Lively Livorno

Friday, July 26, 2013

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When you are planning your Tuscan getaway Livorno may not be at the top of your list of places to stay or visit but hopefully after reading this you will realise that it is not something to be missed. It may not have the attractive and infamous name like other cities such as Florence and Siena but there is enough going on in this city that lies on the Tyrrhenian Sea to suit the kind of holiday you are looking to have. The beautiful seafront is perfect for relaxing on your romantic break but there is plenty to do if you are planning on being more active.

Livorno has experienced a lot of expansion over the years and was once regarded as the most important and busiest port in Italy. Although it doesn’t quite hit the economical heights that it used to these days, its beauty and history is still there for all to see. Due to the fact that it les in the middle of the Tuscan coastline, it is a great place to base yourself in one of the many Tuscan Villas and explore the surrounding area. But before you do that here are a few things to enjoy in Livorno.

Santuario di Montenero –

This sanctuary that was built as a shrine to Our Lady of Grace has been transformed over the years from a small oratory to the beautifully breath-taking basilica that it is today. Although it is situated in the town of Montenero which is just outside of Livorno; it will offer amazing views of the city and is certainly something that you won’t want to go home without doing.

Enjoy the views from the cable car that takes you up to the sanctuary, which incidentally is included in the bus fair to Montenero, and listen in amazement at the stories that accompany the beautiful works of art. The sanctuary is open daily from 7am-7pm with a 2 hour break at 12.30pm but can get very busy on a Sunday.

Acquario di Livorno –

Although not as culturally important; this aquarium is sure to be just as educational and definitely something the children will enjoy. Whilst visiting this attraction you will meet Cuba the green turtle, black tipped sharks and over 1,700 other different marine animals. There is a touch pool where you can really interact with some of the underwater creatures and the walls are jam packed with educational information.

This aquarium doesn’t just focus on all things aquatic though as you will learn about the cultural significance of the building and other parts of Livorno as you travel round. The aquarium is open all year round and is free for children under a metre in height.

Terrazza Mascagni –

This fresh air, seaside walk is perfect for any couple on a romantic getaway or for any family who prefer to stay active rather than sit and sunbathe. The chessboard like design along the seafront walkway paves the way to beautiful views and a has peaceful and relaxing atmosphere about it.

Spend the day walking along, checking out Livorno’s famous port and historic fortifications whilst enjoying a delicious gelato, or come down for the evening for some rustic Italian cooking in one of the many restaurants. You could even do both and make a real day of it.
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Five Things You Didn’t Know About Tuscany

Friday, July 12, 2013

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Tuscany is a beautiful region of Italy situated on the west coast. Some of the famous cities that make up Tuscany include Florence, Pisa and Lucca and the region is home to many famous historical monuments and buildings. Tuscany is a popular destination amongst holiday makers from all around the world. We all know Tuscany is a beautiful place perfect for a relaxing get away, but what don’t we know about Tuscany?

The Italian Language Developed In Tuscany
The language of Italian spoken in Italy today first formed into what we know it as today in Tuscany. The Italian language originates from Latin, but it was in Florence that it developed into the Italian language that is still spoken today. During the 14th century famous poet, Dante Alighieri published his poetry using a blend of southern Italian languages including Sicilian with his native language of Florentine. His poetry was extremely popular and read all over the country and his dialect soon became the standard language spoken by almost all Italians.

Tuscany Is A Place That Set Trends
Cities in Tuscany have been setting trends since as far back as the 12th century. In 1339 Florence was the first ever city in Europe to have paved streets, not far after everywhere else followed in their footsteps. Tuscany is also very well known for setting trends when it comes to fashion, with label Gucci emerging from the region in 1921.

Famous Films Are Made In Tuscany
Many well known films have had scenes filmed in Tuscany including two very iconic films; ‘Twilight New Moon’ and ‘Gladiator’. Another well known film set primarily in Tuscany is ‘Under The Tuscan Sun’, in which an American divorce spontaneously decides to buy a house in Tuscany when on a tour of the region. This film shows just how beautiful Tuscan living can be, and I imagine provoked many others to do just the same.

Tuscany Is Made Up Mostly Of Hills And Mountains
Great for those after an adventurous break of hill walking and mountain climbing; two thirds of Tuscany is made up from hills and one fourth is made up of mountains. This makes for amazing scenery, beautiful views and many a mountain to climb. Choose a Tuscan Villa up in the mountains for the ultimate Tuscan experience.

One Of The Most Historical Places In The World
It has been recognised that Tuscany makes up 10% of the world heritage sites. These include- The historical centre in Florence, the historical centre in Siena, the Pisa square, the leaning tower of Pisa and much more.
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Five Tips For Having A Comfortable Flight

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

If you're going to be staying in villas in Tuscany, Italy, it's safe to assume that you'll be flying to your vacation destination.  Planning for travel and booking flights have become much easier, but staying comfortable during a long flight can be a problem.  It can be difficult to stay calm and comfortable when you're stuck in a seat next to a stranger, but it isn't impossible.  When you're preparing to head out to catch your flight, remember to keep these things in mind.

Don't Sacrifice Comfort To Save Money

This is a mistake that many money conscious travelers make when they're booking their flight.  Right now sitting right near the bathroom in a small seat to save money may seem bearable, but you'll be regretting your decision when you're on your flight.  If your airline is offering a seat or service that could make your flight easier, take it. 

Pick The Right Seat

All airline seats aren't created equal, some seats can have more legroom or be more comfortable even in the same class and rate.  If you want some leg room and space during your flight, choose the aisle seat or a seat near the exit.  Chairs by the window are an excellent option if you're planning on passing the time by sleeping, or if you're taking a red-eye flight.

Avoid Watching the Clock

Checking your phone to see if you're closer to your estimated arrival time won't help the trip go any faster, nor will checking the map to see the position of the aircraft.  Staring at the clock will just make the flight seem longer, and it could make you a little crankier if you're already anxious to get off the plane. 

Keep Busy

Is there a book that you've been dying to read that you haven't gotten a chance to open?  Are there some papers you've been meaning to look over for work?  If you want your flight to go by fast you're going to need a little bit of a distraction to keep you busy.  Read a book, play a game, or catch up on some work. 

Stay Hydrated

Pressurized cabins can suck a lot of moisture out of the air, and it isn't uncommon for frequent flyers to complain about having dry skin, chapped lips, and feeling dehydrated.  Be sure to drink water during your flight, and bring lotion and chapstick to keep your skin from getting too dry.
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Three Planning Tips For Your Tuscan Vacation

Monday, July 8, 2013

Is there a person alive who doesn’t want to see Tuscany?  It’s one of Italy’s most famous regions because of the region’s unique contribution to culture and the arts, and the scenery is beautiful and inspiring.  If you want to enjoy your vacation planning ahead is key.  If you’re planning on spending time in a few luxury villas in Tuscany with your friends, remember to keep these things in mind when you plan your getaway.

Avoid The Summer Season

Most of you reading this are probably thinking of planning your Tuscan getaway for the summer months, but if you really want to enjoy your vacation you’ll plan to travel during the spring or fall.  Summer is the peak vacation season, and if you book during June, July, or August you’ll be paying peak prices.  Aside from the cost, if you travel to Tuscany in summer you’re going to be vacationing at the same time as thousands of other people.  If you travel to Tuscany in the summer there will be crowds of people at all of the best museums, restaurants, and attractions, but if you travel during the off season you’ll be able to avoid the crowds.

Rent A Vehicle

Much of Tuscany’s charm isn’t in its museums or large restaurants; it’s in the small towns that dot the Tuscan country side.  When you’re on vacation rent a bike or a car so that you can really see what Tuscany is all about.  Check out the smaller towns like Siena and San Gimignano.  These towns have been around for centuries and are full of breath taking architecture.

Learn Some Italian

A lot of tourists make the mistake of neglecting to learn Italian because they know that they’ll have a translator by their side the entire time.  The translator can get you where you need to go, but they won’t be able to give you the satisfaction or thrill of briefly connecting with someone by briefly conversing in Italian.  No resident of the region is going to expect you to speak perfect Italian, but simply saying “thank you” in Italian can do a lot.  Download Vocre to help you converse and translate when you’re on your vacation.  The app was designed to help people understand one another during a bi-lingual conversation, and it’ll be perfect for your vacation.
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Five Essential Safety Tips For Traveling Abroad

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Whether you're traveling to villas in Tuscany or a hotel room in Paris, safety is the top priority for any traveler that's going abroad.  Being safe while traveling abroad doesn't have to be difficult, if you use your common sense and trust your instincts you can have a great vacation.  If you're going to be traveling abroad for your vacation, remember to follow these five tips.

Separate Your Money Sources

When you're at home you keep all of your bank cards, credit cards, and cash in your wallet, but you should avoid doing that when you're traveling abroad.  If your wallet gets lost or stolen when you're away, you could find yourself stranded without any money.  Keep at least one credit card or bank card in a different place, preferably back at wherever you're staying.

Make Copies of Important Documents

Some people used to make photocopies of their important documents like their passport or birth certificate.  It's still good to have copies of important documents, but instead of printing them on paper scan them and save them on your computer.  Email them to yourself so you'll always have a copy when you need it. 

Be Wary With New "Friends"

There's nothing wrong with making friends when you're on vacation, but you should think twice about going to new and strange places with people you've just met.  People who are traveling abroad should be wary of local scam artists who work by befriending tourists so that they can rob them later.  The Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree has a variety of threads devoted to warning fellow travelers about the scams they could encounter.  Before you travel, see what local scams could be occurring where you're traveling.

Check Certifications

Before you take that scuba diving course or bungee jump, make sure that you make sure that the operators have legitimate qualifications and have a good safety record.  Some tourists get lured into some of these specialty services because of their low price, but the low price tag may be because the people running it aren't qualified to do so.

Leave Expensive Items at Home

You may have always dreamed of wearing your $1200 diamond bracelet on your vacation, but if you want to stay safe you should leave all of your expensive personal possessions at home.  Aside from the fact that you could lose them, wearing expensive jewelry or taking pictures with a costly camera makes you look like an attractive target for thieves.
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Three Family Friendly Attractions For Vacationers in Tuscany

Monday, July 1, 2013

When people think of family friendly vacation spots they think of places with amusement parks and other typical kid friendly attractions.  Tuscany isn't just a great vacation destination for appreciating Tuscan art and culture, it's also a great place for families to stay.  When you look at Tuscany villas for rent, look for ones that are large enough to accommodate your entire family because there are a lot of things for kids and their parents to see in this region of Italy.

If you have a child that loves dinosaurs and animals, a trip to the Prehistoric Park in Peccioli is a must.  The Prehistoric Park in Peccioli was founded after the park founders discovered some fossils on their land.  After discovering the fossils, the park founders decided to turn the area into an educational prehistoric wonder land.  The park has over 18 naturalistic models of dinosaurs along with models of cavemen and a volcano.  There's even a nice area for families to relax and eat after spending the day touring the park.  Your kids will love seeing the life-like models of the dinosaurs, and they'll be able to do something educational and fun on their vacation.

Pienza is famous for two things: their award winning Pecorino cheeses and its beautiful scenery.  Pienza is surrounded by vast meadows and farms, and when you're exploring the area you'll get a taste of what true country living is like in Tuscany.  When you're in Pienza take you kids to see one of the regions famous cheese factories.  Your kids will be able to see how one of the favorite foods is made, and they'll be able to learn a lot about local agriculture. 

Some people think that every zoo is the same, but that isn't the case in the Poppi Zoological Park.  Poppi doesn't spend their budget getting animals from exotic locales in their zoo; they focus on the plants and animals that are native to the region.  In today's modern world it can be easy to forget just how diverse regions are.  When your kids see the foxes, lynxes, birds of prey, and other animals that are native to Europe here, they'll start to develop a unique appreciation for nature.

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