What wildlife can you expect to see on your Tuscan holiday?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

What wildlife can you expect to see on your Tuscan holiday?
Posted by Ruth (18/12/2015)

Whether you’re going to Tuscany for the rolling hills and mountains, olive groves and vineyards or rocky coastline, you’re sure to witness some rich and varied wildlife. Tuscany has always attracted visitors for its beautiful scenery, yet its flora and fauna are often forgotten until you see it for yourself. Before you go on a Tuscan holiday, it’s worth researching and finding the best spots for viewing the wildlife so here are a few pointers.

Tuscany’s mountains provide a glorious backdrop to any picturesque view, as well as great fun for walking and hiking. To make the most out of the mountainous terrain, visiting one of the highest points in the area such as the Garfagnana region is well worth doing. Situated between the Apuan Alps and the Appennines, Garfagnana is home to the largest Italian National Park which stretches over 50km. Wolves, golden eagles, eagle owls, mouflon mountainous sheep and boars are to be spotted here.

The coastline of Tuscany is popular for its fine, sandy beaches. However, if you’d rather get off the beaten track, the small island of Capraia offers unspoilt coves and clear waters with an abundance of marine wildlife. Other creatures to be seen include gulls, migratory birds and even the occasional visit from whales and dolphins. The large dark butterfly, named the Foxy Emperor, is often found amongst the flora on the rocky coastline.

Vineyards and farms
Tuscany is most renowned for its relaxing countryside, rolling vineyards and Mediterranean olive groves. You won’t have to walk far to see the wildlife around the outside of any sleepy village. Foxes, deer, sheep, mouflon, hares, porcupines, stone martens and weasels are to be seen amongst the woods and forests.

For a villa in Tuscany to relax in when you’re not discovering the wildlife, take a browse on our site. To-Tuscany can help you to find your perfect holiday accommodation.
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Florence’s Best Frescoes

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Florence’s Best Frescoes

Posted by Sonia (11/12/2015)

Florence is a truly spectacular city with a rich and varied history and culture. One of the city’s best known features is the wonderful quality of its artworks, with its magnificent frescoes being one of the key talking points for most visitors. There are literally hundreds of different frescos to see in the city’s many buildings that are open to the public, but there are several which stand out from the rest and are really not to be missed.

Magi Chapel
Part of the Palazzo Medici Riccardi, the interior walls of the Magi Chapel are almost entirely covered with frescos by the Renaissance master Benozzo Gozzoli. The paintings are all related to the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem.
The three main frescos portray the journey of the three magi (or ‘wise men’) on the way to Bethlehem to honour the birth of Jesus. Many people believe that the depictions of the magi were based on the likenesses of members of the Medici family who owned the palazzo and paid for the frescos. There are further smaller frescoes in the apse showing various saints and angels and there are also three vertical frescos showing the shepherds who visited Jesus.

Santa Maria Novella
The first great basilica constructed in Florence, Santa Maria Novella’s frescoes offer fantastic examples of both Gothic and early Renaissance artwork. The Filippo Strozzi Chapel contains Filippino Lippi’s depictions of the apostles Philip and James which were completed in 1502. The chapel also contains frescoes of St John the Evangelist, Adam, Noah, Jacob and Abraham.
The Cappella Strozzi di Mantova features frescoes inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy and in the Della Pura Chapel there is the wonderful 14th century fresco of Madonna and Child and St. Catherine.

Il Duomo di Firenze (Florence Cathedral)
More properly known as Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower), Il Duomo is one of the best known and most visited sites in Florence. Its most recognisable feature is the 45 metre wide dome that crowns the building, the underside of which is home to a truly spectacular fresco.
The work, carried out under the supervision of Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari took 11 years, starting in 1568 and ending in 1579. The gigantic painting covers 3,600 square metres and represents the Last Judgement. Vasari died in 1574, meaning he never got to see the work completed, however Zuccari and others finished the fresco and, following restoration work that ended in 1995 this magnificent artwork is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.

To Tuscany has a fantastic range of villas in Florence offering the perfect place from which to explore this beautiful and historic city.
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Top 5 Flight Essentials

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Top 5 Flight Essentials

Posted by Dympna (04/12/2015)

When you’re travelling to Tuscany, you want to be reassured you’ll have a comfy flight. A typical flight journey will take roughly 2 hours from the UK so we’ve come up with some flight essentials that will help make the journey fly by.

The number 1 flight essential has to be a good book, wherever you’re travelling to. Make sure your book of choice isn’t too heavy as you’ll have to be carrying it around with you at the airport, before you board the flight. Or if your book is on the larger side, why not invest in a kindle? Kindles are fast becoming a handbag staple as they’re lightweight and practical.

If you’re a regular flyer, you’ll be aware of the ear popping situation when taking off and landing. This can be slightly uncomfortable if you’re not expecting it but easily avoided with some sucking sweets. Plus, you’ll have a tasty treat for the flight.

Head and Neck Pillow
When preparing for an overnight flight, remember your pillow. You can get small fold up ones to take up minimal room in your hand luggage and they can be a life saver if you’re after some shut eye.

Comfy Clothes
If you’re planning on taking an early flight, or flying in the middle of the night, then make sure that you take some comfy clothes so that you can nap on while flying. Remember that though you may feel hot in the airport, your plane will definitely have the air con on, so packing a jumper is a must.

Lastly, you’ll want some headphones and music with you. An iPod or music player come in really handy if you’re too tired to read, but can’t sleep, and may just help you drift off. Headphones also prove useful to drown out any particularly loud passengers!

You are now prepared to board your flight. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay after you land in Tuscany, then look at our selection of Tuscan villas. We have a variety of villas near to the airport or further afield, to cater to any family. 
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