The beautiful city of Florence
'Firenze' in Italian, Florence is a beautiful city not to be missed. Surrounded by hills, the city sits either side of the River Arno in a natural bowl, and harbours an overwhelming abundance of Renaissance ‘palazzi’, museums and churches that are world famous for their beauty, art and history. Parking in Florence can be tricky so why not take the bus? Local buses leave from the village of Tavarnuzze every 30 minutes and the journey to Florence takes 45 minutes.
Wine tasting in Chianti
Chianti is not just a beautiful region of Tuscany, but also a famous wine producing region - so wine tasting is a must during any stay in Chianti! Some of the wines produced here are: Classico, Chianti Rufina, Chianti Colli Fiorentini ... but there are many others to taste and savour.
Greve in Chianti
Greve is a small town in the heart of the Chianti region, whose charming 'square', Piazza Matteotti, is actually an unusual triangular shape. The piazza is lined with porticos under which you will find a number of shops, cafes and restaurants, and a weekly market takes place here every Saturday morning, where you can take in the atmosphere of a typical Tuscan market day. Also don’t miss the famous Falorni butcher’s shop, where you can taste a platter of meats & cheeses accompanied by a good bottle of local wine.
Nestled in the rolling hills just above Greve in the heart of the Chianti region, time seems to have stopped still in this medieval hamlet where tiny stone streets climb to the majestic castle, rewarding visitors with an amazing panorama over the surrounding Tuscan countryside. One of the best wines of the region is produced here, the Montefioralle Chianti Classico. Make sure you stop for a taste at the Montefioralle Winery, a family-run winery that organizes wine tastings and visits to the cellar.
The owner can organise a pizza night at the property for you during your stay - just enquire on arrival!
Take a Tuscan cookery class
The owner of Casale Tavarnuzze can arrange this for you.
Golfers will be pleased to have an 18 hole course nearby, the ‘Circolo Golf Ugolino’ in Impruneta (20 mins). There is also a driving range, a clubhouse with bar, a restaurant and an outdoor swimming pool.
Discover Tuscany’s olive oil
Olive oil is widely used throughout Italy in cooking and as a condiment. Most families with a patch of ground grow their own olives for oil - and if you are visiting, you can buy direct from the grower. This is quite easy, as almost every wine producer also produces olive oil so that oil can be bought at any of the very numerous “Olio”, "Vendita Diretta" and "Degustazione" places dotted along the country roads of Tuscany.
Day at the lake
The 'Lago di Bilancino' just north of Florence offers a lake beach, and activities such as canoeing, sailing and windsurfing.
Hunting castles in Chianti
There are lots of castles, towers and fortified abbeys in the Chianti region. Go exploring and get the kids imagining who used to live in these impressive (sometimes ruined!) places. Pick up a leaflet in Gaiole in Chianti; there are six different itineraries to choose from.
Bicycles can be hired in Greve in Chianti, if you would like to explore this undulating vine-clad region on two wheels. There is also a company in San Casciano Val di Pesa that will bring electric mountain bikes to the property and can also organise cycling tours with a guide if required.
Montecatini Terme (40 mins from Tavarnuzze) is a beautiful town that was built around its mineral water springs. The most famous spa in town is the Tettuccio Terme, built in the late 18th century, and still open to visitors who want to admire the liberty architecture and enjoy a treatment. You can also take the funicular (1898 cablecar) to Montecatini Alto, the historic part of the town, which offers a spectacular view and a typical square full of inviting restaurants. About 15 minutes further, the Grotta Giusti is a unique natural grotto with an underground hot water lake, where guests can enjoy a relaxing and detoxifying steam bath. Other spa facilities are also available for a truly relaxing day.
Make a splash!
The 'Acquapark Crocodile' in Arezzo offers numerous slides, swimming pools and whirlpools. You can also play beach volleyball, visit the aqua-gym or take a swimming class (all ages). Drinks and refreshments available in several bars or the restaurant, or take your own food to enjoy in the picnic area.
Parco Zoo della Fauna Europea
This animal park at Poppi, near Arezzo, occupies 50 hectares and specialises in common European animals. The zoo is open all year round and offers free parking, two bars and a big restaurant with lake views, a playground for your children and a botanical garden.
Bag a bargain
Arezzo (approx 1 hour) hosts the largest antique market in Tuscany on the first Sunday of each month. The fair takes advantage of the extraordinary scenery of Piazza San Francesco, Piazza Grande and the Logge del Vasari. The stalls spread over the side alleys and squares across the historic centre, transforming the character of the city for the two days of the Antique Market. Or, if designer clothing is more your 'bag', head to 'The Mall' at Incisa where you will find 20 stores filled with the designer bargains.
Be the protagonist of a fairy tale for a day: a park of art, architecture and play will help visitors of all ages rediscover a great book. Pinocchio Park has already welcomed more than 7 million visitors, and will be happy to welcome you too!
A Day in Pisa
Pisa is a very pleasant city set on the banks of the River Arno, a bustling university town where everyday life carries on despite the tourists that descend on it! The main hub is the Campo dei Miracoli, where you will find the cross-shaped Cathedral, the Leaning Tower and the Baptistry, as well as the Cemetery. All are incredible works of architecture and no matter how many pictures you have seen, nothing really prepares you for seeing them in real life.
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