“It’s hard to imagine any place as beautiful as Tuscany,” says solo traveller Gloria Corbett as she reminisces about her time there last May. This intrepid 81-year-old Shelburne, N.S. native spent three weeks basking under the Tuscan sun, exploring the countryside, partaking in delicious meals and immersing herself in the rich culture that abounds in the famous Italian region.
She was originally inspired to visit the area after seeing it featured in so many classic films, and it sounds like her experience was as close to cinematic as you can get in real life.
“I loved every minute of my time there,” says Corbett. “It was such an incredible experience that I couldn’t tell you what the best part of my trip was. The scenery was just spectacular with the vineyards and olive trees next to the big sky, rolling hills and beautiful mountains. The fascinating art and architecture was phenomenal and of course the food was amazing. We never ate in the same restaurant more than once. I think I had pasta and of course my fill of wine at almost every meal!”
Even the most popular tourist attractions lived up to their promises. Corbett says she always wanted to visit the Statue of David at the Accademia Gallery to see how it would measure up to the fantastic reviews she’d heard from other visitors. It’s quite clear the piece surpassed her expectations.
“The fact that you can walk around the statue, seeing all those beautiful lines up close – I’ll admit I was impressed,” she says. “Sculptures are a passion of mine and the ones throughout Tuscany didn’t disappoint.”
Walking was a large part of the experience for Corbett, who also spent time exploring Siena and the surrounding hilltop towns. She says she felt it was necessary for explorers of this region to be in pretty good physical health in order to make it around the hilly and uneven land throughout. Apparently even the piazzas in Tuscany and Siena aren’t completely flat.
As well as her advice to ensure you can manage the topography of the land, Corbett advises that anyone considering a trip to Tuscany do their research before they depart.
“There’s so much to see in the region so it really helps if you know what you want to see before you get there,” she explains. “I’d also recommend booking excursions in advance, especially for those must-see places. The lines can be pretty long at times, and you don’t want to miss seeing something because you didn’t plan ahead. Having a knowledgeable guide can also make the experience that much more enjoyable.”
While Corbett is already thinking ahead to other places she’d like to visit (Ireland and France being at the top of the list), she recalls her time in Tuscany fondly and hopes one day to visit this idyllic Italian region again.