Michelin Star Restaurants In Tuscany

Friday, June 23, 2017

Mouth-watering Cuisine, Michelin Star Restaurants In Tuscany 

Posted by Sonia (23/06/2017)

We all know that a Michelin Star restaurant means exceptionally good food. Tuscany is full of fantastic restaurants, from hearty, family-owned local establishments, to lavish gourmet restaurants. Whatever type of restaurant you prefer, you will find it somewhere throughout the region.

It’s not surprisingly that Tuscany is home to a rather large collection of Michelin Star restaurants. It even has a three star restaurant. So, if you want to be wined and dined, and experience the extravagant, high end side of the Tuscan cuisine, check out one of the Michelin Star restaurants below.

Michelin classification
· one star: A very good restaurant in its category
· two stars: Excellent cooking, worth a detour
· three stars: Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey

3 star restaurants
A restaurant in Florence offering an exquisite combination of modern and classic dishes. Ideal for wine lovers and those who like cosmopolitan vibes and plush restaurants.

2 star restaurants
Often, you will stumble upon the most spectacular restaurants in the smallest of villages and hamlets. Bracali is an excellent example of this. Here they serve unusual dishes and the restaurant is run by two brothers, one chef and one who serves in the restaurant.

Caino is in an absolutely stunning medieval hamlet (Montemerano). Sample the bold tastes of the Maremma and tuck into yummy food served in this welcoming, family restaurant.

Arnolfo is based in a town in the Siena region called Colle Val d’Els. As with many restaurants in Tuscany, the food in Arnolfo is made with only the freshest local ingredients. The restaurant’s terrace offers gorgeous panoramic views of this classic Tuscan town.

Piccolo, Lucca
Lucca is one of Tuscany’s must-visit towns, and it has plenty of excellent restaurants, including Piccolo. Apparently, having dinner here is ‘like choosing to live a dream’. This gourmet restaurant is based in the The Grand Hotel Principe di Piemonte and has a charming atmosphere, first class service and an intimate setting.

1 star *
     L’Imbuto (Lucca)

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Visit Florence or Siena?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Should You Visit Florence or Siena?

Posted by Mikolaj (15/06/2017)

These two cities have long been in competition with one another. From quarrels over deciding where one ends and the other begins, to trying to out do each other by attempting to build more impressive cathedrals and domes.

Have you heard about the story of the black rooster? Legend has it that to decide where the border should be, both cities sent a horseman out on a race at the crack of dawn. Each city had a rooster to signal this, the Florentines left their black rooster famished so it crowed just before dawn. This gave them a headstart and consequently they claimed the majority of the lands.

We’re not trying to add fuel to the fire, but we know this is a common decision our customers face. If you are only going to Tuscany for a short period, you may only have time to visit one city, so how do you choose which one? Is it better to stay in Florence or Siena?

 It isn’t an easy decision. Many people end up going to see the more famous Florence, but Siena should not be underestimated. To help you with your decision, here are some reasons to visit both.

Florence is obviously home to some very famous sights, so if you love museums, art galleries and sightseeing then this is your city. Be sure to check out key attractions including the Duomo, Giotto’s Campanile,  Palazzo Vecchio, The Uffizi Gallery, Ponte Vecchio and the  Palazzo Pitti.

Florence can get extremely busy during peak season, so if you don’t like crowds you may want to plan a visit in the off-season. There’s often huge queues for the main attractions, especially during busy times. It’s to be expected as Florence is such a huge tourist city.

Experience panoramic views of the city at the Piazzale Michelangelo where you can take in the classic and famous Florentine vistas. Florence is a city of the arts, and it’s packed with culture, so if this is your scene, you may prefer to spend a few days here instead of Siena.

Keep in mind if you visit Florence parking and driving is a bit of a nightmare. So if you have a car, Siena may be the better option. There are no driving zones in Florence where only the locals with permits are allowed, which limits where you can go.

But it is possible to drive and park if you do your research before you go. If travelling by train or bus, there are plenty of public transport options in Florence that will take you to towns nearby. Florence has much better public transports than Siena, so that’s something to consider.

If you want to visit Siena and the surrounding area, then it’s probably best you drive or hire a car. Siena is actually a really good base for touring Tuscany, because it’s within reaching distance of many of the hilltop towns like San Gimignano.

Compared to Florence, Siena is quieter and has more of an authentic Italian vibe. It can still attract hordes of tourists but not quite on the same scale that Florence does. Wander around the cobbled narrow streets, admire the medieval walls and enjoy an ice cream in the famous main square.

Siena also offers magnificent views of its own, all you have to do is make it up the steps to the top of the Torra del Mangia. The region of Siena is Tuscany at its absolute best, with pretty Tuscan towns, amazing scenery and excellent wine.

So there you have it. Both cities have their strengths, and both are most definitely worth a visit. Where you go just depends on your priorities and mode of transport. If you are staying in Tuscany longer than a couple of days then you can easily do both, they aren’t that far apart. You can drive from one to the other in one or two hours depending on whether or not you take the toll road.

If you are still stuck and can’t decide, why not let the apartment you stay in influence your decision. Have a look on our website for villas near Siena and Florence and simply choose your favourite property.
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Historical Facts About Tuscany

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Historical Facts About Tuscany You Might Not Know

Posted by Dympna (08/06/2017)

Tuscany is located in Central Italy and is an idyllic place filled with stunning scenery and some of the world's most beautiful and historic buildings. But there is more to Tuscany than meets the eye, as these 8 historical facts will prove.

It’s Pinocchio’s birthplace!
This famous character was created by Florentine writer; Carlo Collodi and upon visiting the town of Collodi, you will be able to stop off at the original Pinocchio Park, which was first opened in 1956. It certainly has an air of magic surrounding it.

Pavement Trendsetter
Not many people are aware of the fact that pavements were first given legs by the capital city of Tuscany; Florence, in 1339. It became the first European city to do so and certainly led the way for all future paved roads.

Italy is indeed known for its fine wines but Tuscany is the true heart of this sophisticated tipple and in particular, the region of Chianti. So it comes as no surprise that Chianti Classico is one of the most beautiful areas of Tuscany.
At Florence University of theArts, you can even undertake a one year course in the glorious study of wine!

Setting the scene (movies)
Some of the most iconic movies were filmed in this vast region, including the original 1968 film 'Romeo and Juliet', in which the main square of Pienza was used for the famous courtyard scene. The 1996 film 'The English Patient' was set partly in Tuscany and provided the perfect backdrop for the movies' heart-warming story.

It’s all in the arts
Many believe Tuscany to play host to the world's most significant and beautiful Italian architecture and arts. Both the Birth of Venus and Michelangelo's David are held at various galleries and museums here.

With a charming and amorous air, it's fitting that Tuscany laid the foundations of the Italian language. During the 14th century, and with its central location, it began to outweigh its other counterparts and set the tone for modern Italian as we know it today.

Changing The Law
Prior to the unification of Italy in 1860, capital punishment took place in near enough every Pre-Unitarian state. However, on November 30th in 1786, Tuscany became the very first modern European state in the world to completely abolish capital punishment and outlaw torture. This was under the reign of Grand Duke; Pietro Leopoldo who ruled during 1765-1790.

Tuscany is the proud home to seven UNESCO heritage sites. These particular places are of key historical significance within the world today and as such, are preserved to maintain this standing.

Added to the list in 1995, is Siena’s Historical Center. Known to most for its beauty, this particular site boasts a building structure that truly embodies the gothic and medieval architecture of Italy, which was acquired between the 12th and 15th centuries. The cathedral is part of this magnificent structure and holds some of the key masterpieces of Tuscan artists today. 
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Top Events & Festivals To Attend In Tuscany

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Top Events & Festivals To Attend In Tuscany In 2017

Posted by Virginie (01/06/2017)
Italy is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and the region of Tuscany is the jewel in its crown. A big draw is the variety of fantastic markets and celebrations the region has. There’s plenty to keep you entertained throughout the year. If you are going on holiday to Tuscany in 2017, there’s certain events and dates you should keep an eye out for. We have picked out a list of the best ones for 2017:

1. Il Palio – this amazing festival takes place each summer on July 2nd and August 16th in Siena. Simply stunning, the main attraction is a horse race ran around the Piazza Del Campo.  As the crowd watches on, the horses gallop around it to mesmerising effect.

2. Luminara and Regatta – an ancient festival located in Pisa, this runs every June 16th and 17th. The Luminara refers to the beautiful lights that bedeck the town during the festival and the regatta is pure excitement and spectacle.

3    Explosion of the Cart – elegant Florence hosts this festival at Easter time annually. Dating back 300 years, it involves a wagon being dragged through Florence prior to being ‘exploded’ with fireworks. The parade that follows is great fun too!

4    Cantiere Internazionale d’Arte di Montepulcino – beautiful Montepulciano is the setting for this celebration. Each night over the summer period, the town comes alive with music and theatre that has something for everyone to enjoy.

5    Carnevale di Viareggio - held prior to Ash Wednesday, Viareggio hosts one of the most well known carnivals in Tuscany. There are masked pageants and a colourful parade to enjoy that always attracts big crowds.

6    Lucca Summer Music Festival- Tuscany’s main music festival takes place in July each year where acts perform in the open air Piazza Napoleone. Previous names to perform include Robbie Williams, so you are guaranteed a good time and fantastic music.

7    Arezzo Market  - this is the biggest market in Tuscany, taking place in Arezzo. The town turns itself over to the market on the first Sunday and Saturday before of every month. It’s mainly an antiques market where some bargains can be picked up.

8.   Pistoia Market – this market takes place every Wednesday and Saturday, winding through the streets of Pistoia. This market offers a wide range of goods from clothes to food so will have something for everyone.

9    Lucca Market – set in the elegant city of Lucca, this market is always very popular. On the third weekend of every month, there are numerous stalls offering antiques, clothes and souvenirs.

10  Puccini Festival – one of the great Italian composers is celebrated in July/August each year with his own festival in Torre del Lago. During this period, his operas are staged in the outdoor theatre. The biggest names in opera travel to perform each year so if you are an opera buff it will be simply magical.

As you can see, Tuscany is a fantastic place to visit thanks to its interesting array of events. Book your holiday to Tuscany now and experience one of these events for yourself.

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Villa visit with To Tuscany staff

Friday, May 26, 2017

Villa visit with To Tuscany staff

The team of To Tuscany visits a large number of holiday villas several times a year. This way we can tell our clients all about our holiday villas, we check the quality plus meet the owners. It is always fun to drive around Tuscany with To Tuscany staff together and discover more about the surroundings of new and existing holiday villas.  Read more about our adventures below.

A number of holiday villas that have just been added to our website really stood out like
Villa Mia. Located in the Val D'Orcia, a beautiful area in Tuscany that definitely sparks one’s imagination, this region of Tuscany is listed on the Unesco World Heritage Site for a reason.
The Val d'Orcia extends from Siena to Grosetto and is breathtakingly beautiful.
This special landscape with green rolling hills was created in the 14th and 15th century to reflect life with nature in harmony and development. Many artists were inspired from this enchanting and peaceful area during the Renaissance.
There are some particularly historic cities and villages in the Val D'Orcia including Montalcino, Castiglione D'Orcia and Pienza. Villa Mia has incredibly beautiful panoramic views of the magic countryside, this secluded villa is warm and cosy, decorated with a nod to the Provence and Portugal, this is a very nice place to get together with twelve guests. The swimming pool is 18 metres long and positioned in a unique location, overlooking the lush green fields and beautiful Pienza in the distance.

To Tuscany team about Villa Mia: what a surprise this villa was to us, so beautifully styled by the enthusiastic owner, special lay out of rooms, we could tell the house is loved by the owners and very well taking care of.  It was raining when we visited but this did not spoil the views, we were thrilled to watch rolling thunders and rays of sunlight at the same time. Inside the villa was restored with a lot of care, keeping the charm of the house. It is a quiet retreat, but with Pienza - meaning lots of Pecorino cheese to make you happy - in sight far from being hidden away.

The Crete Senesi is located to the north of the Val D'Orcia and is created by erosion with typical white hills, the 'Biancane' without any vegetation. Here lies the home of the white truffle. Within the Crete Senesi you find a desert, Deserto di Accona, a very hilly gray moonlike landscape. Visit historic San Giovanni D'Asso and have lunch or dinner in the restaurant Osteria delle Crete where we enjoyed an excellent lunch of local truffle dishes. You will find a wonderful and delicious menu with ‘tartufo fresco’, with the unique flavour of summer truffle, white truffle and the Marzuolo truffle. Here the excellent chef truly understands the art of cooking with truffles! If you can’t get enough of truffles visit the truffle museum a few minutes away in San Giovanni D'Asso's castle.
In this picturesque town you can stay in an authentic holiday villa for five to six people.
 Casa Capanna has incredible beautiful views of the terrace and poolside over the surrounding fields. Great advantage is there are a number of restaurants and shops within walking distance, and the medieval castle of San Giovanni D'Asso is right next to the house. A special holiday villa in Tuscany's (white) truffle region!

To Tuscany team about Casa Capanna: the friendly owners of this surprisingly spacious apartment in the middle of San Giovanni D’Asso rent another villa Tribbio nearby. Casa Capanna has a great terrace, with a lot more privacy than we expected, and amazing views. You can hear the birds! The pool is a good size considering it is on the edge of San Giovanni D’Asso. The owners produce their own wine, olive oil and cheese and can do a tasting for you on request. We walked from here to the restaurant, literally in two minutes. This holiday villa is the perfect place for a family or group of friends to enjoy all of Tuscany while being surrounded by history – and great restaurants, you can walk home! 
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