Top Things To Do In Chianti

Friday, March 24, 2017

Top Things To Do In Chianti


Posted by Dympna (24/03/2017)

Chianti is a wonderful place to stay in Tuscany. It boasts charming villages and towns, some of the best wine in the region and Tuscany’s distinctive classic rolling hills packed with vineyards. There’s also lots of olive groves, farms and castles to explore.

This region produces famous wine, olive oil and is known for its artisan meats and cheeses. Chianti is also an ideal base, as places such as Siena and Florence are within reach. If you are planning to stay in Chianti,  here’s some of the top things that should be on your to do list.

You just can’t stay in this region without going wine tasting, it’s an experience you won’t want to miss out on. There’s lots of amazing places to go wine tasting. We went to Casanuova di Ama and had an incredible experience.

 If you want a generous tasting with freshly prepared food tasters for each type of wine, then this is your place. It’s set on a traditional Tuscan farm, and the host, Danielle, does a wonderful job of entertaining. You can learn all about Chianti wine and how the wines are made in this region, and she will happily answer any of your questions.


2. Try the ice cream at Gelateria Di Castellina Castellina in Chianti
Castellina in Chianti is worth a visit, it’s a pretty hilltop town with a few local shops and restaurants. We stopped off here for one main reason, because we had heard so many good things about the ice cream. If you pass through Castellina, make sure you visit Gelateria Di Castellina, the ice cream is incredible. I would even go as far as to say it’s the best ice cream I have ever tasted.

3. Stop off for lunch at Radda in Chianti
We spent quite a bit of time in Radda. It’s a bit of a central meeting point because of its ideal location, but it’s also a stunning little town. The views that surround Radda are spectacular. I imagine it’s a wonderful place to get married, because it’s got those quintessential Tuscan views. There’s a lovely cafe bar on the corner as you come into town that’s ideal for people watching. If you are driving through Chianti, make time to stop off for some lunch or a coffee in Radda.


The Chianti Sculpture Park is located about ten kilometres outside of Siena, between Pievasciata and Vagliagli. It was inspired by Piero and Rosalba Giadrossi and contains lots of impressive sculptures and covers about 17 acres. Here you can admire these artistic pieces as well as take in the natural landscape and enjoy the great outdoors. You could stop off here on the way to Siena and take a few snaps of your favourite sculptures made by artists around the world.

5. Take part in a cooking class
The region is also known for its mouth-watering food, and there’s a few special places where you can take part in unforgettable cooking classes. After you have tasted dishes at a few restaurants, you will probably be dying to know how to recreate them. Book a cooking class and learn how to rustle up a few local classics, which you can show off to your friends and enjoy when you get home.


Brolio Castle should definitely be on your to do list. It’s one of the most beautiful castles you will ever come across. The views around the castle are jaw-dropping, and you can wander round the grounds and explore the outside of the castle. Your ticket also enables you to taste some wine at the nearby shop. Brolio Castle is located 10 kilometres south of Gaiole.


For more information on what there is to do in Chianti and where to stay, check out our handy guide book. We have also put together 10 Chianti classics to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Chianti, click here to check it out for more inspiration for your holiday. 
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What To Pack For A Holiday In Tuscany

Friday, March 17, 2017

What To Pack For A Holiday In Tuscany


Posted by Mikolaj (17/03/2017)

So you’ve booked your holiday to Tuscany, and it’s time to start thinking about what to pack. If you really want to make the most of your Tuscan adventure, then there’s some things you shouldn’t forget to pack in your suitcase.

Obviously what clothing you bring depends on the time of year you are visiting. If you aren’t visiting in the hottest months of the year, you may want to bring a cosy cardigan for the evenings, as temperatures tend to drop a little.

You also need to consider what sort of holiday you are going on. If you are planning on being pretty active, then you might want to bring some sports gear. Here’s some general things you might want to think about packing for your holiday in Tuscany, Italy.

Walking shoes
If you plan on venturing deep into the Tuscan countryside and going on some walking routes then you will definitely need some suitable walking shoes. The terrain varies quite a bit across the region, so you will need some decent comfortable walking shoes.

If you only plan on walking round the hilltop towns and cities then a normal pair of trainers will so. Keep in mind that a lot of the streets are cobbled and uneven, and can be slippy when wet, so it’s worth bringing a pair of shoes with a fair amount of grip.


A guide book
A guide book can be really handy. You might think you have everything planned beforehand, but guidebooks have handy info that can help you when you arrive. We have produced a guidebook that you can download and take with you, click here to take a look. It offers advice for driving in Italy, the best towns to visit and the top things to do in Tuscany.

Appropriate clothing for religious buildings
If you want to go into churches and religious buildings throughout Tuscany in cities such as Florence for example, you will need the appropriate attire. It’s a real disappointment to get there and realise you can’t go inside. You will need a long sleeved top and trousers. A long shawl is a handy alternative to a long top for ladies, and can easily fit in your travel bag. Your knees and shoulders need to be covered when entering churches.


Camera
Don’t forget to pack your best camera, because you will want to take lots of pictures in Tuscany. There’s so many beautiful views and wonderful sights, that you will want to be able to take some decent pictures. You may also want to bring a fairly large memory card as you will be constantly snapping away.

Smart clothing
Italians are known around the world for dressing well, so you will find that a lot of restaurants have a fairly smart dress code. You may want to brings some smart outfits for the evenings. However, there are some more laid back restaurants if you prefer to keep things casual.

Lightweight rain coat
Although the weather in the summer in Tuscany is glorious, there’s always the chance of the odd shower or storm. Take a lightweight rain coat with you, and you won’t get caught out in the rain, and can still go out exploring if the weather takes a turn for the worse.


Swimwear
If you plan on going to public swimming pools, keep in mind that in some places you have to wear a swimming hat! Also, sometimes men have to wear speedos. Therefore, you might want to bring a few different swimwear options.

Insect repellent
The mosquitos can be quite persistent in Tuscany, and you might get bitten if you go out in the evenings without insect repellent.

Don’t overpack
The chances are, when you are browsing the local shops and sampling mouth-watering wines, you might want to make a few purchases. So save some room in your suitcase so that you can bring the taste of Tuscany home and squeeze in some wine and olive oil. If you run out of room, there are some places that will deliver wine and olive oil to the UK.


Consider bringing your bike
If you love cycling, you will be very jealous if you go to Tuscany without your bike, and have to drive past lots of cyclists enjoying the amazing cycling routes. Although if you don’t bring your bike, there are lots of places where you can hire one.

First aid kit

It’s always handy to have some basic medical supplies. A first aid kit is a must if you're going out exploring a lot, or planning on doing lots of activities. If you don’t want to pack a whole kit throw in a few basic supplies such as plasters, antiseptic wipes and antihistamines. 
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5 Reasons to Visit Tuscany in 2017

Friday, March 10, 2017

5 Reasons to Visit Tuscany in 2017


Posted by Virginie (10/03/2017)
See the future at Luigi Pecci Centre for Contemporary Art
Throughout 2017
Check out the spaceship-shaped extension of the Luigi Pecci Centrefor Contemporary Art. The home of one of Italy’s most innovative collections of post-1960s art has just reopened following the renovation of the original Rationalist building and the construction of an eye-catching gold extension by the architect Maurice Nio. Inside, explore the modern treasures amassed here, in permanent and temporary exhibitions, which touch on music, theatre and fashion, as well as the visual arts.
Stay at Le Vie Cave, a rural retreat tucked away in the nearby hills.


Cheer on the 100th Giro d’Italia…
17 May 2017
Cheer on the cyclists in the 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia, which hits the streets of Tuscany in May. The riders will depart Ponte a Ema, birthplace of the champion road cyclist Gino Bartali, then head west on Stage 11 of the race, a hilly 161km journey to Bagno di Romagna in neighbouring Emilia-Romagna.
Stay at Villa Paterno, a handy base for seeing the race as it passes through Tuscany, just four miles from the route.


…Or get pedalling in the first Nova Eroica
30 April 2017
Get on your own bike, too, for the first Nova Eroica, the latest inspiration of the people behind L’Eroica, the vintage bike race fuelled by local food and wine, which is held in Tuscany each October. This new spring event will also take place on the strade bianche – the white roads that criss-cross the Chianti vineyards – but using modern bikes. Depending on how serious a cyclist you are, choose from competitive and non-competitive routes, there’s even one you can take the family on.
Stay close to the routes at La Stalla at Fattoria Armena, near Buonconvento.


Raise a glass to 25 years of Open Cellars
27-28 May 2017
Don’t miss a trip to a local winery – it’s a highlight of a holiday in Tuscany. The fact that many vineyards now throw open their doors to the public is due in no small part to the Open Cellars movement, which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary. Whether you’re a novice or a buff, there are plenty of wineries to choose from – more than 100 across the region will be taking part in the event, so there’s sure to be one close to your villa in Tuscany.
Stay at Villa Beba, on the doorstep of participating vineyard Castello di Fonterutoli.


Follow in the footsteps of Edith Wharton
11 August
You may know the American writer Edith Wharton, who died 80 years ago this August, for her novel The Age of Innocence, for which she became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize. But did you know she was also a prolific travel writer and the author of Italian Villas and their Gardens? This influential tome includes descriptions of some of the finest Medici villas gracing Tuscany’s rural pastures, many of which are now Unesco-listed.
Stay at Castello Pandolfini, which was once owned by the Medicis, making it possible to experience as well as view this dynasty’s great houses.



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Take Your Dog With You To Tuscany in 2017

Friday, March 3, 2017

Take Your Dog With You To Tuscany in 2017 

Posted by Ruth (03/03/2017)

There’s no reason why Fido should be left behind on your Italian adventures. Instead of leaving your dog at home, bring him with you to Tuscany where you can enjoy lots of adventures together.

We’ve searched far and wide for the best dog friendly villas and apartments in Tuscany. You can view our fantastic selection of pet friendly villas here. With over 400 villas to choose from, you will be surprised at how much pet friendly accommodation there is in Tuscany.

Things to do with your dog in Tuscany
Thanks to Tuscany’s beautiful countryside, there’s plenty to do with your dog. You can go out hiking in the mountains, take your dog for a dip in natural thermal springs and even spend a day at the beach.

Choose a villa with a private enclosed garden, and your dog can play around outside while you enjoy a bit of relaxation. You might also want to take your dog for a stroll around some of Tuscany’s hilltop towns, or take them out with you to a local dog friendly cafe or restaurant.


Tips for travelling with dogs
If you are travelling by car to Tuscany, make sure you take plenty of breaks, so your pooch can stretch their legs. They will need to be safe and secure in your car in a dog travel crate, or in a harness and seatbelt.

Never leave your dog unattended in your car, especially when the weather is warm. If you are taking your dog on a ferry, check with the ferry company whether they allow dogs before you travel.

What to bring with you
Before you bring your dog to Tuscany, you will need to think about what to pack. You will need all the usual doggy supplies such as dog food, a dog bed, a collar and lead, and maybe some of their favourite toys to keep them occupied during the journey. You will also need dog travel products, and a travel water bottle or bowl for journeys in the car. Remember to bring your pet’s passport!

Pet passports
If you want to travel with your dog in Europe, they will need a pet passport. You can get a pet passport from your vet. Your dog will also need to be microchipped, and get a rabies vaccination, your dog can only travel 21 days after they have had this.


Depending on which country you are going back to, you might need to visit the vets in Tuscany before you go home. For example, in the UK, you are required to have a vet administer a worming tablet between 1 to 5 days before you return home. We can even help guide you to the nearest vets if you need your 'pet passport' stamped, so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions. 
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Tuscan Products & Specialities

Friday, February 24, 2017

Regional Products & Specialities You Must Try In Tuscany


Posted by Sonia (24/02/2017)

One of the reasons I love visiting Tuscany so much is the wonderful range of local delicacies and products to sample. Food is very much at the heart of the culture here, and the local people take a lot of pride in the quality products they produce.

You simply can’t go to Tuscany without trying some of these things and bringing your favourites home in your suitcase. Here are some regional products and specialities to look out for and sample on your holiday in Tuscany.


The Olive oil
We tried olive oil at a local farm, and I can still remember the taste of the wonderful flavours. It’s by far the best olive oil I have ever tasted. We loved it so much we brought some back in our suitcase, but I wish we could have brought more! Extra virgin olive oil in Tuscany is world class, and known for its fruity but bitter flavour. They pick the olives by hand and start harvesting them in November.


The wine
Everyone knows that Tuscany is known for its famous wines, especially the Chianti region. Don’t miss out on the chance to go wine tasting. You can pick out your favourite wine to bring back with you. You will also learn about how the wines are made and a little about the history of Tuscan wine.

Make sure you try the Chianti Classico in Chianti (our favourite was the Riserva), and the Brunello di Montalcino in Montalcino. If you would like to book wine tasting for your holiday in Tuscany, click here for more information on the best places to go wine tasting in Tuscany.


The pecorino cheese
I have never heard of this cheese before visiting Tuscany, but we ended up eating it every single day for lunch. It goes perfectly with fresh tomatoes and Tuscan dried meats. You can also use it as an ingredient in salads and pasta dishes. It’s made from sheep's milk.
It’s age from 8 to 12 months to create a strong taste and granular texture. I keep trying to find it in the UK but haven’t been successful, so make the most of this tasty cheese whilst in Tuscany.

Almond biscuits
There’s no better way to finish a meal than with an espresso and sweet, nutty almond biscuits. They also go very well with sweet dessert wines such as Vin Santo (we tried some at the end of our wine tasting). Cantucci biscuits are a famous Tuscan biscuit that are also called ‘Biscotti’, which literally means ‘twice baked’. They are oblong shaped dry crunchy biscuits that are very moreish!


The cured meats
Most restaurants in Tuscany will have a starter on their menu that consist of dried meats. You can also purchase a variety of different cured meats at local shops and supermarkets. Cinghiale is a favourite, it’s made from dried wild boar meat and is often used in paninis and Tuscan starters.
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