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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.


Calling all fashionistas: Tuscany is designer-outlet heaven

Fashion fans, it’s time to put down that glass of Chianti and hit the shops because the countryside around Florence is one of the world’s best designer discount-shopping destinations. This is where many of the top luxury houses (we’re talking names such as Prada, Givenchy & Jimmy Choo) have their production facilities. And at their factory shops, you’ll find pieces on offer from previous seasons with a whopping 30 to 50 per cent off the recommended retail price. But it can still be pricey – don’t see it as a cheap-and-cheerful bargain, more an investment for less. This is the moment to crack open the savings and splash out on that designer bag or wallet you’ve always wanted, a Dolce & Gabbana dress you’ll still be wearing in a decade, or to stockpile some classic Armani suiting.
Make sure the following are on your hit-list:
The Mall
This vast, open-air space contains the biggest selection of fashion labels – including Valentino, Moncler and Saint Laurent. For the best discounts on pieces, go for the Italian labels. Number one on your list should be the huge Gucci outlet. White-hot since creative director Alessandro Michele took over in 2015, the pieces here have now caught up (until fairly recently, they were still clearing the last of previous designer Frida Giannini’s collections). And there’s a queue to match, with a tightly controlled entry system letting very few people in at a time. Expect to wait half an hour to enter, even if it looks quiet. Inside, make a beeline for the accessories – snap up leather belts with the GG buckle and any of Michele’s hit bags, such as the Dionysus (especially in the classic Gucci monogram leather). If you find Ace trainers on offer, don’t hesitate – they’re a modern men’s classic. Elsewhere, the best buys are Made in Italy standards. Head to Marni for artsy prints and chunky resin jewellery, Armani for Giorgio’s signature slim-fit, two-piece suits, Ferragamo for classic ladylike quilted pumps. A Moncler down puffer jacket and a pair of Tod’s Gommino loafers will add some Italian polish to any wardrobe.
The Mall Luxury Outlets Via Europa 8, 50066 Leccio Reggello (Florence). Tel: +39 055 8657775 Web:
The Space
The Italian fashion giant Prada has its own dedicated outlet a few minutes from The Mall, selling both Prada mainline and Miu Miu. Prada runway pieces featuring each collection’s key prints become instant classics, so keep your eyes peeled for standouts such as a jacket or T-shirt emblazoned with feminist cartoons from SS17. There’s also a huge selection of bags and small leather goods – quilted leather Miu Miu wallets and iPad cases make brilliant presents.
Space PRADA Outlet Loc Levanella, Via Aretina 403, 52025 Montevarchi (Arezzo). Tel: +39 055 9196528 Web:
Versace and Alexander McQueen are among the global brands on sale at The Mall
Dolce & Gabbana
This label is known for turning out an extensive commercial collection in every conceivable colour and variation, making rich outlet pickings for fans. Every product category has its own area at this dedicated outlet – there are rails of blazers, racks of skirts, a whole section for jackets, and so on. Dolce ode-to-Italy prints never date, so treat yourself to a 1950s-style sundress or a weekend shirt in a colourful oranges-and-lemons pattern. The design house also excels at va-va-voom evening attire – one of its tuxedos or a corseted black lace dress will see you through years of parties and functions.
Dolce & Gabbana Factory Outlet Via Santa Maria Maddalena 49, 50064 Incisa Val d’arno (Florence). Tel: +39 1300 055 833.
Barberino Designer Outlet
Part of the McArthurGlen outlet chain, this mall offers mid-market casualwear labels, including Tommy Hilfiger and Gap – although the discounts on US brands here aren’t particularly good. Instead, check out Italian contemporary labels such as Pinko and accessories brand Coccinelle for cool, dressed-down pieces with a twist.
Barberino Designer Outlet Via Meucci, 50031 Barberino di Mugello (Florence). Tel: +39 055 842161 Web:
Valdichiana Outlet Village
Valdichiana has less of a selection of recognisable fashion labels. but is worth a stop for homewares. Pick up kitchen essentials such as an espresso machine from Bialetti, and treat yourself to some pretty napkins from Borgo Tessile. There’s also a Calzedonia store – Verona’s answer to Victoria’s Secret – which offers well-priced lingerie and hosiery, and colourful swimwear.
Valdichiana Outlet Village Via Enzo Ferrari, 5, 52045 Foiano della Chiana (Arezzo). Tel: +39 0575 649926 Web:
Ferragamo puts Tuscany’s colours on the catwalk

The Tuscan countryside has provided the inspiration for the spring-summer 2019 collection from Salvatore Ferragamo, which hit the catwalk in Milan in September. The Italian fashion design house, which is based in Florence, drew on Tuscany’s rolling hills, vineyards and olive groves for its palette of earthy shades of brown and green with dazzling accents of emerald, tangerine and violet. The new, sophisticated, utilitarian look for men and women majors on solid colours, apart from a signature plant print, and features handkerchief-hem skirts and dresses, flowing trousers and trench coats, with tactile satin and leather adding a luxurious touch.

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Five Chianti Classics in Tuscany’s world-famous wine region

We’ve picked some of our favourite sights and activities in the world-famous wine region that we call home. Our trail is a real mix, to suit all tastes. Whether you try just one of our recommendations or tick off all five, you’ll be sure to enjoy memory-making experiences among these ancient vines.
1. Art and music at the Chianti Sculpture Park
A woodland gallery of sculptures and installations created by artists from around the world – we’re not sure which we like best at the Chianti Sculpture Park, the art or the natural setting. The exhibits are weird, wonderful and thought-provoking – among our favourites is The Labyrinth, a maze made from aquamarine glass bricks by UK artist Jeff Saward. This is also the location of La Fornace Art Gallery, a collection of more than 200 contemporary works by Asian, African, South American and European artists, housed in a former pottery. And if you’re around on a Tuesday in July or August, catch one of the open-air concerts in the marble and granite amphitheatre.
2. Walk, run, ride or cycle on the Dievole Natural Path
Byways once tramped by share-croppers, who toiled in the Chianti vineyards, have been given a new lease of life as a ‘Natural Path’. Step back in time along more than 27km of these ancient routes on the Dievole Estate, restored to provide a hilly playground among the vines and olive groves for walkers, runners, cyclists and horse-riders. The paths are clearly marked, with beautiful landmarks highlighted, such as an 18th-century stone aqueduct. Along the way, there are some glorious views, which will reward your efforts and get you reaching for your camera.
3. Star-gazing at Osservatorio Chianti
Reach for the stars at Chianti’s observatory. On Friday evenings, the research centre hosts special star-gazing sessions, with English-speaking astronomers on hand to help you explore the constellations through their telescopes. Children are welcome, too.
4. Fishing at Lake Quornia
Fall hook, line and sinker for a spot of fishing at Lake Quornia. This peaceful little lake can be found amid the vineyards between Castellina and Monteriggioni. Just follow the signs to Ristorante Vallechiara, where the owners hire all the equipment you’ll need to reel in the carp, sturgeon or trout that inhabit these waters. (At weekends, a man supplies kit on the lakeside.) 
5. Wine and art at Castello di Ama
Serious wine buffs shouldn’t miss a trip to one of Chianti’s premier wine-producing estates, Castello di Ama. You could spend a whole afternoon here visiting the vineyards and cellars and sipping wines – the Chianti Classico Vigneto La Casuccia and Vigneto Bellavista are world-renowned. But don’t miss the extraordinary contemporary art collection that’s also on display, with works by such luminaries as Louise Bourgeois and Anish Kapoor. 

For superb places to stay in and around the Chianti, explore our villa collection

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The best places to propose in Tuscany, Italy

What could be more romantic than to propose while on holiday in Tuscany? There are so many beautiful places in which to ask your beloved for their hand in marriage and we know some of the most magical.
On the Ponte Vecchio
If you are happy to brave the crowds in Florence, the Ponte Vecchio at sunset or the Piazzale Michelangelo, with its sweeping views of the city, are two memorable places in which to propose. For a little more privacy, a quiet walkway in the Boboli Gardens could provide a pretty scene.
At the top of the Torre del Mangia
For a grandiose statement, there’s nowhere better than Siena’s Piazza del Campo, one of Europe’s most impressive medieval squares. Or climb to the top of the bell tower, the Torre del Mangia, to declare your undying love against the backdrop of Siena’s rooftops and the gentle countryside beyond.
At Brolio Castle
Take a walk around the grounds and gardens of this medieval castle, a splendid confection of battlements and turrets presiding over the vineyards of Chianti Classico. We suspect you’ll know when you’ve found the right spot to get down on one knee.
On route 222
Prefer a more thrilling setting? Hire a sports car or Vespa and ride the Chianti 222 highway. Once you find a great view – and there are plenty along this road – well, the rest is up to you.
In a vineyard or beneath an olive tree
Sip some fine wines (before or after) and take a stroll through the vines to find the perfect place to ask the question. Alternatively, pack a special picnic and set it out below an old olive tree for a lovely low-key proposal.

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Meet the owner: Rosado Rosadi Palazzo Rosadi and Torre del Cielo

Rosado Rosadi is the owner of Palazzo Rosadi and Torre del Cielo, two villas featured by To Tuscany. In this series of occasional interviews with our villa owners, Rosado reveals his family’s long association with the region and talks about his beautiful properties.

“My family has been in this part of Tuscany since 1182. We were one of the first families in the region to produce the tobacco for the Toscano cigar. We also grow sunflowers, corn, olive oil and chestnuts. My ancestors built Palazzo Rosadi as a family home in 1785.
“Palazzo Rosadi and our neighbouring property, Torre del Cielo, are located in Monterchi, a village in Arezzo province, which is famous for its fresco painted by Piero della Francesca, Madonna del Parto. The villas are about half an hour’s drive from Cortona in the Valtiberina. Torre del Cielo’s heritage as a border watchtower means we are in a great location right on the edge of Tuscany and Umbria, about an hour from both Siena and Florence.

The garden at Palazzo Rosadi has beautiful features, such as this walkway

“Torre del Cielo – which means Sky Tower – began life as a medieval watchtower and was built by the Medici family. Back then, Umbria was part of the Pope’s realm and remained so until 1861 when it was subsumed into the Italian state. Like many of Tuscany’s medieval towers, Torre del Cielo was constructed to allow the Medici to survey their enemies: the Papal army. In 1894, my family acquired the property and transformed it into their country house.

“The last member of the family who lived there passed away in 1974, and Palazzo Rosadi remained empty until 1999. One of my good friends, Coleschi Bruno, an estate agent, urged me to rent it out – seeing a good opportunity to put something truly Tuscan on the market. So we renovated the property, adding a pool, along with the kitchen, four of the bedrooms, and a bathroom. Today, Palazzo Rosadi has six bedrooms, all en-suite.
“Each winter we do major works on both properties. It’s a continuing labour of love; not a one-off job. It’s the same attitude I have towards my guests. We don’t have them check in and hand over the keys, and that’s it. As part of the rental fee we include all sorts of extras: a welcome arrival buffet, a tour of the valley, visiting such sights as the monastery where St Francis of Assisi lived, and a wine tasting at a local vineyard.

Dine al fresco as dusk falls at Palazzo Rosadi

“Before beginning to renovate Palazzo Rosadi, I had absolutely no experience of restoring or renting out villas. I got priceless advice from Sean Caulfield of To Tuscany, which helped me pre-empt what guests expect: air-conditioning, for example is a must in August, as is a pool. I rented Palazzo Rosadi for the first time in the year 2000, to an English family. I remember them well, and fondly.

“For the initial restoration of Palazzo Rosadi, which took nine months, I put together a team of 14. This included an architect, builders, carpenters, plumbers, and electricians. I chose a local architect, Casacci Claudio, who had worked with the region’s villas for generations, and knew their histories, and how to keep the integrity of their traditional Tuscan design styles.
“Because I’ve done the restoration in stages, it’s hard to gauge the cost. It’s always ongoing. Just to renovate three bathrooms at Palazzo Rosadi recently, cost €98,000. But I don’t do things by halves. I always want to use the best materials, taps, tiles, etc. I’ve maybe spent between €1.5 million per property in total so far.

Treat yourself to a dip in the hot tub at Palazzo Rosadi

“In 2005, after witnessing the success of Palazzo Rosadi, I began work on transforming Torre del Cielo from a family country house to a rental property. I wanted two villas with different styles. Palazzo Rosadi is bigger, grander, more elegant. It’s a classic Tuscan villa (and my wife’s favourite). Torre del Cielo is smaller, cosier, more rustic (and the favourite of my two daughters).

“One of the key elements I wanted to bring to each property, along with a showpiece swimming pool, was to have every bedroom with an en-suite bathroom – it’s something I prefer when travelling.

Palazzo Rosadi is decorated with a mix of original restored furniture owned by my family – carved wooden beds, ornamental antiques – along with modern kitchen and bathrooms. Torre del Cielo has a more simple, rural Tuscan style. In both properties, we wanted to keep as many of the original design features as possible. You’ll find flagstone floors, and terracotta floor tiles, lots of wood from local nut trees, and each bedroom has its own colour scheme, different paintings and decorative accents.

Torre del Cielo was originally an ancient watchtower

“I bought much of the furniture, ad hoc, in small shops in and around Sansepolcro, where I live, not far from where the villas are located. When I find something I like, I buy it. Some pieces were made originally for the villa, and I wanted to leave some of these family objects to create the feeling of a family home, because this is part of the story of these villas. Apart from the bathrooms, much of which was sourced from Devon&Devon.

“My creative goal was to impart a real sense of Tuscan charm; to keep key Tuscan traditional details with some added modern Italian flair. I didn’t want a super-modern property that could be found anywhere in the world.

A cosy night’s sleep awaits at Torre del Cielo

“While the interiors of both houses are beautiful, the grounds have been a long-standing labour of love for my family, for generations. Palazzo Rosadi’s gardens are almost 1 hectare, plus there’s another 25 hectares of land. Torre del Cielo is surrounded by 11 hectares of land, and the garden is about half a hectare in size.

Our gardener, Martino, does an enormous amount of seasonal planting, working from March onwards. Between the two properties, we have about 25 lemon trees that are a quarter of a century old – we house them in the barn during the winter. There are plenty of lovely old olive trees, too. In the gardens, throughout the year, we have a rotating range of 220 kinds of roses, plus marigolds, zinnia, agapanthus, and petunia. It’s labour-intensive but beautiful work; there’s something blooming year-round. It’s always colourful. The estates offer amazing panoramas of the countryside, too. They are both set above a small hamlet, at about 400 metres, surrounded by rolling countryside.

The pool is bound to be at the heart of the action if you stay at Torre del Cielo

“At the end of the valley, the town of Monterchi has all the services guests could want – restaurants, supermarkets, bars. You can walk there through the valley, or borrow one of the villas’ bikes.

“The setting is so peaceful that we have some guests who simply want to sit and enjoy the relaxing locale, reading books all day. They don’t move at all. If that’s the case, we can provide a chef for meals, or cooking classes, and we can do their shopping for them. But we also host plenty of people who want to spend every day visiting Tuscany and Umbria’s sights. Because of the villas’ location, right on Tuscan-Umbrian border, it’s really easy to hit the must-sees.”

Find out more about Torre del Cielo at and Palazzo Rosadi at

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The best places in Tuscany to find a souvenir to treasure

Tuscany’s markets aren’t all about food. Check out this guide to the best places to pick up an antique or piece of art for a more authentic souvenir.Florence
Mercato delle Pulci, in Florence’s Piazza dei Ciompi, is a daily flea market selling furniture, antiques, prints, coins, jewellery, bric-a-brac and antiquarian books. There is even more to browse on the last Sunday of every month, except during August, when extra stalls are added.Siena
Piazza del Mercato is filled with stalls selling antiques and bric-a-brac on the third Sunday of the month, except during August. The old marketplace in which it is set is also worth seeing; it’s known as Il Tartarugone because the roof looks like the shell of a tortoise.Lucca
Lucca’s antiques market is a local favourite. You’ll find it by the Cathedral of San Martino on the third weekend of the month. Meanwhile, on the same weekend, contemporary art and sculpture created by local creatives are showcased at Mostra Piazzetta dell’Arte, an open-air exhibition staged at Piazzetta San Carlo and Piazzetta dell’Arancio.Arezzo
Fiera Antiquaria draws more than 400 exhibitors from across Italy to the city on the last Saturday and first Sunday of each month. No wonder this famous antiques market, held in the city centre, is a big hit with collectors.Pistoia
The former Breda engineering factory, in Via Pertini, provides an unusual location for this market, which sells antiques, bric-a-brac and contemporary art on the second weekend of every month.
Ceramics and antique costume jewellery are among the highlights for browsers at Perugia’s monthly market. It takes place in the Palazzo della Prefettura in summer and Rocca Paolina in winter.

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The Big Picture: The Palio

London-based Greg Funnell has been a professional photographer for more than 10 years and his work regularly appears in publications including The Sunday Times, Financial Times and Vanity Fair. A documentary photographer by profession, he is also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and his job has varied from working in war zones to covering cultural events. This image is from a collection taken at the famous Tuscany horse race, The Palio, which takes place in July and August each year. Tuscan Guru asked him about his approach to capturing this classic spectacle through his reportage lens.

TG: What interested you in The Palio as a subject?

GF: I’m very interested in the masculinity displayed in certain cultures, the idea of self-sufficiency and the heroics represented by it. The Palio is full of intrigue, but on the surface the jockeys are god-like figures, almost mythical. They’re put on pedestals by the various contradas [the different districts of Siena] and worshipped like athletes. There’s a romance to it all, but a deeper, darker side that interests me, too.

TG: Photos of The Palio tend to focus on the vast crowds, yet for this image you chose to make one rider and his horse the focus, why?

GF: A lot of my pictures from this collection do focus on the build-up and the crowd, but in the pre-race moment. I’m always looking to capture energy and freeze the moment so that you really get a sense of the drama – a still photo is 2D and needs to have an emotion in it to communicate in the best way it can. This photo captures a moment; it’s about the guy fighting to win the competition, but doing it at one with an animal. Naturally, you get the movement in the shot, which adds to the sense of drama.

TG: Why did you choose to shoot The Palio in black and white?

GF: The Palio is an incredibly colourful event. Yet, the pomp and ceremony detracts from its grittier nature. It’s all a disguise, like a conjurer’s trick, to distract your eyes and brain. But for me, the Palio is about the people, the animals and the emotions. The only way to get to grips with that was to lose the colour entirely. I also wanted the pictures to feel timeless and colour dates too quickly. I didn’t want it to be about a specific Palio in a specific year, I wanted the images to be about The Palio, to represent something bigger.

TG: As a British photographer, did you feel like an outsider?

GF: Very much so in some ways – but I’m always the outsider, it’s where I’m comfortable being. I like being ignored so that I can work. If I am the focus of attention, I can’t make good pictures. This was useful for The Palio – if you had any political allegiances with one contrade over another, that would make life difficult. That’s the level of seriousness with which the event is taken, husbands and wives from different contrada sometimes don’t speak to each other in the run up to The Palio. The tension is that high.

TG: The race is fast and furious, what was it like to shoot?

GF: The race takes place for less fewer than three minutes and the photographers are allowed on the track with the horses – there’s no barrier. Yet, the real danger, according to the local photographers, is the crowd after the race, because they surge onto the track and you can get caught in a stampede. It’s quite a visceral experience. As a photographer you’re caught up in the physicality of the event. I love that. It forces you to be part of it and engage your senses; you have a role to get those pictures – that’s your own private battle and race.

You can see more images from Greg’s collection, The Palio, and his other work here.

To Tuscany has a fantastic range of villas in the Siena area.

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Return to medieval times at these three fun festivals

Scoppio Del Carro
When the Crusaders conquered Jerusalem in 1099, a member of the Florentine Pazzi family was the first to raise a Christian banner above the city. As a reward, he was given three previous pieces of stone from the Holy Sepulchre. Each Easter, these stones were used to light a fire to symbolise new life and city dwellers would catch a light from the fire to take home and ignite their own hearths. Today, Scoppio Del Carro, or the Explosion of the Cart, is a rather unusual take on the tradition. On Easter Sunday, a large decorative cart is pulled by white oxen through Florence to the cathedral square. Here a dove-shaped rocket is lit, which speeds down a wire from the cathedral and blows up the cart.
Giostra dell’Archidado
Cortona’s residents turn out on the second Sunday in June for Giostra dell’Archidado, a crossbow competition that commemorates the wedding in 1397 of the lord of Cortona, Francesco Casali, and his bride, the Sienese noblewoman Antonia Salimbeni. As well as the quest to win the golden arrow, there’s a big parade of medieval characters in period dress through the city’s streets, a re-enactment of the wedding, and a jousting tournament.
Volterra AD 1398
One of the biggest and best medieval festivals in Italy takes place in Volterra in the last week of August, when the town steps back in time to the year 1398. The city centre and grounds of the castle host parades and battles, feasts and entertainment, with knights and damsels, jesters and minstrels strolling the streets, and blacksmiths and carpenters setting up shop along Volterra’s alleyways. Even medieval money becomes the common currency.

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What to see and do in Tuscany

Tuscany’s art
Uffizi Gallery
The Uffizi Gallery is a must-see if you’re making a day trip to Florence during your stay because it’s home to one of the world’s best collections of Renaissance art. Michelangelo’s ‘Holy Family’, Botticelli’s ‘Birth of Venus’, and Canaletto’s ‘View of the Grand Canal’ are just a few of the treasures to tick off your list.
Leonardiano Museum
The Leonardiano Museum, in the master’s birthplace, Vinci, west of Florence, is no dusty parochial detailing of Leonardo da Vinci’s life. Instead, at its heart is a fascinating collection of models of the mechanisms he imagined, including a flying machine, and there’s a high-definition digital reproduction of his famous mural, ‘The Last Supper’.

The Luigi Pecci Center for Contemporary Art in Prato is welcoming visitors again. Photo: Michela Osteri/Creative Commons
Centro Pecci
The visual arts, cinema, music, architecture, design, fashion, literature, the performing arts – no branch of contemporary art is unscrutinised at Centro Pecci in Prato. The gallery – itself a saucer-shaped spectacle, designed by Italo Gamberini and extended by Maurice Nio.
Tuscany for children
Children will love the park showcasing the world-famous fairytale character Pinocchio. Photo: Jack Sullivan/Alamy

Pinocchio Park
Children can immerse themselves in one of the world’s favourite fairytales at Pinocchio Park near Pistoia. Carlo Collodi’s story about the puppet with ambitions to become a real boy is gently told in a garden set with bronze and steel sculptures of characters and settings from the book, plus there’s a small museum. A zipwire adventure in the trees adds a few thrills.
Acqua Villages
The fun is more raucous at Acqua Villages at Cecina and Follonica, two South Seas-style fantasy sites cast adrift in the Tuscan landscape. Whizz around snaking flumes and shoot down perilously steep slides for the ultimate splashdown in the cool pools below. Plus there are safe spaces for tiny tots to enjoy some watery fun, too.

Treetop family fun at Parco Avventura Il Gigante.

Parco Avventura Il Gigante
Another place to get the family’s adrenaline pumping is Parco Avventura Il Gigante near Florence. Young or old, your head for heights will be put to the test on the ziplines and Tibetan bridges that weave through the canopy of an oak forest.
Tuscany’s Gardens
‘The Planets’ is another striking installation in Daniel Spoerri’s Garden. Photo: Susanne Neumann

Daniel Spoerri’s Garden
Art meets nature in several locations across Tuscany, including at Daniel Spoerri’s Garden. It’s named after the Swiss artist who has carefully positioned his collection of 113 installations by 55 artists here in a wild mountainous spot near Seggiano. Look out for the two works by the renowned Swiss sculptor Jean Tinguely, famed for his kinetic art.
Tarot Garden
The eye-popping Tarot Garden near Garavicchio is the legacy of the late French-American sculptor, painter and filmmaker Niki de Saint Phalle. Here, she constructed more than 20 monumental figures about the symbols of the Tarot, assisted by her second husband, the sculptor Jean Tinguely (see above). If you’ve been to Parc Guell in Barcelona, you’ll immediately recognise the influence of the Catalan artist Antoni Gaudi in the giant mosaic-clad sculptures.

The Pratolino Medici Park is home to some monumental statues, including the 10.7-metre-high ‘Colosso del Appennino’. Photo: Luca Lorenzelli/Shutterstock
Pratolino Medici Park
More monumental works of art can be seen at the Pratolino Medici Park near Vaglia, a Unesco World Heritage Site. Famed for its Renaissance grottos, fountains and statues, you can’t miss the park’s 10.7-metre-high Appennine Colossus, gazing into the waters of a small lake. These massive marvels were adornments for a villa that once stood here, designed by Buontalenti for the powerful Medici family in the late 16th century.
Tuscany’s Wines
The Antinori winery in Chianti Classico is an organic sculpture that blends into the surrounding landscape. Photo: Ivan Franco Bottoni/Unsplash

One of Tuscany’s greatest attractions, of course, is its delicious wines. Many of the local vineyards are opening for tastings, not only of the red and white wines they produce, but also Vinsanto, Grappa and extra virgin olive oil. Among their number is Casanuova di Ama, near Gaiole, a family-run farm in the prime vineyards of Chianti Classico. At Castello Nipozzano near Pelago, a medieval castle provides the backdrop to the winery in Chianti Rufina territory, with cellars and a house to tour, as well as tastings.

Col d’Orcia, an organic producer overlooking the Orcia river near Montalcino, is in Brunello country and offers tours of the farm that provide an insight into its biodynamic approach. Meanwhile, cutting-edge architecture meets venerable winemaking at Antinori nel Chianti Classico, south of Florence. The Antinori family has been making wine in Tuscany since the Middle Ages, but the sculptural winery by architect Marco Casamonti, with its glass tasting room suspended above the cellar, is thoroughly 21st century.

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