About an hour south of Florence lies the bucolic hills of Tuscany, synonymous with delectable food, world-class wine, and beautiful landscapes. Endless vineyards producing the world’s best Chianti and Sangiovese and well-manicured rows of cypress trees attract travelers from nearby cities like Rome and Florence and farther afield. Here, visitors get a taste of quintessential Italy—la dolce vita—the sweet life.
But Tuscany is no longer a destination just for oenophiles. Pre-pandemic, truffle tourism raked in nearly €63 million (US$68.4 million) per year. Hotels and tour operators in the region offer truffle hunting experiences led by a tartufaio or truffle hunter. Specially trained dogs, mostly from the curly haired Lagotto Romagnolo breed, lead guests into the woods where they sniff out the elusive and fragrant fungi that end up as speckled flakes on a pricey tagliatelle dish.
There are dozens of truffle varieties but some are only available during certain seasons, such as the winter white truffles or the summer black truffles. Fall is a particularly pleasant time to visit Tuscany when the countryside comes alive during harvest season, brimming with festivities.
“This is a fantastic time of year,” says Salvatore Ferragamo, son of the famed fashion designer and CEO of Il Borro, a 1,100 hectare estate in the heart of Tuscany. “You have the truffles, the porcini, and the extra virgin olive oil.”
Tasting one of these freshly plucked Italian treasures from the ground is a unique experience that continues to lure foodies to the region. Here are three luxury resorts in Italy that offer truffle hunting experiences.