• History,  Pisa

    Who paid for the Leaning Tower of Pisa

    Detail of Battistero Pisa

    Everybody knows the Leaning Tower of Pisa, endlessly about to topple. The famous tower is in Pisa, Tuscany, a city that now hosts the region’s main airport, but was once the capital of a powerful sea-faring Republic. So how did the Tower get built? And where did the money come from? To answer these questions, we’ll have to dip into some history: A brief history of Pisa Pisa has a proud history, and was founded in a strategic position by the Etruscans. The advantages of its protected position on the coast saved it from the worst damage after the fall of the Roman empire. It become a popular port, with…

  • Pisa,  Travel Tips,  Tuscan Cities

    Getting Tickets for the Leaning Tower of Pisa

    Leaning Tower of Pisa

    If you do decide to visit Pisa, you will want to see the leaning tower, set in The Square of Miracles, or Campo dei Miracoli, which has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1987. At the far side of this grassy square is the leaning bell tower,  next to the beautiful Roman Catholic Duomo di Pisa built in the imposing Pisan Romaneque style and a vision in white marble. The square also houses the domed baptistery, where Galileo was baptised, and the Camposanto Monumentale which is the final resting place of notable Italians including Fibonacci. This square takes visitors through every stage of the lifecycle – from birth and baptism, through a…

  • Villas in Tuscany

    Casolare

    Villa near Greve in Chianti with Pool

    Greve, Chianti Villa near Greve in Chianti with a panoramic pool. Casolare is an ancient Tuscan farm-house recently converted into 3 elegant apartments. As Villas near Greve in Chianti go, this one is special. Its present owners have transformed it into three large dwellings with a joyful sense of colour and generous hospitality. The houses are all  individual in style, but all under the same roof and sharing striking views of the ancient landscape that surrounds it. Great Villa for Families All this makes Casolare an excellent place for large groups to gather, be they extended families celebrating a special occasion, or a group of friends eager to explore the…

  • Villas in Tuscany

    Montestigliano

    Villa Donati | Montestigliano | Invitation to Tuscany

    near Rosia, Siena A distinguished villa and charming farmhouses on an historic Tuscan estate near Siena. Situated in exceptionally picturesque countryside, Montestigliano has all the characteristics of the classic Tuscan Great Estate: avenues of cypresses, vineyards, olive groves, woodlands and neat, cultivated fields. Historic Tuscan Estate The estate buildings form a small complex with some farmhouses, the villa and agricultural buildings in a beautiful position on top of a hill. There are extensive views of the surrounding countryside. Wide, sandy, cypress-lined avenues traverse the forested hills of the estate, often terminating in belvederes at the most impressive viewpoints. Through the tangled woodlands, across the cultivated plain below, one can see…

  • Tuscan Villas by Type

    Small Tuscan Villas for 2 to 4

    Romantic dinner at Casa Moresca, Argentario

    Small Villas in Tuscany can be tricky to find.  Small properties with a private pool are even more sought after! With that in mind we’ve compiled a handy map and list to show you where our smaller properties are. Some are in villages as staying in a town or village can be a wonderful way to really get to know the local culture – even better if there is a seasonal festival going on! Other properties are part of an old farming estate, or have been carefully carved out of an ex-monastery. These can be good for families with children as the kids will quickly make friends. Then of course…

  • Tuscan Villas by Type

    Luxury Villas in Tuscany with Private Pool

    Pipstrelli Luxury Villa for 14

    Some villas stand out from the rest, for decor, service and position. Here is a selection of our favourite Luxury Villas in Tuscany, all with private swimming pool. There size varies, sleeping from 8 to 20 people. All of them come with our free concierge service to help you organise any extras you might want; many of them also have an on-site concierge, so you can be looked after perfectly during your stay. Private chefs, Cookery courses, Babysitters, Massages or Yoga teachers are not a problem in any of these properties. Contact us

  • Tuscan Villas by Type

    Family Villas in Tuscany

    Dipinta di Blu | Invitation to Tuscany

    Family holidays can be wonderful but it’s important to get the villa and the position right, so you can keep everybody happy. Many of our clients come on three-generation holidays, with ages ranging from 1 to 91, so a very wide range of needs and aspirations. One sure-fire way to shorten the search is to make us do the hard work – just send us a list of your requirements and we’ll prepare a short list of possible properties. We visit them all so any advice is first-hand. Contact us via the button below. Help my find the perfect family villa Finding a Great Villa for family holidays If you’d…

  • Villas in Tuscany

    Bellavista

    View from Radicondoli

    3 apartments for 4 near Radicondoli, Siena.  In an inspiring panoramic position, facing across endless unspoilt countryside dotted with vineyards, forests and dramatic hills, Bellavista is a stone farmhouse below the Tuscan hill village of Radicondoli, 500 metres down a track from a country road. The present owners have restored olive groves and renewed vineyards, producing good wine and even better olive oil. Even more care has gone into the three apartments. The swimming pool is on a terrace with never-ending views over the Tuscan countryside. The custodian lives nearby and is very conscientious and helpful. In this Radicondoli Villa the roof is insulated and air-vented, walls are insulated for sound and floors are…

  • Culture,  History,  Siena,  Tuscan Cities

    Map of Sights and Museums in Siena

    Map of Siena

    This is an idiosyncratic and personal map of what to see in Siena. There is more conventional google map at the bottom of this post, but this is a map I sketched and it’s my feeling of how Siena hangs together. There are two centres of power, the religious and the secular. The focal point of religious power is the Cathedral, built on the highest point of the city. The focus of secular power lies lower down, in the “Piazza del Campo“, literally the “square of the field“. The famous shell-shaped square is divided into 9 segments, to represent each of the members of the “consiglio dei nove” who ran…

  • Culture,  History,  Tuscany

    Bartali, the unsung cycling war hero

    On the outskirts of Florence, in an unprepossessing building close the motorway, is a small museum. It is dedicated to the memory of Gino Bartali, a man with a remarkable story that has only recently come to light. Gino Bartali is a star of world class cycling, and an inspiration to many. Paolo Conte sang a wonderful song about the cyclist and the many miles he travelled; we now know he wasn’t just training. During the second world war Bartali was already a well known figure, having won the Giro d’Italia twice, in 1936 and 37, and the Tour de France in 1938. During the war he continued to go…

  • Culture,  Food and Wine,  For children,  History,  Tuscany

    20 Italian Food ideas and Experiences you can’t miss in Tuscany

    There are hundreds of good reasons to visit Tuscany—but fabulous food has to be near the top of the list; after all, what’s more fabulous than sipping Brunello with a crusty loaf of bread and some olio nuovo as the sun sets over the terrace of your 19th century villa? Or enjoying fresh capellini with a rich, fragrant pomodoro sauce prepared by your own Tuscan cook? That’s the beauty of Tuscany—there are food experiences to tempt your eyes and your palate everywhere you look. If you’re looking for reasons to visit this magical region of Italy this year, here are 20 one-of-a-kind experiences you should add to your list. 1.…