Posts Tagged ‘Tuscany’

Photographer for your wedding in Tuscany

Among the most important tasks on the list when you’re planning a Tuscan marriage is to find a great photographer for your wedding in Tuscany. One of the most popular Tuscan wedding photographers is Sandro Fabbrini who has more than 30 years experience in recording that important day. I was at a wedding last June

Vitigliano – a unique boutique hotel and spa experience in Tuscany

Vitigliano boutique hotel and spa in Tuscany

Vitigliano is the name of a tiny “borgo“, an ancient farming hamlet, grouped around an ancient watch tower that formed part of the defences of the castle of Panzano in central Chianti. In fact, although the first documentation of Vitigliano dates back to 1085, the original settlement was probably Roman. This year, 2014, the restoration

How to buy a house, villa or winery in Tuscany

Although you can do it yourself, in my opinion, the best way to buy a house, villa or winery in Tuscany is to work with a reputable real estate agent (agencia immobiliari), especially if your Italian is not all that good. A good real estate agent will assist you with the necessary due diligence, which

The Vasari Corridor in Florence, then and now

The Vasari Corridor in the late 20th century

The two pictures below of the exterior of the Vasari Corridor in Florence encapsulate some of this city’s recent history. In the 19 C photo, we see the supporting arches of the then-closed corridor packed with workshops that hang out over the River Arno. This was the traditional location of the gun makers’ workshops, the

Corte di Valle, where you can stay in a real Tuscan villa in Chianti

Corte di Valle - stay in a real Tuscan villa in Chianti

On your next visit to Tuscany, if there are not enough of you to rent an entire villa to yourselves, you nevertheless have a chance to experience living in a genuine Tuscan villa, namely at Corte di Valle where you can stay in a real Tuscan villa in Chianti. The villa of Corte di Valle

The Chianti hamlet of San Leolino in Tuscany, Italy

San Leolino in Chianti

The hamlet of San Leolino very near Panzano in Chianti is home to the parish church of the same name. The Pieve di San Leolino is first recorded in the year 982, under the name of San Leolino in Flacciano in a parchment held in the Abbey of Passignano, but two sculptural fragments housed in

Family-friendly hotel in the Chianti Classico area of Tuscany, Italy

Family friendly hotel in Chianti - Hotel Villa Sangiovese

Hotel Villa Sangiovese is a family-friendly hotel in the Chianti Classico area of Tuscany, situated on the main piazza of Panzano in Chianti, with views of Panzano and the Chianti countryside. The main doors open onto the charming little piazza of Panzano while the breakfast terrace, gardens and swimming pool have completely rustic panoramic views

Tuscan castles – fortresses, walled hamlets, fortified abbeys and towers in Tuscany

Castles of tuscany

Tuscany is undoubtedly the land of castles. The combination of a turbulent history of contending city states and marauding foreign armies with a ready supply of stone and stone masons has produced a huge number of picturesque Tuscan castles – fortresses, walled hamlets, fortified abbeys and towers in Tuscany. The amazing variety of fortified stone

Spaltenna, the castle and the parish church near Gaiole in Chianti

Pieve di Spaltenna

If you’re in search of great material for scenic photography (plus some history and architecture), pay a visit to Spaltenna, the castle and the parish church near Gaiole in Chianti, Tuscany. Spaltenna is a classic example of a Tuscan fortified settlement consisting of a monastery (previously a castle), a parish church and a cluster of

Certaldo Alto, hometown of Boccaccio

Certaldo Alto

When you’re exploring Tuscany to the southwest of Florence, the old town of Certaldo in Tuscany, known as Certaldo Alto, is definitely worth a visit. This is the hometown of Boccaccio, author of the Decameron and contemporary of Petrarch, and it retains much of its mediaeval architecture and charm. Boccaccio’s house for the last years

Best place to stay as a base to explore Tuscany

Best place to stay in Tuscany

One of my strongest recommendations for getting the most out of your vacation in Tuscany is to choose a single base and explore Tuscany from there. Why do I say that? I find that many visitors to Tuscany greatly underestimate the amount of time that will be lost each time they change accommodation. That includes

Tuscan folk festivals and historical re-enactments

Tuscan folk festivals and historical re-enactments

Italy offers some of the best folk festivals in the world, with Tuscany among the leaders. Tuscan folk festivals and historical re-enactments should not be missed if the opportunity arises. Almost every town and village has its own costume event, often with a mediaeval or Renaissance theme, or a reenactment of a famous battle or

A Tuscan farmhouse – the beauty of a Tuscan casa colonica

Case coloniche - the beauty of Tuscan farmhouses

The Tuscan farmhouse is among the most attractive of all forms of vernacular architecture, perhaps equalled in aesthetic appeal only by the villages of the M’zab in the Algerian Sahara. In contrast to the M’zab, Tuscany is, of course, easily accessible to all and a great many of these beautiful Tuscan farmhouses have been sensitively

Europe’s most affordable vacation destination could be Tuscany

Europe's most affordable vacation destination Tuscany

Anna Maria Baldini has recently posted that Tuscany could be Europe’s most affordable vacation destination. In terms of value for money, I agree with that 100%. There’s no doubt that Tuscany provides inexpensive, even cheap, options in terms of vacation accommodation, food, wine and transport. Plus, of course, all the things that were always free

Butteri, the cowboys of the coastal Maremma plains of Tuscany

Butteri, the cowboys of the coastal Maremma plains of Tuscany

Butteri were the cowboys (formerly also mounted shepherds) of the coastal Maremma plains of Tuscany. The buttero was a herdsman, the man in charge of watching over, taking care of, taming and breaking in large herds of cows and horses bred in the wild. However, the land reclamation works carried out under Mussolini in the

Greve in Chianti becomes a flower and shrub market for the Festa dei Fiori

Greve in Chianti transformed for the annual Festa dei Fiori

In early May each year, the main piazza of Greve is transformed into a flower and shrub market for the Festa dei Fiori. The Festa dei Fiori is a commercial market where local people buy shrubs, roses and annuals for their gardens and window boxes. It is also a great moment to visit Greve in

Piazza Matteotti, the main piazza of Greve in Chianti, Tuscany

The main piazza of Greve in Chianti, Tuscany

Greve (pronouced “Greh-veh”) is the market town of the Chianti Classico wine zone and a great base from which to explore this part of Tuscany. Piazza Matteotti, the main piazza of Greve in Chianti, Tuscany is characterised by its unusual triangular shape, the graceful arcades running along the two longer sides and a majestic statue

The Cortona farmhouse of Frances Mayes and “Under the Tuscan Sun”

Bramasole, Frances Mayes' house at Cortona

A great many readers were introduced to the Tuscan hilltop town of Cortona via a popular memoir, “Under the Tuscan Sun“, written by Frances Mayes about impulsively buying and then restoring an abandoned house, Casa Bramasole, near this beautiful town. The book was the basis of the film of the same name and one of

Church of San Miniato al Monte, above Florence in Tuscany, Italy

Basilica of San Miniato al Monte, above Florence in Tuscany, Italy

The Church of San Miniato al Monte, above Florence in Tuscany, Italy, was Michelangelo’s favorite church and it’s easy to see why. Both inside and out, this Basilica is an architectural gem that should not be missed by anyone visiting Florence, both for the church and the magnificent view out over Florence. The facade was

San Miniato in Tuscany, location of a great truffle fair during November

San Miniato in Tuscany, location of a great truffle fair during November

For anyone interested in truffles or, indeed, Tuscan gastronomy in general, San Miniato in Tuscany, location of a great truffle fair during November, is a name to conjure with. San Miniato is about 45 km from Florence (one and a quarter hours by car) and the time to visit is during October and November when

Big sky country – the Val d’Orcia

the Val d'Orcia, Tuscany, Italy

From time to time, I post about sights outside of the Chianti region but within easy reach for visitors who are making Chianti their Tuscany base. One of the most famous and beautiful regions of Tuscany is what my friend Anna Maria Baldini calls “big sky country” – the Val d’Orcia. In contrast to the

Hermitage of Montesiepi near San Galgano in the Val di Merse, Tuscany

Hermitage of Montesiepi

The Hermitage of Montesiepi near San Galgano in the Val di Merse was built between 1182 and 1185. This is one of the most remarkable churches in all of Tuscany and is definitely worth a visit. In addition, it overlooks the famous ruined Abbey of San Galgano which is within easy walking distance. San Galgano

Villa Medici at Fiesole, the first true classic Renaissance villa in Tuscany, Italy

Villa Medici at Fiesole

Villa Medici at Fiesole, the first true classic Renaissance villa in Tuscany, Italy, was commissioned by Giovanni, the second son of Cosimo il Vecchio and, among other owners over the centuries, belonged to the mother of Iris Origo in the early part of the 20 C. Life there during that period is described by Iris

History of Tuscany and Tuscan Culture

History of Tuscany and Tuscan Culture

Usually I confine my posts to bite-sized morsels of practical Tuscany tourist information. However, today let’s try something cultural and historical. I’ll try to provide some pointers on one way to think about the huge topic of the history of Tuscany and Tuscan culture. One approach is to see the culture of Tuscany in terms

Travel Guide for Visitors to the Chianti Classico Wine Region of Tuscany, Italy

Travel Guide for Visitors to the Chianti Classico Wine Region of Tuscany, Italy

We’re now nearing the end of a successful first year of on-line publication of our “travel guide for visitors to the Chianti Classico wine region of Tuscany” and we’re looking forward to year two. As you can see, our posts provide information for travellers not only to the Chianti Classico wine region lying between Florence

Family accommodations in Tuscany – try a Chianti Bed and Breakfast

Family accommodations in Tuscany – try a Chianti Bed and Breakfast

Tuscany, and the Chianti Classico area between Florence and Siena in particular, provide an ideal destination for a family vacation. Both Florence and Siena are readily accessible for day trips to museums, famous architecture and shopping, while at the same time the open spaces, fresh air and swimming pools of rural Chianti vacation accommodations provide

A Tuscan salumi selection as antipasto

Tuscan salumi antipasto

The word salumi is a collective term for dried and cured meats such as prosciutto and sausages of the salami family, among others. It’s very similar but not identical in meaning to the French expression charcuterie. Lardo, cured lard, is an exotic type of salumi. A Tuscan salumi selection as antipasto is typical fare in

A beautiful Tuscan garden, the Piccolomini Gardens at Pienza in southern Tuscany

piccolomini gardens pienza

Pienza is one of the gems of Tuscany and should on no account be overlooked. Although located near the Val d’Orcia south of Sienna, it is readily accessible as a day trip from Chianti. A beautiful Tuscan garden, the Piccolomini Gardens at Pienza in southern Tuscany, overlooking the Val d’Orcia with Monte Amiata in the

Abbey of Santa Mustiola near Torri in Tuscany

Abbey of Santa Mustiola near Torri in Tuscany, Italy

This is the Abbey of Santa Mustiola near Torri in Tuscany. The Abbey is otherwise known as the Chiesa della Santissima Trinità e di Santa Mustiola, first recorded in 1070, with its cloister dating from 13-14 C. The Abbey of Santa Mustiola is unique in Tuscany in having preserved its Romanesque character, including its beautiful

Vacation accommodations for 1 to 4 persons on a Chianti vineyard

Vacation accommodation for 1 to 4 persons on a Chianti vineyard

Podere Torre is a small Chianti wine and olive oil producer located high above Greve in Chianti and offering vacation accommodation for 1 to 4 persons in the form of an apartment or B&B rooms with attached shower. The location of Podere Torre is the secret of its success. The vineyard is situated among a

The garden of Villa Gamberaia in Tuscany near Florence

The garden of the Villa Gamberaia in Tuscany near Florence

Of all the Renaissance villa gardens of Tuscany, perhaps none is so perfect as the garden of Villa Gamberaia in Tuscany near Florence. The garden of Villa Gamberaia represents one of the finest examples of the integration of an italianate garden into the architecture of a Tuscan villa. Among the outstanding villa gardens of Tuscany,

Luxury Chianti Classico getaway

Villa Bordoni luxury hotel near Greve in Chianti, Tuscany

Not only out of this world rooms but a gourmet restaurant – not surprisingly since the Villa is owned by David Gardner who owns and manages two excellent restaurants in Florence. Villa Bordoni luxury Chianti Classico getaway, has only 10 rooms and suites, all are furnished with flair and originality with furniture and fabrics of

How to own your own vacation home in Tuscany

How to own your own vacation home in Tuscany

This is a view of the ruined Castello di Pierle from the Tuscan village of Borgo di Vagli near Cortona in Tuscany. Borgo di Vagli is a beautifully restored vacation village and, in fact, it’s possible to buy a share in a vacation home at Borgo di Vagli in the form of fractional ownership in

Villas to rent in Tuscany with private pool

Villas to rent in Tuscany with private pool

One of the great things about renting a Tuscan villa or farmhouse for your vacation in Italy is that an excellent range of villas to rent in Tuscany with private pool is available to choose from. Yes, spending time in the museums and churches of Florence is important, but relaxation also plays a role when

Villa to rent in central Tuscany near Panzano in Chianti

Vacation villa to rent in Tuscany

Most of the vacation rentals in Tuscany that are described as Tuscan vacation villas are in fact not villas at all but rather Tuscan farmhouses. A genuine villa accommodates more than just a small family – that’s the easiest way to distinguish between these two classes of holiday home. Podere Felceto, once a monastery, is

Wine making using terracotta jars

Wine making in terracotta jars

An interesting new winemaking trend – making wine in terracotta jars. Not really new – the Romans used this method to make their wine. Now artisans based in Impruneta in Tuscany are creating terracotta fermentation giare and barriques for wine making. We expect that within two to three years, you will be able to try

Porcini mushrooms in Chianti, Italy

Porcini mushrooms in Chianti

Porcini mushrooms of Chianti are not to be missed. With the exception of morilles, funghi porcini are the most delicious of the mushrooms. Try to find or buy them fresh and cook them sliced in a bit of olive oil with nipitella (a kind of catamint or catnip that grows wild in Chianti). Serve over

Schiacciata con l’uva Tuscan grape bread

Schiacciata con l'uva

Schiacciata (“squashed”) is a flat bread about 2 cm thick that was originally cooked in the embers of the hearth. Variations of schiacciata are made throughout Italy. In Tuscany, it is often simply brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt. Here in Chianti, we enjoy schiacciata con l’uva, sometimes called focaccia. (In ancient Rome,

Montefioralle, a Chianti walled mediaeval village

Montefioralle near Greve in Chianti, Tuscany

Tuscany is famous for its hilltop towns and villages, and, among the latter, one of the best preserved and most photogenic is Montefioralle, a Chianti walled mediaeval village. Montefioralle was once the main inhabited location of this area, at a time when Greve, down in the valley, was no more than a market place. As

Bistecca alla Fiorentina, the grilled steak of Tuscany

bistecca alla fiorentina

Before beginning your visit to Tuscany, it will be worthwhile to “bone up” on bistecca alla Fiorentina, the grilled steak of Tuscany – how to select the steak, how to cook it, how to eat it. Not every visitor to Tuscany has heard that steak is a very popular speciality here. The meat classically come

Sights of Chianti, in Tuscany, Italy. What to see, where to go, places to stay in Chianti. www.greve-in-chianti.com.
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