Things That Tuscany Is Famous For

Thursday, June 29, 2017

A One of Kind Destination - Things That Tuscany Is Famous For

Posted by Ruth (29/06/2017)

Tuscany is famous for quite a few things, which is pretty impressive considering it’s region, and not a country. Until you visit Tuscany, you won’t truly understand just why it’s so well known for certain things. You need to cast your eyes up the magical views, experience the medieval hilltop towns for yourself and treat your taste buds to Tuscany’s culinary delights. Here are some of the main things that Tuscany is famous for.

The wine
Of course we have to start with wine, because it’s perhaps what Tuscany is most famous for. Wine lovers and connoisseurs from around the world travel to Tuscany to enjoy the wine. Chianti is the most well-known wine producing region, it's home to the infamous Chianti Classico wine, with the Riserva being the most sought after.

And then there’s the rather pricey Brunello di Montalcino, it bagged the Gold Decanter World Wine Award in 2015. Vineyards are synonymous with Tuscany’s landscapes, and there are plenty of vineyards and farms that offer authentic wine tasting experiences.

The olive oil
Olive oil is as much a part of the culture here as the wine. Tuscan people see it as a key ingredient to pretty much every meal, they use it in cooking and as a dressing for salads and bread. The olive oil has a slightly different taste depending on what part of Tuscany you are in, but perhaps the most prestigious oil is the limited single estate extra virgin oil from the Chianti region.

The food
Many people return from Tuscany and really miss the food. Why? Because it’s so satisfying and delicious. The food here is made mainly from fresh local ingredients, and meals are created depending on what’s in season.

The food is packed full of flavour, yet you won’t find any extravagant sauces. The Tuscan people pride themselves on the quality and flavour of their fresh and often locally grown ingredients. Some of Tuscany’s best known dishes include Ribollita Tuscan soup, Pappardelle pasta, truffles, Cacciucco and Bistecca Fiorentina.

The hilltop towns
There’s nowhere else on earth with towns like those found in and around Tuscany. The hilltop towns are most definitely a major part of Tuscany’s fame. They are steeped in history, authentic, and packed full of character.

Plus, many of them are set high up in the hills with the most spectacular views of the countryside and beyond. San Gimignano, Pienza, Lucca, Montalcino, Montepulciano and Arezzo are some of the most well-known and impressive hilltop towns. We’ve got a handy guide to some of the towns and villages in Tuscany, check it out here.

Florence and Siena
Florence and Siena are two cities that are on many travellers to do lists. They attract tourists from around the world, and are a huge part of Tuscany’s fame. Florence is perhaps the more famous of the two, but both are most definitely worth a visit. The architecture in both cities is a wonder to behold, with awe-inspiring buildings and incredible artwork.

Beautiful countryside
Tuscany’s rolling hills take centre stage on many postcards, paintings and photographs. The countryside is a huge reason why so many people flock to this part of Italy. It’s quite simply breathtaking. The countryside is filled with vineyards, olive groves, cypress trees and vibrant colours, and it’s the perfect place to get away from it all and relax.

The Art

Tuscany, and in particular, Florence is a magnet for art enthusiasts. There’s a huge selection of magnificent art collections in galleries across the region, some of which are home to work by Leonardo Da Vinci, Botticelli and Michelangelo. Art lovers won’t want to miss the chance to visit the galleries in Florence such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia where you can admire Michelangelo’s David. 
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Michelin Star Restaurants In Tuscany

Friday, June 23, 2017

Mouth-watering Cuisine, Michelin Star Restaurants In Tuscany 

Posted by Sonia (23/06/2017)

We all know that a Michelin Star restaurant means exceptionally good food. Tuscany is full of fantastic restaurants, from hearty, family-owned local establishments, to lavish gourmet restaurants. Whatever type of restaurant you prefer, you will find it somewhere throughout the region.

It’s not surprisingly that Tuscany is home to a rather large collection of Michelin Star restaurants. It even has a three star restaurant. So, if you want to be wined and dined, and experience the extravagant, high end side of the Tuscan cuisine, check out one of the Michelin Star restaurants below.

Michelin classification
· one star: A very good restaurant in its category
· two stars: Excellent cooking, worth a detour
· three stars: Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey

3 star restaurants
A restaurant in Florence offering an exquisite combination of modern and classic dishes. Ideal for wine lovers and those who like cosmopolitan vibes and plush restaurants.

2 star restaurants
Often, you will stumble upon the most spectacular restaurants in the smallest of villages and hamlets. Bracali is an excellent example of this. Here they serve unusual dishes and the restaurant is run by two brothers, one chef and one who serves in the restaurant.

Caino is in an absolutely stunning medieval hamlet (Montemerano). Sample the bold tastes of the Maremma and tuck into yummy food served in this welcoming, family restaurant.

Arnolfo is based in a town in the Siena region called Colle Val d’Els. As with many restaurants in Tuscany, the food in Arnolfo is made with only the freshest local ingredients. The restaurant’s terrace offers gorgeous panoramic views of this classic Tuscan town.

Piccolo, Lucca
Lucca is one of Tuscany’s must-visit towns, and it has plenty of excellent restaurants, including Piccolo. Apparently, having dinner here is ‘like choosing to live a dream’. This gourmet restaurant is based in the The Grand Hotel Principe di Piemonte and has a charming atmosphere, first class service and an intimate setting.

1 star *
     L’Imbuto (Lucca)

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Visit Florence or Siena?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Should You Visit Florence or Siena?

Posted by Mikolaj (15/06/2017)

These two cities have long been in competition with one another. From quarrels over deciding where one ends and the other begins, to trying to out do each other by attempting to build more impressive cathedrals and domes.

Have you heard about the story of the black rooster? Legend has it that to decide where the border should be, both cities sent a horseman out on a race at the crack of dawn. Each city had a rooster to signal this, the Florentines left their black rooster famished so it crowed just before dawn. This gave them a headstart and consequently they claimed the majority of the lands.

We’re not trying to add fuel to the fire, but we know this is a common decision our customers face. If you are only going to Tuscany for a short period, you may only have time to visit one city, so how do you choose which one? Is it better to stay in Florence or Siena?

 It isn’t an easy decision. Many people end up going to see the more famous Florence, but Siena should not be underestimated. To help you with your decision, here are some reasons to visit both.

Florence is obviously home to some very famous sights, so if you love museums, art galleries and sightseeing then this is your city. Be sure to check out key attractions including the Duomo, Giotto’s Campanile,  Palazzo Vecchio, The Uffizi Gallery, Ponte Vecchio and the  Palazzo Pitti.

Florence can get extremely busy during peak season, so if you don’t like crowds you may want to plan a visit in the off-season. There’s often huge queues for the main attractions, especially during busy times. It’s to be expected as Florence is such a huge tourist city.

Experience panoramic views of the city at the Piazzale Michelangelo where you can take in the classic and famous Florentine vistas. Florence is a city of the arts, and it’s packed with culture, so if this is your scene, you may prefer to spend a few days here instead of Siena.

Keep in mind if you visit Florence parking and driving is a bit of a nightmare. So if you have a car, Siena may be the better option. There are no driving zones in Florence where only the locals with permits are allowed, which limits where you can go.

But it is possible to drive and park if you do your research before you go. If travelling by train or bus, there are plenty of public transport options in Florence that will take you to towns nearby. Florence has much better public transports than Siena, so that’s something to consider.

If you want to visit Siena and the surrounding area, then it’s probably best you drive or hire a car. Siena is actually a really good base for touring Tuscany, because it’s within reaching distance of many of the hilltop towns like San Gimignano.

Compared to Florence, Siena is quieter and has more of an authentic Italian vibe. It can still attract hordes of tourists but not quite on the same scale that Florence does. Wander around the cobbled narrow streets, admire the medieval walls and enjoy an ice cream in the famous main square.

Siena also offers magnificent views of its own, all you have to do is make it up the steps to the top of the Torra del Mangia. The region of Siena is Tuscany at its absolute best, with pretty Tuscan towns, amazing scenery and excellent wine.

So there you have it. Both cities have their strengths, and both are most definitely worth a visit. Where you go just depends on your priorities and mode of transport. If you are staying in Tuscany longer than a couple of days then you can easily do both, they aren’t that far apart. You can drive from one to the other in one or two hours depending on whether or not you take the toll road.

If you are still stuck and can’t decide, why not let the apartment you stay in influence your decision. Have a look on our website for villas near Siena and Florence and simply choose your favourite property.
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Historical Facts About Tuscany

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Historical Facts About Tuscany You Might Not Know

Posted by Dympna (08/06/2017)

Tuscany is located in Central Italy and is an idyllic place filled with stunning scenery and some of the world's most beautiful and historic buildings. But there is more to Tuscany than meets the eye, as these 8 historical facts will prove.

It’s Pinocchio’s birthplace!
This famous character was created by Florentine writer; Carlo Collodi and upon visiting the town of Collodi, you will be able to stop off at the original Pinocchio Park, which was first opened in 1956. It certainly has an air of magic surrounding it.

Pavement Trendsetter
Not many people are aware of the fact that pavements were first given legs by the capital city of Tuscany; Florence, in 1339. It became the first European city to do so and certainly led the way for all future paved roads.

Italy is indeed known for its fine wines but Tuscany is the true heart of this sophisticated tipple and in particular, the region of Chianti. So it comes as no surprise that Chianti Classico is one of the most beautiful areas of Tuscany.
At Florence University of theArts, you can even undertake a one year course in the glorious study of wine!

Setting the scene (movies)
Some of the most iconic movies were filmed in this vast region, including the original 1968 film 'Romeo and Juliet', in which the main square of Pienza was used for the famous courtyard scene. The 1996 film 'The English Patient' was set partly in Tuscany and provided the perfect backdrop for the movies' heart-warming story.

It’s all in the arts
Many believe Tuscany to play host to the world's most significant and beautiful Italian architecture and arts. Both the Birth of Venus and Michelangelo's David are held at various galleries and museums here.

With a charming and amorous air, it's fitting that Tuscany laid the foundations of the Italian language. During the 14th century, and with its central location, it began to outweigh its other counterparts and set the tone for modern Italian as we know it today.

Changing The Law
Prior to the unification of Italy in 1860, capital punishment took place in near enough every Pre-Unitarian state. However, on November 30th in 1786, Tuscany became the very first modern European state in the world to completely abolish capital punishment and outlaw torture. This was under the reign of Grand Duke; Pietro Leopoldo who ruled during 1765-1790.

Tuscany is the proud home to seven UNESCO heritage sites. These particular places are of key historical significance within the world today and as such, are preserved to maintain this standing.

Added to the list in 1995, is Siena’s Historical Center. Known to most for its beauty, this particular site boasts a building structure that truly embodies the gothic and medieval architecture of Italy, which was acquired between the 12th and 15th centuries. The cathedral is part of this magnificent structure and holds some of the key masterpieces of Tuscan artists today. 
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Top Events & Festivals To Attend In Tuscany

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Top Events & Festivals To Attend In Tuscany In 2017

Posted by Virginie (01/06/2017)
Italy is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and the region of Tuscany is the jewel in its crown. A big draw is the variety of fantastic markets and celebrations the region has. There’s plenty to keep you entertained throughout the year. If you are going on holiday to Tuscany in 2017, there’s certain events and dates you should keep an eye out for. We have picked out a list of the best ones for 2017:

1. Il Palio – this amazing festival takes place each summer on July 2nd and August 16th in Siena. Simply stunning, the main attraction is a horse race ran around the Piazza Del Campo.  As the crowd watches on, the horses gallop around it to mesmerising effect.

2. Luminara and Regatta – an ancient festival located in Pisa, this runs every June 16th and 17th. The Luminara refers to the beautiful lights that bedeck the town during the festival and the regatta is pure excitement and spectacle.

3    Explosion of the Cart – elegant Florence hosts this festival at Easter time annually. Dating back 300 years, it involves a wagon being dragged through Florence prior to being ‘exploded’ with fireworks. The parade that follows is great fun too!

4    Cantiere Internazionale d’Arte di Montepulcino – beautiful Montepulciano is the setting for this celebration. Each night over the summer period, the town comes alive with music and theatre that has something for everyone to enjoy.

5    Carnevale di Viareggio - held prior to Ash Wednesday, Viareggio hosts one of the most well known carnivals in Tuscany. There are masked pageants and a colourful parade to enjoy that always attracts big crowds.

6    Lucca Summer Music Festival- Tuscany’s main music festival takes place in July each year where acts perform in the open air Piazza Napoleone. Previous names to perform include Robbie Williams, so you are guaranteed a good time and fantastic music.

7    Arezzo Market  - this is the biggest market in Tuscany, taking place in Arezzo. The town turns itself over to the market on the first Sunday and Saturday before of every month. It’s mainly an antiques market where some bargains can be picked up.

8.   Pistoia Market – this market takes place every Wednesday and Saturday, winding through the streets of Pistoia. This market offers a wide range of goods from clothes to food so will have something for everyone.

9    Lucca Market – set in the elegant city of Lucca, this market is always very popular. On the third weekend of every month, there are numerous stalls offering antiques, clothes and souvenirs.

10  Puccini Festival – one of the great Italian composers is celebrated in July/August each year with his own festival in Torre del Lago. During this period, his operas are staged in the outdoor theatre. The biggest names in opera travel to perform each year so if you are an opera buff it will be simply magical.

As you can see, Tuscany is a fantastic place to visit thanks to its interesting array of events. Book your holiday to Tuscany now and experience one of these events for yourself.

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