We are pleased to offer you a choice of properties carefully chosen for their excellent locations throughout Tuscany including the most central areas between Florence, Siena and Pisa. Other areas of great interest are offered around Lucca; near the coast, and in the south close to Pitigliano.

All our properties are in, or on the fringes of, that most beautiful area of Tuscany - Chianti - and a good number of these are actually in working vineyards where the owners will welcome you with warm hospitality. There can be few things to compare with the pleasure of sitting out of doors drinking the wine which has been lovingly made from the grapes you see in the fields around, whilst you plan your next interesting day in this magical area.

Florence

For a full day out visit the regional capital of Tuscany. Florence is the world's most celebrated storehouse of renaissance art and architecture. It sits on the banks of the river Arno below the wooded foothills of the Appennines. The famous Duomo dominates the city's roofscape, just as the great Piazza del Duomo at its feet dominates life at street level. The square is ringed with cafés and is a popular meeting point. Between there and the river Arno there are many of the best-loved palaces - including Palazzo Strozzi, Palazzo Corsini, Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi Gallery.

This is a big city with a fabulous feel, oozing history and culture - wonderful renaissance buildings, famous galleries and designer shops. You can drive into the city and park in the huge underground car-park next to the railway station from where it is a short walk into the real heart of the city. Train connections are very good and will take you from outside the city into the main station.

Florence is a busy tourist centre and a great place to buy all kind of wonderful things, leather goods and clothes, gold and silver jewellery, glass and ceramics including beautiful Florentine handicrafts such as embroidery, jewellery and products made from straw.

 

Pisa

One of the most visited tourist sites in Europe, Pisa is synonymous with the iconic Leaning Tower which is a free-standing campanile or bell tower associated with the 11th century Gothic Cathedral nearby. Visitors throng to the famous Piazza del Duomo, also known as the Piazza del Miracole, a beautiful and extensive plane of green punctuated by the imposing masses of the Cathedral, its Baptistery and Camposanto which is dominated by the leaning tower and many many souvenir shops. It should be possible to climb the tower but you may have to book tickets and be prepared to wait for a time to go up. A visit to Pisa is not just for the Tower, but continues with the villages of the Pisan hills, the natural oasis of San Rossore, beach establishments, and extraordinary archeological and artistic beauties of Volterra and Massa Marittima.

 

Lucca

Home of Puccini and Pinnocchio, and famous for its olive oil, this picturesque walled town has narrow streets, a beautiful circular 'square' and many interesting shops, cafés, galleries and ancient buildings. Enclosed by massive red brick walls, built in 1504 and 1645, that shut out the traffic and the 21st century, Lucca is a peaceful city where you can amble around and explore all the interesting byways. Bicycles are a popular way to travel around as it is unusually flat.

 

San Gimignano

The one not to be missed. A World Heritage Site steeped in Etruscan history and usually very crowded inside the city walls. Known as "The City of Beautiful Towers" dating from the thirteenth century it boasts beautiful buildings, gorgeous frescos in the cathedral and often a musician playing in the cloistered square next door. One of the best preserved medieval towns in Italy. Excellent for shopping, leather goods, ceramics, local produce and the famous wines of the area will tempt even the hardiest shopper. Market day is busy and bustling in the town square. Scenes from 'Breakfast with Mussolini' and 'A Room with a View' were both filmed in the old town.

 

Volterra

Situated on a high plateau, Volterra offers superb views over the surrounding hills. Famous for its medieval buildings and museums which house one of the best collections of Etruscan artifacts. Don't miss the wonderful alabaster which has been worked here for hundreds of years.

 

Siena

One of the highlights of any visit to Tuscany, a trip to Siena is one you must not miss. The city is tightly wrapped around the Piazza del Campo, which every summer on 2 July and 16 August is the venue for the world famous Palio di Siena which attracts crowds from all over the world. The grand shell-shaped square is dominated by the Palazzo Pubblico, one of the most elegant examples of Italian civil architecture in Gothic style. The magnificent bell tower is open to visitors and you can climb to the top for magnificent views over the city. Siena has one of the finest cathedrals in Tuscany, built of dramatic black and white marble. Lunch in the square as you watch the world go by is a fine way to spend part of the day.

 

Talamone and Maremma Natural Park

The town of Talamone lies on a rocky promontory, on the southern border of the Maremma nature reserve. The surrounding area is characterised by the presence of typical Mediterranean vegetation and long sandy beaches, lined by pine trees. Talamone is easily reached from Via Aurelia, and is about 25km from Grosseto and 10km from Orbetello. The local beach of Talamone has become a very popular area for kitesurfing and in 2008 it was one of the sites used for the movie 007 - Quantum of Solace.

On the outskirts of Talamone is the southern entrance to the Maremma Natural Park, from where there are some spectacular nature trails. There are a great variety of animals here: Maremman cattle and horses wander freely and you can often see foxes, badgers, porcupines, wild boar, deer and an immense variety of birds.

 

Other Places Worth A Visit During Your Stay

Viareggio
A stylish Victorian coastal resort and home to some of the finest yachts in The Mediterranean and Lido beaches, used by the Florentines and residents of Pisa at weekends. Stroll along the promenade or wander along the side of the yacht harbour, spoil yourselves with wonderful ice-creams in the local gelateria or enjoy a spell on the beach with a paddle in the lovely warm sea.

Tyrrenia
This somewhat dated coastal resort, just south of Pisa is loved by locals for its good beach. Might be worth a trip to paddle in the sea.

Livorno
Not the prettiest place but interesting nevertheless being one of the largest container ports on the Italian coast. This is where all the large cruise liners come in and from where passengers disembark for trips to Florence. If you explore the old town you will come across various old-fashioned fish restaurants serving the most delicious fresh fish and not a bit touristy...real Tuscany for real people.

And also...There are so many more places to visit and the list is pretty endless. Worth adding to the list we would suggest:

Arrezzo: A bit off the tourist trail in S.E. Tuscany, Arrezzo was once a wealthy city. Not the most famous of places but well worth a visit if you have been to Tuscany before and are looking for somewhere new. Plenty of museums, galleries and very good shopping amid interesting streets. Cafés and places to eat in abundance.

Cortona: Another hilltop town in S.E. Tuscany. Steep winding streets lead to a beautiful main square, more street cafés and the inevitable attractive shops. Wonderful views of the surrounding countryside.

Montalcino: One of the great wine towns. Rosso de Montalcino is world famous. Typical mellow stone buildings, traffic free main street, local produce etc. The surrounding countryside is covered in vineyards many of which are open to visitors. Try to fit in a visit to Sant' Antimo several miles outside the town and down in the valley. This former Benedictine Monastery is open to the public and you can visit to hear the present day monks celebrate mass in the beautiful 11th century abbey.

Pienza and Montepulciano are not too far away if you are in the area...would make up an interesting full day out if you want to explore.

Monteriggioni and Colle Val d'Elsa lie in the area between Poggibonsi and Siena...both also worth your time for a short visit. Colle Val d'Elsa is famous for glass.

And right in the heart of the Chianti Classico region you will find three delightful small towns, Castellina in Chianti, Greve in Chianti and Rada in Chianti.

We can't let this page go without mentioning the most volcanic area in Tuscany...situated in the south west of the region you will find Pomarance and the area beyond. This very interesting district produces geo-thermal electricity. Visit the National Park to experience the hot rocks from the volcanic activity just below the surface. The air smells somewhat sulphurous and you can see the massive pipe work structures that take the extracted steam across the countryside to the power generation plants. A bit 'James Bond' and something very different from your usual tourist trails.