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.

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


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...

October 18, 2017

Cycling in the Luberon and up Mont Ventoux

Provence, Cycling

Cycling in the Luberon is fantastic, with quiet windy roads for the roadies and fantastic singletrack and fireroads for the off-roaders. In the interests of accurate research, I’ve been trying...

October 18, 2017

6 things children will love to do in Provence


Provence is a delight for the senses – lavender, limestone, herbs and wine, under a brilliant blue sky. And it’s a place that lends itself to exploration – there are...

October 02, 2017

Italian Weddings

Tuscany, Events

Where could be more romantic? We have a selection of houses suitable for weddings and can help you find the perfect place for your romantic ceremony.

October 02, 2017

How to Choose Your Perfect Property

Rental Properties come in a variety of shapes and sizes and, while we like all of them, finding the perfect holiday home is an art which we can help you...

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