When visiting Tuscany, villas allow you to live the dream in its rolling, sunburnt hills. Wonderful architecture, the cobblestoned streets that were first paved during the height of the Holy Roman Empire, the idyllic trees and endless dappled landscape – what more could you want? But during your visit to this iconic region there are a few things that you shouldn’t miss.
The former cultural capital of the world has much to offer even the most jaded tourist and you are sure to fall into love with the stunning hilltop towns, the beautiful windswept coast and, of course, the food! The region is also home to a great number of beautiful museums that house classic works of art. Many of the museums here are former monasteries or great houses converted into museums by the ruling families of Tuscany. Villas are dotted around the countryside – some remote and some on the outskirts of famous cities. But always, the culture, art and history beckon.
If you are near Florence and plan to visit one of the world’s most famous museums, the Uffizi, make sure you book your tickets early. The lines are long, but every minute waiting is worth it to get a chance to see classic paintings like that of Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. If sculpture is more your style, David stands, as proud as the day he was finished, in the Galleria dell’ Accademia. If art is the reason you are in Italy, then you are sure to get your money’s worth!
After a day wandering around a museum in Tuscany, villas that are a little out of town will allow you to explore the local area by bike or foot. The mild weather and beautiful scenery make this a perfect way to spend the day. Take advantage of the freedom villas afford you by bringing along some cold cuts and crisp wine for a cold picnic lunch on the side of the road. The terrain here makes a perfect set up for the amateur or professional cyclist with the rolling hills providing a moderate challenge. Or set off sans bike for a brisk hike to enjoy the countryside. Monteforato is a favorite walking destination for tourists and locals alike.
Wine tasting should be high on your list if you are near the famous winemaking region of Chianti (or in fact anywhere in Tuscany!). Villas are often located very near ancient family-owned wineries in the region, and it would seem rude not to pay a visit to your neighbour! Although the light red wine called Chianti has made this region famous, one should note that there are several different varieties and the budding sommelier would do well to taste them all! Vineyards often allow tourists to witness the winemaking process, so a winery visit would make for an educational and heady afternoon.
The adventurous gourmet may also want to spend a morning or afternoon taking a local cooking lesson. Tuscan cuisine is generally light, easy and a breeze to prepare so taking home a classic recipe or two might be better than any souvenir.
As with any foreign country, a great guidebook and a smattering of the local dialect will be a great help as you navigate the beautiful Tuscan landscape. The region provides enough activities to keep you engaged for days or even weeks.
Giovanni Balboni works for To Tuscany, who specialise in finding the perfect Tuscany villas in Chianti as well as selected villas in Umbria and Puglia. To Tuscany is proud of their villas and their reputation. All our Tuscan properties are personally selected and visited by our representatives to ensure we offer only the best in the region.