Villa visit with To Tuscany staff

Friday, May 26, 2017

Villa visit with To Tuscany staff

The team of To Tuscany visits a large number of holiday villas several times a year. This way we can tell our clients all about our holiday villas, we check the quality plus meet the owners. It is always fun to drive around Tuscany with To Tuscany staff together and discover more about the surroundings of new and existing holiday villas.  Read more about our adventures below.

A number of holiday villas that have just been added to our website really stood out like
Villa Mia. Located in the Val D'Orcia, a beautiful area in Tuscany that definitely sparks one’s imagination, this region of Tuscany is listed on the Unesco World Heritage Site for a reason.
The Val d'Orcia extends from Siena to Grosetto and is breathtakingly beautiful.
This special landscape with green rolling hills was created in the 14th and 15th century to reflect life with nature in harmony and development. Many artists were inspired from this enchanting and peaceful area during the Renaissance.
There are some particularly historic cities and villages in the Val D'Orcia including Montalcino, Castiglione D'Orcia and Pienza. Villa Mia has incredibly beautiful panoramic views of the magic countryside, this secluded villa is warm and cosy, decorated with a nod to the Provence and Portugal, this is a very nice place to get together with twelve guests. The swimming pool is 18 metres long and positioned in a unique location, overlooking the lush green fields and beautiful Pienza in the distance.

To Tuscany team about Villa Mia: what a surprise this villa was to us, so beautifully styled by the enthusiastic owner, special lay out of rooms, we could tell the house is loved by the owners and very well taking care of.  It was raining when we visited but this did not spoil the views, we were thrilled to watch rolling thunders and rays of sunlight at the same time. Inside the villa was restored with a lot of care, keeping the charm of the house. It is a quiet retreat, but with Pienza - meaning lots of Pecorino cheese to make you happy - in sight far from being hidden away.

The Crete Senesi is located to the north of the Val D'Orcia and is created by erosion with typical white hills, the 'Biancane' without any vegetation. Here lies the home of the white truffle. Within the Crete Senesi you find a desert, Deserto di Accona, a very hilly gray moonlike landscape. Visit historic San Giovanni D'Asso and have lunch or dinner in the restaurant Osteria delle Crete where we enjoyed an excellent lunch of local truffle dishes. You will find a wonderful and delicious menu with ‘tartufo fresco’, with the unique flavour of summer truffle, white truffle and the Marzuolo truffle. Here the excellent chef truly understands the art of cooking with truffles! If you can’t get enough of truffles visit the truffle museum a few minutes away in San Giovanni D'Asso's castle.
In this picturesque town you can stay in an authentic holiday villa for five to six people.
 Casa Capanna has incredible beautiful views of the terrace and poolside over the surrounding fields. Great advantage is there are a number of restaurants and shops within walking distance, and the medieval castle of San Giovanni D'Asso is right next to the house. A special holiday villa in Tuscany's (white) truffle region!

To Tuscany team about Casa Capanna: the friendly owners of this surprisingly spacious apartment in the middle of San Giovanni D’Asso rent another villa Tribbio nearby. Casa Capanna has a great terrace, with a lot more privacy than we expected, and amazing views. You can hear the birds! The pool is a good size considering it is on the edge of San Giovanni D’Asso. The owners produce their own wine, olive oil and cheese and can do a tasting for you on request. We walked from here to the restaurant, literally in two minutes. This holiday villa is the perfect place for a family or group of friends to enjoy all of Tuscany while being surrounded by history – and great restaurants, you can walk home! 
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Classic and sports cars in Tuscany

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Classic and sports cars in Tuscany

Posted by Mikolaj (18/05/2017)
Are you or your kids fans of classic and sports cars? Would you like to spot beautifully restored vintage cars on streets of Tuscan cities? Do you dream of visiting factories and museums of Italian supercars like Ferrari, Lamborghini or Pagani? Or maybe you want to spend some time with kids on karting track? Here’s a list of experiences for moto enthusiasts.

Classic and vintage cars races

Mille Miglia
Mille Miglia, meaning “thousand miles”, was an open-road endurance race which took place from 1927 to 1957 on the round route Brescia-Rome-Brescia. Since 1977, the "Mille Miglia" has been reborn as a regularity race for classic and vintage cars. Participation is limited to cars, produced no later than 1957, which had attended to the original race.
Nowadays it takes place in the middle of the May. If you are staying in one of our villas, you can spot the cars as they go towards Rome through Umbria with overstops in Urbino, Gubbio and Perugia, or on their way from Rome to Brescia on scenic route in Val d’Orcia, passing Radicofani, then Siena, San Miniato, Montecatini Terme and Pistoia.

Gran Premio Nuvolari
Gran Premio Nuvolari, named after famous Italian motorcycle and racing driver Tazio Nuvolari. Initally it was a car race on open streets that was run from 1954 to 1957. In 1991 it was reborn as an international vintage car race.
It takes place in the middle of September as a 1000 km long journey between the beauties of central Italy. The 1000 km route is Mantua – Rimini – Siena – Arezzo – Urbino – Rimini – Ferrara – Mantua. In Tuscany it’s possible to spot the cars and drivers in Gaiole, Siena, Castelnuovo Bererdenga, Monte San Savino and Arezzo.

La Corsa di Alcide
La Corsa di Alcide is a classic regularity race for historic cars from before 1971 and open to Italian and foreign teams. It takes place in June. The route winds through the most beautiful landscapes of Tuscany and it’s historic towns. Participants and supporters visit Argentario with its cliffs, Maremma, Val d’Orcia, Crete Senesi and Chianti and enter in the heart of the villages and the most beautiful cities like San Gimignano, Monteriggioni and Grosseto. There is also a “Heroic path” on the famous white roads of Tuscany.

Coppa Del Chianti Classico
Chianti Classico Cup is an international event for classic cars taking place in September in the middle of Chianti area. It’s technical and challenging street race course, but car spotters have an opportunity to see the cars and meet the drivers and pilots at the presentations in wineries or historical sites.

Rally Legend
Rally Legend is classic rally cars event held since 2003 in San Marino that real WRC fan should not miss. San Marino is about 2-3 hours drive from central Tuscany, but it’s worth an effort. It takes place in the middle of October. You can meet here WRC champions like Carlos Sainz, Juha Kankkunen, Walter Röhrl or Marcus Grönholm and many other famous rally drivers in cars that were on the top between late 70’ and early 90’ like Lancia Stratos, Lancia Delta, Audi Quattro or Toyota Celica.

The list of other main moto events is available here:

Factories and museums (Emilia – Romagna region)
Most of the Italian supercars factories and museums are based in a small area in Emilia – Romagna region, south from Bologna, about 2-3 hours drive from central Tuscany. For opening hours, entrance fees, addresses please use the links below:
Enzo Ferrari Museum in Modena
Ferrari Museum, factory and track in Maranello
Lamborghini factory and museum in S. Agata Bolognese  
Maserati (Umberto Panini private museum) near Modena
Pagani factory and museum in San Cesario sul Panaro
Ducati factory and museum in Bologna

Other attractions or activities
Siena Circuit, 18 km east from Siena, kart track for children over 6 and adults, you can rent a kart here
Mugello Circuit near Florence, MotoGP races, sports and classic cars events are organized here; it’s possible to practise here on your motorbike or car 

Eroici in Moto – if you have heard of vintage bike race L’Eroica on white gravel roads, this is the same idea, but on classic enduro or touring motorbikes
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6 Unique & Unusual Things To Do In Tuscany

Thursday, May 11, 2017

6 Unique & Unusual Things To Do In Tuscany

Posted by Ruth (11/05/2017)

Looking for something a little out of the ordinary? If your perfect holiday doesn’t consist of laying on a sunbed for a week, then we’ve got some news for you, Tuscany could be just what you’re after. Of course you can hire a luxurious private villa and simply chill out under the Tuscan sun by the pool if you wish, but you will miss out on some of the region’s hidden gems. We’ve scoured the lands and asked around in order to find some of the most unique and unusual things you can see and do in and around Tuscany.

1. Go truffle hunting
Go foraging for this expensive fungus in the Tuscan woods and countryside. Perhaps the area best known for truffles is San Miniato which is located in between Florence and Pisa.  There are day excursions which offer the chance to collect your own truffles, learn about the history behind this pricey food, and also enjoy a truffle-based meal afterwards.

2. Uncover Vie Cave
Visit the Vie Cave which is located just outside of Pitigliano in the Maremma region. These narrow paths were carved out by ancient civilizations. The Intrusions were around before the Romans and no one knows exactly how they were able to create these passage via the stone. Here you can appreciate signs of an ancient world and walk along the pathways, be sure to keep an eye out for the shrines and carvings along the route.

3. Hike through the Foresta Casentinese
Wander through one of the most ancient forests in Europe and go horseback riding and hiking through the forest. Be sure to check out key sites in the area including La Verna and the Camaldoli Hermitages.  ‘These welcoming forests enable visitors in our times to experience deep and vivid sensations; fascinating in their range of colours, with all the shades of green that in autumn explode into brilliant splashes of amber and russet.’ Some of the animals that call the forest home include deer, wild boar, mountain sheep and even wolves.
4. See an epic armour collection
Feast your eyes on one of the biggest armour collections in Europe at the Stibbert Museum.  Here you can see European, Japanese and Islamic armour, a collection of Renaissance paintings and over 36,000 artefacts. Located on the hill of Montughi in Florence, it’s definitely a unique place worth visiting.

5. Admire the open art at Il Giardino dei Tarocchi
Take a look at a very unusual collection of art by the French artist Niki de Saint Phalle in an outdoor, open-air display. His art is very similar to the style of Gaudi, and has lots of vibrant colours and interesting shapes. You will find Il Giardino dei Tarocchi in the province of Grosseto.

6. Bathe in wine at Vinotherapia at Castellare de’ Noveschi
Yes, you can really take a bath in wine at Castellare de’ Noveschi. This unusual experience and treatment is said to prevent aging and revive your skin. Whether it does or not, you will most certainly have an interesting and unique experience.  ‘Warm waters with unique fragrances that mimic the body of the most precious wines by hints of blackberry, strawberry, pink, purple and orange: the idyllic alchemy that envelops most senses, sight, smell and touch.’

For a full list of things to do in Tuscany, take a look at our handy guide book.
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6 Beautiful Things You Will Notice in Tuscany

Thursday, May 4, 2017

6 Beautiful Things You Will Notice in Tuscany

Posted by Sonia (04/05/2017)

Few destinations really leave a mark on you like Tuscany does. You can’t go a day in Tuscany without seeing something absolutely breathtaking, especially if you are lucky enough to travel all around the region.

If you are planning on visiting Tuscany, it’s a good idea to hire a car. This gives you the opportunity to really see everything that the area has to offer, and stop off at all the best bits and awe-inspiring spots.

From some of the most magical views in the world to impressive medieval buildings and amazing scenic drives, Tuscany really is a wonderful destination. At times it feels a bit like you are in a dream, because you get lost in the slow pace of life and start to stop and truly notice Tuscany’s beauty. Here’s six beautiful things you won’t fail to notice (and should most definitely snap a picture of) in Tuscany.

1. The vineyards
Of course Tuscany is world famous for its endless vineyards, so you are bound to come across a vineyard or two during your travels. In some areas, such as Chianti, they seem to engulf the countryside. If you get the chance go wine tasting in Tuscany so you can see the vineyards up close, and maybe even pose for some picturesque photos.

2. The olive trees
Have you ever had the pleasure of enjoying a picnic under an olive tree? There’s nothing more relaxing than sitting by an olive tree with some fresh local Tuscan food and a bottle of award-winning wine. Olive trees are dotted all around Tuscany, so you will most likely pass plenty on your travels, just make sure you taste some local olive oil and perhaps bring some home in your suitcase!

3. The castles
There’s an endless selection of charming and absolutely stunning castles in Tuscany. Try and plan a visit to at least one or two during your trip. Some of them have a fascinating history and are located in the most picturesque settings. Here’s a selection of some of the must -visit castles in Tuscany.

4. The hilltop towns
You can’t discuss the merits of Tuscany without touching on the charming and magical hilltop towns. Wherever you are staying in Tuscany, you won’t be too far away from a medieval hilltop village or town. When you step inside the walls of a hilltop town, it often feels as though you have been transported back in time. The views from many of the famous hilltop towns are absolutely astonishing. Not sure which hilltop towns are near where you are staying? Check out our guide to the towns and villages of Tuscany.

5. The sunsets
Another thing Tuscany is famous for is its sunsets. If you are in the right place, at the right time, you will be treated to one of the region’s most beautiful sunsets. You won’t be short of pretty places to stop and enjoy the sun going down.

6. The scenic driving routes
Driving in Tuscany is like nowhere else in the world. Long drives are an absolute pleasure rather than a chore, and it’s impossible to stop staring out of the window at the views. There are so many beautiful spots that you will find yourself constantly jumping out of the car to take photos.

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