It has been a busy February with the final count of the votes for the Photocompetition, promoting Valentines Day, visiting villas and helping with all the booking enquiries and questions that we are receiving.

Some of you will have already seen the announcement of the winner of the photocompetition on our Facebook and Twitter accounts but we would like to share the winners photos with everyone as they are so good (and so different to each other).

As many of you will be starting to make your travel arrangements for arriving in Tuscany, there is also some news on alternative flight routes you might want to consider. For those of you intending to drive to Tuscany, if you are going to be travelling through France at any time this summer, read below for the most recent changes (February 2012) to what must be carried in your car.

As always, please feel free to let me know any suggestions for items you would like us to cover in our newsletters.



Markus Pesendorfer - Noah & Leonie on the Trulli steps At the end of counting, the votes were very close for the 2011 To Tuscany photocompetition winners with only 50 votes between 1st and 3rd place and only TWO votes between 2nd and 3rd place!
The winning photo (shown on the right) with 177 votes, was taken by one of our Austrian clients - Markus Pesendorfer - outside the Paradiso Trulli in Puglia.
Explaining his photo, Markus said that his children Noah and Leoni had been told not to go up the steps on the outside of the Trulli to reach the rooftop terrace without him or his wife. The children were sitting patiently on the steps when Markus took the winning shot.
The family enjoyed their visit to Puglia and the Paradiso Trulli so much that they have booked to return again for two weeks this summer. Because they are returning this summer, they decided to choose the prize of €250 Euros credit towards their holiday rather than the Digital Camera. (Note: To Tuscany will be increasing the number of properties available in Puglia this year).
The runner up photos are shown below and all the entries can still be seen on the Photocompetition page on our website. Second and third place below received a digital camera each and fourth and fifth places received a selection of Tuscan specialities.
Inizio del PranzoSecond place with 129 votes, was Nicholas Read of the UK with his photo of the cafes getting ready for the lunchtime rush:
Sunrise over the vineyardsThird place with 127 votes, was Dominique Cassart from France with her photo of the sunrise over the vineyards:

View through the vineyardsFourth place with 102 votes was Hanka Cedrowska from Poland with her photo of the rows of vines in the local vineyard:

Sun and OlivesFifth place with 93 votes was Laura Jansen from the Netherlands with her photo of the sunset taken through an olive tree:

Dont forget, entry into the 2012 photocompetition is already open!

You can view all of the competition entries since we started back in 2007 on the To Tuscany Flickr photo account


When travelling to Tuscany, people automatically search for flights to Pisa or Florence. Two other airports should also be on your search criteria, especially as the low cost airlines are starting to improve their services to them (daily flights from London Stansted in the summer).
Perugia airport Perugia airport is located just across the border of Tuscany in the region of Umbria. When I travelled to Perugia airport just before Christmas, I was amused by the simplicity of it - one customs officer standing at the back of the luggage collection area checking passports of people that stopped to show him and a car hire desk so hidden behind a plant that I didnt discover it for 10 minutes! Imagine my surprise when I returned to Perugia at the beginning of this month and found myself in one of Italys most modern airports with brand new terminal buildings, spacious areas for luggage collection, passport control, customs and a large car hire section with plenty of room for everybody. The whole airport at Perugia has been renovated and replaced and the departures area is just as modern, a great improvement from mistaking the departures queue for a queue for the coffee shop!
Driving from Perugia to the Chianti takes under 2 hours and if you are staying in one of our properties in the Arezzo area (such as Cortona, Cavriglia) or Siena, then you could reach them in around 1 1/2 hours. Properties in Umbria are also easily reached from Perugia or even Rome
Ducati shop, BolognaBologna is another airport often overlooked by travellers to Tuscany as it is located in the Emilia-Romana area of Italy. This is another story of a small airport suddenly enjoying expansion and investment and this summer you can expect another modern airport with a variety of restaurants and shops. For motobike and car enthusiasts, you can enjoy that wait in the airport by visiting the Ducati shop to see a history of their motorbikes which includes ex-racing models. If motorbikes are not your think, how about a visit to the Ferrari shop instead. An added bonus for airport shopping is that purchases made at the airports are allowed to be taken onto your flight IN ADDITION to your hand luggage.
From Bologna airport, travellers can easily link to the A1 highway which offers a fast route into Tuscany - 2 hours to the Chianti, 2 1/2 hours to properties south of Siena.
If you are driving to Italy (or any other country!) and will be at any time, driving on roads in France please note new regulations that will be enforced from July 2012:
Many of you will already be aware of the rule that drivers must have a reflective jacket and warning triangle in the car when driving in European countries - did you know though that the reflective jacket must be within the driving area of the car and NOT in the boot - many tourists fell foul of that law when stopped by the French traffic police.
BreathalyserFrom this summer, motorists are required to now have on board a breathalyser kit! French drink-driving laws are very strict and this is the latest way that the authorities are trying to discourage any driving after having a drink. Roadside checks will be underway from July and although fines are not likely to come into effect until November, warnings will be given. The recommendation is to ensure you have a couple of these kits in the car. Breathalyser kits can be bought from major pharmacies and also at the ferry terminals and the channel tunnel. Apps are available for iPhones and some Android phones that show the amount of alcohol you have consumed but it is not clear if the French police will accept these as proof of you having a breathalyser in the car.
For a full list of what you need to have with you when driving in France, please read this article


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We hope that you have enjoyed reading our newsletter and we look forward to the 2012 season with you.