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MARCH 2009 NEWSLETTER
Dear Newsletter Reader  

Welcome to the To Tuscany March newsletter.  

In this months edition we have great Easter offer, information about Easter time in Tuscany and a write up on Golfing in Tuscany from the Caddie Master of Royal St Georges Golf Club in Sandwich, Kent in the UK.

As always, we welcome your comments, please feel free to email me.

Dympna
dympna@to-tuscany.com
Easter savers:

Arrive any day over Easter!
Thats right, any available villa can be booked for any arrival day over the Easter period.

You can still take advantage of the special offer prices at the villas as shown on our 'special offers' link to ensure you get the best savings and with the low cost airlines offering their lowest ever air fares over Easter from the UK and Europe, this is a great time to get away and enjoy Springtime in Tuscany.
EASTER IN TUSCANY:
 
Easter bannerEaster is one of the main holidays for Italy and many thousands of Italians and overseas visitors congregate in the Vatican City to hear the Popes Easter message.  Tuscany may not have the Pope to lead the celebrations, but it is still very worthwhile to visit and take part in or watch the festivities whatever your religious beliefs.
 
The weeks leading up to Easter weekend is subdued as people observe the traditional period of Lent.  Just prior to the weekend of Easter, traditional food fairs take place selling Easter breads and cakes.
 
Good Friday brings people to the streets to watch the many parades depicting the Stations of the Cross: re-enacting Christ's walk to Calvary Hill with his cross.  The participants of the walk wear costumes of the time - near the Duomo in Siena is a good place to watch one of these re-enactments.
 
Easter Saturday sees the priests in the many towns and villages visit local homes and businesses to bless them for the coming year with holy water.  Easter Eve is celebrated by a midnight mass - the Duomo in Siena starts filling up from 23.00.

Florence Scoppio del CarroEaster Sunday is time for celebration as this is believed to be the day of the Resurrection of Jesus.  In Italy the celebrations for this day are mixed with pagan traditions for celebrating the coming of Spring and the forthcoming harvest.  The most famous celebrations on Easter Sunday (outside of Vatican City) take place in Florence where the Archbishop is responsible for the "Scoppio del Carro" - the explosion of the cart.  This is a tradition which dates back over 300 years; the Archbishop fires a 'dove' (electronic) across the square into an ornate cart packed with fireworks.  A big explosion is seen as an indication of a good harvest!
 
easter eggsEaster Monday or Little Easter is a day for the Italians to gather together with their family and celebrate with good food, Easter breads and a special almond cake called La Colomba, which is shaped like a dove and covered in white icing.  Chocolate eggs are also exchanged, and eggs in general feature throughout Easter as a sign of new life.  On Easter Monday some towns hold Pallio dell'Uovo - the racing of the eggs!
 

Please contact us for ideas on places to stay near to Florence or Siena or use the following links to see accommodation suggestions -

For Florence properties click here

For Siena properties click here

Golfing in Tuscany:

Golf is an ever popular sport and many of our guests like to get a couple of rounds in whilst on their holidays in Tuscany.  We have a link on our website giving details for courses near to our properties, for more details click here:

Ugolino History PhotoThe most famous course in Tuscany is the Ugolino Golf Course - an 18 hole, par 72 course established in 1933 which has hosted the Italian Open Golf Championship on numerous occasions.

We asked the Grant Leggate, Caddie Master of Royal St Georges Golf course in the UK to let us know his experience of playing golf at Ugolino.  Please note that prices are subject to change but were valid as at March 09.

"My wife Lisa is part of the To-Tuscany team, often travelling to Tuscany to familiarise herself with the new villa additions. When I get the chance to join her in Tuscany, while she works, I play Golf!

Last October was the highlight of my golfing in Tuscany as I managed to play a round at Ugolino, a championship course found just south of Florence.

Ugolino FairwayDriving up the impressive tree lined avenue to the clubhouse gives one a real feel of prestige and tradition. This is exactly how golf in Tuscany should be. The course has stayed true to its Tuscan landscape, which makes for a breathtaking round in both senses of the word!  Every inch of the course provides a wonderful Tuscan view and the course is kept in immaculate condition with helpful and informative staff.

If advice is to be given, I recommend you hire a buggy (40 euros), as this gives you the chance to speed between strokes but also allows you time to linger and savour the views. The course is challenging in parts but not so hard that you should be put off.  I was not disappointed in the course or in the service provided and it was a joy to play there.

You have the choice of 9 or 18 holes and prices are 60 Euros for 9 holes and 80 Euros for 18 holes - please note though that the prices do increase during holiday weekends and Italian holidays in August.  If you have a 'golf widow/widower' and/or children travelling with you, the course also offers leisure facilities such as swimming pool, football pitch, billiards table and restaurant for a daily rate.

Grant"


Other worthy courses close to hand are Golf Club Perugia and Golf Club Punta Ala - details can be found on the golfing link given above.

La ValleGrant and Lisa stayed with friends at La Valle a beautiful restored barn approximately 1 hour from Ugolino.  Sleeping up to 6 people in 3 bedrooms, there are 2 bathrooms and the Villa is completely enclosed and fenced.  The lovely village of Lecchi is just 100 metres walk along a local track.

 
Feel free to contact us with any questions regarding travelling to Italy or anything within our newsletter. We can be reached at http://www.to-tuscany.com/contact-us
 
Sincerely
 
Dympna Docherty
To-Tuscany
dympna@to-tuscany.com