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Tuscany travel: For curious travelers, an Italian feast for all the senses

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Updated: 6/10/2013 3:56 pm

Some say that travel is about the journey more than the destination. And for a growing number of travelers, it's all about the experience - both on the journey and within the destination. Travelers focus on getting a deeper, more authentic look at well-loved destinations. Tuscany travel experiences figure on the vacation wish lists of many, but travelers can find ways to make each visit to the region one that is beyond the ordinary.

From the towering churches to the humble enotecas where you can grab a bite to eat, Tuscany is the ultimate indulgence for the senses. For curious travelers, getting a closer look at the delights of the region takes some planning - and a bit of help from the experts. A Tuscany vacation with a carefully curated itinerary enables visitors to see a different side of both the cities and countryside.

For example, tours offered by Tauck place the focus on exclusive opportunities to enjoy the best of Tuscany. Relieved of the need to plan every tiny detail, travelers have more freedom to explore, and to kick back and enjoy every part of their trip - all at a savings that can be as much as 40 percent compared to independent travel.

As you travel through Tuscany, you'll find the region engages - and indulges - all your senses. Don't miss these key sensory experiences as you visit the region:

Sound: Wherever you travel in Tuscany, you'll hear the beautiful cadence of the Italian language. This expressive, elegant and historic language is a key part of the Tuscan atmosphere for travelers. Take a brief Italian lesson in Florence, and use what you learn to greet the many locals with whom you'll interact. Tauck's tours also add music to the mix, with a private recital at Palazzo Bargellini, the home of concert pianist Gregorio Nardi.

Touch: Though you can't reach out and touch Michelangelo's beautiful marble statues, you can visit the quarries where the stone has been cut since Roman times. There, you'll get a feel for the smoothness that has made Carrara marble such a sought-after material over the millennia. For something a little softer, knead, roll and form some pasta dough in a hands-on cooking class.

Taste: Italy has long been a center of wine production, and the centuries of viticulture are apparent in the incredible wines you can sample on wine-tasting tours and vineyard visits throughout the region. From sparkling prosecco to big, bold reds (some known as 'super Tuscans'), you'll be able to taste-test the finest vintages. Though it's often thought of as simply a cooking agent, olive oil is a product that has nearly as much complexity as wine. On an oil-tasting experience, you'll learn to discern the differences and appreciate this 'liquid gold' during your Tuscany tour.

Scent: In the heart of Florence, the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella is worth visiting as an architectural wonder, but it is also the home of one of the most renowned perfumeries in the world. The Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella has been producing fine fragrances and other body care preparations since 1612. Sample the numerous scents, including the famed 'Melograno' (pomegranate) and bring home a bottle as a fragrant souvenir.

Sight: Guided tours of Tuscany are an unfurling series of spectacular sights and arresting vistas, and your eyes will savor every moment. The museums of Florence, sunset over the Arno River, rolling countryside punctuated with slender black-green cypress, sweeping panoramas from hilltop farmhouses - these are all sights that will add up to make Tuscany one of the most beautiful places you'll ever visit. For more information on Tuscany travel, visit Tauck online.

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