Useful guide books describing the art, architecture, history, wine and food of Chianti and Tuscany

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Tuscany Guide Books

The classic guide books have become better illustrated with every edition and maintain high levels of clarity and accuracy in their descriptions. Your information on the history, art and architecture of Tuscany comes best from books because they are written by experts in the field and are carefully edited. This is in marked contrast to material on the internet which cannot be relied on for scholarly accuracy or comprehensiveness. In contrast, information about accommodation and where to eat is often out of date before a book is off the press, and is therefore best found on the internet. The same applies for opening hours and timetables for museums and transport.

Iris Origo

For insight into the history and character of Italy and the Italian people during both Renaissance times and the 20th century, we strongly recommend the erudite and extremely readable books of Iris Origo.

Eyewitness Travel Guides
Florence & Tuscany
C. Catling
Dorling Kindersley
ISBN 0751300357

This series of books is characterised by top quality art work - cut-away views of buildings, three dimensional aerial views of city sectors, gardens. Highly recommended. Bring a magnifying glass if your eyes are not all that good.

The book provides very condensed but useful introductions to the art and architecture, seasons and history of Tuscany.

Inside the Tuscan Hills - 2 DVDs

This PBS documentary series beautifully presents a journey into the vineyards, workshops, kitchens and homes of the Tuscan people. The six 26-minute episodes of "Inside the Tuscan Hills" will take you deep into the rich culture of rural Tuscany. The series REALLY reflects the way of life for people who live in Tuscany. There are some great secrets and tips included. You will meet master chefs, shoemakers, mosaic artists, ceramic painters, coppersmiths and many others. Chefs open their kitchen doors and demonstrate the preparation of hand-rolled pasta, wine-bathed steak, Tuscan roast pork and many other mouth-watering local dishes. Highlights include a cross-bow contest held in Renaissance costumes, a visit to the hot-springs of Saturnia, the traditional wine harvest at a castle in Chianti. This DVD is an excellent eye-opener that provides a perfect preparation for your visit here.

Click the image for a larger view.

Michelin Green Guide to
ISBN 2061597017

Very detailed routes and especially every detail of the interiors of museums and churches. Essential for the serious sightseer.

Provides a good introduction to the landscape, flora and fauna, art and history of Tuscany.

Blue Guide
Alta Macadam
ISBN 0713633883

Extremely comprehensive guide to the whole province. The descriptions of the interiors of churches and museums are slightly less detailed than in the Michelin guide but it covers more of the smaller locations outside of Florence and Sienna, with detailed histories of almost all of them.

Chianti and its Castles
An itinerary of Chianti area amid its charming old castles
Enrico Bosi
DemoMedia 1998
ISBN 8886951108

This small book covers 73 castles located in the nine comunes of the Chianti zone, with emphasis on wine production. The photos are good and historical outlines somewhat dry, and there are sketch maps but no coherent itineraries - for these please refer to our Chianti castles routes. This book is basically a comprehensive gazetteer of the castles of the area with pictures that should help in choosing which ones to visit.

Exploring Tuscany's Chianti Countryside
Four excursions out from Radda and Gaiole in Chianti
Nancy Shroyer Howard and Richard Mello
Mandragora 2003
ISBN 8874610009

This light-weight (in all senses) book provides four useful Chianti itineraries which allow the visitor to enjoy the countryside and some of the lesser known sites of interest. There is hotel and restaurant information, some of which will date quickly, plus sketch maps and Mr Mello's watercolours.

Authentic Tuscany
Touring Club of Italy 2005
ISBN: 88-365-3297-7

This guide is light on "culture" and is arranged thematically. In addition to restaurant and accommodation information, it covers food and regional specialities, and provides itineraries, emphasizing walking tours, special interest tours (wineries, olive oil, ceramics), and biking routes. It includes a calendar of musical, cultural and food festivals and events.

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