Archive for February, 2010

Ways That One Can Conquer Florence Italy

Florence Italy accommodation as far as hotel and farmhouse are concerned, let your imagination go from richly furnished five star hotels either in the hub of the city or smaller town accommodations, hidden away in the green hued countryside. From palaces to castles exquisitely decorated and pensions or guesthouses owned by friendly local people. These all year round lodgings have a wide price range but you can assured that good bargains are to be found in the low season. Florence welcomes everybody to be comfortable and caters to everyone’s budget.
Wealth and Comfort in Florence Italy
The Savoy Hotel is a favourite for those wishing to fulfil a desire for luxury sleeping, not forgetting the shopping gallery and excellent cuisine at the restaurant. The Hotel II Guelfo Bianco on the Via Cavour right near the San Marco Square has antique art treasures and original paintings and excellent commodities. Or maybe a stay at the Grand Hotel Baglioni with its sweeping grey stone stairway so typical of many Florentine monuments and wooden beams decorating the ceiling all which give you that special feeling of peace and relax.

Florence city needs to be visited during an extended period of time and if this is not feasible, then short visits are ideal to take in all the museums. And for me, one of the best ways to do this is by staying in a small town farmhouse near Florence and with your Florence car rental, enjoy small joints into the city. One of the cutest medieval towns nearby is San Gimignano, situated in the triangle of Siena, Florence and Volterra. San Gimignano is undoubtedly known for its thirteen remaining towers of the original seventy-two which once existed. Here, you can have sweet dreams sleeping in a mansion from the 14th century and have breakfast in a precious patio. Or in a rural house with high ceilings and worked iron beds.
Praise Good Italian Cooking
At some of these farmhouses there are cookery classes and it is here where I learned to cook Stracotto or ‘Pot Roast’. This is a very popular weekend Sunday meal in Italy as well as in Great Britain and North America. The Italians serve it over a delicious noodles bed of pasta enriched with the Chianti wine sauce where the others serve it with potatoes. Here goes……

Stracotto (serves 4-6 persons)

- 3 to 4 lbs. top round beef
- 4 thinly sliced garlic cloves
- 3 medium thinly sliced carrots
- 3 medium diced onions
- rosemary leaves
- 2 cut up celery stalks
- 2 cups water
- 1 lb. ripe tomatoes ( peel, seed and cut them )
- 1 fourth cup olive oil
- 1 and a half cup Chianti or dry red wine
- 1 tbsp. melted butter
- 1 tbsp. flour
- salt and pepper as you like
- 1 lb. pasta of your choice

Roll and tie up beef and then make small holes to put the garlic into.

In a saucepan, heat the oil and slowly cook the carrots, onions and celery until soft and add in the rosemary. Push these vegetables to one side and put the beef roll in the middle and brown on all sides at the same time as you are sautéing the veggies. Add in the tomatoes and when they are getting soft, add the wine. Boil until the wine liquid has been consumed to about one half cup and add 1 and a half cup of water and let simmer for about 1 hour more. Separate the meat and vegetables from the broth and let the meat cool. With remaining half cup of water mix the flour and the melted butter in with the broth and cook, constantly stirring it for 3 minutes. Slice meat and put the pasta and the sauce in the middle of the plate and two or three meat slices to one side and top with some more sauce if desired. Bon appetite!

This is just one of the Florence Italy recipes that I learned. Stay tuned for more!

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - February 28, 2010 at 8:03 pm

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Holiday In The Chianti Region

Scenic rolling hills and valleys characterize the region of Chianti lying strategically between Florence and Siena. Chianti is naturally delineated by an array of vineyards, olive groves and woods and interspersed with ancient parish churches, farmhouses and villages. The Tuscan town is quite popular for its wines globally. Of particular interest is the Chianti Classico, which is an admixture of white and red grapes. An extensive holiday tour of the region most especially the Tuscany villa would reveal a whole lot of interesting and captivating sceneries. Navigation through the region could be by bicycle or even by foot around the entire area. One could avail the opportunity of staying in one of the Chianti Tuscany villas, thus having a thorough insight into its cultural values. Whether it’s a walking, biking or driving tour, a vacation at Chianti provides an excellent way to discover most of the interesting places in the tourist-friendly region.


The region is a superb option for shopping. It plays host to quality goods most especially leather goods. Those interested in these leather goods would find Greve a hotspot for LGB Italia manufactured fine leather goods. A long vacation at any of the luxury Chianti Villas offers good opportunities for shopping in Tuscany. Italian designers would find Florence a wonderful place to purchase Italian-designed goods. Interestingly lying between two Arezzo and Florence are two retail outlets having a strong traditionalist approach of passing down artisan skills. Dining out during vacation entails a whole lot of Italian cuisines which includes including grilled beef steak, braised boar or rabbit and soup made with extra virgin olive oil. Noteworthy is the Chianti Classico, wine which contributed to the Tuscan region’s popularity in terms of its unique foods and wines. Best of all, they are offered at very cheap and affordable rates.


At the heart of the region forming a triangular shape are three villages namely Greve, Radda and Castellina. Chianti’s the biggest wine fair which normally takes place in September is held at Greve. A typical person on vacation is presented with many chances of buying from its export market coupled with wine shops in every village. Noted for its Knightly nature and black cockerel symbols on its bottles is Rada. A jaunt around Chianti Villa would mean taking ample opportunity of moving round the ancient town of Colle di Val d’Elsa which is Italy’s largest producer of fine glass and crystal. One can also during an excursion to Badia Lake or at Monte San Michele National Park avail oneself of the natural relaxation there. A whole sparking treat of natural relaxation awaits one there at Chianti. To make informed decisions about Chianti Tuscany villas, you might have to have a look at what the web has to offer. An exotic option of Chianti villa holidays awaits you. The hospitality packages are replete with choice of Chianti Tuscany villas coupled with the possibility of booking cheap flights to Tuscany.


Ask any holidaymaker and what readily comes to ones mind is the Olives, wine, house rentals, cypress trees, landscapes, holidays in Chianti. Residing in the Chianti zone somewhat brings about so many possibilities, part of which is agri-tourism. Compared to hotels or pensioners, agri-tourism accommodation here is usually less expensive. It makes provision for facilities for needed to prepare one’s meals. A wide range of traveling companies offers holiday homes in Tuscany as revealed in Chianti Villas and Florence apartments. Preference for selected accommodation in Chianti revolves around picking apartments amongst well known historical centers in Chianti, Castellina, Impruneta, and San Casciano. These also cover residences in other notable places such as villas and residences in the Tuscan countryside. Holidaying at countryside residences provides a whole new feeling different from what obtains at staying a city hotel. This makes it beautiful option for students and professionals in need of apartment either in Chianti or Florence for limited period of time.

Carolina Casini is the founder of http://www.tuscandream.com which is the ultimate resource for chianti villas and chianti weddings or different destination wedding in italy.


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Tuscan Villas and Country Houses Exclusively Available for Rent Directly by Owner

Florence, Italy (PRWEB) July 1, 2009

Tuscany Rent Direct is proud to present a unmatchable opportunity to travelers to the Tuscany area. For those looking to rent during this opportune time for travel, Tuscany Rent Direct presents a rental opportunity unrivaled by any of our competitors on the market. We are proud to provide our customers with a direct rental process, providing an opportunity to vacation in the Tuscany area without encountering a hefty commission. Tuscany Rent Direct is proud to say it is the only web site specialist on the Tuscany region.

This is an opportune time for renters due to economic conditions of the market, as many homeowners are looking to rent out their property. Only Tuscany Rent Direct provides detailed information on each property, including Google map positioning and a property layout blueprint to display the interior setting. The Tuscany Rent Direct web site is simple, easy, user-friendly, and efficient. This opportunity presented by Tuscany Rent Direct makes it possible for more prospective renters to find the perfect, affordable villa for their dream vacation.

The brilliance of the Tuscan countryside is at its finest and the timing couldn’t be better to take advantage of such an opportunity as Tuscany Rent Direct provides. Visit our website today to see our extraordinary selection of villas, country houses, apartments, beach houses, and bed and breakfasts for rent and jump on this opportunity. Make your dreams come true this year with Tuscany Rent Direct.

About Tuscany Rent Direct

Tuscany Rent Direct is based in the heart of Tuscany, and provides a simple but effective way of connecting property owners and potential renters directly with each other, without applying high commissions to the rental cost. In this manner, we offer you a large selection of properties along with the opportunity to spend a perfect, relaxing holiday in Tuscany.

For More Information Contact:

Tuscany Rent Direct

info@tuscanyrentdirect.com

http://www.tuscanyrentdirect.com

Telephone +39 0577 1701111

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - February 22, 2010 at 7:30 am

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Tuscany a perfect film location

Exploring Tuscany visiting the main film location: Florence and Cortona.

Overflowing with familiar sights and picturesque landscapes, Tuscany has been used as a film location for many major films. The charm and appeal of Tuscany is quite unmatched, and several movies have not just been filmed, but were also centered upon the scenic cities of Tuscany, such as Cortona and Florence.

Bask Under the Tuscan Sun

One of these movies is Under the Tuscan Sun, a 2003 Audrey Wells direction based on the Frances Mayes novel of the same name. The film helped reveal the best sights and historical attractions that dotted the city of Florence. Some of the locations used in the film included the Piazza della Signoria and the Piazza della Republica.

The Piazza della Signoria  is a square in the form of an L, and is found in Florence, Tuscany. The plaza is a significant historical base, as it served as the former political center of the city. The square is flanked by several other must-see sights such as the Uffizi Gallery, the Uguccioni Palace, and several others.

Piazza della Republica  is another one of the many piazzas that dot Tuscany. The semi-circular area is ornamented at the center with the Fountain of the Naiads, which was commissioned back in 1870 and completed in 1888.

Under the Tuscan Sun was mostly set in Cortona, Arezzo, Tuscany, and starred Diane Lane. In the movie, the main character Frances Mayes travelled to Tuscany in the aftermath of a divorce. During the trip, she experiences the Tuscan life and finds new friends. Though a bit recent, the movie played a huge role in promoting the subtle but standout beauty of Cortona and the rest of Tuscany.

Live the Beautiful Life in Tuscany

But using Tuscany as a location for a film is not a new concept. After all, Tuscany has always had its grandeur and old-world appeal and has managed to retain it through the years. Thus, yet another iconic film, La Vita é Bella or Life is Beautiful, takes viewers through a tour of Cortona.

One of the scenes in the film was set in Cortona at the Teatro Signorelli, which is located in the Piazza Signorelli. The theatre holds regular presentations you can also enjoy during your Tuscan holiday. Outside, however, it is considered as one of Tuscany’s most distinctive landmarks. The theatre spills out to Piazza Signorelli. Both the piazza and the theatre has become important locations for Tuscany’s various festivals.

The La Vita e Bella is a 1997 film directed by Roberto Benigni. The film, which is shot in several different locations in Tuscany, centers around Guido Orefice, a Jewish man, and his quest to save his son’s life. The movie mixes romance and comedy both, and offers a good view on love and family values. However, it is perhaps the breathtaking locations used in the film that contributed to its unabashed success.

The film, which was made extra beautiful thanks to the beauty of Tuscany, eventually went on to win the Best Actor award for Benigni, the Best Picture award, the Best Foreign Language Film, the Best Original Screenplay, and several others.

Have Tea in Tuscany

Tuscany, however, is just plain overflowing with sights to see and places to visit. Some of the other popular places in Tuscany are Piazza Santa Maria Novella  and Piazza del Duomo, which both appeared in the1999 movie, Tea with Mussolini.

Piazza Santa Maria Novella is a world-renowned attraction in Florence. The square or plaza was featured in Tea with Mussolini and is famous for being one of the biggest historical squares found in the city. The square is a wide expanse of a grassy area dotted with a central fountain at the middle. It is also the location of the Santa Maria Novella church, a major church in Florence.

The Piazza del Duomo  has the classic features of a square, such as a wide expanse of grass dotted with several different monuments. The square’s history and style can be attributed to the medieval age, and the overall style of the square revolutionized the artistic world of Tuscany.

 Tea with Mussolini is practically a Tuscany guidebook as it takes viewers to several different Tuscan areas and popular attractions. The film, which starred popular musician and actress Cher, is partly autobiographical as it follows the life of Franco Zeffirelli. The film went on to win the 2000 BAFTA Awards, among some other awards, as well as some nominations.

 Enjoy the Picturesque Views of Tuscany

Finally, you can move to Piazza della Santissima Annunziata , one of the most distinct locations in Tuscany. It is dubbed as the most beautiful square found in

Florence, and it is scenically flanked by four buildings. These four buildings also happen to be significant monuments, which included the Santissima Annunziata church, Brunelleschi’s portico, and the Spedale degli Innocenti, among several others.

The scenic and panoramic image of the Piazza della Santissima Annunziata can also be enjoyed when you check out the 1986 film Room with a View. The film, which was directed by James Ivory and which starred Helena Bonham Carter, went on to win several awards, which included the Best Picture award, Best Supporting Actor for Daniel Day Lewis, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Actress for Maggie Smith, and Best Supporting Actress for Judi Dench.

All in all, it was a film that gave a glimpse of Florence’s countryside life in contrast with its upper class scene.

 

Jane Maripose has travelled extensively in Italy for 15 years. She currently spends summers in her house in northern Tuscany and hopes to retire there. She has also been a teacher in California for 20 years. Jane is passionate about Italian food and culture and enjoys sharing her vast experience with others.
Experience:
Jane’s Italy travels have included every region of Italy. She enjoys going to traditional festivals and learning the native folk dances, talking with the locals, and sampling the regional cuisine.
Education:
Jane has a bachelor’s degree in art history and is a credentialed educator. She studied Italian language and culture at the University for Foreigners in Perugia, Italy. Whilst studying in Ialy she undertook various cooking proficiency exams in the main Culinary academies
From Jane Maripose:
The passion for Italy, food and wine, music, have induced Jane to dedicate herself to this new activity which consists of writing independent articles based on her travel experiences, so that she can share this information with those who intend travelling to Italy on vacation.
Personal Details: j.maripose@gmail.comwww.janemaripose.com


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Visions of Tuscany is Produced and Presented by Alessandro Sorbello www.AlessandroSorbello.com Tuscany (Italian Toscana) is one of the twenty regions of Italy. It has an area of 22990 km² and a population of about 3.6 million inhabitants. The regional capital is Florence. Tuscany is known for its landscapes and its artistic legacy. Six Tuscan localities have been made UNESCO protected sites: the historical center of Florence (1982), the historical center of Siena (1995), the square of the Cathedral of Pisa (1987), the historical center of San Gimignano (1990), the historical center of Pienza (1996) and the Val d’Orcia (2004). Geography – Tuscany is a region of Central Italy, bordering Emilia-Romagna to the north, Liguria to the north-west, Tyrrhenian Sea to the west, Umbria and Marche to the east, Lazio to the south-east. The territory is two thirds hilly and one fourth mountainous. The remainder is constituted of the plains that form the valley of the Arno River. Tuscany is divided into ten provinces: Arezzo, Florence (Firenze), Grosseto, Livorno, Lucca, Massa-Carrara, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato, Siena History – History of Tuscany oncello. An artistic movement of the 19th century, called Macchiaioli, chose this village, because of its beauty, as an inspirational source for their work. Apennine and Villanovan cultures. Apennine culture and Villanovan culture The pre-Etruscan history of the area in the late Bronze and Iron ages parallels that of the early Greeks. The Tuscan area
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San Gimignano – The Village on the Hill

A small medieval town on a hill in the province of Siena, the city is surrounded by walls and it has been classified as the UNESCO world heritage site. More than three million people visit the town every year. So if you have the option it would be better to either stay there in one of their glorious Tuscany villas or go late in the afternoon as the town gets swamped with hundreds of coaches. The hill town over looks the valley of the River Elsa.

San Gimignano was founded by the Etruscan settlement around the 3rd century and it was from the 7th century when the city rose when it got the name of the bishop of Modena Saint Geminianus, who had defended it from Attila’s Huns.

During the Renaissance era it became a way point for Catholic pilgrims when they were on their way to and from Rome and the Vatican as it sits on the medieval Via Francigena. The city’s development was helped by the trade in agricultural products from the fertile neighbouring hills. The walls were put up in at the end of the 10th century, which helped it become a business centre along Francigena way.

One of the main attractions of the town is the towers, which unlike some of the bigger cities like Bologna and Florence who have had all of their towers brought down due to wars and other things like natural disasters or Renovations, have managed to preserve fourteen towers which vary in height, are an international symbol. Originally there was 72 towers that were built the only condition on them was that they were not allowed to be taller than the Commune tower Rognosa.

In the centre of the city is the museum SanGimignano1300, which has a massive reconstruction of the city as it looked 700 years ago. This was an exhibition that Architects, historians, and many  artists dedicated 3 years to work on and complete. It features 800 meticulously hand-crafted structures, 72 towers, street scenes and figurines.

This was the birthplace of a famous Italian Poet Folgóre da San Gimignano, and the city has been replicated in the video game Assassin’s Creed II, representing the 15th century side of the town. This is a fantastic place where you can find some of the Tuscany villas.  

This is a town known for its wine that it produces,  Vernaccia di San Gimignano. This has been considered one of the countries finest white wine from the Renaissance, and was the first Italian wine to be awarded Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC). This happened in 1966 on July 9th but it was in 1993 it was upgraded to Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG).

Of course there will be traditional Siennese sweets to sample, like Panforte and Ricciarelli, but the town has its own called Pinolata which which is made with cream custard and pine nuts. A lot of dishes that come from this town are made from mushrooms. This is a great town to go to as you will be able to sample some of Tuscany’s cultured side.

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Gioiello di urbanistica medioevale,San Gimignano occupa il crinale di un colle che domina la Valdelsa.Ottobre 2008.
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APARTMENTS IN TUSCANY

Tuscany, a region in Central Italy known for its beautiful landscapes, rich artistic legacy and high culture. Florence, the capital of Tuscany is very popular vacation spot and one of the things that make these spots such unique vacation hideaways are the accommodations. Whether you’re looking a luxury apartment rental or a luxury villa rental, Tuscany has always more than their share. If you’re looking for Tuscany apartment then it has a huge selection of holiday rentals for both short and long-term use.

If you’re planning a short vacation to Tuscany, take your time finding the right accommodations because you have a wide variety to choose from, whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway for two or a family outing on a large luxury villa. The entire village of Tuscany is filled with large old farmhouses, barns or castles. These large building were so rich in an architecture and charm that the idea of tearing them down or demolishing them was just out of the question. Instead, the owners choose to renovate them into something that could be used as a holiday apartment or a villa.

Tuscany apartments are the smarter choice for holidays and when you stay in Tuscany, you usually want to be in a place that gives you a homelike feeling without many frills. Also you want to be in a peaceful place that will give you the chance to relax in the wonderful scenery that Tuscany offers and therefore you tend to choose accommodations in the countryside.

The advantages of renting a Tuscany apartment over any other accommodation rental are that saving quite a lot of money for the same quality. So, if you rent a villa in Tuscany you are likely to get a wonderful living space, large enough to throw a large party, but the price would also soar accordingly. Keeping all things equal, apartments are smarter because they are cheaper. Until and unless you need a huge space for yourself and your family during holiday, a villa may be definitely expensive.

Another important reason that makes Tuscany apartments a better choice is that owners are usually on site. If you need anything, they are there to help you. If something breaks in your apartments, they will fix it as quickly as possible and if you need a piece of advice on best restaurants, routes, daytrips, cheaper gas station, doctor, grocery store, they have all the information on their fingertips.                                                                                                         

Comparing Tuscany apartments to hotels, the smart choice is still on apartments because a three people family can run into expenses of 100 to 150 Euros per day for a three star hotel, for that price you can get a very nice apartment.

Emiley David acts as a consultant for Tuscanyholidayvilla and for more information see, Tuscany apartments, Tuscany Villa for rent and Tuscany Villas.


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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - February 19, 2010 at 2:46 am

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Food And Wine In The Tuscany Districts

There are some little facts that tourists and holiday makers to Tuscany need to know about the reputed food and wine that have made the Italian city a must-visit destination. It is well known among visitors and tourists to Italy that Tuscany has some of the Continent’s finest cuisines and wines which are mostly used to entertain first-time visitors. Wine adds a special touch to any occasion that is worth celebrating. This explains why people from all over the world choose to travel all the way to Italy and specifically Tuscany, to celebrate special moments. As for Tuscany, it is not in any way different from other favorite tourist destinations in terms of relaxation spots but what makes it stand out is the unique taste of its dishes; making it an attraction to all comers.

Tuscany wine has an unrivalled reputation among all others in the region with a distinct flavor that makes it a favorite to many wine lovers all over Europe and globally too. Since wine is known to add color to all events being celebrated, it is only wise for one to make Tuscany a preferred holiday destination. There are multiple wine zones in Tuscany. Some of the most important of these wine zones include Chianti Classico, Bolgheri and Montalcino.

It is arguably true that Tuscany is a major center of Italy’s wine producing cities because it is also widely said that Italy is the highest wine producing country in the world. Thus, Tuscany boasts of some of Italy’s finest with a wide variety of such wines. For many decades, wine has been a major attraction to Tuscany; what with the number of visitors and tourists flocking into the city regularly for their fair share of wine-dine sessions. In recent years, Tuscany’s wine makers have been putting in extra effort to enhance the quality of their wines which results in the high class products that make their way out of Tuscany’s vineyards.

The excellence of Tuscany’s wines are better tried and tasted for the above facts to be agreed. Whether it’s for domestic consumption or for the world’s markets, Tuscany can’t simply be ignored on a list of the best towns producing the best wines. As the saying goes, “the taste of the pudding is in the eating,” so does the taste of Tuscany’s foods and wines. Within the town itself, it is very easy to locate any restaurant, eatery or bar for a quick go at any of the city’s numerous foods and wines. For those who choose to take away the exotic wines, there are lots of stores where they can be found.

Tuscany’s wines have come a long way that the best among the different wines have earned the term “Super Tuscan Wines.” These are the types that are made using several blends of exotic varieties of fruits like grape, strawberry, cherry, etc. The west of Tuscany where the Bolgheri wine zone has its base is known as the birthplace of Tignanello and Sassacaia; both of which are Super Tuscan Wines. The wines from Bolgheri have lately been receiving more attention than ever before. Most especially in recent decades and this is largely because of their high quality among other Italian wines. Red Tuscany wine is one of the favored drinks among both locals and visitors to the Italian city.

This may be because of its unique mode of preparation whereby several different grapes like Syrah, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc are blended together to give the finished product. The above grapes are also used to produce different types of wines. Although much has been highlighted about Tuscan wines, the city’s food also enjoys the same attention as its beverage counterpart with the comments and feedback of many visitors and tourists to Tuscany.

Holiday makers to Italy always love to stop over in Tuscany to have a taste of what they often read about on the pages of travel magazines and journals. For many visitors to Italy, there are more than enough varieties of cuisines to try for an entire month for those who may be visiting the country as first timers. There is equally a wide array of mouth-watering delicatessens to try for those who are regular comers to Tuscany.

As a good way of enjoying your stay in Tuscany, you can decide to take down the list of the most popular dishes that are common among locals. Along with this list, you may also copy the recipes of the dishes that are easy to prepare or that belong to your list of favorites; with love from Tuscany. In the absence of something new to take home as souvenir from Tuscany, one can take this simple but important list of cuisines back home so as to make something out of the Italy trip. Really, foods and wines in Italy and to be specific, Tuscany, are cheap, affordable and readily available too. Depending on your preferences, you just can’t run out of what to eat or drink while you are out in the Tuscan home of Italy. See you there.

Andrea Cardelli writes articles for the most part for http://www.yourwaytotuscany.com , an internet site with information about Tuscany Accommodation.


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5 Beautiful Villages in Tuscany

There are so many wonderful destinations in Tuscany that it’s difficult to know which you should visit on your vacation. All Tuscan villages have interesting restaurants, coffee shops and wine bars, but each has an amazingly varied and interesting history on show in their many buildings and museums.

If you are short of time on your vacation to Tuscany here is a small, diverse selection of villages and towns that will give you an excellent feel for the fascinating past and present of this stunning region of Italy.

Lucchio

The scenic village of Lucchio, in Lucca Province, with the sparse remains of its ruined medieval castle and quaint stone village houses, blends into the side of a mountain. The castle, dating back to the 11th century, was built to control the main road that followed the river Lima between Pistoia and Garfagnana.

Reached, with some effort, by walking up a narrow, winding road, this isolated, old stronghold blends in to the rocky outcrop so well that it is sometimes difficult to see where the rocky mountaintop ends and the village reborn from the castle ruins begins. The village streets are really just narrow walkways. From the old castle are stunning views of the Lima River Valley and surrounding villages.

San Casciano dei Bagni

Nestled in the Tuscan hills south of Siena, this traditional Tuscan hillside town has winding streets that lead to a hilltop tower. Places of interest include the Collegiata dei Santi Leonardo e Cassia, with its Gothic facade, the Fighine Castle, and the small church of San Michele Arcangelo, dating from 1191.

This picturesque town is the home of the thermal Fonteverde Spa, with roots dating back to the 17th century – the spa treatments include mud therapy, massage, and inhalations. There are 42 thermal springs in the surrounding countryside.

Montalcino

Known for its Brunello red and its extra-virgin olive oil, this small walled town, in the remote and steep countryside south of Siena, is renowned for The Duomo (San Salvatore). At the Piazza del Popolo you’ll find the Palazzo Comunale and the 14th-century La Loggia.

In the San Francesco church, renovated in the 18th-century, are frescoes by Vincenzo Tamagni. Just outside the town is the stunning Romanesque monastic church of Abbazia di Sant’Antimo.

Greve

Located in Val di Greve, between Florence and Siena, Greve comes alive during the September Greve Wine Festival, the region’s largest wine event. The old part of town features a triangular square, Piazza Giovanni da Verrazzano, where you can purchase fine local produce.

Medieval buildings here include the 11th-century Santa Croce Church, with paintings by Beato Angelico’s school, and a triptych by Bicci di Lorenzo. The former San Francesco convent now houses the Museo di Arte Sacra, with its important collection of paintings, sculptures, and religious artefacts. Just outside of the town is the Santo Stefano Church, which displays a Madonna with Child painting, dating from the 13th century.

San Gimignano

Known as the ‘medieval Manhattan’, this walled village lies 56 km south of Florence. The village itself was founded in the 6th century and is sited on the old route that pilgrims took, from Northern Europe to Rome. A famous feature of the village is the 13 remaining towers that date from1150. As well as these towers, which were built by the wealthy when the village was an important centre for trade, its walls, gates, and palaces are intact.

Sites of interest include The Duomo, The People’s Palace, The Museum of Sacred Art, and The Archaeological Museum. You can also visit a nearby winery to sample Tuscany’s famous white wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano.

Rod Ritchie, a travel writer and editor, writes for many publishers including AA Publishing and Fodors. Cottages to Castles offer a range of high quality self-catering Tuscany villas. Visit Cottages to Castles for a selection of quality Tuscany villa rentals.


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Doom-like doom experience of Torre Grossa, with Twin Towers, in San Gimignano, Tuscany, shot with steady cam camera stabilization system exemplifying a virtual tourism tour, by Parallax; music – Trance 2000 Energy mix. Errors in Adobe Media Encoder are manifest in the title sequence which plays at 768×576 and the zoomed Scale Effect Controls (in sequences 1:03-1:17 and 2:49-2:58) which play at 768×510, in a project with General Settings Frame Size of 768×432 {16:9 Aspect Ratio); these encoding bugs are present in all the supplied Video Codecs with Aspect Ratio 4:3.
Video Rating: 5 / 5

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - February 16, 2010 at 1:17 pm

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When it Comes to Holiday Villas, Tuscany Has Much to Offer Its Visitors

When it comes to beautiful holiday villas, Tuscany has plenty to offer! Not only is the Tuscany area a one-of-a-kind destination for those looking for romance and charm, the vacation rentals available in Tuscany are also simply amazing. Before you start looking through available vacation rentals, however, you might want to learn more about what Tuscany has to offer.

Visiting Tuscany Wine Country

Before you begin looking through available vacation rentals, you might want to explore the many different wine regions in Tuscany. In fact, when looking through available holiday villas, Tuscany offers many that put wine lovers in the heart of wine country. There are three primary wine areas to explore in Tuscany. These include:

Chianti Montepulciano Montalcino

There are numerous wine estates to explore in each of these regions. In the Chianti Area, for example, you may visit Poggio Casciano Estate, which features 60 hectares of vineyards. Montemasso, Santa Dame, Castello dei Rampolla and Cennatoio are also found in the Chianti area. In the Montepulciano area, you can visit Poderi Boscarelli, Villa Sant Anna and Tenuta Valdipiatta vineyards, while the Montalcino Area offers Fanti Tenuta San Filippo, San Polino and Tenuta Le Potazzine.

Shopping in Tuscany

Of course, Tuscany has more to offer than just vineyards. If you love to shop, you will be thrilled by the numerous shopping opportunities available in Tuscany. Even better, you will find that there are several vacation rentals available that are within walking distance from many of the best shopping opportunities in the area.

Tuscany is known for its small craft shops, which offer a variety of great items for sale. Some of these include:

Leather goods Crystal products Terra cotta products Lace goods

You will also find plenty of opportunities to purchase designer clothes, accessories and more in Tuscany. In fact, you will find plenty of opportunities to purchase clothing from designers such as Gucci, Prada, Fendi and Armarni. In many cases, these designer items can be purchased for half the price you would pay elsewhere.

If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by the shopping opportunities in Tuscany, you might want to consider taking a shopping tour. With one of these tours, you can choose to visit stores offering products that fall all within one particular category. Just remember that merchants in Tuscany love to barter, so be sure to use your bartering skills in order to get the best deals possible!

When it comes to holiday villas, Tuscany has many to select from. By carefully exploring what Tuscany has to offer, you can decide which of these vacation rentals will put you closest to the sites and attractions that interest you the most!

When it comes to holiday villas Tuscany offers many options to travelers. In order to select from the many beautiful Tuscany vacation rentals available, be certain to consider what Tuscany has to offer so you can select the location that is best for you.

Ralph King has been contributing to leading magazines for the past 10 years. He’s also an accredited researcher on the subject for leading research institutes in the US.


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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - February 12, 2010 at 6:08 pm

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Visiting Wineries In The Chianti Region Of Tuscany, Italy

The Chianti region of Tuscany is a vast region of rolling hills set in the countryside of central Italy. Eight zones divide this region, each with a unique terrior. Wine Trail Traveler visited seven wineries in late October of 2007. Two of these wineries were in the Chianti Colii Senesi zone while the other wineries were in the Chianti Classico zone. Visiting wineries in Italy takes some preparation before you begin your travels.

It is best to make an appointment with the winery for a tour and tasting. Most of the wineries have set prices for tours and tastings ranging from a few euros to 25 euros per person at the wineries we visited. One of the differences we noticed in tasting in Italy compared to the United States was in the stemware. Five of the seven wineries used large stemware by Schott, Bormioli, Spiegelau or Riedel. In the United States, we only encountered fine stemware at three wineries out of 130. Another difference you will encounter is the number of labels. The average number of labels we encountered at the Italian wineries was six. Many American wineries offer twenty and occasionally over thirty different wines. Most wine tastings offer three wines to taste in Italy, five or more at wineries in the United States. Often the amount of wine poured for a tasting is greater in Italy than at wineries in the United States. Tasting rooms are generally larger in many of the wineries we visited in the United States.

Locating the wineries in the Chianti region can be a challenge. Their address is often the name of a town rather than a street with a physical address. We added the GPS coordinates for the wineries we visited at the end of the articles. Using the coordinates and a GPS will make finding the wineries an enjoyable experience. Although there are superstrata (expressways) that you can travel, much of your traveling will be on country roads. The traffic on these country roads is minimal. We encountered more traffic on California Route 29 in late February in two days than we did on country roads in the Chianti region in two weeks. This afforded us the opportunity to view the beautiful countryside and negotiate the winding roads. The country roads are wider than the country roads in the United Kingdom, so you do not need to cringe each time you do encounter another automobile or bicycle.

Some Tuscan wineries offer lodging facilities. We stayed at a winery and vineyard, seven kilometers from the medieval town of San Gimignano. Mormoraia has several apartments. We rented a two-bedroom apartment on the first floor of what use to be a convent. The design of the apartment was in the Tuscan style, highlighted by brick and stone floors, walls and ceilings with gentle arches. The apartment provided plenty of room to spread out. The kitchen was one of the smallest rooms. There was enough space for two people to cook if good at dancing around each other. A large table, chairs and buffet encompassed the dining room area. The dining room opened onto a living room area that had two sofas for lounging, reading and watching television. There were spectacular views from the apartment. We were blessed one morning when a fog had settled over the landscape. Only the towers of San Gimignano pierced the fog. Daily walks through the vineyard offered a quiet respite and a time for reflection.

When visiting the Tuscany area of central Italy, take time to visit some of its wineries. There are hundreds to choose from, and many are small production and not open to the public. Read the Wine Trail Traveler reviews of these wineries to begin your search.

Terry Sullivan is a wine enthusiast who designed the website Wine Trail Traveler. Wine Trail Traveler is a winery and vineyard virtual visitor center. Both novice and wine enthusiasts will enjoy using the website.


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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - February 11, 2010 at 6:05 pm

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