The “bucolic” landscapes of Transylvania, with wildflower meadows and villages of ochre-tiled houses and fortified churches have helped built the Romanian region’s reputation of being “the new Tuscany,” according to a recent article published by the Financial Times.
Journalist Andrew Eames, the author of the article, explains that he was introduced to the comparison between Transylvania and central Italy region by Italian Giulio da Sacco, who is married to a Romanian and lives in Mesendorf, one of the Saxon villages in Transylvania.
Just as Tuscany was discovered as a holiday destination by the British aristocracy during the second half of the 19th century, so does Transylvania attract British interest, the article notes. Prince Charles is one of its biggest fans and has properties in the area, and the number of foreigners opting to spend their holidays or purchase a home here is increasing.
The FT journalist visited several Saxon villages, among them Floreşti, Mălâncrav, Mesendorf, Richis and Saschiz. In Mesendorf, for instance, there “are more horses and carts than cars, and few of either” while “many of the houses are still unoccupied, and they can be irresistibly inexpensive.” But while the prices may be accessible, property issues might make acquisitions a bit more difficult in some cases. The owners are Saxons who left Romania during Communism and investigations need to be carried out to identify the proprietors.
The article also explores the cultural attractions available in Transylvania. While they are fewer than Tuscany’s, they include many fortified churches included in UNESCO’s world patrimony, and old towns such as Sighișoara or Sibiu. Concerts take place in Saxon villages, visitors can rent bikes to discover the area, while “the main prize is surely just being here.”
Transylvania “will give Tuscany a good run for its money,” the author of the article concludes.
The FT article can be read here.
(Photo: Alexino | Dreamstime.com)