarelli, author of yes, another Tuscany guide book. But once she mentioned the title of her book -  Tuscany, A Great Reason for Every Season I perked up my ears.

Guidebooks about Tuscany normally start off with Michelangelo, take in Botticelli and end with Leonardo da Vinci. And quite rightly so. But after admiring all those people and landscapes rendered immortal by the great Renaissance masters, you may wonder what life is like down South in the 21st century. And the best way to find out is by meeting the people who live on the land. 

But where to go and above all when to go? Try leafing through your Lonely Planet or Frommer's guide for some advice on the matter. Nada. You'll get great Tuscany maps, info on museum opening times, the region's history and hotel bookings. But the small scale events and artisan shops have a hard time appearing in any of the big brand guide books. It's easy to find a travel guide or website that informs you about ice-cream shops and the Uffizi in Florence. But a book that tells you about the chestnut festivals in the Tuscan hinterland

Summer night village dinner in Buonconvento near Siena

Veronica Ficarelli is a true local who knows where to take you. Apart of events and festivals, she provides plenty of information about Tuscany's artisan shops, crafts, nature, sport, food and (last but not least!) wine. Following in her footsteps you're prone to end up with a glass of Tuscan red at lesser known but fabulous wineries. Or you'll be sharing a table with the locals at a sagra - Tuscany's village food fairs that take place all through the year. 

Tuscany - A Great Reason for Every Season is not just well researched but also lovingly designed. Being in its first edition a few minor mistakes can still be found in the English version, but if anything this confirms that the guide book is written by a thoroughbred Tuscan and not by an English speaker who just spent a few weeks in the area.
Some of the places recommended in the guidebook may ring a bell (like the famous Dante reciting butcher in Panzano in Chianti), many others will come as a real surprise (e.g. the wines of lovely Fattoria Resta in Buonconvento close to Siena and Montalcino). See you there!

You can order "Tuscany - A Great Reason for Every Season" directly with the publisher Communicart or via the Italian Book Store on the internet. The book is also sold at selected libraries in Florence and the rest of Tuscany. If you happen to be staying in Florence only, go for the sister version of the guide by the same author: "Florence - a great Reason for Every Season". 

The guide book publisher Communicart is also a great address if you need tickets for the Palio in Siena, a Tuscan villa right next to Florence or a Renaissance location for your next film set in Tuscany. 

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