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Tuscany Countryside

Luxury Villas in Tuscany


Tuscany is no stranger to tribute or applause. It’s no novice to tourism or success. And it’s certainly no neophyte when it comes to luxury. And we can certainly vouch for that here at Bridgewater’s Idyllic Italy. There’s probably no need to tell you about how beautifully sublime Tuscany is because the likelihood is, you already know. As one of the Italy’s most desirable destinations, and with travel writers depicting nothing but heavenly perfection, there’s really nothing more we can add other than “it’s all true”.

With Florence as its cultural powerhouse, the Etruscan Coast as its outer paradise, and award-winning food and wine as its staple, we couldn’t think of a more impeccable region to visit on your next holiday to Italy. For the best in holiday villas in Tuscany, you’ve come right to the place. Read on for tips on where to go, what to see, a practical guide on weather/climate and getting around…and check out our stunning, luxury villas in Tuscany.

Getting to Tuscany


As we’ve mentioned before, Tuscany is no stranger to tourists so getting to this region from almost anywhere in the world is pretty straightforward.

With two international airports, Galileo Galilei International Airport in Pisa and Amerigo Vespucci Airport (also called Peretola Airport) in Florence, you can reach the region’s major cities without any trouble at all. Book in advance and you may be able to get some amazing cheap flight deals too.

Getting around Tuscany


One of the most popular ways to travel around the region is by car and many travellers prefer the freedom of being able to explore different towns without the restrictions of public transport. There are a number of car rental companies and you can pick up and drop off at the two international airports in Florence and Pisa.

If you would prefer to use public transport, there are both bus and train services available. Fast trains link up the larger cities such as Florence, Pisa, Sienna, Lucca and Grosseto whilst slower trains link up the smaller towns.

Tuscany Countryside


 

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Your Tuscany Villa Holiday – Top 10 Things To Do


Renaissance art, stunning architecture and unforgettable countryside, Tuscany really is the perfect destination to enjoy a villa holiday in Italy.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the most famous monuments in the world but seeing it on photos really doesn’t do it justice. To really experience the tower and its surroundings, you have to go there for yourself. Read More.

It would be sacrilege to step foot in Tuscany without a few nights in the beautiful city of Florence, a city of spectacular art and gourmet cuisine. Read more.

Siena is one of Italy’s most beautiful medieval cities and you can catch a train from Florence to Siena in less than 2 hours. The biggest square in Siena is Piazza Del Campo and it is known worldwide for its famous annual horseracing event – if you manage to catch this (held in July and August) you will get to experience the electrifying atmosphere as locals cheer on the horses and enjoy a huge street feast. Read more.

If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Tuscany’s busiest cities but still want to soak in the culture and architecture of ancient Italy, we would recommend a day or two in the striking medieval town of San Gimignano. This walled commune is small enough to explore in one day and the medieval buildings just look incredible against the hilly backdrop. Go to the Piazza Cisterna at night and see it light up after sunset.

You’ve probably heard about the incredible food in Tuscany – and we can honestly say that there’s no exaggeration here. Although we enjoy food from all regions, many travel writers and critics will tell you that Tuscan cooking trumps all other cuisines in the world. Unsurprisingly, the region also excels in award winning wines. So if you’re a bit of a wino, head to the Chianti area and take a wine tasting tour. Be sure to visit Val delle Corti, Villa Pomona, Fontodi and the off-the-beaten-path 5-acre Le Boncie. Indeed most, if not all, of our villas in Tuscany have tastings and tours available nearby.

If you love the Amalfi Coast, you will love the Etruscan Coast just as much. In fact, you may love it even more when you realise that this part of the Italian coast is still pretty much untouched by tourist footfall. Read more.

Just off the Etruscan Coast is Elba Island, a secret little island where sealife is abundant. Renowned for the large variety of different seabeds, Elba Island is the perfect place for a snorkelling adventure. Capo Sant’Andrea, which is known to the locals as the “island within an island” is beautifully preserved and has a huge array of both flora and fauna; the water here is wonderfully clear and with depths of around 10 metres, it’s extremely safe for even beginners.

For post-card perfect sights, you simply cannot miss the Val d’Orcia countryside. You’ll have seen photos of these famous hills before, and even if you just pop by for half a day, it’s worth it just to take in the breath-taking sights of what so many epitomise as the “real Tuscany”. The landscapes are spectacular and we recommend heading there at sunset.

If you want a day of relaxation away from the villa, take a trip to Manciano to visit the Saturnia Thermal Springs. The warm, sulphurous waters of Saturnia date back to Etruscan and Roman times, and they are said to have healing properties that can soothe and heal a number of ailments. If you’re looking for the ultimate beauty makeover, thermal waters can also help to treat skin conditions and help to naturally exfoliate and deep cleanse the skin.

For an outdoor adventure away from the city streets, why not take a little walking tour of the Vie Cave archaeological site in the Maremma area? This incredible site is made up of narrow pathways that were dug out by the Etruscans into mile high tuff stone. Starting from the town of Pitigliano and leading to Sovana, the walk will take you around 1hr 30 minutes on foot.

Tuscany Villa Holiday Guide


Villas in Tuscany

Weather


Summer is undoubtedly the best time go to Tuscany. The summer season begins in April and lasts until October, with temperatures reaching 30°C and more during the hottest periods. High summer (July and August) can be extremely hot, humid and crowded so if you’re looking for a more relaxed trip, try visiting Tuscany during the low season. The low season is between November and March where temperatures are much cooler. Not only will popular parts of Tuscany be less crowded but you won’t be caught out by peak prices on travel and transport either.

If you want to catch the first weeks of summer without getting caught up in the tourist rush, we would recommend flying to Tuscany in April and early May. Temperature highs could be up to 28°C during these months, making it a glorious time to visit.

Villas in Tuscany

Regional Food & Wine


Tuscany is recognised worldwide for its food and wine excellence. So needless to say, you won’t have a bad food experience when staying in one of our villas in this region of Italy. The secret to its culinary success lies in its history of “Cucina Povera”, or what we might call “poor cooking”. And this just proves that in many cases, simplicity is better. The concept of inexpensive food, unfussy flavours and the freshest ingredients makes Tuscan cuisine one of the finest in the world. If you want food cooked with honesty, prepared and served in a traditional way, look no further than the stunning region of Tuscany…

Villas in Tuscany

Tuscan Dishes to Try


Tuscany is truly “foodie heaven” and you’ll be hard pressed to find a bad eatery anywhere. For delicious and affordable street food (found in major cities such as Florence) we would recommend Lampredotto which is tripe often served in a bun or the various pizza stands you will find around the cities. In restaurants, order Panzanella (cold bread salad) or Crostini Toscani to start – or try something more filling such as Cacciucco (fish stew) or the famous Florentine Steak. There are also some great regional cakes such as Castagnaccio (chestnut cake), Buccellato (fig cake) or Cantucci, which are perfect as an afternoon snack or for finishing off a meal.

Villas in Tuscany

Famous Wines of Tuscany


Most of the wines made in this region are red, descending from the Sangiovese grape and many of Tuscany’s wines carry the DOC or DOCG label. Some delicious red varieties to try include the Chianti DOCG, Rosso di Montepulciano DOC, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Bolgheri DOC, Monteregio di Massa Marittima DOC, and the Val di Cornia DOC. If you prefer white wine, be sure to try the Montecarlo DOC, Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG or the Bianco di Pitigliano DOC.


Osteria La Porta, Monticchiello


The hamlet of Monticchiello is home to the world-famous Pecorino cheese and a little tavern called Osteria La Porta is a great place for tasting this local speciality. Known for its hearty dishes and local ingredients, you’ll be sure to get a good taste of Tuscany here. In the heart of Val d’Orcia, the restaurant is blessed with the most amazing country views and the wine cellar offers more than 250 Tuscan wines to complement your meal.

La Pineta, Marina di Bibbona


This is inarguably one of Tuscany’s best seafood restaurants. Set along the Etruscan Coast in the Marina di Bibbona, La Pineta could easily be mistaken for a simple beach hut. But look a little closer and you’ll soon realise that this is the culinary workshop of a Michelin starred chef – and you simply don’t want to miss out on this. Although you can expect fine dining here, the food very much clings onto tradition. Perhaps this could be driven by chef Luciano Zazzeri’s humble past as a fisherman; whatever the case, simplicity seems to rule in his dishes and the menu really is to die for.

Ristorante Ora d’Aria, Florence


Ristorante Ora d’Aria is something of a fancy affair. With slick interiors and immaculately presented food, the concept is a modern take on traditional dining. But you needn’t fear about steering too far from classical Tuscan cuisine; Pisa born chef Marco Stabile stays true to tradition and time-honoured Tuscan techniques.

Annual Events


Villas in Tuscany

Frittelle Festival, Montefioralle (March)


This festival, which takes place every March on or around St. Joseph’s Day in Montefioralle was designed for foodies. Celebrating the deliciously moreish fried rice cakes, this day is all about coming together and enjoying street-food together. Commencing at 3pm, rice cakes will be fried in a huge communal cauldron and the atmosphere is always electric.

Calcio Storico Fiorentino, Florence (June)


Generally held in June, head to the region’s amazing capital for a fabulous firework display in celebration of the city’s patron saint, St. John the Baptist. During the day, there will be a historical parade starting at Santa Maria Church together with an ancient sport called Calcio Storico.

Villas in Tuscany

Palio Di Siena (July and August)


The famous horse racing takes place twice a year, on July 2nd and August 16th, in the large square of Piazza del Campo. Turning the edge of the square into a racing track, the whole of Siena will turn up to watch. The atmosphere is incredible and a huge street feast is prepared and enjoyed by all before the race begins.

Giostra Del Saracino, Arezzo (September)


For a sneak peek into Italy’s medieval past, how about this fun jousting event which takes place every September? The Giostra Del Saracino tournament is held every single year and is fantastic to watch. It’s great fun for the whole family and a great insight into Italy’s rich history.

Villas in Tuscany

Carnavale, Viareggio (January)


Carnavale is a lively event which brings locals together to celebrate and indulge in delicious food before the start of Lent. The carnival celebrations take place in the city of Viareggio and include pageants and parades, flower shows and fireworks. Plenty of food and wine too of course.

 
 

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