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The Ideal Villa Break in Tuscany
November 27th, 2017 by Tom Kerswill

There’s plenty to explore in Tuscany, from different areas, such as Chianti, to famous cities like Florence, Pisa and Siena.

It’s an ideal location for a self-catering villa break, giving you the freedom to set your own itinerary and pace, to relax and enjoy this endlessly fascinating region of Italy.

The Tuscan Countryside

As a holiday setting, the Tuscan countryside is ideal. It feels open and expansive, but at the same time you’re never going to be too far from the region’s various attractions.

There are many self-catering villas, and converted farmhouses, in the Tuscan countryside to choose from, and they make a good base to then explore the beautiful rolling hills, mountains and the region’s coastline.

You’ll find plenty of absolute gems dotted about, such as the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore, in the middle of a forest of cypress trees, deep in the Siena countryside.

The Orcia Valley, in the Valdorcia area, is richly green and has large numbers of sunflowers covering its many hills.

A short distance from Florence and high in the hills is the small town of Loro Ciuffenna, with an approach that offers commanding views of the valley far below.

The town itself has well-preserved historic buildings and streets and one of the oldest working water mills in Tuscany, grinding chestnuts into flour. There’s also an attractive, arched Romanesque bridge.

The famous wine-growing Chianti region of Tuscany has miles of green hills, vineyards, olive groves and ancient walled towns and villages. This region stretches from Florence to Siena and has plenty to both see and do. And be sure to include a wine tasting during your visit.

 

Tuscany’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites

The region is blessed with an abundance of historically and culturally significant destinations, recognised as such by UNESCO.

Florence, the region’s capital, has enough to justify a whole holiday spent there, from its historical centre to its hugely popular artworks, churches and cathedral. It’s home to the Uffizi Gallery, where you can see Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, Titian’s Venus of Urbino and lots of works by early pioneers of the Renaissance.

Close by to Florence are the original summer residences of the famous Medici family. These 12 villas and two gardens are captivating remnants of the Renaissance era.

Pisa has, of course, its Leaning Tower, set in the Piazza dei Miracoli, the Square of Miracles. It’s all architecturally striking, and its whiteness stands out amid the surrounding greenery.

Another World Heritage site is the small town of San Gimignano, which in many ways feels like the quintessential Tuscany: it has historic medieval towers, great local food and wine and it fits in beautifully with the surrounding countryside.

The historic centre of Siena includes its campo – a square shaped like a shell – and cathedral, which is home to various masterpieces by local artists. It’s also where the city holds its famous Palio horse race in July and August.

Pope Pius II transformed his hometown of Pienza into what became known as the ideal city of the Renaissance, implementing some of the era’s first architectural projects, such as the Palazzo Piccolomini. This is another location with a strong culinary tradition, famous for its meats and cheeses.

 

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