The Best Photo Opportunities Tuscany Has To Offer

Friday, April 18, 2014


Ponte Vecchio
Source: To Tuscany photocompetition 2009 - Ranft
With a wealth of beautiful scenery and sights that attract interest from people all over the globe it’s no surprise that Tuscany has many perfect opportunities for an excellent photograph or two. Whether you are an amateur photographer or just someone who appreciates the memories that photos can hold; there is plenty in this region to keep you busy and get you excited.

So if you can bear to leave your wonderful Tuscany villa for a little while, there are a few places you should head to for the best spots. But before you get too snap happy; save some battery (or film if they still make cameras like that) for these beautiful photo opportunities.

Val d’Orcia –
Literally translated as the Valley of the River Orcia this area is a must for any budding photographers and landscape enthusiasts. The farmers who own the land in the valley have, for many years, been shaping the landscape to make it more aesthetically pleasing. This tradition started over 600 years ago and was the first example of man moulding the landscape in this way; leading to some beautiful results. For anyone who wants to see the whole valley there are photography tours available which take you along the valley trail and through the wine town of Montalcino and Pienza which is famous for its cheese.

The Siena Towers –
Any photography fan will know that tall buildings such as towers provide a great spot for an interesting photo and Siena has plenty to offer in this way. There are multiple towers that can be climbed for great views of the city; most notably the Mangia Tower which is a whopping 102 metres high. Climbing this mammoth lookout is no mean feat but it is definitely worth it when you reach the pinnacle.
It’s not the kind of climb you want to take with all of your hefty camera equipment, and backpacks have to be left in lockers halfway up anyway, but the view you receive from the top is magnificent. Be sure to capture the landscape, in which the walls of the city turn into the green of the countryside as you look out into the distance, and the piazza down below.

The Apuan Alps –
This isn’t a trip for the faint hearted but if you have access to a vehicle and don’t mind braving a narrow mountain pass then you will be mightily rewarded with yet more breath-taking scenery. The SP13 road runs right along the mountainside from Castelnuovo di Garfagnana to Massa and in the moments that you are not worrying about avoiding the oncoming traffic you will get to experience some amazing sights. Stop at a few points along the way to capture the rugged landscape of the Apuan Alps and the Garfagnana valley below.

Ponte Vecchio Bridge –
If you are the sort of person that would rather photograph architecture than landscapes then you should be sure to head to Florence and the beautiful Ponte Vecchio Bridge. One of the main attractions in this gorgeous city, the bridge is a medieval structure that has shops built into it and effortlessly spans the Arno River. If you can fight your way to the front for a great shot, be sure to experiment with the reflection of the water and the rest of the city in the background. You’ll also get some great photos if you visit at dusk and take advantage of the twilight.
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Experience a Tuscan Summer Vacation: Festivals and Events to Enjoy

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

With summer approaching, many people have one thing on their mind: vacation. If you're an intrepid traveler and like to go to a different place each summer, why not branch out and go international? Visiting another country gives you the unique opportunity to experience a different way of life, enjoy authentic local cuisine, and take in the local art scene and regional festivals.

And if you're looking for a place that has it all, Tuscany is a fantastic choice. Aside from the fact that this region boasts an idyllic landscape, bountiful vineyards, and some of the best food on the planet, this birthplace of the Renaissance is (unsurprisingly) also a mecca of art and culture.

While Tuscany has a full calendar of events throughout the year and you won't be at a disadvantage no matter when you visit, summer is the idea time to take a trip because of the many festivals, fairs, celebrations and events that are held.

To help you make the most of your stay in a luxury villa in Tuscany, we've listed some of the most popular festivals and events held here in the summertime.

June

The Tuscan Sun Festival

Held in Florence, the Tuscan Sun Festival is an annual music and art festival that celebrates the lifestyle of the region. The festival includes world-class concerts, culinary events, visual art, fitness and dance, wine tastings, lectures and literary events, film and other local traditions.

The San Ranieri Boat Race

On the 17th of June, the city of Pisa celebrates its patron saint's day. To celebrate, the city's four historic districts (San Martino, San Francesco, Sant'Antonio, and Santa Maria) each elect eight oarsmen to represent them by competing in a boat race on the river Arno for a prize. This tradition dates back to the time when Pisa was a Maritime Republic.

July

The Palio of Sienna Race

Known locally as Il Palio, this annual horse race is held in honor of the Virgin Mary. Ten riders ride bareback around Siena's central square in an effort to win the Palio, a precious hand-painted silk banner bearing the image of the Virgin Mary. Prior to the race, the town gathers for a large feast with many people dressed in costumes. The event is held twice a year in Siena, once in July and again in August.

The Monteriggioni Mediaeval Festival


Each year in July the Monteriggioni community organizes the popular event, which is regarded as one of the best costume festivals in Italy. As you make your way through the walled town of Monteriggioni, professional performers and actors will be dressed in mediaeval clothing, with jesters and acrobats to entertain you, and music and poetry readings to listen to. You can watch mediaeval trade demonstrations and taste food based on antique recipes. Check out the mediaeval battle reenactments, as well.

August

The Volterra A.D. 1398 Mediaeval Fair

Every year in August, the town of Volterra goes back into time to the Middle Ages to celebrate the Volterra A.D. 1398 mediaeval festival for one week, beginning on the third Sunday of the month. Everyone in the town dresses in mediaeval clothing and there is music and food everywhere.

The Hazelnut Festival in Panzano

If it's Italian food you're craving, this festival is for you! The Hazelnut festival, which takes place at the Panzano in Chianti, features an array of local dishes that are served at outdoor tables all along the town streets. The feast is significant, since it takes place on August 14th, the day before Ferragosto (Assumption Day), the most important holiday in Italy.



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Alluring Arezzo - Why leave your Tuscan villa to visit Arezzo

Thursday, April 10, 2014



Arezzo
Image source: turismo.intoscana.it
The province of Arezzo is situated in the east of Tuscany, almost directly at the heart of Italy. Like many other provinces its capital has the same name and the area has a population of around one hundred thousand people. The city of Arezzo is one of the largest in the region and is said to have been part of the Dodecapolis; twelve cities that were thought to be of great importance by the ancient Etruscans who used to occupy Tuscany.

It remains a busy tourist area today and many people head there each year to get a glimpse of its history and multiple architectural delights. So whilst you base yourself at one of our beautiful Tuscan villas in Arezzo, here are a few things you could get up to in the area.

Piazza Grande –
The Piazza Grand is the main square in the centre of Arezzo and houses, among other things, the historical town hall which dates right back to the 6th century. Whilst talking a gentle walk around the square you can wonder at the way restored buildings blend in effortlessly with those that have hardly been touched since they were built. The city’s medieval roots are clearly on show as the architecture transports you back to the days of old.

The Ivan Bruschi House & Museum –
Ivan Bruschi was a famous artist and antiquarian who was born in Arezzo in 1920 before moving away from and then returning to the area later in life. The house in which he was born has now been transformed into a museum and has been renovated in the modern era. The museum displays works that take you through the story of Bruschi’s life whilst there are also regular exhibitions of other artists’ works from around the same era. Even if you are not particularly interested in the art on display there is a wonderful view of the city from the terrace on the top floor.

The Monasteries Of The Casentino –
If you are looking for something a little bit different and want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre then why not visit this hidden gem just outside of Arezzo. Not many tourists venture into this wooded area but the locals are said to be fascinated by it and many others make pilgrimaes here from around the world. The Casentino forest is one of Italy’s many national parks and so your journey towards the hidden religious ruins is sure to be a beautiful one. The most famous of these ancient Benedictine monasteries is Camaldoli which dates back to the 13th century and is definitely worth the hike.

Arezzo Cathedral –
If you are yet to have your fill of stunning architecture then why not head to the main cathedral in Arezzo. The construction of this magnificent building took almost two centuries to complete and sits at the top of the hill overlooking the rest of the city. The cathedral houses many interesting sights including a beautiful fresco of Mary Magdalene and the tomb of Pope Gregory X and should definitely not be missed.
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5 Facilities To Take Advantage Of In Our Tuscany Villas

Monday, April 7, 2014

Villa Felceto

When you stay in one of our luxury Tuscan villas you don’t just get to enjoy the rich culture and beauty of a region that is one of Europe’s top holiday destinations; you also get to enjoy the wonderful facilities that we have to offer. We aim to provide everything you need for that perfect break and so our villas are designed to be much more than somewhere to rest your head after a long day of sightseeing.
Not all of our accommodation has all of the facilities on the list but you can decide which ones are most important to you and then use our simple filtering system to find the perfect villa for you. Here are a few great added extras that you may want to take advantage of.

Your Own Private Pool –You know that great feeling when you get down to the pool early in the morning and there’s nobody else in there to ruin your relaxing swim? Well, how would you like to experience that every day of your holiday? With your own private pool you don’t have to worry about the scramble for sun loungers or someone knocking you off your lilo as you attempt to drift off for an afternoon snooze. You can come and go as you please and take full advantage of the cooling waters.

Onsite Wi-Fi –I know it has become a staple of modern day existence to always have a phone or some other kind of electrical device in your hand, but maybe you want to make your friends at home jealous by posting your holiday pics online or perhaps you want to plan the next day’s adventures. Having Wi-Fi access on site will mean you can keep in contact with everyone you’ve left back home and research the local area for fun things to do.

BBQ Onsite –Along with its beauty, history, multiple places of interest and passionate locals; Tuscany is also famous for its food. And so if you fancy cooking a few Tuscan home comforts within the grounds of your villa then why not opt for an onsite BBQ. There are plenty of local food markets where you will be able to find all kinds of things to take back and try for yourself.

Sauna –If the Tuscan sun just isn’t hot enough for you then why not opt for a villa with a luxury sauna? Fully immerse yourself in your relaxing surroundings as you consistently douse the hot coals and then dive into the pool to cool off when it all gets too much.

Tennis Court –Not that the region doesn’t offer enough of its own entertainment, but having an onsite tennis court is a great way to keep fit and enjoy yourself at the same time. It’s also a fun way to keep the kids occupied whilst you are trying to get everything sorted for the day ahead. It’s not often that you get access to your very own tennis court, so why not live the high life during your Mediterranean break.
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4 Reasons that You Should Make Tuscany Your Honeymoon Destination

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

While Italy and France may vie for first place as the top European honeymoon destination, it's no surprise that more people choose Italy. Known as one of the most romantic places in the world, Italy offers newlyweds an array of things to do and see that no other place can. A land of good wine and food, beautiful art and rich history, there are many reasons that Italy is the perfect honeymoon destination.

With all of the many beautiful places to stay in Italy, you may have a hard time determining which specific city or area to spend your honeymoon in. However, there's no place with as much personality, beauty, and culture as Tuscany, Italy. So, why not make Tuscany your honeymoon destination as you experience this unique region for the first time as a married couple?

To help you truly understand what this fabulous region has to offer, here are four reasons that Tuscany is the ideal honeymoon destination.

1. Historical influence

Tuscany is well-known for its history and artistic legacy. Regarded as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, you can explore many historical towns such as Florence, Siena, Arezzo, Volterra and Pisa. You can visit popular museums such as the Uffizi and the Pitti Palace, and no trip to Tuscany is complete without seeing the world-famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. You can climb up the tower before exploring the many gothic and medieval churches, as well as other historic buildings, in the city.

2. Rich wine

Tuscany is perhaps the most famous of all Italian wine regions. Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Morellino di Scansano and Brunello di Montalcino are all produced right in Tuscany. During your stay in a Tuscan villa rental, you can take a taste of the many delicious wines from local vineyards. Choose from a few of the several wine tasting tours in Tuscany and savor the best of the region!

3. Delicious Cuisine

In addition to the rich wine to enjoy, Tuscany is also known for its specialty dishes. The dishes frequently depend on olive oil and bread, and are rich in fresh vegetables, herbs and fruit. You can indulge in real Italian-style pastas, chicken and other meat dishes, soups and so much more. Tuscany is also home to a variety of cheeses, such as raviggiolo, caciotta, the goat's cheese, caprino, and pecorino.

4. Picturesque landscape


Many decide to honeymoon in Tuscany simply because of the stunning landscapes, rolling hills dotted with cypresses and the peace and tranquility that the countryside offers. Spend a day hiking the hills or trekking through the cities. Walk along the Arno as it winds through Florence and retire to your villa to grab a glass of wine and watch the sun set together.


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