The environment we live in and the food we eat can dramatically affect our physical and mental health. So no wonder the lifestyle in Tuscany is so good for our health. And if you have spent years dealing with the stresses of work, driving in heavy traffic and looking after a family, you deserve to move to a relaxing and healthy place like Tuscany!
So here are 10 good reasons why Tuscany will be good for your health.
You can’t help but be mesmerised by the natural beauty of the Tuscan landscape. Stretching from the Apennines to the Tyrrhenian Sea there are many elevated positions where you can gaze across rolling hills, vineyards and woodland. Imagine waking up every morning and seeing such an enchanting rural view from your own terrace, that’s the feel-good factor right there. Dotted around the countryside are pretty medieval villages, castles, churches and historic towns to explore where life moves at a healthily slow pace. Along the coast long sandy beaches alternate with rocky cliffs and steep headlands, with stunning views of the sea. All that fresh sea air is just what the doctor ordered.
Everyone knows it’s good for your health to go for a nice walk. But a treadmill in a gym is mind numbingly boring. To really feel the benefit, you need to get out in the fresh air and see the sights. It’s amazing how many steps you can do just sightseeing in Florence, especially if you go up the tower near the duomo. Whether you are looking for a challenging path or an easy walk there are plenty of trails to suit everyone in Tuscany. Many of which are set up by the “Club Alpino Italiano”. The longest is the “Grande Escursione Appenninica” which crosses the mountain ridges of the Emilian Apennines.
Or, you can follow in the footsteps of the medieval pilgrims along “Via Francigena”, which actually passes through England, France, Switzerland and Italy, including 400 kms (250 miles) of Tuscan countryside. If you are located in Florence there are transport links to various points of a trail called the Renaissance Ring (Anello del Rinascimento) where you will come across monasteries, castles, ancient walled communities, country churches and sections of paved roads that go back to Roman or Medieval times. There are so many great walking routes to try out, you’ll never get bored.
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There are many ways to keep fit and enjoy sport in Tuscany. There are number of good tennis clubs, particularly around Florence. Cycling is popular along the many bike trails and for keen road cyclists there are cycling groups you can join. The arrival of electric bikes certainly helps you up the slopes, so even those who have retired to Italy can tackle steep climbs. Some of the popular sports in Tuscany include golf and horse riding. Ugolino is the oldest golf course in Tuscany and is situated just south of Florence. Other highly rated courses include Royal Golf La Bagnaia and Punta Ala Golf Club. Along the coast and around the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago you can enjoy water sports include sailing, windsurfing, canoeing and scuba diving.
It’s true that Italians love pasta and pizza, but they also enjoy a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, fish, beans, tomatoes, poultry, bread, cheese, olive oil and nuts. In Tuscany, people like to buy local produce as much as possible, and some farms even deliver regular orders of fruit and vegetables to your home. You can really taste the difference in a locally sun ripened tomato, and know you are getting all the vitamins. Soups are popular such as the famous Ribollita bean soup or a fish soup called Cacciucco, and a typical dessert is a chestnut cake called “Castagnaccio”. There are many organic farm shops and every town will have a weekly market selling local fruit and vegetables. When confronted by all that fresh produce you can’t help but be inspired to create delicious healthy meals.
Art for a healthy mind
Drawing, sculpting, painting, etc. are great ways to lower your overall stress levels and make you feel much better mentally. Tuscany is so picturesque it could bring out the artist in you or at least turn you into a keen photographer. The Orcia Valley deserves a particular mention for the beauty of its fields and landscapes that have inspired many Renaissance artists. Research studies have discovered that viewing beautiful art can also be good for your mental health improving thinking and empathy, and even releasing dopamine into the brain, a chemical related to feelings of love and pleasure. Tuscany has so many amazing art cities such as Florence, Arezzo, Cortona, San Gimignano and Lucca, you wont have to go far to treat yourself to a relaxing stroll through an art gallery. In addition, there are regular concerts, dance shows, and cultural events that will give you that great feeling of community and well-being.
Relaxing hot springs
Tuscany has many natural hot springs across the region, from the Lunigiana up north to the Val d’Orcia in the south, some of which are now part of enclosed spa centres. As well as being great places to relax and rejuvenate your mind and body, they are also great for people who suffer from all kinds of aches and pains. There are several beautiful outdoor hot springs to discover. One of the most famous is Saturnia in Maremma, which was popular with the Etruscans and Romans. South of Siena you’ll also find Pietrolo said to be one of the first hot springs in Tuscany used by people to cure arthritis, colds and to soften the skin. After bathing in the 43C waters you can also smooth clay over yourself from the nearby riverbank. In the heart of Val d’Orcia, Bagno di Vignoni has small cascades and canals that end up in a big pool in the village square. Other beautiful free hot springs include San Casciano, Parco dei Mulini and Bagni di San Filippo.
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Yoga and fitness
Tuscany’s wellness and fitness scene is growing with yoga retreats and fitness centres opening up to try and meet the demand. A good example is Tuscan Fitness, which is on the doorstep of the beautiful Chianti region. What better way to enjoy yoga than surrounded by the rolling hills, olive groves and vineyards of this beautiful region?
Tuscany is one of the most popular regions for English speaking house buyers and tourists. For this reason English is widely spoken and you’ll be able to make new friends easily. If you are moving to Italy with children, there are also a selection of international schools, particularly in Florence, Lucca, Pisa and Siena. In the last 7 years the number of overseas residents in Florence has risen by over 38% with an estimated 100,000 foreign residents now living in the Florence, Lucca and Pisa areas. In these towns you are also more likely to find an English speaking medical professional than in other rural regions. According to a recent report by Rome’s Tor Vergata University, Tuscany has one of the best national health systems in Italy.
Healthy for the wealthy
If you are a high earner, seeing your income tax bill can be a bit of a shock to the heart and the pocket. According to a new law beginning in January 2017, an individual who becomes an Italian tax resident may opt for a flat rate yearly tax of €100,000 p/a for up to a maximum of 15 fiscal years. This covers all income sourced outside Italy, regardless of the amount of that income. The option can only be exercised by those who have not been resident in Italy for at least 9 of the previous 10 years and who transfer their residence to Italy. To help you encourage your whole families to relocate to Italy with you, an individual can also request a favourable flat rate for them too. To family members the benefit is a flat-rate tax of €25,000 per person. So you can all relax, knowing exactly how much you’ll be paying each year.
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Country house living
When you have a home of your own in Tuscany, you’ll be able to fully enjoy the Italian lifestyle. An Italian country home offers you peace, relaxation, fresh air and space around you. When you’ve been used to having near neighbours, a home with some land around it is a real joy. You might even be tempted to spend more time outside, growing your own herbs, fruit, vegetables and olives. Even if you opt for a small house or apartment on the edge of a hill top village, you may be fortunate enough to have great countryside views.
If you have a few million to spend there are some stunning country estates for sale, and looking further into the hills outside the most prestigious areas you can still find country houses to renovate for as little as €50,000. Whether you want to escape to the country to recharge your batteries or are looking for a haven of tranquillity to spend the rest of your days, a home in Tuscany is sure to tick all the boxes. Take a look at the wonderful Tuscan properties for sale here on Property Guides.