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Getting High Over Tuscany

The rural landscape of Tuscany has captivated travelers for centuries. The Tuscan Apennines press through fertile soil and the human overlay, fields and vineyards and hill top villages, follow the eye-pleasing flow from the higher elevations.

This landscape is pleasant enough to see from the windows of your rental car as it weaves its way between villages and vineyards slowly. The pieces of the puzzle are compelling to run your eyes over, but how does the whole thing come together?

For that you have to get high. Not too high. A helicopter will take you up to the right alititude, the pilot will coax it to lean over so you can take a photo. It's a fine way to see a big chunk of this landscape quickly from above. Of course, while you're enjoying those views of Chianti Vineyards you will have a hankering for some wine tasting and a bit of lunch. Yes, we have a tour for you: Luxury In the Tuscan Sky: Helicopter, Wine tasting and lunch.

See the Tuscan Hill Country like never before, with a private helicopter tour with some of the best views of the soaring towers of San Gimignano, shining like a star in the surrounding landscape of Chianti. Enjoy the view of beautiful hills, covered with vineyards, olive groves, and admire a postcard landscape only found in Italy.

Imagine looking down on the Manhattan of Tuscany, San Gimigniano and its towers.

If you're convinced that Tuscany has been "done" to death, then you might want to take you flight over a no less compelling destination in the South, the Royal Palace of Casterta near Naples. It was constructed for the Bourbon kings of Naples and was one of the largest palaces in Europe druing the 18th century. Out back there are some monumental fountains you need to see.

Slow Travel in the Wicker Basket of a Balloon

If helicopter travel is too "modern" for you--fast, noisy, mechanical and so forth--you might just want to consider honkering down in the wicker basket of a hot air balloon for your tour of the Chianti hills. Even in modern times baloon flight is an adventure. Despite the radio and other modern appurtenances, for example, your flight path is determined by the winds, pure and simple. You as well as your pilot have no idea of the landing spot until it's time to float back to earth. A dedicated crew must keep radio and visual contact as the balloon floats to earth, the pilot searching for a safe landing at the exact place the crew will arrive with the prosecco.

What's a ballooning experience like? Well, you get to the launch site on time--the balloon can't be held forever when it's inflated. Once the balloon has some air in it you clamber into the basket. Once everyone is situated, the pilot tell you what is going to happen and by the time the balloon lurches, announcing its willingness to be airborne, the crew lets it go and your off. You glide silently across the Tuscan landscape, save for the hiss of air as the fire pumps heat into the balloon at the pilot's request for altitude.

As you gaze in wonderment at the rivers and hills, tthe morning's dire warnings (eat just a tiny breakfast, drink little!) are quickly forgotten and you wish you'd have eaten more. The ride we took was smoother than we could have imagined. The vista is beautiful. Well, mostly.

You see, from above you can gase down on things earthbound folks miss. Fenced garbage receptacles, tin-roofed storage sheds, dismantled tractors rusting in the verdant outback; it's Tuscany laid bare, and it's gotta be one of the most interesting things you can do with your clothes on.

Our trip was provided by Tuscany Ballooning. Fine people. Your flight starts near San Gimignano. Nobody on our flight felt the slightest bit of discomfort. Everyone participated in the Prosecco breakfast after landing.

Have fun doing unique things. Nurture the envy of your neighbors. Life is fun that way.

Sand and Sardinia
Wine Tourism in Italy

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