The Perfect Place For A Group Holiday

Thursday, April 27, 2017

4 Reasons Why Tuscany Is The Perfect Place For A Group Holiday

Posted by Dympna (27/04/2017)

Planning a holiday with your girlfriends, celebrating a special occasion, or perhaps you are looking for a big extended family break? Tuscany is ideal for group holidays for so many reasons. It offers a picturesque, peaceful setting, amazing food and plenty of places to see and things to do together. Here’s some reasons why Tuscany could be a great base for a group holiday.

1. The accommodation
One of the main reasons why Tuscany is so well suited to groups is because the range of accommodation is so well suited to big groups. We’ve got a huge selection of apartments and villas for up to 22 people. Over 85% of our current rentals have a private pool. All our properties are personally checked by us, to make sure they are of the highest standards.  We’ve actually got a brilliant selection of larger villas at the moment, so book now to secure the best properties.

Staying in a large private villa in Tuscany is very convenient for large groups. There are spacious social areas and everyone can have their own beautiful room. They are ideal for hosting parties and celebrations. Why not hire a professional private chef or musician to make your occasion even more memorable?

2. The activities & things to do
There’s plenty of group activities in and around Tuscany. Go on a group cycling, vespa or city tour, book a wine tasting experience, go horseback riding, or visit one of Tuscany's many impressive and historic castles.

There’s also plenty of food festivals and local events that take place throughout the region that are well worth a visit. Other great attractions for groups to visit in Tuscany include the Chianti Sculpture Park, the star gazing observatory,
The Pinocchio Park and Prehistoric Park near Pisa offer fab days out for family groups. Click here for more family activity ideas in Tuscany.

3. The travel time and flight prices
Arranging group holidays can often be pretty stressful as you have lots of people to organise. It’s also important to keep costs reasonable. You can all hop on a plane from a UK airport and get to Tuscany in around two hours.

A flight from London Gatwick to Pisa airport takes around two hours and prices start at around around £100. If you need any help organising your trip, give our experts a call and we can give you some ideas and inspiration for what to do and where to stay.

4. The location
Tuscany offers a very scenic setting for your group holiday. You can hire a large villa in the countryside and enjoy being in such a stunning location. Many of our villas offer spectacular views of the rolling Tuscan hills, vineyards and olive groves. Or if you would prefer a city break, we have plenty of lovely apartments in and around cities such as Florence and Siena. 

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Focus on your wellbeing whilst on holiday

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Focus on your wellbeing whilst on holiday

Posted by Mikolaj (20/04/2017)

We go on holidays to relax and escape reality – promising ourselves that a good break is all we need to recharge our batteries. However, in reality, the lack of routine means we end up over-indulging; our body clock slows down and we struggle to wake before midday, we try to cram in too much sight-seeing in an afternoon, happy hour cocktails bring regular morning hangovers and we binge eat food we wouldn’t look at on a normal day.
It’s not a surprise then, that we return home more exhausted than when we left, feeling like we need another holiday to recover from the first one and embarking on an urgent detox plan.
To Tuscany has teamed up with meta-wellbeing expert, Susan Gardner, to offer tips on how to use holidays as an opportunity to press pause on our daily lives and bring ourselves back into balance.

15 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Holiday
Stepping out of your familiar routine is a refreshing and powerful interruption to daily habits. Holidays enable a welcome new perspective and a different environment can be hugely beneficial as it can provide a different focus for your attention. Take advantage of the time you have to listen to your body and mind and to engage in essential relaxation.
1.       Every morning when you wake up, allow yourself 10-15 minutes of quiet contemplation, focusing your thoughts on gratitude for everything that is good in your life.
2.       Regularly do a quick body scan, identifying areas of tension and concentrating on letting your muscles soften and relax.
3.       Give your skin a gentle dry brush before washing and follow a hot shower with a blast of cold water
4.       Regularly sip water, preferably filtered.
5.       Have hot water with lemon 20 minutes before eating.
6.       Eat protein for breakfast.
7.       Ensure you fill your plate with a rainbow of coloured food.
8.       Try to eat alkaline foods such as cooked tomato, fish, broccoli, spinach, mango and papaya.
9.       When you have a moment, write or draw the negative thoughts that are in your head onto paper. Then destroy the paper.
10.   Notice and understand your feelings, breathing in calm and out tension.
11.   Try to interrupt negative thoughts and focus on what you DO want.
12.   Visualise a dial that you can turn down to lower stress levels.
13.   Be present and alert to the moment.
14.   Consider your personal space and tweak for pleasure and comfort – seeking solitude and stillness if needed.
15.   Aim for a minimum of 2 hours exercise a day – cardiovascular and gentle.

Easy Yoga Postures To Practice On Holiday
When you arrive at your holiday destination, have a look round for some suitable location to self-practice yoga; there may be a terrace or garden where you can put down your yoga mat and soak up the scenery. Even just half an hour of yoga every day will help to rejuvenate your body and mind.
Here are twelve easy-to-achieve postures from yoga teacher Megan Jones, that are great for outdoors. When familiar with each pose you can begin to sequence and flow one pose to the next using the breath.

1. Wide legged forward bend
Step the legs 3-4 feet apart, with a flat back exhale and bend forwards, bringing the palms to the floor under the shoulder. Press the head down and lift the hips up. Hold for 10 breaths.

2. Standing Balance
With your feet together and hands to hips. Raise the right knee to balance; 90-degree angle. Practice sending your gaze to follow whilst extending your right arm behind you. To challenge explore straightening your right leg. Hold each side for 6 deep breaths

3. Warrior Balance
With feet together, extend your arms straight over the head, palms facing inwards. Exhale as you bend forward at the hips whilst sweeping the right leg straight behind you coming in to a standing T shape. Hold each side for 6 deep breaths

4. Low lunge or Lizard
In a lunge position with your right knee forward firstly, slowly and carefully release the back left knee to the mat. Raise your hands above your head and hold on each side for 8-10 deep breaths

5. Downward Facing Dog (inversion)
From all fours lift your hips up and back to bring your body into an inward V shape. Spread the fingers wide and press hands to the mat, encouraging heels down increasing the stretch to the hamstrings. Relax your neck, tummy and chest toward the thighs. Work on pushing the heels closer to the mat. Hold for 10 deep breaths

6. Cat Cow Pose
In an all fours position place your wrists directly under the shoulders and your knees directly under the hips. Press into the fingers and tops of the feet. On the in breath gaze up, release the tummy and lift the hips whilst keeping knees, hands and feet to floor. On the outbreath contract the tummy inwards and up to round the back and gaze toward the navel. Hold for 10 full breaths

7. Seated Forward Fold
Sitting on your mat extended both legs forward, with the feet together flexed. Lift arms above the head on the inhale draw the navel back toward the spine, on the exhale hinge at the hips maintain length reaching toward the toes, Hold and relax the nose towards the knees. If uncomfortable try bending the knees and lessening the reach. Hold for 6 deep breaths

8. Bridge Pose (reclined)
Come down to lying on your back bring the feet to the mat, knees over the ankles at hip distance apart. Begin to lift the hips, draw the shoulders under the body as well as the hands and arms, interlace the hands squeeze keeping the arms straight and chin to chest. Engage and hold for 10 deep breaths.

9. Standing Forward Fold
With your feet together or apart, allow your body to fall forward with your fingers interlaced and anchored over your head. Press into the toes, activate the core, lift the hips high and soften the knees. Hold for 10 breaths.

10. Lord of the Fishes
From seated forward fold cross the right foot over the left thigh placing the sole to the outside of the left leg, if able also bend the left knee to bring the heel to right hip side. On an inhale; lift and twist the torso to the left bringing the right elbow to inner thigh. Look to the left and sweep the left hand behind the body. Remain lifted from the crown, soft In the back hand, resting the shoulders away from the ears. Hold each side for 5 deep breaths.

11. Reclined Butterfly
With back flush to mat, chin to chest resting the back of the head fully, arms by sides, palms facing up. Bring the soles of the feet together comfortably and allow the knees to fall apart, the hips to rest. For further support use blankets or blocks under the knees. Rest and restore for the day ahead of you. A restorative Savasana (relaxation) close the eyes, drift away, calming sounds, soothing vibes. Maintain stillness with a relaxed breath for 7-10 minutes. If required extend legs straight.

12. Warrior
Stand with your feet hip width apart, turn you right foot out 90 degrees and pivot your left foot inwards at a 45 degree angle. Align your front heel with the arch of your back foot. Press your weight through your left heel then exhale as you bend your right knee over your right ankle. Life your arms so they are parallel to the floor. Hold each side for 5 breaths.

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The Best Places For Proposing In Tuscany

Friday, April 14, 2017

Ideas & Inspiration - The Best Places For Proposing In Tuscany

Posted by Virginie (14/04/2017)

There’s no doubt that Tuscany is one of the most perfect places to propose. The region is littered with endless beautiful spots that are ideal places to pop the question. If you want to propose to your other half in Tuscany, we’ve got some wonderful ideas and proposal inspiration for you. Here’s some truly magical and outstanding places to propose throughout Tuscany.

Florence is full of so many amazing spots, so it depends what sort of proposal you are after. If you don’t mind braving the crowds and proposing with other people around, pop the question along the Ponte Vecchio at sunset, or by the Piazzale Michelangelo which offers sweeping views of the entire city. For somewhere a little more private, head to the Boboli Gardens and fine a deserted spot along the walkways of the picturesque gardens.

If you are feeling brave you could propose in the middle of the historic Piazza del Campo, one of Europe’s most impressive medieval squares. Or, escape the crowds by climbing to the top of the Tower of Mangia (Siena Bell Tower) which offers breathtaking panoramic views of Siena and beyond.

In the grounds of Brolio Castle
Brolio castle is so picturesque and beautiful, your partner will be blown away by the setting when you propose. Walk around the castle grounds, through the gardens and choose a spot to get down on one knee. The views all around the castle are absolutely jaw-dropping.

At a vineyard or by an olive tree
Of course, for a proposal in a classic Tuscan setting you could head to a vineyard. Go wine tasting before or afterwards, or simply stroll through the grounds and find the perfect place to pop the question. Or you could bring a picnic and sit down below an olive tree for a lovely low key proposal.

The Chianti Road 222
If you are feeling spontaneous, why not leave things to the last minute and find the right moment to propose. Drive along the Chianti 222 road and stop off when you find your favourite view, there’s lots of charming places along this road that would make for a wonderful proposal spot.

Hilltop towns
Finally there’s the numerous charming medieval hilltop towns to choose from. Pienza was the town that Zeffirelli used to film Romeo and Juliet, and is a very romantic place to propose. Other options include San Gimignano, Montalcino, Lucca, Radda in Chianti and Montepulciano.

In the natural hot springs
If your partner loves nature and the great outdoors, why not propose to her in the natural hot springs that can be found throughout Tuscany? Consider going out of season and it will be a little less busy, so you can grab a quiet moment together. Sit in the warm waters out in the woods and pop the question near a natural waterfall. Try the hot springs in Saturnia or the lesser known Bagni San Filippo.

If you are looking for more info and ideas and want to start planning your trip, check out our informative guide to travelling around Tuscany. 
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Different Types Of Holidays You Can Enjoy In Tuscany

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Different Types Of Holiday You Can Enjoy In Tuscany

Posted by Ruth (06/04/2017)

Tuscany offers a wonderful selection of different holidays. Whether you prefer trekking through mountainous scenery, strolling along the coastline, being wined and dined or simply chilling out in one of the most peaceful places on earth, you will love spending time in Tuscany.

Many people just picture this beautiful Italian region as somewhere to relax in the countryside, but it has far more to offer than rolling hills and vineyards. Here’s some of the different types of holiday you can have in Tuscany.

There’s loads to do in Tuscany if you want an active break. From cycling to hiking up to Botanical Gardens with a view, the countryside offers a wonderful setting to get out and enjoy some fresh air. If you are feeling very adventurous, then go white water rafting in Bagni di Lucca.

Canyon Adventure Park in Bagni di Lucca is built inside a canyon above a river. Here you can go on 100 metre zip wires and do rock climbing. Or if something more low key is more your thing, then go horseback riding on the beach or through the countryside. You can also go on boat trips near the coats and try lots of watersports.

Tuscany is a foodie’s dream come true. One of the best things about a holiday to Tuscany is the cuisine. If you do have an interest in food, then Tuscany offers plenty of experience to tantalise your taste buds. From being wined and dined by your very own private professional chef to food tours in Florence and cooking classes in local restaurants, you can really get stuck into the mouth-watering cuisine.

Many people don’t realise that you can also go on a beach holiday in Tuscany. However, you may be surprised to discover it has over 250 miles of coastline, and there’s 18 blue flag beaches. Below are some of our favorite beaches near our coastal villas.

     Cala Grande near porto santo stefano, nice for snorkelling but you have to walk a bit
     Spiaggia dell'Osa near Talamone
       Collelungo near Marina di Alberese is a lovely beach to visit, although you do have to walk through the woods or along the beach to reach it.
        If you are looking for kite surf schools try Spiaggia della Canova and Diaccia Botrona between Marina di Grosseto and Castiglione della Pescaia.
       Le Rocchette near Castiglione della Pescaia
       Cala Violina is very nice, you have to walk a bit from the parking but it’s a pretty beach and well worth it
       Spiaggia della Sterpaia, inside the natural park between Follonica and Piombino is wonderful in June and September. There’s a great beach lounge bar Nano Verde hidden in the pine wood.
       Near Forte dei Marmi the natural park San Rossore and Marina di Torre del Lago is beautiful

Not only are there plenty of spas you can visit throughout Tuscany, but you can also enjoy nature’s spa too. Tuscany is home to many natural hot springs which you can bathe in. It’s basically like sitting in a lovely warm bath. Plus, you can even choose your preferred temperature, as the water gets cooler the further down the streams you go. Try the natural hot springs and San Filippo or Saturnia.

Tuscany is actually an ideal destination for fun family holidays. Hire a luxury private villa and the kids can play in the garden and pool while you relax and take in the views. There’s plenty of family friendly days out and activities throughout the region, from visiting Pinocchio Park to prehistoric parks, water parks, caves and zoos, you won’t be short of entertaining options for the kids. Click here for more information of things to do with your little ones in Tuscany.

History & culture
Thousands of culture vultures swarm to Tuscany’s cities including Florence and Siena, which have an endless selection of cultural gems to appreciate. Wander through the world famous art galleries and museums and discover the history behind these enchanting cities. The medieval hilltop towns also have their fair share of history and culture to uncover.
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