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.

August 15, 2018

Casole d'Elsa

Central Tuscany, Dan's drawings

This wonderful Tuscan hillside village is particulalry special as it's where I grew up and went to school so it has a place in my heart.


August 14, 2018

Five top museums in Florence

Florence and surroundings, Museums, Culture

​Tuscany’s rich and priceless artistic and cultural heritage is no secret and it’s one of the many reasons hundreds of thousands of people choose to holiday in the region every...


August 14, 2018

The Smallest Vineyard in Moontalcino

Wineries, Val d'Orcia and Amiata

Based in just 1.8 hectares La Pieve House is by far the smallest vineyard in Montalcino – but what it lacks in size it makes up for in high quality...


August 10, 2018

Pisa's undiscovered gems

Lucca and Pisa, Museums, Historical landmarks

Europe offers something for everyone, and discerning travelers should add several European destinations to their ‘must visit’ list. One of the destinations that you must take the time out to...


July 03, 2018

Why did the Popes move to Avignon?

Luberon, Provence, Museums, Historical landmarks

One cannot fail to notice the Palais des Papes in Avignon, a bulky but impressive and enormous piece of Gothic architecture. The popes did not spend long in Avignon overall,...


June 27, 2018

The mysterious Cloister of Torri

Siena and surroundings, Central Tuscany, Tuscany, Historical landmarks, Dan's drawings

Close to Siena, on a ridge that descends from the forested hills west of the city, is a small hamlet and an ex-monastery, founded in the 11th century. Inside the...


February 27, 2018

Radicondoli, medieval village west of Siena

Central Tuscany, Tuscany, Restaurants

The village itself was once fully walled, and much of the walls and the old gates are still standing. The views from the walls and from the village generally are...


February 06, 2018

My Tuscan Roadtrip - part I

Tuscany

I've just returned from a trip around many of our properties in Tuscany and Umbria; here are some of my highlights and notes - with some links to a selection...


February 06, 2018

Tuscany Press Roundup

Italian Lakes, Tuscany

A roundup of articles about Tuscany, good restaurants, great villas (including ours) fun villages, historic towns


October 26, 2017

Visiting properties in the Italian Lakes

Italian Lakes

At the end of February I traveled out to the Italian Lakes, Lake Como and Lake Maggiore, to see some of our houses and to inspect some new ones, which...


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