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.

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...


October 09, 2018

Siena's hidden rivers: The Bottini

Siena and surroundings, Museums, Historical landmarks

As a city built on a hill, Siena had to confront the problem of where to find a reliable supply of water, particularly if under siege. Taking inspiration from the...


October 09, 2018

The Partisans of Northern Tuscany and the village that doesn't forget

Museums, Historical landmarks, Garfagnana and the Apuan Alps

In the final years of World War II, German military reprisals against the Italian Resistance movement horrified Northern Tuscany with the brutal annihilation of a mountain village. Seventy-five years may...


October 09, 2018

Discover Pontormo, the artist Vasari snubbed

Florence and surroundings, Museums, Culture

Neglected for centuries and belittled by the biographer Vasari, the Tuscan artist known as 'Pontormo' is a discovery worth making. Ignore the Renaissance bad press, seek out his works and...


October 09, 2018

Why is the black rooster a symbol of the Chianti region?

Chianti, Restaurants, Wineries

Throughout Tuscany wine bottles and many a restaurant feature a black rooster, the famed 'Gallo nero', a marketing logo with a 'history' that stretches back to the Middle Ages.


October 08, 2018

Our lowdown on the best times to visit Tuscany (and Italy)

Tuscany, Travel Advice

Travelling out of season can bring bonuses of lower prices, fewer visitors and emptier museums. But when is it worth coming? what are the tips for the shoulder season traveller?


October 05, 2018

Historic Re-enactments in Central Tuscany

Central Tuscany, Festivals and Events, Food and wine

Many Central Tuscan hill towns like Volterra, Casole d'Elsa, San Gimignano and Monteriggioni have impressive full costumed re-enactments of former glory days.


Browse by category

Browse by tag

volterra luxury san galgano avignon leaning tower etruscans pisa opera italy abtoi food restaurant torri vaucluse real tuscany montalcino cloister florence cabrieres d'avignon gordes isles-sur-la-sorgue oppede-le-vieux fiesole villas romanico religeous buildings Rosia Montestigliano lucca Siena walk to bar churches monteriggioni Architecture history Tuscany castles croissants walks san gimignano chianti calcio storico sagra no car needed wild swimming wine drawings Casole d'Elsa casole village life Taddeo di Bartolo Cimabue Donatello Camposanto Monumentale Fibonacci Giunta Pisano Villas Lucca Simone Martini brunello di montalcino rosso di montalcino agave Bargello Accademia Vasari Uffizi troglodytes event ceramics dog cat travelling with pets transporting pet to Europe dog friendly villa Museums food and wine Art Weekly market Concert steam train forecast meteo Arezzo cooking classes vineyards hiking Catering guided walk hikers walking balloon olives weather Duomo mufflons wild nature excursion Tuscan meal Puccini festival walking tours trekking nature fashion Palazzo Vecchio climbing Apuan Alps Luminara of San Ranieri Tuscan meals vacation award excellent Tuscan holidays guided walks Piazzale Michelangelo Giuseppe Verdi Italian recipes Orvieto chocolate Spoleto Gubbio festival jazz St. Francis of Assisi Museo Guarnacci music Carrara marble skiing birdwatching caving castagne active Matanna mount tents La Boheme Tosca La Traviata Madame Butterfly open air theatre Lucca and Pisa Puccini Museo Civico Piazza del Campo Cathedral of Siena Palazzo Strozzi fireworks Piazza Santa Maria Novella fireworks Private Chef Film Locations Exhibitions Tuscan Cooking events concerts Garfagnana gorge adventure mountains Tutti Matti Press wifi mobile-internet Property Visits Homemade Pasta Illustration Watercolours Candalla Camaiore Hill towns Boccaccio Maremma city-events church colonnata apuane-alps bellavista brochure liguria medieval towers medieval festival World War II Partisans Italian Resistance St Anna di Stazzema Pitigliano Hot springs Fine Dining mifi
Payment1 Payment2 Payment3 Payment4 Payment5 Payment6 Payment7

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish.

Read more