With a timeless appeal rooted in ancient cultural heritage, beautiful landscapes, enticing gastronomy and a general sense of well-being in the mentality of the local population, the rural areas of Provence and Tuscany in Southern Europe have much to offer those who choose to visit. Known on an international scale for their French and Italian authenticity, these locations are highly popular with people who wish to indulge in a getaway infused with European character, with the added attraction of the Mediterranean climate that allows for pleasant conditions during the majority of the year. There’s no denying that for a luxury holiday with an extra sense of cultural richness, France and Italy can be difficult to beat with their combination of climate and atmosphere.
Given the strong degree of similarity between these two areas, many can, therefore, find themselves caught in a dilemma between the two. When travelling to these countries, especially from another continent, it can be difficult to break through their idyllic reputation of ‘nature, wine, food and historical culture’ to be able to identify the exact way that a time spent in these regions would feel for you and your travelling party.
Indeed, a significant amount of differences exist between Provence and Tuscany which have the power to affect the way that your vacation will materialize, and which should be carefully considered alongside your personal preferences as you decide on your exact plans. We’ve set out our thoughts on the two areas, providing you with an insight to these sun-kissed areas and the unique holiday experiences that they have the potential to offer.
French charm vs. Italian exuberance
One of the first things to consider when deciding between Provence and Tuscany lies with the inherent differences that exist between France and Italy – of which there are many! While both of the regions have very extensive, ancient cultural histories, the two countries have very distinct identities at the modern day. Of course, one of the first things to consider is whether you or someone in your party can speak French or Italian. Speaking the local tongue goes a long way in both of these nations when it comes to cultivating positive relationships with the people that you come to meet and to generally navigate the various areas of your vacation abroad. That being said, by booking a luxury rental villa you will often benefit from a complete and thorough service, including on-hand advice and assistance with exploring the local area.
Considering cultural specificity
Equally, both of these countries are famous for their own distinctive identities, with the French atmosphere being more associated with a calm, collected feel, while many find the Italian approach to be rather more spirited and enthusiastic and containing a certain nocturnal streak that involves long evenings spent drinking, dining and enjoying life. While it’s never wise to completely base a decision on such stereotypes, it is worth considering which style and attitude might suit you more, and to research the different cultures to evaluate which you find more appealing. There’s certainly no question about the fact that both Provence and Tuscany offer a deeply honest and authentic representation of their respective countries as a whole, and so you can be certain that a vacation in either of these regions will allow you to engage with some French or Italian nuances and ways of life.
The tantalizing variety of Southern Europe
A main reason why both of these areas continuously demonstrate themselves as exceptional locations for a luxury vacation is the way in which they offer the opportunity to discover towns, cities and historical sites with an ancient historical background. However, the way in which one might access the areas of interest in Provence and Tuscany varies slightly, with the main attraction of Provence lying with its concentration of old towns within a relatively small area, while the sites of interest in Tuscany are a little more spread out.
With the beautiful towns of Arles, Avignon, Orange, Nimes, and other smaller communities all found within a few hours of each other in the Provence region, a vacation in this area allows for the opportunity to uncover the unique and enticing character of each of these towns. Equally, all of these towns or cities are found very close to the beautiful landscapes of rolling hills of lavender, sun-baked forested valleys and the dusky outlines of the Alpilles, allowing you to enjoy some restful hours in your own private villa rental in the Provence countryside. On the other hand, there is also a side to Provence that is deeply rooted in glitz and glamour, with the beaches of Cannes and St Tropez providing a luxurious way of life that is almost unparalleled in style and class.
Tuscany offers a similar quantity of fine towns, cities, and sights, which are particularly steeped in the region’s heritage as the site of the birth of the Italian Renaissance. Boasting the world-renowned Florence – frequently nicknamed as the “art palace of Italy” -, Pisa, Sienna, the tantalizing wine region of Chianti and the network of villages lining its hills, you won’t find yourself with a shortage of appealing options. For art lovers, there’s no denying that Tuscany is a hotspot not only within Europe, but worldwide, with masterpieces from pioneers such as Boticelli, Michaelangelo, and other hugely influential painters, sculptors and architects all inspired by and sitting within the region’s vicinity. There is also an incredibly humble, rustic side to the area, with many local routines and ways of life continuing within the farming communities that have existed there for centuries – from admiring the picturesque dome of the Florentine cathedral to indulging in the fruits of the Tuscan earth with a long, slow evening discussing and consuming the best of the food and wine that the region has to offer. For a sense of a living, enduring heritage, booking a luxury villa rental in Tuscany is difficult to beat.
A vacation to suit every preference
Choosing between Provence and Tuscany can feel as if you’re choosing between two identical destinations, especially if this is the first visit that you intend to take to Southern Europe. However, with their individual characters and ways of life, you can begin to edge towards making a decision; for those with a penchant for glamorous living, Provence and the timeless chic of the Cote d’Azur may be the best option, while avid enthusiasts of classical art and architecture are best headed to Tuscany. With a wealth of knowledge and expertise by your side, you can be sure that you are to discover the best possible experience in Provence or Tuscany with Rental Escapes. Allow our destination-specific help and advice to assist you with your travel plans, and see all that Southern Europe has to offer for you as the ultimate location for a retreat.