Holidaying in Tuscany: The Advantages of Having Your Own Villa

Friday, November 30, 2012

Holidaying in Tuscany: The Advantages of Having Your Own Villa

When planning a holiday in the beautiful Italian region of Tuscany, there may be more important considerations at the front of your mind than what type of accommodation you want to stay in. Do you travel to fabulous Florence or jet picturesque Pisa? Should you go for seven, ten or fourteen days? Is it wise to take the plunge and holiday during the expensive months or wait until later in the year? These are all valid deliberations but here are a few reasons why choosing to stay in a Tuscany villa can really enhance your holiday experience.

Your Own Space

One of the main problems of staying in a hotel is that, although there is often ample space for all your belongings and a comfortable place to sleep, it always feels like you are sharing the environment with the other holiday makers at the same hotel. Sometimes these can be the very same sort of people that you have come away to escape from. Using a villa as your Tuscan base allows you to have more space to yourself as the whole building will be yours and nobody else’s. Imagine that, no more sharing the pool, no more having to deal with queues in reception and definitely no more noisy neighbours.  Add in the extra convenience factor of not having to hike up to the thirteenth floor and it really will start to feel like more of a home and a nicer place for you and your loved ones to enjoy yourself. The only difference is that you will be in 30 degree heat and surrounded by a beautiful Tuscan landscape.

A Feeling of Togetherness

Like it or not, one of the main reasons we all go on holiday is to spend some valuable time with our nearest and dearest. Therefore it can be rather frustrating to go away with your extended family and friends and have to stay in separate rooms; especially when those rooms are all in different far flung corners of the hotel. Conversely, staying in a villa gives you a lot more freedom with larger groups without compromising on luxury or value for money. A lot of companies, such as To Tuscany, offer villas for twelve or more people and so can accommodate even the largest of parties. Organising trips out together and arranging times for dinner will be so much easier. With everyone in the same place, the kids can come and go as they please without the worry of them wondering out of sight. All of this means you will have more time to relax and enjoy your idyllic Tuscany retreat.

Location, Location, Location

We’ve all experienced the fear when booking a hotel. The fear that we will arrive and it will be nothing like the pictures, still being built and at the end of a dark winding dirt track. When it comes to booking a villa in Tuscany, most of this fear can be eradicated. Once a villa is built it rarely requires any drastic extensions or alterations in the way that a hotel would. Even if it did, that villa would simply not be offered to holiday makers as opposed to a hotel that may choose to offer half its rooms to customers and hope they won’t notice the massive cranes. Additionally, due to the size and nature of a villa they are often situated in a far more scenic part of the country, generally away from the hustle and bustle of a city centre but still in reach of the main sights. This means that you can experience more of a true taste of Tuscany without having to endure vast amounts of traffic noise or thousands of other holiday makers. So why not enhance your holiday by experiencing a piece of this delightful region from your very own Tuscan Villa.
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Investigating the Charms of Fiesole and Certaldo

Friday, November 23, 2012

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When you are considering a holiday that will allow you to travel to beautiful locations and explore cities that you might not otherwise see, then you can choose few better places than Tuscany. Villas in the areas surrounding the major Tuscan city of Florence offer the option to visit the charming cities of Fiesole and Certaldo.

Fiesole sits in the heart of the Florentine region of Tuscany. Villas nearby make the eight kilometre trip into Florence both accessible and far enough away to be in a different place all together. Likely founded in the ninth to eighth centuries B.C., Fiesole was a much fought-over location that eventually succumbed to Florentine rule. As you wander about, be sure to visit the ancient walls, Roman baths and amphitheatre, before seeking out the Romanesque style cathedral that was built in 1028 A.D.

If you head 35 kilometres outside of Florence into Tuscany, villas will become apparent as the more appreciated way of life on the road to Certaldo. Like many of the towns and cities in Tuscany, Certaldo has a medieval defensive wall that divides the heart of the ancient town from the modern city that has grown up around it, or, in the case of Certaldo, below it. The Lower Town (modern town) has one main square, Piazza Boccaccio. From here, you can take a cable car to the Upper Town (ancient town) and see Casa del Boccoccio, which is the house where the poet Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) lived for seven years before his death. Further into the town you can’t miss the Palazzo Pretorio, first mentioned in 1164 and previously known as the Conti Alberti.
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Wandering Through Terni, Italy

Thursday, November 15, 2012

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If you are planning for a perfect holiday in Italy and want to stay somewhere that is off the beaten track but still makes getting to the larger cities a viable option, then consider staying just outside of Tuscany. Villas in Umbria are an excellent option for getting to stay near the heart of it all, and getting to explore places you may not otherwise have considered, such as Terni. Below Perugia, and bordering Lazio and Tuscany, Terni has been populated since 2,000 B.C.

If you want your holiday to have a slight romantic twist, then Terni is a great find so close to Tuscany. Villas in Umbria will make it easy to head into the city, which is called the “city of lovers” due to St. Valentine’s remains being kept in the basilica named after him. In another twist of names, Terni is also considered to be the “Manchester of Italy” due to its rich industrial heritage.

As you head into the city, stop by the Fausto Amphitheatre, which is a Roman amphitheatre dating from 32 B.C. Parts of the amphitheatre have been excavated and it is now used for concerts and events for up to 10,000 people. Wandering through the streets of Terni is one of the simple joys of being in Tuscany. Villas around the area allow you to spend ample time exploring the medieval architecture of Palazzo Mazzancolli and the 16th century Palazzo Spada. In the heart of the city, you will come across the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, which is undated but features an atmospheric Romanesque crypt. And before you leave Terni altogether, stop by Todicastle, a UNESCO protected castle estate, right outside the city.
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Tuscany Region Profiles: Grosseto

Monday, November 12, 2012

There's something about European vacations that feels magical, people love going to explore old cities and experience different cultures.  So many people travel to Italy each year to soak in the culture, and it seems like the region of Tuscany is the number one spot for vacationers.  When you're browsing Tuscany villa rentals for the first time you may not know where you want to rent.  If you take time to learn a little about each region in Tuscany, you'll be able to easily decide which area is the best for your vacation.  If you're curious about the city and region of Grosseto, this is the blog post for you.

The History of Grosseto

Grosseto is the name of a city and province in central Tuscany, and is close to the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Ombrone River.  Like many other areas of Tuscany, Grosseto has a history that stretches all the way back to the Middle Ages.  The region was first mentioned in written historical records in 803, and throughout the centuries it has seen a lot of battles and rulers.  Its rough history is what gave the city one of its most iconic landmarks.  Throughout the centuries the city relied on walls to keep invaders out, but the most famous set of walls (which are still standing today) were constructed in the 16th century. 

Grosseto Sights

In 1574 Francesco I de Medici, the second Grand Duke of Tuscany, ordered the replacement of the city's old walls from the 12th-14th centuries in order to make the city less vulnerable to attacks.  The walls took 19 years to construct, and when they were completed a new Grand Duke had already been appointed.  Despite not being completed during his reign of power, the walls were still named after Medici.  Now the Medicean Walls are one of the most popular sights in the city.
The Medicean Walls aren't the only architectural wonder in the city, Grosseto has an array of buildings made in distinct architectural styles.  You can see everything from Medieval churches to neo-Romanesque government buildings.  Italy is the country to be in if you're a patron of the arts, and if you love the arts you should look at Tuscan villa rentals in the city of Grosseto.  An array of writers, composers, singers, and actors have lived in Grosseto, and the famous fantasy writer Francesco Falconi and actress Elsa Martinelli still live in the region.

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Three Tips for a Stress Free Vacation

After years of saving and looking at Tuscan villa rentals, you're finally ready to go on your dream vacation to Italy. International vacations can be exciting, and for people who haven't traveled abroad before they can also seem a little intimidating. Before you board the plane for your dream getaway, make sure you read these tips to ensure that you have the most relaxing Italian vacation possible.

Check Your Passport 

Passports are absolutely essential for international travelers, without one you'll be barred from leaving your native country. Keep in mind that passports take a significant amount of time to be issued; it's likely that you won't receive it until months after you initially applied for one. If you need to get a passport, reschedule your Tuscan villa rental time to at least six months later to ensure that you have your passport by the time your vacation rolls around. If you already have your passport, make sure that it's valid for at least six months after you return.

Check Your Insurance 

You may have insurance coverage in your home country, but that doesn't mean that you'll be covered in Italy. Some insurance policies aren't valid outside of the country they were issued in, so it's very important to see if you'll be covered before you travel. If you find that your regular policy doesn't cover you look into obtaining travel insurance, your regular carrier may even have a company they recommend for their customers. Never refuse travel insurance because of its cost, if anybody gets injured or sick abroad you'll be grateful to have it.

Arrange Home Care 

Even if you'll only be gone for a week, you'll still have things at home that need to be maintained. You might need somebody to check the mail, or perhaps you'd feel more comfortable leaving pets with a trusted family friend instead of a kennel. If you have friends or family members who are willing to watch over your home and help with other things while you're away, your mind will be at peace during your getaway.
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Visiting Livorno and Piombino

Thursday, November 8, 2012

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When you are looking to book a holiday to one of the most beautiful regions in Italy for a relaxed getaway, you need look no further than Tuscany. Villas in the Tuscan region of Livorno offer a great mix of waterfronts, rolling hills and stunning vistas. Though most people tend to flock to the busier and bigger cities of Florence, Lucca and Pisa, there are many other places that you should visit in Tuscany. Villas in the western part of the region will give you easy access to the port city of Livorno and Piombino.

Livorno was known as an “ideal town” during the Renaissance and its role as an important port city is recognisable from the large defensive walls and port. When you visit Livorno, you may wander into the area known as “Little Venice”, with its cobbled streets and bridged canals, and feel like you have left Tuscany. Villas nearby will remind you, however, that you don’t have nearly so far to go to return to your peaceful holiday abode. Many of the streets here still retain much of their original 16th and 17th century charm and the city is filled with interesting buildings to see, such as the Palazzo delle Colonna and the Church of Santa Caterina.

After spending a day in the relatively bustling city of Livorno, head over to Piombino, which sits on the mainland, directly across from the Isle of Elba. A trip to Piombino will take you into the heart of this town, which has been important since Etruscan times. Spend the day wandering the streets and exploring the Cathedral of Sant'Antimo, which was built in 1377, and the 13th century Cassero Pisano.
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Where to Walk in Tuscany?

Friday, November 2, 2012

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Anyone who chooses the magic of villas in Tuscany for their holidays is already onto a very good thing, with the seemingly endless beauty of the Tuscan landscape all around, and easy access to some of Europe’s most gorgeous cities. It’s the perfect setting for those who like to get out and explore the countryside, as well as those who prefer to stroll down picturesque old town streets. But where to go? There are great walking routes in every part of the region – here are just a few ideas!

Near Florence: a popular choice for people seeking villas in Tuscany is the countryside near Florence, thanks to the myriad wonders of the ultimate Renaissance city. It’s also a great location for hiking fans, with its proximity to the Mugello Valley, which is simply breathtaking in its unspoilt beauty. To get a feel for the area, why not start with exploring the routes out of Fiesole, a picturesque town not far from Florence, before heading onwards into the valleys chestnut woods, historic communies, and lush forest-draped mountainsides?

Near Siena: Surrounded by spectacular hill countryside, Siena is a wonderful place to begin exploring Tuscany’s landscapes. The biggest draw in this area the Val d’Orcia, considered one of the region’s best places to walk. Running from the area just south of Siena to Monte Amiata, this valley has been a favourite subject for artists across the centuries. The towns and villages that can be seen scattered among its gentle slopes are packed with history and charm – you’ll hardly notice time passing.

Lucca: For anyone who wishes they could find a happy medium between countryside and city for a pleasant walk, Lucca is perfect – its old city walls have, over the ages, been transformed into a verdant promenade overlooking the historic town centre. More serious walkers will also benefit from villas in Tuscany around this area, as the nearby Pisan mountains provide excellent hiking terrain.
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