Many travellers on a Tuscan adventure don’t get to spend a lot of time interacting with locals. Tuscans are extremely proud of their region and love sharing their passion for it with others. If you are curious to get to know these smart and fun loving people, here is an introduction to some typical Tuscan traits.
Tuscans spend their time eating, talking about food or eating while talking about food. Tuscans are very verbal about their favorite recipes, restaurant or pizza. But in the end nothing beats their grandma’s food. As soon as the good weather starts, it’s time to go to a sagra to eat affordable and seasonal food and meet with the local community. These food festivals are often run by volunteers and have a casual family-like atmosphere. Most Tuscans are meat eaters and the new vegan and vegetarian trends are mostly frowned upon. Nothing beats a good steak or a lampredotto sandwich.
The Creators of the Italian Language
While most Italian dialects are very different from the Italian language, and at times impossible to understand for people from a different region, Tuscan is the closest one to the Italian spoken by all. The 14th century Tuscan volgare (the language used by the people as opposed to the latin used by the church or for most official documents) became the blueprint for the Italian language. Tuscans are very proud of that fact. Though Tuscans can be understood by all their co-nationals, their accent and colourful expressions immediately betray their origins.
Always Ready with Comeback
Humour is part of the Tuscan DNA. As a rule though Tuscans are very argumentative, they don’t take themselves too seriously and love any excuse to joke about themselves and others. Benigni, one of the most famous Italian comedians, known for Life Is Beautiful, is a great example of the playful Tuscan sense of humour. Tuscans are also famous for their colourful and blasphemous language. Men especially have a tendency to one up each other with their use swear words or insults.
At the Center of the World
Tuscan history is full of rivalry and wars between city states and factions. These tense relations as well as a strong sense of attachment to town and province have trickled down over time and still remain to this day. Tuscans are proud of where they come from and love nothing more than to denigrate people from other areas. The Pisa-Livorno rivalry has become the stuff of legends with a whole inner world of insults and private jokes. Century old local traditions are very important to Tuscans. Every year, historical parades and games take place all over the region, a way to remember local history and boast the glory and beauty of ones town.
The Tuscan Sport
Though all Italians agree that football is the national sport, Tuscans are great fans of cycling. The Tuscan landscape is very varied and offers great options to cyclists. Beware while driving on narrow country lanes as you could find yourself face to face with a speeding cyclist, especially on Sundays. A famous race called the Eroica takes place every year in Gaiole in Chianti, in the famous Chiantishire. All the participant wear historical outfits, use vintage bikes and race on non paved roads. As the name foretells, it takes a heroic effort to finish the race!
Art In the Blood
Tuscans are surrounded by beauty wherever they turn and have a tendency to enjoy the aesthetically pleasing, be it in fashion, design, architecture or nature. Art history is a compulsory subject in all high schools which makes most Italians quite knowledgeable. Tuscans are convinced that their region, and Florence in particular, is the true Italian heart of art and architecture and are more than happy to show visitors around to demonstrate that fact.