we are now halfway through 2012, many of you have already organised
your holidays for the summer so, in this edition, we are highlighting
some of the "extras" available to ensure that you get the most from
your well-earned time-off. In the first section are ideas for couples
and in the second section we have some ideas to keep the children happy
It seems like only yesterday that we were excitedly telling you all that we were about to have 500 friends on our Facebook community, now we have 1400 people! If you havent already visited our Facebook page or found us on Twitter (@ToTuscany), why not do so now and keep up to date with useful information and special offers.
have already started to arrive for the 2012 photocompetition, remember
to keep your cameras at the ready when in Italy and send in your
entries (up to 5 j-Pegs) when you return.
new properties have been recently added to our growing portfolio of
Villas and Apartments which do have availability for the peak summer
holiday dates. If you havent already booked, it might not be too late.
Click here to go to the website
As always, please feel free to let me know any suggestions for items you would like us to cover in our newsletters.
TIME FOR YOU (TWO)
are a precious time for relaxing and escaping the trials of everyday
life. So, why not treat yourself to one or more of the To Tuscany top
picks for couples shown below?
about spending time in the local supermarket finding ingredients for a
meal or deciding who has to drive back from the restaurant: have a meal
prepared for you in the comfort of your own apartment or Villa.
experienced chefs on our website can help you decide on a perfect menu
for your meal - from typically Tuscan simple meals to elaborate 5
course events. If you want help with the wine choice, they can do that
better way to relax when on holiday than by having a massage or a spa
treatment. Whether you want to make a day of it and visit one of the
Spas in Tuscany or book a professional masseur to visit you in your
Villa or apartment; there is a way to ensure you have some 'me time'. The Buddha Spa
is a Clarins operated Spa within the La Bagnaia Resort on the outskirts
of Siena. A range of fantastic treatments are offered for Men and Women
visiting for the day. If you differ in your views of relaxation, there
is an 18 hole golf course at the resort too!
was designed as a spa resort by the Grand Duke Leopold in the 18th
Century and for the past few hundred years has been a centre of
well-being and health. Tourists have the opportunity to visit the
thermal springs and spas for the day but there are still people who
follow a complete programme of detoxification sometimes lasting 3
months. Montecatini terme and its neighbouring town of Monsummano Terme
are approximately halfway between Florence and Pisa on the highway.
is a Professional masseur who has spent a number of years studying and
working in the larger Spa resorts within Italy and has now become
'freelance', visiting clients in their homes or their rental Villas and
apartments. There are a range of treatments available which can be
booked as 'one-offs' or as a number of treatments for your group.
PRIVATE WINE TASTING:
has decades of experience recommending and choosing wines from his time
working within some of Tuscanys top restaurants. He offers
wine-tastings for couples (and groups up to 20 people): Wine tasting
sessions typically last 1 ½ - 2 hours and include crostini, cheese and
salami as well as the wine. When the tasting session ends, you get to
keep whatever wine is left!
COOKING FOR TWO:
Simone owns the Malborghetto Restaurant
in Lecchi that many of our regular guests will be familiar with. He
offers cookery lessons for two people at the restaurant with the chance
for you to enjoy what you have cooked accompanied by wine. If you have
always wanted to know how to make those chocolate fondant cakes which
ooze with chocolate when you put your spoon into them, Simone is the
person to show you!
may be a magical place full of Castles, History and Culture but it
doesnt stop children saying "I dont want to go to a stuffy museum"! To
help you win over your family, why not try some of these ideas. You
will of course still have to provide lots of Italian ice-cream and
pizzas but you may just get to see some of the things that you want to
see without too many complaints!
biggest tip if you are planning to visit any of the museums in Florence
or the Leaning Tower of Pisa during your stay, is to make sure that you
book your museum tickets in advance through one of the recognised
agencies- no advanced ticket for the Uffizi Gallery
can mean 2-3 hours wait in a queue in July and August!
THE WHEELS ON THE BUS:
A good way to explore Florence with children is to use the 'hop on, hop off' tour buses
that operate in a number of languages with
English always being available with an audio guide and headset. The
ticket for the tour bus lasts for 24 hours which is plenty of time to
see as much of Florence as possible. Stops include the Duomo, Ponte
Vecchio, Boboli Gardens and Pitti Palace. There is also another route
covering the lesser known areas of Florence and on out to the Etruscan
city of Fiesole. Using the bus can help divert the attention away from
tired little legs.
Collodi is a lesser known area of Tuscany but is famous as the
birthplace of Pinocchio. The original story of Pinocchio was a weekly
cartoon in a local newspaper that became a series of books and of
course, most famously, a Disney movie. In Collodi the Pinocchio Park
is more true to the original version rather than the Disney character
but younger children will love to explore the park and the story of the
naughty boy is little changed, whichever version you prefer. Various
factsheets on Pinocchio state that the story is reputed to be the
second most widely published book in the world after the Bible.
THE LEANING TOWER:
Pisa, children love everything about the Leaning Tower, whether its
having their photos taken in just the right spot so that it looks like
they are holding up the Tower or whether it is getting dizzy racing up
the stairs to the top! As in Florence, booking your ticket in advance
saves lots of time and also disappointment as during the height of the
tourist season, some days all visiting times for the tower tour
are sold out.
If you are staying in the Chianti area, why not take them to learn how to make ice-cream
at the Antica Delizia Ice Cream parlour in Castellina in Chianti. This
family run parlour promises them fun and plenty of tasting of the
COOKING FOR KIDS:
Paola and Simona of the Toscana Mia Cookery School
work their magic from their professional kitchen (between Radda and
Lecchi) and ensure that the children enjoy learning about food and
making their lunch with the adults allowed to join in too!
We hope that you have enjoyed reading our newsletter and we look forward to the 2012 season with you.