Articles for Tuscany


Laboratory Barsanti

The Workshop in Pietrasanta

The workshop of Barsanti – one of few family enterprises in Italy which have survived the globalisation. Probably also, because they always placed on the traditional, ancient working processes – marble, wood, mosaic, bronze. Today we are importing from China for little money technically perfect statues – you need taste and knowledge ( and soul) to understand the deep difference between them and the sculptures made by real masters.

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Holiday Home in Tuscany
One of or favourite regions of Italy is Tuscany. It was 1986 that we first visited in search of beautiful holiday home properties and at the time, it was little more than a fact finding mission, call it research if you will. However, when the time came to move on, almost a year later, we realised that we had fallen head over heels in love with Tuscany.

During our time there, we stopped often to take in the beauty and sample local delights, whether they be ancient crafts or long relaxing meals. Not a moment was wasted, not even the days relaxing with an espresso in a little market town or sitting by a pool with the guide book, trying to work out where to visit next.

We soon realised that every day holds a new sight or a new scent in Tuscany. It's like the sea - different every day and breathtaking.

Visitors to Tuscany come for many, many reasons. When we're asked for a recommendation for a region to visit for fine arts, Tuscany comes to mind in an instant. When we're asked for a recommendation for a region to visit for beautiful countryside and breathtaking scenery, again, we can't help but think of Tuscany with its rolling hills, sea coast and islands. One equally as beautiful as the next.

Art, wine, cycling all produce the same reaction from us; Tuscany, Tuscany, Tuscany. It has it all.

Of course, there is a lot to see and do in Tuscany, which is where the difficulty really starts. A good place to begin is Florence, then of course Siena and Pisa, all cities of art, culture and fine foods. Then the surrounding areas of San Gimignano, Arezzo and Lucca are all impressive and unique.

The next difficulty is where to stay in order to access the beautiful cities and villages with ease. Well, one of our favourite spots for exactly this purpose is Palaia; a hidden treasure set in the most idyllic surroundings.

Palaia is located about 45 km southwest of Florence and about 30 km southeast of Pisa and boasts magnificent views where ever you look. Despite less than 1000 inhabitants, the town has a buzz about it, with a traditional market and plenty of cafes, restaurants and pizzerias to keep you occupied.

Our holiday property just outside Palaia is called Podere Palaia. It's a fantastic, traditionally Tuscan property ideal for families or multiple groups. Read more about it here.
It makes the perfect base for visiting Pisa, Florence, Siena, San Gimigiano, Volterra and many more places, all within about a 30 minutes drive. It really is an excellent rural base from which to explore the areas greatest sights and then return to a peaceful rural retreat.

And while you're there, why not try some typical Tuscan cooking or take some cooking classes to learn how to cook local Tuscan dishes. You'll enjoy the strong but basic flavours and the fresh ingredients of egg pasta, local meats grilled over wood and freshly picked beans simmered in earthenware pots. Heaven.

If you have any questions about the region of Tuscany or about Italica's rental properties in Tuscany, don't hesitate to contact us.

Arriverderci for now.

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Forte dei Marmi

Happy Birthday Forte dei Marmi

On April 26, 2014, Forte dei Marmi, celebrated its 100th anniversary as an independent town in Versilia.

One hundred years ago, a small village of a few hundred inhabitants, broke away from the City of Pietrasanta for political and economic reasons.

In fact, the ancient Forte dei Marmi, was seen as secondary area and not well cared for from the town of Pietrasanta.
In fact, the municipality took care to clean and keep in order their beaches and their possessions, Forte instead had to be taken care of by Seravezza, a town on the hills above Forte.

Despite the lack of care of the "Forte", the municipality in any case wanted to collect their own taxes from the citizens of this small village.

The future founding fathers were furious at this point and decided to sign a petition gathered in the still todays Piazza Garibaldi. The signatures were 288 and so began the short and fast race for Forte dei Marmis independence.

A politician of Lucca, Senator Montauti promised to the citizens of Forte dei Marmi to write and submit a law to the Government to make Forte independent but only if he was relected as senator.

Montauti, once reconfirmed, immediately presented the law to the government, which was approved in about 2 months.

On April 26, 1914, The King, proclaimed the independence of Forte.

From this moment began the raise of Forte dei Marmi. The economy, thanks to the marble began to grow and gave its citizens a good standard of life.

Then all the VIPs came and the still known Night Clubs in Versilia were opened. After that, a lot of events happened and created todays Forte.

Celebrations of the centenary

On April 26, 2014, the city was celebrating with fireworks and street markets .

The highlight of June 15, 2014:

Forte dei Marmi hosts the "Frecce Tricolori" (Italian Acrobatic Air Force Jets) over the skies of its waterfront to celebrate this centenary. An not unique event in Versilia. They were present in Cinquale a few years ago. These 10 Jets will perform fantastic aerobatic flights. We advise you to be present at this event, perhaps by booking one of our holiday in Versilia.

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