Classic and sports cars in Tuscany

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Classic and sports cars in Tuscany

Posted by Mikolaj (18/05/2017)
Are you or your kids fans of classic and sports cars? Would you like to spot beautifully restored vintage cars on streets of Tuscan cities? Do you dream of visiting factories and museums of Italian supercars like Ferrari, Lamborghini or Pagani? Or maybe you want to spend some time with kids on karting track? Here’s a list of experiences for moto enthusiasts.

Classic and vintage cars races

Mille Miglia
Mille Miglia, meaning “thousand miles”, was an open-road endurance race which took place from 1927 to 1957 on the round route Brescia-Rome-Brescia. Since 1977, the "Mille Miglia" has been reborn as a regularity race for classic and vintage cars. Participation is limited to cars, produced no later than 1957, which had attended to the original race.
Nowadays it takes place in the middle of the May. If you are staying in one of our villas, you can spot the cars as they go towards Rome through Umbria with overstops in Urbino, Gubbio and Perugia, or on their way from Rome to Brescia on scenic route in Val d’Orcia, passing Radicofani, then Siena, San Miniato, Montecatini Terme and Pistoia.


Gran Premio Nuvolari
Gran Premio Nuvolari, named after famous Italian motorcycle and racing driver Tazio Nuvolari. Initally it was a car race on open streets that was run from 1954 to 1957. In 1991 it was reborn as an international vintage car race.
It takes place in the middle of September as a 1000 km long journey between the beauties of central Italy. The 1000 km route is Mantua – Rimini – Siena – Arezzo – Urbino – Rimini – Ferrara – Mantua. In Tuscany it’s possible to spot the cars and drivers in Gaiole, Siena, Castelnuovo Bererdenga, Monte San Savino and Arezzo.

La Corsa di Alcide
La Corsa di Alcide is a classic regularity race for historic cars from before 1971 and open to Italian and foreign teams. It takes place in June. The route winds through the most beautiful landscapes of Tuscany and it’s historic towns. Participants and supporters visit Argentario with its cliffs, Maremma, Val d’Orcia, Crete Senesi and Chianti and enter in the heart of the villages and the most beautiful cities like San Gimignano, Monteriggioni and Grosseto. There is also a “Heroic path” on the famous white roads of Tuscany.

Coppa Del Chianti Classico
Chianti Classico Cup is an international event for classic cars taking place in September in the middle of Chianti area. It’s technical and challenging street race course, but car spotters have an opportunity to see the cars and meet the drivers and pilots at the presentations in wineries or historical sites.


Rally Legend
Rally Legend is classic rally cars event held since 2003 in San Marino that real WRC fan should not miss. San Marino is about 2-3 hours drive from central Tuscany, but it’s worth an effort. It takes place in the middle of October. You can meet here WRC champions like Carlos Sainz, Juha Kankkunen, Walter Röhrl or Marcus Grönholm and many other famous rally drivers in cars that were on the top between late 70’ and early 90’ like Lancia Stratos, Lancia Delta, Audi Quattro or Toyota Celica.

The list of other main moto events is available here: http://www.garedepoca.com/en/index.html

Factories and museums (Emilia – Romagna region)
Most of the Italian supercars factories and museums are based in a small area in Emilia – Romagna region, south from Bologna, about 2-3 hours drive from central Tuscany. For opening hours, entrance fees, addresses please use the links below:
Enzo Ferrari Museum in Modena https://musei.ferrari.com/en/modena
Ferrari Museum, factory and track in Maranello https://musei.ferrari.com/en/maranello
Lamborghini factory and museum in S. Agata Bolognese  http://www.lamborghini.com/en/home/  
Maserati (Umberto Panini private museum) near Modena http://www.paninimotormuseum.it/index.php?lang=2
Pagani factory and museum in San Cesario sul Panaro http://www.pagani.com/factory-tours/
Ducati factory and museum in Bologna http://www.ducati.com/


Other attractions or activities
Siena Circuit, 18 km east from Siena, kart track for children over 6 and adults, you can rent a kart here http://www.circuitodisiena.it/
Mugello Circuit near Florence, MotoGP races, sports and classic cars events are organized here; it’s possible to practise here on your motorbike or car http://www.mugellocircuit.it/ 

Eroici in Moto – if you have heard of vintage bike race L’Eroica on white gravel roads, this is the same idea, but on classic enduro or touring motorbikes www.eroiciinmoto.it
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6 Unique & Unusual Things To Do In Tuscany

Thursday, May 11, 2017

6 Unique & Unusual Things To Do In Tuscany


Posted by Ruth (11/05/2017)

Looking for something a little out of the ordinary? If your perfect holiday doesn’t consist of laying on a sunbed for a week, then we’ve got some news for you, Tuscany could be just what you’re after. Of course you can hire a luxurious private villa and simply chill out under the Tuscan sun by the pool if you wish, but you will miss out on some of the region’s hidden gems. We’ve scoured the lands and asked around in order to find some of the most unique and unusual things you can see and do in and around Tuscany.

1. Go truffle hunting
Go foraging for this expensive fungus in the Tuscan woods and countryside. Perhaps the area best known for truffles is San Miniato which is located in between Florence and Pisa.  There are day excursions which offer the chance to collect your own truffles, learn about the history behind this pricey food, and also enjoy a truffle-based meal afterwards.

2. Uncover Vie Cave
Visit the Vie Cave which is located just outside of Pitigliano in the Maremma region. These narrow paths were carved out by ancient civilizations. The Intrusions were around before the Romans and no one knows exactly how they were able to create these passage via the stone. Here you can appreciate signs of an ancient world and walk along the pathways, be sure to keep an eye out for the shrines and carvings along the route.

3. Hike through the Foresta Casentinese
Wander through one of the most ancient forests in Europe and go horseback riding and hiking through the forest. Be sure to check out key sites in the area including La Verna and the Camaldoli Hermitages.  ‘These welcoming forests enable visitors in our times to experience deep and vivid sensations; fascinating in their range of colours, with all the shades of green that in autumn explode into brilliant splashes of amber and russet.’ Some of the animals that call the forest home include deer, wild boar, mountain sheep and even wolves.
4. See an epic armour collection
Feast your eyes on one of the biggest armour collections in Europe at the Stibbert Museum.  Here you can see European, Japanese and Islamic armour, a collection of Renaissance paintings and over 36,000 artefacts. Located on the hill of Montughi in Florence, it’s definitely a unique place worth visiting.

5. Admire the open art at Il Giardino dei Tarocchi
Take a look at a very unusual collection of art by the French artist Niki de Saint Phalle in an outdoor, open-air display. His art is very similar to the style of Gaudi, and has lots of vibrant colours and interesting shapes. You will find Il Giardino dei Tarocchi in the province of Grosseto.



6. Bathe in wine at Vinotherapia at Castellare de’ Noveschi
Yes, you can really take a bath in wine at Castellare de’ Noveschi. This unusual experience and treatment is said to prevent aging and revive your skin. Whether it does or not, you will most certainly have an interesting and unique experience.  ‘Warm waters with unique fragrances that mimic the body of the most precious wines by hints of blackberry, strawberry, pink, purple and orange: the idyllic alchemy that envelops most senses, sight, smell and touch.’

For a full list of things to do in Tuscany, take a look at our handy guide book.
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6 Beautiful Things You Will Notice in Tuscany

Thursday, May 4, 2017

6 Beautiful Things You Will Notice in Tuscany


Posted by Sonia (04/05/2017)

Few destinations really leave a mark on you like Tuscany does. You can’t go a day in Tuscany without seeing something absolutely breathtaking, especially if you are lucky enough to travel all around the region.

If you are planning on visiting Tuscany, it’s a good idea to hire a car. This gives you the opportunity to really see everything that the area has to offer, and stop off at all the best bits and awe-inspiring spots.

From some of the most magical views in the world to impressive medieval buildings and amazing scenic drives, Tuscany really is a wonderful destination. At times it feels a bit like you are in a dream, because you get lost in the slow pace of life and start to stop and truly notice Tuscany’s beauty. Here’s six beautiful things you won’t fail to notice (and should most definitely snap a picture of) in Tuscany.


1. The vineyards
Of course Tuscany is world famous for its endless vineyards, so you are bound to come across a vineyard or two during your travels. In some areas, such as Chianti, they seem to engulf the countryside. If you get the chance go wine tasting in Tuscany so you can see the vineyards up close, and maybe even pose for some picturesque photos.


2. The olive trees
Have you ever had the pleasure of enjoying a picnic under an olive tree? There’s nothing more relaxing than sitting by an olive tree with some fresh local Tuscan food and a bottle of award-winning wine. Olive trees are dotted all around Tuscany, so you will most likely pass plenty on your travels, just make sure you taste some local olive oil and perhaps bring some home in your suitcase!


3. The castles
There’s an endless selection of charming and absolutely stunning castles in Tuscany. Try and plan a visit to at least one or two during your trip. Some of them have a fascinating history and are located in the most picturesque settings. Here’s a selection of some of the must -visit castles in Tuscany.


4. The hilltop towns
You can’t discuss the merits of Tuscany without touching on the charming and magical hilltop towns. Wherever you are staying in Tuscany, you won’t be too far away from a medieval hilltop village or town. When you step inside the walls of a hilltop town, it often feels as though you have been transported back in time. The views from many of the famous hilltop towns are absolutely astonishing. Not sure which hilltop towns are near where you are staying? Check out our guide to the towns and villages of Tuscany.


5. The sunsets
Another thing Tuscany is famous for is its sunsets. If you are in the right place, at the right time, you will be treated to one of the region’s most beautiful sunsets. You won’t be short of pretty places to stop and enjoy the sun going down.


6. The scenic driving routes
Driving in Tuscany is like nowhere else in the world. Long drives are an absolute pleasure rather than a chore, and it’s impossible to stop staring out of the window at the views. There are so many beautiful spots that you will find yourself constantly jumping out of the car to take photos.


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The Perfect Place For A Group Holiday

Thursday, April 27, 2017

4 Reasons Why Tuscany Is The Perfect Place For A Group Holiday

Posted by Dympna (27/04/2017)

Planning a holiday with your girlfriends, celebrating a special occasion, or perhaps you are looking for a big extended family break? Tuscany is ideal for group holidays for so many reasons. It offers a picturesque, peaceful setting, amazing food and plenty of places to see and things to do together. Here’s some reasons why Tuscany could be a great base for a group holiday.


1. The accommodation
One of the main reasons why Tuscany is so well suited to groups is because the range of accommodation is so well suited to big groups. We’ve got a huge selection of apartments and villas for up to 22 people. Over 85% of our current rentals have a private pool. All our properties are personally checked by us, to make sure they are of the highest standards.  We’ve actually got a brilliant selection of larger villas at the moment, so book now to secure the best properties.

Staying in a large private villa in Tuscany is very convenient for large groups. There are spacious social areas and everyone can have their own beautiful room. They are ideal for hosting parties and celebrations. Why not hire a professional private chef or musician to make your occasion even more memorable?


2. The activities & things to do
There’s plenty of group activities in and around Tuscany. Go on a group cycling, vespa or city tour, book a wine tasting experience, go horseback riding, or visit one of Tuscany's many impressive and historic castles.

There’s also plenty of food festivals and local events that take place throughout the region that are well worth a visit. Other great attractions for groups to visit in Tuscany include the Chianti Sculpture Park, the star gazing observatory,
The Pinocchio Park and Prehistoric Park near Pisa offer fab days out for family groups. Click here for more family activity ideas in Tuscany.

3. The travel time and flight prices
Arranging group holidays can often be pretty stressful as you have lots of people to organise. It’s also important to keep costs reasonable. You can all hop on a plane from a UK airport and get to Tuscany in around two hours.

A flight from London Gatwick to Pisa airport takes around two hours and prices start at around around £100. If you need any help organising your trip, give our experts a call and we can give you some ideas and inspiration for what to do and where to stay.


4. The location
Tuscany offers a very scenic setting for your group holiday. You can hire a large villa in the countryside and enjoy being in such a stunning location. Many of our villas offer spectacular views of the rolling Tuscan hills, vineyards and olive groves. Or if you would prefer a city break, we have plenty of lovely apartments in and around cities such as Florence and Siena. 

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Focus on your wellbeing whilst on holiday

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Focus on your wellbeing whilst on holiday

Posted by Mikolaj (20/04/2017)

We go on holidays to relax and escape reality – promising ourselves that a good break is all we need to recharge our batteries. However, in reality, the lack of routine means we end up over-indulging; our body clock slows down and we struggle to wake before midday, we try to cram in too much sight-seeing in an afternoon, happy hour cocktails bring regular morning hangovers and we binge eat food we wouldn’t look at on a normal day.
It’s not a surprise then, that we return home more exhausted than when we left, feeling like we need another holiday to recover from the first one and embarking on an urgent detox plan.
To Tuscany has teamed up with meta-wellbeing expert, Susan Gardner, to offer tips on how to use holidays as an opportunity to press pause on our daily lives and bring ourselves back into balance.

15 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Holiday
Stepping out of your familiar routine is a refreshing and powerful interruption to daily habits. Holidays enable a welcome new perspective and a different environment can be hugely beneficial as it can provide a different focus for your attention. Take advantage of the time you have to listen to your body and mind and to engage in essential relaxation.
1.       Every morning when you wake up, allow yourself 10-15 minutes of quiet contemplation, focusing your thoughts on gratitude for everything that is good in your life.
2.       Regularly do a quick body scan, identifying areas of tension and concentrating on letting your muscles soften and relax.
3.       Give your skin a gentle dry brush before washing and follow a hot shower with a blast of cold water
4.       Regularly sip water, preferably filtered.
5.       Have hot water with lemon 20 minutes before eating.
6.       Eat protein for breakfast.
7.       Ensure you fill your plate with a rainbow of coloured food.
8.       Try to eat alkaline foods such as cooked tomato, fish, broccoli, spinach, mango and papaya.
9.       When you have a moment, write or draw the negative thoughts that are in your head onto paper. Then destroy the paper.
10.   Notice and understand your feelings, breathing in calm and out tension.
11.   Try to interrupt negative thoughts and focus on what you DO want.
12.   Visualise a dial that you can turn down to lower stress levels.
13.   Be present and alert to the moment.
14.   Consider your personal space and tweak for pleasure and comfort – seeking solitude and stillness if needed.
15.   Aim for a minimum of 2 hours exercise a day – cardiovascular and gentle.

Easy Yoga Postures To Practice On Holiday
When you arrive at your holiday destination, have a look round for some suitable location to self-practice yoga; there may be a terrace or garden where you can put down your yoga mat and soak up the scenery. Even just half an hour of yoga every day will help to rejuvenate your body and mind.
Here are twelve easy-to-achieve postures from yoga teacher Megan Jones, that are great for outdoors. When familiar with each pose you can begin to sequence and flow one pose to the next using the breath.

1. Wide legged forward bend
Step the legs 3-4 feet apart, with a flat back exhale and bend forwards, bringing the palms to the floor under the shoulder. Press the head down and lift the hips up. Hold for 10 breaths.

2. Standing Balance
With your feet together and hands to hips. Raise the right knee to balance; 90-degree angle. Practice sending your gaze to follow whilst extending your right arm behind you. To challenge explore straightening your right leg. Hold each side for 6 deep breaths

3. Warrior Balance
With feet together, extend your arms straight over the head, palms facing inwards. Exhale as you bend forward at the hips whilst sweeping the right leg straight behind you coming in to a standing T shape. Hold each side for 6 deep breaths

4. Low lunge or Lizard
In a lunge position with your right knee forward firstly, slowly and carefully release the back left knee to the mat. Raise your hands above your head and hold on each side for 8-10 deep breaths

5. Downward Facing Dog (inversion)
From all fours lift your hips up and back to bring your body into an inward V shape. Spread the fingers wide and press hands to the mat, encouraging heels down increasing the stretch to the hamstrings. Relax your neck, tummy and chest toward the thighs. Work on pushing the heels closer to the mat. Hold for 10 deep breaths

6. Cat Cow Pose
In an all fours position place your wrists directly under the shoulders and your knees directly under the hips. Press into the fingers and tops of the feet. On the in breath gaze up, release the tummy and lift the hips whilst keeping knees, hands and feet to floor. On the outbreath contract the tummy inwards and up to round the back and gaze toward the navel. Hold for 10 full breaths

7. Seated Forward Fold
Sitting on your mat extended both legs forward, with the feet together flexed. Lift arms above the head on the inhale draw the navel back toward the spine, on the exhale hinge at the hips maintain length reaching toward the toes, Hold and relax the nose towards the knees. If uncomfortable try bending the knees and lessening the reach. Hold for 6 deep breaths

8. Bridge Pose (reclined)
Come down to lying on your back bring the feet to the mat, knees over the ankles at hip distance apart. Begin to lift the hips, draw the shoulders under the body as well as the hands and arms, interlace the hands squeeze keeping the arms straight and chin to chest. Engage and hold for 10 deep breaths.

9. Standing Forward Fold
With your feet together or apart, allow your body to fall forward with your fingers interlaced and anchored over your head. Press into the toes, activate the core, lift the hips high and soften the knees. Hold for 10 breaths.

10. Lord of the Fishes
From seated forward fold cross the right foot over the left thigh placing the sole to the outside of the left leg, if able also bend the left knee to bring the heel to right hip side. On an inhale; lift and twist the torso to the left bringing the right elbow to inner thigh. Look to the left and sweep the left hand behind the body. Remain lifted from the crown, soft In the back hand, resting the shoulders away from the ears. Hold each side for 5 deep breaths.

11. Reclined Butterfly
With back flush to mat, chin to chest resting the back of the head fully, arms by sides, palms facing up. Bring the soles of the feet together comfortably and allow the knees to fall apart, the hips to rest. For further support use blankets or blocks under the knees. Rest and restore for the day ahead of you. A restorative Savasana (relaxation) close the eyes, drift away, calming sounds, soothing vibes. Maintain stillness with a relaxed breath for 7-10 minutes. If required extend legs straight.

12. Warrior
Stand with your feet hip width apart, turn you right foot out 90 degrees and pivot your left foot inwards at a 45 degree angle. Align your front heel with the arch of your back foot. Press your weight through your left heel then exhale as you bend your right knee over your right ankle. Life your arms so they are parallel to the floor. Hold each side for 5 breaths.


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