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 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.


October 05, 2018

Why and how did people live vertically in San Gimignano?

In San Gimignano today only 14 towers remain of the 72 which stood in the 14th century. This still makes it the "city of beautiful towers" and guaranteed its UNESCO...


October 04, 2018

Why are there so many hill towns in Tuscany?

Central Tuscany, Florence and surroundings, Historical landmarks, South of siena

It is not a coincidence that many of the towns visited in Tuscany require an uphill climb, nor was it a fluke that early settlers headed for the higher ground....


October 04, 2018

A 2 Michelin Star chef brings fine dining to Colle Val d'Elsa

Central Tuscany, Restaurants, Food and wine

In a country whose cuisine is known world-wide it is not hand to find a tasty plate of food. Special occasions, however, call for a meal which is memorable as...


October 03, 2018

Along the path to the Candalla mills

Lucca and Pisa, Hiking, Restaurants, Garfagnana and the Apuan Alps

A hike in the steep valleys at the feet of the Apuan Alps, around the mills that were driven by the powerful waterways.


October 03, 2018

Tuscan Building shortlisted for Mies van der Rohe

Chianti, Culture, Wineries

A Tuscan winery has been shortlisted for the prestigious Mies van der Rohe 2015 award, which is the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture and is presented every two years....


October 03, 2018

What to do in Tuscany with Children

Tuscany, For Children

Tuscany is a beautiful part of Italy, and can be enjoyed by people of all ages.However, if you are travelling with children, your itinerary may be slightly different in order...


October 02, 2018

Gucci Osteria in Florence named as one of the world's best new Restaurants for 2018

Florence and surroundings, Restaurants

Conde Nast Traveller has name Gucci OSTERIA as one of the places to eat for 2018


October 02, 2018

Modern art exhibitions in Tuscany

Siena and surroundings, Central Tuscany, Florence and surroundings, Chianti, Museums, South of siena, Val d'Orcia and Amiata

Tuscan guidebooks wax poetically about the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, but if the centuries begin to weigh heavy on you and you yearn for something a bit more contemporary,...


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