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Journal

Welcome to To Tuscany’s Journal. It's brimming with inspirational ideas to help you make the most of your villa holiday in this beautiful part of Italy. Whatever your interests, you’ll find plenty of suggestions here to turn a relaxing stay into a trip to remember. We’ll take you to the heart of Tuscany with recommendations for the best places to enjoy the local art and culture, explore the natural landscape and its wildlife, and eat and drink some of the world's best food and wine – we’ve even shared a few recipes to help you rustle up Tuscan flavours in the kitchen at your villa. Browse our insider guide to discover where to go shopping, get out and about on foot and on two wheels, play a game of tennis or a round of golf and, of course, make fun memories as a family. Just click on any of the subjects below and begin your trip to Tuscany today.

Journal

Art & Culture

Did you know that Tuscany is the home of Leonardo Da Vinci? His birthplace, Vinci, is where you’ll find a fascinating museum with scale models of some of the amazing machines that he imagined centuries before we had the technology to match his brilliant mind. Tuscany is also where the great composer Giacomo Puccini was born. Music lovers flock from around the globe each year to Puccini’s former home near Lucca to see his operas performed. These are just two of the gems in a region that’s blessed with artistic and cultural riches. We’ll tell you where to see remains of the ancient Etruscan civilisation, the world’s greatest Renaissance treasures, and the thrilling spectacle of the famous Palio horse race. Make a date in your diary for these and more from Tuscany’s packed cultural calendar, with our recommendations on the buzzing festivals and spectacular live performances that take place throughout the year.

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Family

Step away from the swimming pool, there’s plenty more for all the family to enjoy in fun-filled Tuscany. Take youngsters on the trail of Pinocchio in the town where his creator, Carlo Collodi, wrote this children’s favourite. Dare teenagers to tiptoe across the treetops on rope bridges, ladders and swinging logs at the Saltalbero adventure park. And everyone, young and old, will love exploring the weird and wonderful rainbow of sculptures in the curious Tarot Garden. With so much to tick off your list, you will never run out of boredom-busters here. And you can benefit from some of the lessons we’ve learned down the years about what to look for in a villa, whatever the size and shape of your family. From your choice of property to its setting, we can help you make sure your villa holiday in Tuscany will be perfect for all the family before you book.

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Food & Wine

Raise a glass to Chianti Classico in the Tuscany vineyards where this world-famous wine is produced. And let us show you where they make some of the other vintages in these rolling pastures. Around almost every corner you’ll find a winery that will invite you in to taste the delicious flavours they have lovingly produced from the grapes that ripen under the Tuscan sun. Don't worry if you're no wine expert, we've written a helpful bluffer’s guide – you’ll soon understand just why these wines grace the world’s top cellars. And yet it’s not all about wine in Tuscany – don’t miss a glass of one of the excellent craft beers being brewed here. The local food is equally appetising and just as celebrated. Pack your shopping bag with rustic bread, fat tomatoes, salumi and fresh pasta at the local markets. Look out for wild boar and truffles, Tuscany’s signature ingredients, staples of the menus of fine restaurants and family-run trattoria. And make a date to visit one of the region’s irresistible food festivals.

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Lifestyle

As you gaze out of your villa window at Tuscany’s dreamy rolling hills, it might be hard to believe you’re holidaying in a trendsetting hotspot. Yet Tuscany is home to a group of designer outlets known as ‘Fashion Valley’, where you can pick up a piece by one of Italy’s top couturiers at a knock-down price. Find out more about this bargain bonanza where you can save, save, save. Ever thought what it must be like to own a beautiful villa in the Tuscan countryside? Margherita Piliero, owner of Le Pratola, tells us how she transformed a 400-year-old cluster of stone buildings into an exquisite five-bedroom contemporary property that features in in our villa collection. And for a truly memory-making moment, we’ll show you some stunning settings for popping the question to your beloved. A holiday in Tuscany can be life-enriching as well as relaxing.

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Health & Wellbeing

Are you going on holiday or for a health kick – why not both? In Tuscany, you’ll find plenty of fun ways to reinvigorate your body and clear your mind. Practice your golf swing – Tuscany has some of the best courses in the whole of Italy. Perfect your tennis serve –we even have properties with private courts. Or just enjoy a good stretch – check out our yoga guide. We’ll show you how to keep active as you see the sights, horse-riding in the hills, pedalling along Tuscany’s famous white roads, and striding out on the paths that lace the vineyards. Plus, we’ve asked a wellness expert how to use a holiday to press pause on daily life. Taking a break can be a powerful way to interrupt your habits – follow these tips and you'll return home feeling like, well, you’ve just had a holiday.

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Travel Tips

Need help making plans for activities that will keep everyone entertained on your holiday in Tuscany? We know the tips and tricks that will ease your journey and fill your days. Make a good start by following our advice about what to pack, whichever season you’re planning to visit. Check your diary against our year-round guides to the best local events taking place, from markets and concerts to exhibitions and festivals. And discover some of the more curious experiences you might want to try while you’re here – fancy testing the health-giving properties of bathing in the local wine? We’ve suggested games that will keep the kids amused on nights in, and some great ideas for days out that won’t cost you a euro. Sorted!

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Wildlife & Nature

Where can I find Tuscany’s most beautiful gardens? What will I see in Tuscany’s natural parks? Is there a path where I can wander through this glorious countryside? Which animals should I look out for in the local fields and woods? Questions, questions – and we’ve got the answers. Read on to discover the wonders of Tuscany’s landscape, from formal gardens to wild terrain shaped by nature. We’ll show you where to join one of Europe’s famous long-distance walking routes, the Via Francigena. And we’ll tell you why you should keep an eye out for a porcupine. Plus, we'll point the way to the best viewpoints, amazing thermal spas, cleanest beaches in the world and more.

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