Italy is a popular study abroad destination for students from all over the world. Some come here for one semester or full year, and many come here during the summer to study Italian language or take various courses. Studying abroad gives a great opportunity for exploring the country and learning about the local culture. While there is so much to do in Italy in each region, we wanted to provide you with 3 things to do in Tuscany as we consider it to be one of the most beautiful regions in Italy. We also want you to explore something new in Italy, which many tourists are not aware of, and dive into the local life.
So here we go:
Attend a sagra
Sagre (plural for sagra) are local food festivals that many tourists are not aware of. These festivals typically take place in central regions of Italy, including Tuscany. Local people love attending sagre where you can eat the most delicious food prepared by locals. It is usually common for local women to cook most of the food at sagre, while men are usually in charge of making pizzas and grill. Local children serve all the food. There is always live music and after a nice dinner (which doesn’t cost much, by the way, around 6 – 7 Euros for a delicious first or second dish), you will see that people start gathering around the dance floor. Typically it is an older generation and small children that love dancing at sagre. Then there is often a lottery stand where you can win an entire leg of prosciutto for 1 Euro. And of course there is some entertainment for the kids – either a bouncy castle or swings carousel.
There is normally a theme for each sagra, highlighting a local specialty or ingredient. For example, there is a duck sagra where there will be pasta with duck sauce and roasted duck. There is a raviolli sagra, mushroom sagra, pork sagra, and lots more.
It’s a very typical thing to do among locals so make sure to attend one!
Stay in agriturismo
While you are studying abroad, it’s likely you will have family and friends visiting you. Why not staying in agriturismo with your family or friends? Many Italians like to spend a weekend or week in agriturismo (farm). Many agriturismi will have several activities on offer for you – many have swimming pools, wineries, olive groves, horse tours, cooking classes, as well as tours of the farm and surrounding areas. If you are there during the right season, you will have a chance to participate in oil and wine production. In addition to all the activities, you will get to try all the food prepared in agriturismo – all prepared with the ingredients and products of the farm. Tuscany has many agriturismi for you to choose from so go ahead and plan your weekend away in agriturismo.
Take a cooking class
We all know that Italians cook amazing food. Each region has their dishes, and Tuscan cuisine is very simple but delicious. In fact, Tuscan food is known as poor-man’s food. All the ingredients are basic and simple, and that’s what makes it so great and delicious. Taking a cooking class is not just learning how to cook a local dish but it also gives you an opportunity to learn about the local culture and place through its food. Italians have a special relationship with their food, and it’s an important part of their lives so take a class or two to learn about the local food and the people who make it.