On the western coast of north-central Italy lies breathtaking Tuscany with its rolling hills, silver-leaved olive groves, vibrant fields of sunflowers and grapevines. Toscana’s hills are home to many of Italy’s finest red wines. Toscana’s capital city, Florence, or Firenze, is the birthplace of the Renaissance and home to some of the most impressive and celebrated art in Italy, from Michelangelo’s David to Brunelleschi’s famous Duomo. Toscana’s food is simple and earthy, expressing some of the region’s most important Renaissance values: natural beauty and clarity. The cuisine showcases fresh vegetables, legumes, grains, in fresh salads and hearty stews such as ribollita. Tuscan bread, a crusty sourdough made without salt, is famous throughout Italy. Tuscans prefer its mild flavor which balances the intense flavors of local salty pecorino toscano cheese, and the regions’ fine peppery olive oil. Tuscany’s cuisine places an emphasis on meat and game in dishes like roasted pork (arista di maiale) and rib-sticking meat sauces (ragu’) made from rabbit (lepre) or wild-boar (cinghiale) and served with the wide-ribbon noodles called pappardelle. The famous bistecca alla fiorentina, a huge t-bone steak from the local breed of chianina cows, is considered some of the finest beef in the world. Also a coastal region, Toscana enjoys an array of seafood. The region’s signature sweets include Siena’s famous fruit and nut cake, panforte and the crispy almond cookies called biscotti di prato or cantuccini, perfect for dipping into the local sweet wine called vin santo.