Local secrets of Provence, The Italian Lakes, Tuscany and Umbria

Provence, The Italian Lakes, Tuscany and Umbria present a dazzling array of places to visit and things to do - but it's good to have some inside information to find out exactly what they are. On this page you'll find a wealth of articles on how to have a wonderful time no matter where you book your villa - including some very special local secrets.

Naturally, you'll find information about the best villas for certain holidaymakers (couples, groups, families) or particular events (weddings, birthdays, reunions), including romantic retreats, rustic cottages, historic properties and 5-star villas.

From countryside hideaways to accommodation in hilltop towns and medieval villas - here you'll find all the inspiration you need for your next holiday in Italy or France.

November 08, 2018

Tuscany's 'mezzadria', what the Chianti owes to sharecropping

Tuscany, Chianti, Culture

The development of agriculture and wine producing in the Chianti owes much to the system of sharecropping, 'mezzadria', that existed in Tuscany from the late Renaissance to post-WWII.


November 07, 2018

5 dishes from the heart of southern Tuscany

Recipes, South of siena, Food and wine, Southern coast of Tuscany

The farmers and fishermen of southern Tuscany may not have been well-to-do, but they knew how to make the most of the ingredients they had to hand. The dishes they...


November 07, 2018

Gulf of Baratti, the great Etruscan seaport

Museums, Historical landmarks, Southern coast of Tuscany

The only Etruscan burial site ever found by the sea, the necropolis at Baratti was also for three centuries one of the most flourishing centres of iron smelting and trade...


November 06, 2018

5 popular dishes on Florence and Arezzo menus

Florence and surroundings, Recipes, Food and wine, Arezzo and Cortona

When traveling in Tuscany, don't shy away from the unknown on a restaurant menu. You may simply enjoy something you've never tasted before or discover a dish you'll want to...


November 06, 2018

The mysterious Battle of Anghiari

Museums, Culture, Arezzo and Cortona

While the Battle of Anghiari was one of the most talked about and frequently represented battles of its era, it was also one of the strangest. Yet Leonardo da Vinci's...


October 31, 2018

10 Best Tuscany Recipes and Food Blogs

Recipes, Tuscany

The aromas of food can transport you back to a place. I often cook Tuscan favourites when I'm missing Italy, or when I want to remember a particular time of...


October 11, 2018

5 classic dishes found in the Chianti and beyond

Recipes, Chianti, Food and wine

Wine often is drunk to accompany a Tuscan meal; yet in many recipes it becomes a major player, either simmering along with the main ingredient or waiting to saturate a...


October 11, 2018

5 dishes that take you back to Tuscany

Central Tuscany, Recipes, Food and wine

While smiling and pointing at your fellow diners' chosen dish may work when you order, here are a few tips about words that may help you decipher a menu in...


October 10, 2018

Equi Terme - The Alpine hamlet where the ancient Romans took the cure

Hiking, Active, Museums, Garfagnana and the Apuan Alps

The sheltered medieval hamlet of Equi Terme sits on the slopes of the mighty Pizzo d’Uccello peak in the Apuan Alps. Named for the mineral rich spa that eased the...


October 10, 2018

The Jewish ghetto of Pitigliano

Museums, Historical landmarks, South of siena, Culture

​In the striking town of Pitigliano, high on its tufo ridge, a Jewish settlement begun in the 15th C. flourished to such a degree that the city was known as...


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