The postcard-perfect views of Tuscany are an easy sell to British buyers, and with confidence returning people are once again ready to pursue the good life.
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Solve a mysterious murder set in the sixteenth century, chase the tracks of Professor Robert Langdon, the main character of the last best-selling novel by Dan Brown, have a wine tasting riding a quad bike or chasing old ghosts.
What do these curious experiences have in common? They are all unusual itineraries and tours to explore our beautiful Tuscany from a new and original point of view. Here are some ideas for a different experience of this magical land.
There is a definite movement from the countryside to cities for buyers in Italy, attracted by smaller, easily manageable property.
Foreigners may dream of owning a Tuscan rural idyll but in recent years, once push has come to shove, many have chosen a city location instead — opting for a lifestyle heavy on culture, architecture and art.
So, for example, would you buy an apartment with such stunning view?
This is a renovated apartment in the heart of the historical Sarteano (Si), in an eighteenth century building, with an area of 150 square meters c.ca. and a loft of about 40 square meters.
Overlooking the main square, the apartment is spread over three floors of a building - part of the '400 and the '700 - with beautiful views of the town's main square and the surrounding hills, with views of Mount Cetona. Internally the apartment offers: on the 1st floor is the entrance to the house from which, through an internal staircase floors, you can reach the second level where there is a multipurpose room currently used as a study and a bathroom . Also through an internal staircase once again in handmade terracotta, we reach the third floor of the building where there is a large living room with fireplace and a fully functional gallery which has been made a pleasant accommodation for the master bedroom. From the living room, up a few steps, there is a spacious landing currently used as a wardrobe-dressing room, a bathroom, a living room and a dining room with fireplace and kitchenette. All rooms are very spacious and bright at all hours of the day, with characteristics typical of the old buildings still visible (arches, exposed beams, large windows). The apartment is located close to public car parks free of charge, with views of the town's main square and the Teatro Comunale, all amenities are within walking distance but at the same time you can appreciate the extraordinary isolation from the noise inherent in any city center. Part of furniture and appliances have been tailor-made for the restoration took place recently (about 3 years ago), so they are included in the sale. The apartment has a loft of about 40 square meters used as a laundry room where they were placed the dryer, washing machine and boiler.
Lago di Orta, in the region of Piedmont, Italy, is nestled in the hills just east of Lake Maggiore. It’s only a thirty minute drive from Milan and Lake Maggiore, but without the hustle and bustle or glitz of Maggiore and another well known lake, Como. In fact not many people have heard of Lago di Orta, not even the Italians, though they comprise the majority of tourists there. I think they must want to keep it for themselves.
The town of Orta San Guilio on the east side of the lake is one of the most romantic places I’ve ever been. The buildings are all brilliant terracotta colors with tile rooftops and painted shutters, tumbling down the hillside toward the lake. It’s a pedestrian-only town, with one narrow alley-like street and few little side alleys that beckon you to explore them.
Towering above Orta San Guilio is Sacro Monte (spiritual mountain), a place of pilgrimage dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi. There are twenty chapels illustrating the life of St.Francis along a clearly marked path with picnic and rest areas along the way.[...] You also have a spectacular view of the lake from the mountain.
Then there’s Isola San Guilio, a tiny gem of an island. In the ninth century the Bishop of Navaro built a basilica there which dominates the landscape. There’s also Benedictine monastery built in the 1900s. It seems that even the island is a place for the religious and spiritual seeker, although you could simply enjoy the scenery and the architecture. From Piazza Motto the main square in Orta San Guilio, you can take a ferry over to the island. [...]
Varenna, a magnificent fishing village on the shores of Lake Como, dates back to the 11th Century.
Those that walk its streets and pass by its perfumed gardens can breathe in the air of other times, and those strolling along the nearby lake pathway will be rewarded with a magnificent and romantic panorama.
Castello di Vezio, used by Queen Theodelinda as a lookout point, hovers over Varenna, while a couple of luxe villas also decorate the scene - Villa Cipressi, with its terraced garden, and Villa Monastero, with a 2-kilometer long lakefront garden. The beauty and unique atmosphere of this spectacular lakeside village contribute to its reputation for being both inspirational and relaxing.
The This Morning chef offers up his five top spots to experience the best local food in his home nation
In chef Gino D’Acampo’s new six-part cooking travelogue, Gino’s Italian Escape (8pm, Fridays on ITV), he guides us around southern Italy, and crafts colourful meals with his home nation’s finest produce, revealing some of the county’s best kept secrets along the way.
Ahead of the show, Radio Times Travel catches up with Gino for his top five Italian treats to try, while discovering Italy:
Even the dreamiest of trips can go off the rails when you fall into one of these all-too-common travel traps. We've been there—and we've brought back advice on foolproof booking, smart sightseeing, and making the most of every minute. [...]
The Borghese Gallery in Rome is one work of art contains many others; it is a treasure trove that was commissioned by Scipione Borghese during the 17th Century.
Scipione was a sort of talent scout during his day; it was he who offered enhanced fame and opportunity to both Caravaggio and Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
The Villa in which the Gallery is housed hosts the largest collection of Caravaggios in the world, along with a great number of Bernini's masterpieces, from Aeneas and Anchises and the Rape of Proserpina to his sculpture of David and of Apollo and Daphne, among several others.
We also find here one of the most famous Canova statues in the world, the magnificent portrait of Paolina Borghese (Paolina Bonaparte).
As MotoGP™ descends on Misano for the San Marino Grand Prix, one of its most historical figures will be present, never out of fashion despite having competing in his final race some 36 years ago. Agostini, or ‘Mino’ as he is known by his adoring fans, will be presenting a book charting his time both on the race track and off it.
He’s the most successful rider in the history of the World Championship, with 15 titles and no less than 122 race victories to his name. He was known for eating up the records and, assisted by his image, seemingly establishing with ease his popular reputation both with those involved in motorcycle racing and those looking in - something compatriot Valentino Rossi would repeat some three decades later.
Back in the 60s and 70s, the power of the media – not least television – was not comparable with that of today. Instead, it was the youthful idol himself – an ambassador of Italy and well-known athlete – that was the phenomenon.
Agostini landed himself in the world of motorcycle racing with a determination and clarity in ideas second to none. He hailed from a family that was in no way, shape or form associated with the sport; in fact, his father very much deterred him from the very idea of two-wheel battle. He was eventually convinced by an official, when his son was attempting to sign up for the Trento to Bondone race in which would finish second on a modest Morini 175 Settebello.
The following year, Morini signed up Agostini for the Italian championship, which he would win in 1964, but more importantly he made a guest appearance in the 250 Nations Grand Prix at Monza in which he finished fourth. That grabbed the attention of Count Domenico Agusta, who almost immediately signed him for MV Agusta alongside then reigning 500 World Champion Mike ‘The Bike’ Hailwood.
Ago made his 500 debut in 1965. Back then, it was commonplace for riders to compete in more than one class, so the Italian featured in 350s as well as 500s. His first victory at the terrifying original Nurburgring proved to be the first of three that year and he would finish runner-up to Englishman Hailwood in the 500 ranks.
It was year two of the 500s in which the real Agostini ‘legend’ status began to emerge. Teammate Hailwood left for Honda, leaving Agostini in prime position to tailor MV to his own needs – a truly lethal combination that would lead to a record seven consecutive 500 titles, something not beaten or even matched to this day.
Between 1966 and 1972, the track belonged to Ago. [...]
1. Harvest Season
Be surrounded with the scent of fresh harvest. All our walking holidays will feature festivals or markets during the season of abundant fresh foods. Embrace the slow food movement with local delicacies. Celebrations with perfect wine pairings abound. What could be better?
2. Cooler Temperatures
The summer months are hot and while that may be ideal for basking in the sun along the coast line, walking holidays are better enjoyed in the cooler months. Temperatures will be comfortable, in the low 70s Fahrenheit.
3. Fewer People.
Though many people still flock to Italy in the autumn, most towns are less crowded than in the high season of the summer months. This translates into less wait time in restaurants, less wait time to get into museums, and a getting a feel of real life in Italy.
4. Excellent Gastronomy
Fall is harvest time in Italy. Local produce abounds. My favourites include wild chestnuts, zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta and of course, the elusive white truffle! Try some of the many varieties of olives soaking in the perfect brine. Restaurants prepare special menus to celebrate the harvest and use the freshest produce.
5. Wine Harvest
The Tuscan countryside is famed for its exceptional wine, and towns like Montalcino, Monetpulciano, Chianti, and Greve for example, come alive with colourful festivals, lively feasts and celebrations that date back to the enigmatic Etruscans.
The wild, windswept volcanic island of Pantelleria, Italy, — known as the Black Pearl of the Mediterranean — marries beach and mountain vacations like few other places can, with its hot springs of thermal waters on the Big Mountain and unspoiled crystal-blue-green sea waters that beckon sailors and sun worshippers.
It’s beautiful and savage, and attracts travelers looking to relax and unwind from the hustle and bustle of life.
It’s the island on which Ulysses spent seven years loving the nymph Calypso — or so legend has it.
The cult Sicilian detective series owes as much to the beauty of its island setting as it does to the mysteries solved when an inspector calls, says Lee Marshall.
This is a great article to experience Inspector Montalbano's Sicily, not a slavishly accurate “Montalbano tour” but a series of suggestions for those keen to absorb the colours and flavours of a part of Sicily with a special quality of light, landscapes possessed of a stark, archaic beauty, and historic town centres the equal of anything you can find in Tuscany. Plus – an important detail given Montalbano’s passion and knowledge about it – some of southern Italy’s most delicious food.
Dropping in on these rarely visited, notably distinct spots creates a chance to experience culture away from the crowds.
Unhurried and uncrowded places
A tour around Italy's famous food region, Emilia-Romagna, for Liz Boulter, takes in gourmet treats, the best lambrusco and stays in medieval castles and towers. What's not to fall in love with? [...]
The province of Emilia-Romagna, of which Bologna is the capital, is one of the world's top foodie regions. Outside the tower walls, citizens would have been eating prosciutto, mortadella, parmesan cheese, silky egg pasta and bolognese ragù, seasoning their meals with balsamic vinegar from down the road in Modena, and washing it all down with the region's excellent wines. [...]
Back to work after holidays? Are you a MTB-addicted ? A few hints for your next week end in Liguria ! Here is a video about the amazing MTB competition for solo and couples along the Alta Via dei Monti Liguri: 9 days, 8 stages, climbing 17,000 meters with 500 km of riding. The competition "Alta Via Stage Race 2013" took place last June
Info about the route on www.altaviastagerace.com
This video is for all MTB passionates, an invite to repeat the wonderful trail in the magnificent Liguria.
Brunello di Montalcino is a red Italian wine produced in the vineyards surrounding the town of Montalcino located about 120 km south of Florence in the Tuscany wine region. Brunello, a diminutive of Bruno, a male given name which means brown, is the name that was given locally to what was believed to be an individual grape variety grown in Montalcino. In 1879 the Province of Siena's Amphelographic Commission determined, after a few years of controlled experiments, that Sangiovese and Brunello were the same grape variety, and that the former should be its designated name. In Montalcino the name Brunello evolved into the designation of the wine produced with 100% Sangiovese. In 1980, Brunello di Montalcino was awarded the first Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) designation and today is one of Italy's best-known and most expensive wines.
Cannonau wine is little-known outside of Sardinia, making it a joy to discover – especially when combined with visits to friendly winemakers, homely restaurants and quiet beaches
Be prepared for surprises. Driving around, you will only occasionally see patches of vineyards dotted around an essentially pastoral landscape, dominated by shepherds and their sheep. [...]
The Val d'Orcia, or Valdorcia, is a region of Tuscany, central Italy, which extends from the hills south of Siena to Monte Amiata. It is characterised by gentle, carefully cultivated hills occasionally broken by gullies and by picturesque towns and villages such as Pienza (rebuilt as an "ideal town" in the 15th century under the patronage of Pope Pius II), Radicofani (home to the notorious brigand-hero Ghino di Tacco) and Montalcino (the Brunello di Montalcino is counted among the most prestigious of Italian wines). It is a landscape which has become familiar through its depiction in works of art from the Renaissance painting to the modern photograph. [...]
Essential guidebook for anyone walking in Abruzzo. This wild region of Italy is home to the Abruzzo, Maiella, and Gran Sasso national parks and the Sirente-Velino regional park. 30-day walks are described including an ascent of Como Grande, the highest point in Italy outside the Alps. The area is easily reached from the airport at Pescara.
Abruzzo is wonderful walking country. It is one of the wildest and least populated regions of Italy, with 26 peaks over 2000m, and home to three national parks. There are fine routes throughout this largely protected area, between charming hilltop villages through forests and gorges and along high mountain ridges.
This beautiful natural environment is maintained to a remarkable extent in the region’s three national parks - Abruzzo, Maiella, and Gran Sasso, the Sirente-Velino regional park and many smaller reserves. [...]
Experience Inspector Montalbano's Sicily. Follow in the footsteps of Salvo Montalbano and the other members of Vigata's small police force
Day 1: Airport - Montelusa
Day 2 Montelusa - Vigàta
Day 3: Montalbano's house and other shooting locations
Day 4: Departure
Italy is enjoying a new Risorgimento – of beer. A country held in the grip of wine and mass produced thin lagers for generations is enjoying a mighty upsurge in beer drinking.
There are now more than 500 small craft breweries in Italy and several were on display at the Great British Beer Festival in London. They were promoted by leading beer…
Se guardate una mappa delle cinture di vino, birra e liquori, vedrete che l'Italia non è più designato esclusivamente come una contea del vino e si può pianificare qui la tua prossima vacanza birra a tema. Italia può ancora diventare per la birra l'equivalente europeo della California per i vini.