Tuscany (Toscana in Italian) is a central region of Italy known for its beautiful scenery, dedication to the arts, architecture and being the birthplace of the Renaissance. It is a hilly - and in places mountainous - region, but the plains of the Arno river produce an abundance of grains, olives and wheat.
Truffles from Tuscany are regarded as some of the best in the world for their distinctive pungent smell and taste. They used to be sniffed out by trained pigs (known as 'truffle hogs') but they were banned in the 1980’s because of their tendency to damage the delicate truffles in their enthusiasm.
Tuscans are particularly keen on their bread, and many a meal starts with a simple bruschetta (known as fettunta in Florence): a freshly toasted slice of Tuscan bread, rubbed with garlic, drizzled with a green olive oil and sparingly sprinkled with salt. Any leftover bread is put to good use, such as in panzanella, a bread and tomato summer salad, or ribolita, a bread soup usually made by reheating old minestrone and adding stale bread
(the name means 'boiled twice').
Last but by no means least, Tuscany grows very some good grapes. It is home to some of the world's greatest wine regions: Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano amongst others. It is also known for the dessert wine Vin Santo.
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