Tag Archives: Hospitality/Recreation

Outlet Shopping in Tuscany

Outlet shopping Tuscany around Florence

Designer bag Chanel purse. Outlet shopping in TuscanyTuscany is host to a  couple of very nice, high-end, fashion outlets. Most of the factory fashion outlets are within easy reach of Florence and offer long opening hours. Outlet shopping is for many tourists in Tuscany something they do while on holiday.

Famous brands like Prada, Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Miu Miu, Tods and many others offer their products with 30 – 70% discount. The huge discounts are mostly offered on last seasons collections but also current collections can be bought with a bit of a discount at these outlet shopping centers in Tuscany.
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Valdichiana Outlet Village

Outlet Village in Foiano della Chiana near Arezzo

Valdichiana Outlet Village Valdichiana Outlet Village in Foiano della ChianaThe Valdichiana Outlet Village near Arezzo is build like a real Tuscan village with the coloured house, village squares, streets and bridges. It offers 70+ stores,  selling over 100 of the most famous Italian brands.

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Montepulciano in Tuscany

Location of Montepulciano

One of the most beautiful hilltowns in Tuscany, MontepulcianoMontepulciano, known as one of the most attractive hilltowns in Tuscany, is located in the Val di Chiana and within easy reach of the Val d’Orcia.

Montepulciano is built on a limestone ridge of Monte Poliziano in the province of Siena in southern Tuscany with an elevation of 605 m.
The nearest bigger town is Pienza, located at about 13 km distance, Siena is 70 km away and Florence even 134 km.
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The main sights in Arezzo Tuscany

Arezzo Piazza Grande

Piazza Grande in Arezzo. Main square of Arezzo Tuscany The Piazza Grande is the most noteworthy medieval square in the city of Arezzo, opening behind the thirteenth-century Romanesque apse of S. Maria della Pieve. Once the main marketplace of the city, it is currently the site of the Giostra del Saracino (“Joust of the Saracin”). It has a sloping pavement in red brick with limestone geometrical lines. Aside from the apse of the church, other landmarks of the square include:
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Valdarno Designer Outlet Shopping

24 designer brands at huge discounts at The Mall in Incisa

The Mall designer outlet shopping near Florence ItalyLocated near Incisa Valdarno is probably the largest fashion designer outlet mall in Europe. Simply called The Mall it offers 24 shops of the most famous brands around like Gucci, Burberry, Giorgio Armani and Ermenegildo Zegna.
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Pisa International Airport

Pisa International Airport Train stationGalileo Galilei Airport (IATA: PSA, ICAO: LIRP) is an airport located in Pisa, Italy. It is one of the two main airports in Tuscany, together with Peretola Airport in Florence. It is named after Galileo Galilei, the famous scientist and native of Pisa. It is located in the San Giusto neighbourhood, less than 2 km from the central train station, relatively close to the city centre.
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Chianti and Tuscan Wine Tasting

Experience Chianti and Super Tuscans at a wine tasting

Grapes ready to become Chianti wineTuscany is famous for its wines and not without reason. The earliest documentation of a “Chianti wine” dates back to the 13th century when viticulture was known to flourish in the “Chianti Mountains” around Florence. Not only the high quality wine and the fame of the Chianti make Tuscany so attractive to wine lovers from all over the world. The hospitaly of the wine makers and their great knowledge of their vino, have an enormous added value.

Many of the wine estates in Tuscany offer (free)tours around their vineyards and are happy to tell you about the process of wine making and let you taste the various wines. We are happy to offer you a list of small, often family-run, estates that offer these tours and tastings. The list is courtesy of La Vera Toscana

The following estates offer a wine tasting on site:

  • Agriturismo Le Fonti a San Giorgio [with online booking form]
  • Agriturismo Le Gret
  • Borgo Stomennano
  • Castello del Trebbio [with online booking form]
  • Castello di Vicarello [with online booking form]
  • Castello Sonnino [with online booking form]
  • Fattoria Casa Sola [with online booking form]
  • Fattoria di Corsignano [with online booking form]
  • Fattoria la Loggia
  • Fattoria Torre del Castellano [with online booking form]
  • Fattoria Tregole [with online booking form]
  • Villa Cicolina [with online booking form]
  • Chianti grapes wine chianti

    Volterra in Tuscany

    Volterra is still almost untouched by the stress of contemporary life

    View of city of Volterra in TuscanyVolterra, a jewel of Etruscan, Roman, Medieval and Renaissance art, dominates the whole valley of the river Cecina from its birth to the Thyrrenian sea, from a hill 550 m above sea level.

    History has left its marks in Volterra from the Etruscan period to the 19th century with artistic and monumental traces of great importance.

    Today Volterra is still almost untouched by the stress of contemporary life and visitors to the city get the immediate impression of stepping into the past as they walk through the narrow Mediaeval streets; here they can find craftsmen working at their ancient crafts which have been passed down directly from Etruscan times.

    Alabaster art from Volterra TuscanyThe tourist can admire them simply strolling on the streets of the historic centre or visiting the three city museums: the Etruscan Museum, the City Art Gallery and the Museum of Sacred Art. Besides the cultural aspect Volterra’s charm is due to the uncontaminated landscape, a way of life still moulded on a human scale, and an artistic handicraft unique in the world: the manufacture of Alabaster.

    Volterra is a town to live intensely, to discover little by little with its atmosphere, its contrasts, the pulse of a civilisation and a culture that makes it unique and unrepeatable.

    How to reach Volterra

    From Pisa, direction east Florence, take the SGC. Exit Pontedera and follow direction for Volterra which is 40 Km far

    Palazzo Pretorio at Piazzo dei Priori in Volterra Tuscany

    Pisa in Tuscany

    Pisa: So much more than the leaning tower

    The leaning tower of Pisa TuscanyPisa first belonged to the Longobard kingdom and later to the Carolingian empire. Already an important naval base in the Roman era, from the 11th century Pisa intensified its Mediterranean trade, with numerous victories of its fleet over Muslim cities and ships.

    The Mediaeval Era coincided with the height of its economic, political and artistic growth, to which the urban planning of the old centre bears witness by its many religious and civic buildings, its squares, its typical narrow alleys that run perpendicular to the River Arno, the great trade route that for centuries represented the economic heart of the city.

    The city walls, whose construction began around 1154-1155, were completed in the mid-14th century and today represent an important part of the architectural heritage.

    In 1406 Pisa was conquered for the first time by Florence, thus beginning a long period of profound crisis that ended only with the political ascent of the Medici nobles. From the second half of the 16th century there was a recovery characterized by the development of the University, founded on the orders of Lorenzo II Magnifico at the end of the 15th century.
    Cosimo I de’ Medici and his successors renovated the aspect of the squares and churches, rendering Pisa the second capital of Tuscany, until its annexation to the Kingdom of Italy in 1861.
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    San Gimignano in Tuscany

    The long history of San Gimignano

    San Gimignano Tuscany Piazza CisternaSan Gimignano was founded as a small village in the 3rd century BC by the Etruscans. Historical records begin in the 10th century, when it adopted the name of the bishop Saint Geminianus, who had defended it from Attila’s Huns.

    In the Middle Ages and Renaissance era, it was a stopping point for Catholic pilgrims on their way to Rome and the Vatican, as it sits on the medieval Via Francigena. The city’s development also was improved by the trade of agricultural products from the fertile neighbouring hills.

    In 1199, during the period of its highest splendour, the city made itself independent from the bishops of Volterra. Divisions between Guelphs and Ghibellines troubled the inner life of the commune, which nonetheless, still managed to embellish itself with artworks and architectures.

    Saint Fina, known also as Seraphina and Serafina, was a thirteenth century Italian saint born in San Gimignano during 1238. Since Saint Fina died on March 12, 1253 her feast day became March 12. Her major shrine is in San Gimignano and the house said to be her home still stands in the town.

    On May 8, 1300, San Gimignano hosted Dante Alighieri in his role of ambassador of the Guelph League in Tuscany.

    The city flourished until 1348, when the plague that affected all of Europe, compelled it to submit to Florence. San Gimignano became a secondary centre until the nineteenth century, when its status as a touristic and artistic resort began to be recognized.

    Main sights

    View of 2 medieval towers in San Gimignano TuscanyWhile in other cities, such as Bologna or Florence, most or all of their towers have been brought down due to wars, catastrophes, or urban renewal, San Gimignano has managed to conserve fourteen towers of varying height which have become its international symbol.
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