Few regions in Italy can evoke such sighs of nostalgia as Tuscany. There's really nothing like the way the light filters through the slender cypress trees and illuminates the grass-green vineyards, or the taste of a fresh Montepulciano red while sitting in a stone-clad piazza. That all adds up to make Tuscan villas a truly rejuvenating prospect for your holiday this year. Use this guide to learn all about them and get some inspiration on where to go.
Features of Tuscany villas to look out for
To get an idea of what you can expect from a holiday letting between the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the rising Arezzo hills, check out this list of common villa features.
Holiday villas in Tuscany with a pool
Tuscan villas can be divided into those with pools and those without. The ones that do tout a swimming spot are a favourite of families and luxury seekers. Pools are typically private, set in their own gardens, with deck chairs provided. The most enticing of the lot even spill out to offer magnificent views of the Chianti vineyards or the Val d'Orcia.
Tuscany villas are typically self-catering
It's quite uncommon to find a rental home in Tuscany that doesn't come with its own kitchen. That's great news for budding Italian chefs who want to make the most of all the fresh buffalo mozzarella, homemade pesto and slow-roasted porchetta that's available in the region's farmers’ markets.
A Tuscan villa with a large garden
Al fresco living is all part and parcel of la dolce vita – the good Italian life. Add to that the fact there's plenty of room in rural Tuscany, allowing villas to often move out into large gardens and grounds. In fact, many of these stays are converted farms, which means the onetime agricultural fields are now taken with olive groves and fruit orchards for guests to stroll and meditate in.
Types of trips that lend themselves to Tuscany villas
With their bucolic rhythms and classic styles, the lettings of Tuscany can often seem tailor-made for certain types of holiday. Here are 3 examples.
Honeymoons for 2
Clink a glass of Chianti on the patio as the sun dips, take a morning swim with the sunrise and your other half, dine in farm-to-table osterias – this is the life in Tuscany. It could just be the perfect antidote to a stressful few months of wedding planning.
Family fortnights away from home
A whole load of holiday villas in Tuscany lend themselves to larger groups. They come with twin rooms for the siblings, master bedrooms for the parents, along with large-scale kitchens where you can all sit, chat and share meals together. There's also usually space for the car, so you don't have to worry where you're going to leave the ride.
Culture vultures visit Tuscany villas
Tuscany lays claim to several of the most famous cities in Italy. Florence usually takes centre stage – the home of the great Uffizi Gallery and Michelangelo's David. However, Pisa also draws crowds with its grand Renaissance structures – not all of them straight, mind you. And so does Siena, a redbrick city of palaces and squares that's known for the annual Palio horse race.
How to secure cheap Tuscany villas
This section aims to help you save enough for an extra bottle of Chianti or another buffalo pizza by revealing some of the ways you can land good bargains on affordable villas in Tuscany.
Get your summer holiday sorted early
Leaving it late to seek out the Tuscany villa that's right for you can mean being left with just a fraction of the available deals. To ensure you get the pick of the most wallet-friendly homes and the full range of places, always think about that summer holiday long in advance – many are even booked before Christmas.
Forgo some of the luxuries of a Tuscany villa
If the budget is a little tight but Tuscany simply has to be done, you might do well to dodge villa rentals with swimming pools and panoramic views of the region's vineyards. It's features like that that can often crank up the cost of a stay.
Travel out of season
Tuscany's certainly at its warmest – and priciest – during the summer months. However, things stay balmy well into autumn in these parts, while cheaper rates and some enthralling culinary festivals make it a great time to be around. You could check out the glass-clinking wine parties in towns like Pitigliano and Panzano throughout September, go roasting chestnuts in Marradi come October, or choose white truffles in Volterragusto come November.