Tuscan Climate: What is the perfect time to visit Tuscany?

Thursday, August 28, 2014


Tuscan Climate: What is the perfect time to visit Tuscany?


To Tuscany photocompetition 2010 - Pethybridge
There’s a perfect time of year for everybody to travel to Tuscany, whether you’re a sun basker or a shade seeker! As well as our differing internal thermostats, it also comes down to what sort of holiday you’re looking for. If you love outdoor activities then maybe the peak of summer isn’t for you, whereas if you love sitting outside your Tuscany villa sizzling away just to get the satisfaction of jumping in a nice cool pool, then bring on the sun!
We’ve written some guidelines to help you find the perfect time to visit, so you don’t have any hot and flustered, or shivering loved ones to contend with!

April – May
This can be a great time of year to come, with high temperatures ranging from a blissful 18°C (64°F) in April to 23°C (73°F) in May. You miss the scorching heat of high summer and you’re one step ahead of the summer holiday makers, so it’s a perfect time to catch some sun and take in the tourist attractions without the massive queues. It’s still part of the tourist season so everything is open, but you will find that accommodation and sometimes even the restaurants are cheaper. It’s a great time for both romantic holidays and family holidays in Tuscany as the weather accommodates a wealth of activities.

June – August
This is the time for the real sun worshippers with high temperatures rising in June to 27°C (81°F) and peaking in July and August at 30°C (86°F). If you want a relaxing holiday where you spend a day or two visiting the Uffizi gallery or the leaning tower of Pisa, but want to spend most of the time just relaxing at your Tuscan villa, this could be perfect. With night temperatures around 16-18°C (61-64°F) you can enjoy some gorgeous balmy evenings next to the pool with a glass of wine and a barbeque accompanied with lovely fresh salads, making it the perfect option for romantic holidays in Tuscany.

September – October
It’s still hot in September with highs of 26°C (79°F), but with the kid’s back at school, the crowds are greatly diminished and prices are lower. Temperatures are starting to ease off in October to average highs of 20°C (68°F), which is warm enough for a spot of sun bathing and a lovely temperature to go for walks and enjoy the Tuscan countryside. What better time of year to do this than in autumn, with the beautiful reds and golds of the changing leaves. This is also the time that most vineyards have their harvest, so there are plenty of harvest festivals to visit.

November – March
This is a great time to visit Tuscany if you want to pick up a bargain and aren’t too keen on sunbathing! Temperatures range from 9-14°C (48-57°F) with the coldest month being January. Some people say that this is the time to visit ‘the real Tuscany’ as the crowds have gone and you get to experience life as the locals do. If you go at Easter or Christmas, you’ll also be joining the Italian tourists, as these are popular holiday times and you know what they, say “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. Nobody knows Italy better than the Italians and this is when they go on holiday, so there must be some Italian magic to be found at these times. One thing to watch out for is that some restaurants will close for a month during this period, but this is counter balanced by the fact that the open ones are much cheaper in low season.

The Climate does vary throughout Tuscany, due to the varied terrain, so temperatures will be higher on the coast and in the valleys, compared to the mountainous regions. So you can take this into account when choosing a location for villas in Tuscany. Take a look at our website to explore our Tuscany villas
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Famous People from Tuscany

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Famous People from Tuscany

Tuscany has long been an area known for its exports, with its larger cities like Florence and Siena being hubs of creativity and pioneering modern culture, so it comes as no surprise that many Tuscan natives are internationally famous. Listing all the famous or notable Tuscans is almost impossible, but here are some of the most famous children of Tuscany.

Leonardo da Vinci

Creator of the most famous painting ever, the Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci was a true master of the Italian Renaissance. The polymath is known as an historical figure whose intelligence, inventions, discoveries and artistic talents helped shape the world in which we now live in. Born in Vinci, a small commune in Tuscany that is now home to the Museo Leonardiano, Da Vinci is credited with the invention of the helicopter, and helping to create a greater understanding of human anatomy. 

Michelangelo

One of the greatest artists of the Italian Renaissance and still looked upon as one of the most skilled sculptors in history, Michelangelo is arguably Italy’s most famous artist. Born in Caprese, Michelangelo honed his crafts in Florence as painter’s apprentice. His earlier works focused on sculpting and after his PietĂ  gained notoriety in Rome he returned to Florence to create the masterpiece David, which is now housed in the city’s Galleria del Academia.

Renowned Fashion Designer Roberto Cavalli

Born into an artistic family (his grandfather’s artwork is displayed in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery), Roberto Cavalli is a fashion designer who’s labels and brand have achieved international success. Cavalli is known for innovative creations and pioneered a technique that involved printing on leather after attending Florence’s Art Institute. Throughout his career, Cavalli has continued to return to his hometown to display his label’s latest designs, and in 2002 opened a cafĂ© next to the designer’s boutique store.

International Bestselling Author Frances Mayes

Although not born in Tuscany, American author Frances Mayes upped sticks and moved to Tuscany after seeing a 200-year-old Tuscan farmhouse that was looking for a much-needed renovation. Bramasole, the neglected farmhouse, and the work she carried out on it along with her love of Italian culture quickly became inspiration for her international bestselling book Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy. Released in 1996, the book gained widespread attention and was adapted to the big screen in 2003.

Her literary works continued to focus on her love of Italy, with two more books being written to complete the Tuscan trilogy; Bella Tuscany, and Every Day in Tuscany.   

There are plenty of famous Tuscans that can be added to the list, and in a region that is filled with inspiring landscapes and beautiful history there is bound to be many more. If this list has inspired you to take a trip and visit some of the wondrous artworks on display in the many museums and art galleries, then why not take a look the Tuscany villas we offer on our website.
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Wine Tasting in Tuscany

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Wine Tasting in Tuscany

Leila Heim - To Tuscany photocompetition
A trip to the glorious region of Tuscany in Italy means immersing yourself in culture and cuisine, and of course this means tasting some of the region’s fine wines. Holidaying in Tuscany means you will have access to a wide range of wine courses that are aimed towards those of all experiences, from beginners to connoisseurs, some of which incorporate sightseeing highlights from the surrounding region.  Wherever you’re staying in Tuscany, here are a selection of some great wine tasting courses and day excursions that you can take during your trip.

Wine Tasting near Florence

The Tuscan Wine School holds short wine tasting courses in the city centre just a short walk away from the Ponte Vecchio, so visitors can attend a tasting course in the morning or afternoon, and then spend the rest of their day exploring historical landmarks or even shopping for some renowned Florentine jewellery!  

Florence is also the starting point for many day excursions that visit vineyards in the Chianti region, with many companies offering bespoke or specific guided wine tours. Italy and Wine offer unique tours that are either private or group, including a Wine and Truffles tour that takes you to San Minato where you can walk with a truffle hunter and his dogs to hopefully find this Tuscan delicacy and afterwards enjoy some regional wine and fresh truffles. 

Wine Tasting near Siena

Those staying in a Tuscany villa near Siena can attend city wine tasting courses, or start their excursions to nearby regions from the commune. Organisers Grape Tours offer artisan trips that incorporate not only local wines, but also local culinary delights. Heading to a different region daily, visitors can take a tour that suits their interests. With wine tours that visit San Gimignano, Montepulciano, and Montalcino that allow individuals to taste the fine wines of these regions and sample the great food products they also produce, such as olive oil, chocolate, cheese and meats.

 Wine Tasting near Arezzo

If staying near Arezzo, you can take a wine tour with Very Tuscany, a growing tour company, who have recently introduced an Arezzo focused wine tour. The daytrip involves visiting some of the region’s lesser known wine producers and learning about the production process, what to look for, and how to taste wine. The trip can easily be combined with the other excursions that Very Tuscany offer, and includes a visit to the commune of Arezzo, famed for being the birthplace of Piero della Francesca.  

Wine Tasting in your Villa

Although you won’t experiencing the teaching and experience that a wine tasting tour offers, you can still taste the joy of Tuscan wines in your holiday villa. Those holidaying in Tuscany can visit local wine merchants, stockists and even supermarkets to buy local wines to taste whilst relaxing in their Tuscan villa. You may want to take a guide to wine tasting to enhance the experience, or even put what you’ve learn on a wine tasting course that you’ve already attended.

Here at To Tuscany, we have a wide range of beautiful Tuscan villas that are available to rent throughout the year. If you would like to know more about our properties, why not take a browse of our site, or head to our contact us page and get in touch.
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Recommended Restaurants in Florence

Friday, August 1, 2014


Recommended Restaurants in Florence

edizioniteatrodelsalecibreofirenze.it
The reputation of Italian food is widespread and it’s a perfect reason to holiday in Tuscany. Olives, truffles and vegetables are all grown locally and can be washed down with the world famous Chianti wine.
When you’re staying in a villa in Tuscany, you will be eating a lot of your meals by your pool. So when you do go out for meal, you need to make sure it’s a well recommended restaurant, so you don’t waste your night out! That’s why we’ve put together a list of remarkable restaurants to try in Florence, for a variety of prices and meal types.

Ora d’Aria
If you want to sample the height of elegant Italian cooking, Ora d’Aria will not fail to delight with its stylish nouvelle cuisine. It is at the top end of the price range, but for this standard of food it is actually quite good value. The head chef and co-owner Marco Stabile is one of Italy’s finest chefs who has learnt his craft in a series of prestigious restaurants and now teaches at Italy’s top culinary schools. You can see him busy at work in the open view kitchen as you delve into what can only be described as food heaven.
The restaurant is situated a stone’s throw from the Uffizi gallery, so is perfectly situated to finish off a cultural trip to Florence. This contemporary Michelin star restaurant offers a selection of meat, sea food and pasta dishes and as well as exceptional deserts, fine wine and artisan beers. Reservations are essential.
Average price per head: €65 for dinner with wine; €25 for lunch
Address: Via Accademia dei Georgofili 9r, 50122 Firenze
www.oradariaristorante.it

 

Il Teatro del Sale
The dining experience at this eccentric restaurant-cum-theatre is not to be missed! It is the brain child of a husband and wife duo, Chef Fabio Picchi and actress Maria Cassi and they welcome you into a world of entertainment for every sense. The menu changes by the seasons and prides itself on using local producers. It is a members-only club, but everybody is welcome to join for only €7 and the food is amazingly good value and includes a performance in the evening of drama, music or comedy.
It is an informal eating experience to say the least. You begin by serving yourself antipasti, water and wine and then wait for the chef to shout out what’s on offer for your first and second courses and then simply queue up. Deserts and coffee are then laid out just in time for the 9:30pm performance to begin.
Price per head: €7 breakfast; €20 lunch; €30 Dinner
Address: Via del Verrocchio, 8r, Firenze
www.edizioniteatrodelsalecibreofirenze.it

 

lunch ’Ino
This deli and afternoon wine bar offers the perfect place to re-energize during a busy day of sight-seeing in Florence. Their speciality is gourmet paninis, made with artisan bread or focaccia filled with the delights of their delicious deli. There is an array of Italian cheeses, hams and dry cured meats, fresh vegetables and salad and if you don’t fancy a Panini they also have cold platters and a couple of simple mains. There is also a constantly updating wine list to enjoy and set you up for an afternoon of exploring the attractions of Florence.
Average price per head: €10 for a Panini and glass of wine.
Address: Via Accademia dei Georgofili 3r/7r, 50122 Firenze.
Opening times: 11am-5pm every day.
http://www.inofirenze.com

Tuscany villas offer perfect rural locations from which to visit local producers and then venture into the cities to witness these fresh ingredients being expertly crafted into Italy’s signature dishes. If you’re interested in Tuscan villa rental, take a look at our website to-tuscany.com where you can browse hundreds of beautiful villas, from the child and pet-friendly to the ultimate luxury villa.
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Saving Money Whilst Self Catering in Tuscany

Friday, July 25, 2014


Saving Money Whilst Self Catering in Tuscany
 
One of the most enticing reasons to get a villa in Tuscany is to go out and sample the gorgeous traditional dishes. The whole experience of eating out at a restaurant can make your holiday - struggling with your phrase book Italian with your charismatic waiter, soaking up the atmosphere on a balmy evening…having the opportunity to actually use the expression ‘balmy evening’! Your holiday would not be complete without a few meals out, but costs can quickly escalate.
There’s no reason why you can’t continue that romantic atmosphere and wonderful local flavours back at your villa in Tuscany. Finding a delicatessen or market is a great way to find beautiful local produce and meet some locals. Here are a few tips, products and recipes to try on your holiday.

Where to buy food
Italy has a thriving market culture, where you can buy local food at really good prices. You can be assured there will be plenty of characters down there offering you some samples to try. You’ll find all your deli favourites including sun dried tomatoes, olives and artichokes as well as the lovely fresh produce that the Tuscan sun drenched climate is so good at producing.  There is no typical day for markets in Tuscany, but this link shows you days for various towns.

Where to buy wine
A great tip for buying cheap but good quality everyday table wine is to find a shop selling Vino Sfuso, which is wine straight out of the barrel. Without all the marketing paraphernalia, prices start at around €2 for a bottle and you can sample all the wines on offer for free! You can bring your own bottles to reuse, or buy them in the shop.

Pecorino Toscano cheese
This is a hard cheese made from sheep’s milk, which has a delicate flavour and loads of uses depending on how mature it is. When it’s completely matured it’s a perfect local alternative to parmesan, grated over pasta or when slightly younger it works really well with salads, or eaten with fresh fruit or grilled vegetables and some Tuscan honey.

Prosciutto Toscano - dry cured ham
Palma ham is often what people associate with the taste of Italy, but whilst you’re in Tuscany make sure you try the local version Prosciutto Toscano. It’s darker in colour than its more famous relative and has a more intense flavour.

A Quick Tasty Snack
While you’re lazing by the pool of your Tuscan villa, you might not feel like cooking something too complicated, so try making a traditional bruschetta. They are absolutely delicious and are so easy, anybody can recreate that authentic flavour.

Just grill a thick slice of fresh bread on your bbq or on a griddle pan, then simply cut a garlic clove in half and rub onto the toast to gently scratch off a bit of garlic flavour. Drizzle over some local extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle on a bit of salt and pepper. After that, add whatever you fancy. If you’re on a budget just stick to tomato and basil. You can’t go wrong.

At To-Tuscany.com we have hundreds of villas all over Tuscany, for couples, families and large groups. You can book online or give us a call on +44 121 286 7782.
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