- Panzano in Chianti: Festa della stagion bona
Historical parade through the centre of Panzano, originally meant to celebrate the Spring, accompanied by a little market with local gastronomy.
- I vini del castello, Montefioralle - Greve in Chianti
Local wine producers gather and showcase the best of their production in the beautiful venue of the castle.
- Cantine aperte: last week-end of May
Open-day for the wine producers who welcome visitors in their cellars, giving them the chance to visit the estate and taste excellent wines often under the supervision of a professional sommelier.
- Mille Miglia:
Historical car race from Brescia to Rome to cover 1000 Roman miles, hence the name of the event which took originally place mainly from 1927 and 1957. Today it is a sort of a touring recreation each year with new routings crossing some of the most beautiful parts of Italy.
- Castiglion Fiorentino, Palio dei Rioni:
Roman-style horse race between the local districts. The event is preceded by an histotical parade which brings the old town back to ancient times.
- Ferie delle Messi and the Giostra dei Bastoni, San Gimignano, third Saturday and Sunday of June.
This festival was once held to celebrate the harvest. Today it is a mediaeval-style festival with costumed knights on horseback, fireworks, musicians, an art and crafts market and plenty of good food.
The tiny village of Brolio holds the Sagra della Rana - the frog festival. A classic for the locals - 10,000 frogs legs are imported especially for this event and in the evening dancing.
- Monteriggioni Festa Medioevale:
This is one of the best costume festivals in Italy with local and also professional performers, music, demonstrations of mediaeval trades, food stands filling the piazza inside the fortified town of Monteriggioni.
- Cantiere internazionale d'arte, Montepulciano:
Festival of new work by leading composers, dramatists and choreographers.
- Night of shooting stars, August 10th:
The 10 August is traditionally the night of the shooting stars and on this night many historical town centres and 'piazzas', castles and courtyards offer tourists the chance to try some of the best wines from local winery's together with typical local dishes and products in a relaxed, almost party, atmosphere.
- Bravio delle botti, Montepulciano:
A barrel rolling race between the eight Contradas (divisions) of Montepulciano competing for a Palio, a painted cloth banner. The barrels (which weigh 80 kilos) have to be rolled up about 1800 meters along the main street of the town of Montepulciano to end in the Piazza Grande. Costume processions precede the competition and a street banquet follows.
- Rassegna del Chianti Classico, Greve in Chainti, every year on second weekend of September and the preceding Thursday and Friday:
This is the biggest Tuscan celebration of local wines. Visitors can buy a glass at the entrance desk and taste up to 8 wines presented in the festival.
- Pienza pecorino-fair and "Cacio al Fuso":
Pienza makes among the best pecorino in Italy and a wide range of excellent cheeses is available to be tasted and bought during this fair. The Cacio al Fuso is a cheese rolling competition. Cacio is the original Tuscan word for pecorino and the fuso or spindle is the target of the game.
- Impruneta, festa dell'Uva (Grape Festival):
It is probably the most popular annual event in Impruneta both for natives and tourists. Over the years it lost some of the original rural characteristics but its essential popular nature has remained intact. The most important part of the parade, which usually starts at 3.30 pm, consists of allegorical carts built by the four districts of Impruneta: Fornaci, Pallò, Sant'Antonio and Sante Marie. During the day of the festival, popular dances, performances, tasting of agricultural products and shows of the local handicraft products are held.
- Vino al Vino, Panzano:
Panzano in Chianti wine festival is held in the main square of Panzano. Wine from many of the Panzano wineries is available to be sampled. This is a smaller and more informal event than the Greve wine festival in preceding week
- Sagra del Tordo, Montalcino:
Drum parades and archery trials on Saturday, and a popular feast held inside the walls of the castle all day Sunday, with very good food and wine purchasable by the glass.
General Activities IN TUSCANY
- Pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella - visit the pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella in Florence and discover all the different perfumes, herbals and soaps
- Opera - head to Torre del Lago and attend one of the many performances based on plays written by Puccini (only in summer)
- Wine and Olive Oil tasting - travel to Badia di Passigano and visit the abbey with its wine cellars before relaxing in the abbey's Osteria di Passigano, for a real Tuscan wine and olive oil tasting experience
- The Chocolate Valley Tour - visit the Chocolate Valley which lies between Pisa and Montecatini and visit an esteemed factory where you will be tantalised by aromas and flavours of the process of traditional chocolate making and tasting session (not available during summer)
- Carrara and Pietrasanta Marble - enjoy the marble caves of Carrara, the marble that Michelangelo chose to immortalise his masterpieces. Afterwards see artisans at work as you visit a Sculpture Studio in Pietrasanta
- Fantastic Gelato - located in central Florence to visit one of the most well known " gelaterias"
- Private Villa Concert - the ultimate Italian music experience in the intimacy of your villa. A Violin-Piano Duo, Harp and Flute, a String Quartet with Soprano and Tenor singers as well as Jazz and Neapolitan Folk formations can be arranged
- Ferrari Touring - drive on winding roads through the hilltop villages of Tuscany, down cypress-lined avenues and along the coastal freeways of the Mediterranean…all behind the wheel of a Ferrari
Sporting Activities IN TUSCANY
- Golf - 18 holes: 10 clubs; 9 holes: 10 clubs (golf is well established in Tuscany and a secret golfers paradise)
- Jogging/ Walking - put your running shoes on and enjoy the beautiful countryside
- Mountain Biking - many routes are on offer including challenging tours like the Monti Metaliferi
- Horse riding - Tuscany is a paradise for going horse riding
- Swimming - is offered in many touristic locations
- Surfing - is possible along the Tuscan coastline
- Diving - is recommended especially in the Archipelago della Toscana and the Golfo di Baratti
- Tennis - is offered in many touristic locations
Local Attractions IN TUSCANY
- Florence, Uffizi Gallery - Open all year round
- Florence, Ponte Vecchio
- Florence, Bargello National Museum - Open all year round
- Florence, The Boboli Gardens - Open all year round
- Florence, Santa Maria Novella - Open all year round
- Lucca, Forte dei Marmi - beach and exclusive beach resorts
- Lucca, Palazzo Pfanner - climb Giunigi Tower
- Lucca, San Frediano Church - Open all year round
- Lucca, Villa Reale Gardens of Villa Real - House and Garden open all year round
- Arezzo, Gothic Cathedral
- Arezzo, Main Square with Vasari's loggia
- Arezzo, Mecenate Archeological Museum - Open all year round
- Arezzo, Medieval and Modern Museum and Gallery - Open all year round
- Arezzo, Petrarca Theatre - Changing program
- Arezzo, Piero Francesca's fresco cycle "Legend of the True Cross"
- Pisa, Campo dei Miracoli and Duomo - The Dome is open all year round
- Pisa, Leaning Tower and Cathedral - Open all year round
- Pisa, Zoological Museum - Open all year round
- San Gimignano, Medieval Towers
- Siena, Il Duomo - Open all year round
- Siena, Piaza del Campo
- Siena, Pinacoteca Nazionale - Open all year round
- Siena, Torre del Mangia
- Grosseto, Tarot Garden - Open from April to mid October
- Grosseto/Maremma, Rocca di Franssinello - winery designed by Renzo Piano
- Livorno, Fortezza Vecchia (Old Fortress)
PRACTICAL INFORMATION FOR YOUR TUSCAN VILLA HOLIDAY
GMT +1 hour
The Euro (€) is the official currency of Italy. Coins are available in 1 cent, 2 cent, 5 cent, 10 cent, 20 cent, 50, cent , €1 & €2 denominations. Notes are available in €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, €500 denominations.
Travellers cheques are widely accepted for exchange or purchase in major cities, but in more rural areas, visit a bank to exchange them for Euros. Major credit cards are widely accepted here (though a limited number of merchants have American Express accounts) and ATM access is widespread. Exchange currency only at authorized outlets such as banks and hotels, and exchange only what you think you will spend in-country. Coins cannot be reconverted on departure. Save all receipts from any currency exchange transaction. You may be asked to produce them when you exit the country, and they are required if you intend to reconvert local currency.
Tipping IN TUSCANY
You are not expected to tip on top of restaurant service charges, though leaving a small amount is common practice. If there is no service charge, you might consider leaving 10%/15%, but it is not obligatory. In bars any small change is left as a tip. Tipping taxi drivers is also not mandatory but suggested.
Arrival & Departure Formalities
Travel documents are your responsibility. In general you should have:
- A signed, valid passport that will remain valid for at least 6 months beyond the completion of your trip. Your passport must have enough blank pages (excluding amendment pages) available for entry and exit stamps issued when entering and exiting immigration points.
- Visas are required for certain nationalities and you are strongly advised to check your status allowing plenty of time for visa application.
Weather IN TUSCANY
In general, the climate in Tuscany is very mild with little difference between the various provinces. The summers are hotter on the coast and in the valleys than in the hills. It rarely rains in the summer months. The average temperature varies between 27°C and 33°C and can even reach 40°C. Spring and autumn are rainy and milder; however, there are still plenty of dry and sunny days. By May there is less rain and the days become longer with up to 10 hours of daylight. The average temperature in spring is between 19°C and 24°C, in autumn between 21°C and 24°C. The winter months alternate between rain and sun with an average temperature of around 10°C.
It is advisable to contact your doctor before you travel if you have any specific health concerns and take out appropriate travel and medical insurance.
Electricity SUPPLY IN TUSCANY
Electrical service in Italy is supplied at 220-240 volts/50 hertz - a converter/adaptor may be required.
Driving IN ITALY
There are some important rules of the road -
- At crossroads drivers coming from the right have priority excluding crossroads with traffic signs/lights.
- Always carry your driver's license accompanied by the International Driving Permit, the car insurance papers and ownership (rental) papers.
- The minimum driving age is 18.
- Traffic drives on the right.
- Seat belts must be worn - children under 12 must travel in the back seats, unless the front seat is fitted with a child restraint system.
- Headlights must be on all the time except if driving in a city during the day with good visibility.
- In the event of a breakdown a red warning triangle must be displayed in the road.
- National speed limit is 50kmh (31mph) in towns, 90kmh (56mph) on secondary non-urban highways, 110kmh (68mph) on dual carriageways, 130kmh (80mph) on motorways.
- Speeding fines: Euros 30 - 300.
- For use of the highways it is invariably necessary to collect a ticket at toll booth marked " biglietti" before entering the highway. DO NOT pass under the lanes marked Telepass. Pay the toll at the exit. Payment can be made by coins or by credit card.
- There are strict laws concerning drinking and driving. Blood alcohol levels must not exceed 0.05%. There are random breathalyzer tests carried out regularly by the police.
Parking in Italy
- In many large towns, the historical town centre is subject to traffic restrictions (authorised vehicles only may enter) indicated by large white sign with a red circle saying " Zona a traffico limitato".
- Street parking is organized and designated with signs and by the colour of the lines for the parking spots. The colour of the lines on the parking space indicates the type of parking; white is for free parking, blue is for paid parking, yellow is reserved for special use. Signs will tell you if you are required to pay or to use a parking disc to time your parking (more details below). In most regions, blue lines mark paid street parking. There will be a payment machine nearby. Place the receipt from the machine on the dashboard. In many towns, white lines mark free parking spots on the street but they may be limited by time. The closest parking sign will tell you if you must set your parking disc to show when you arrived. Set your parking disc to the time you parked and display it in the window. You must return within the maximum allowed time.