Wednesday, 15 September 2010

August in Tuscany - not hot this year!

August in Tuscany is often described as a month of overwhelming heat. This is not always the case. August this year was quite cool in Tuscany, other than in the flat and populated valley of Florence. It rained heavily several times here in Chianti and the nights were noticeably fresh. Right now, in September, I need a blanket to sleep.

In any case, all of these things are comparative. It doesn't help if a guidebook describing August in Tuscany as hot is being read by someone in Texas who might naturally think it's even hotter here in summer than it is in Texas. In fact, there are probably only two days a year when air conditioning would be good to have here in the Chianti hills.

Similarly, we noticed that there were few tourists here in August this year compared with July and even with now. Some who were here told us that they had read that the towns of Tuscany basically close down in August as everyone goes to the seaside. This is ridiculous, of course. For parts of August, some lucky people go to the beach for a break, but there are still plenty of people here keeping the place running.

Italian lessons in Tuscany, Italy

Taking Italian lessons in Tuscany has meant I haven't posted for a while. I did an intensive course with Lorella Federico who is a professional Italian language teacher based in Panzano in Chianti. She was great! I learnt basic Italian years ago using tapes (there were no CDs at that time) and then became fluent in Italian talking to my neighbours, workmen etc. However, my grammer really left a lot to be desired so I took this Italian course and the results have been dramatic. It was one-on-one and Lorella is a skilled teacher - no doubt about that.

If you're coming here on vacation, you can even take a single lesson with her so that you can pronounce places names correctly and use a few useful phrases. Those are her beginner-level Italian lessons. She has a good programme where you can continue your Italian lessons back home via Skype.