Golden hills topped with spires of greenery, rustic farmhouses perched over mazes of vineyards and olive trees … it’s not difficult to understand how Tuscany tops every traveler’s bucket list. What can be difficult is determining the best plan of action for exploring the vast province and getting the most out of your stay.
Planning a vacation in Tuscany can be daunting – from Florence’s Duomo and Siena’s endless masterpieces to the sought-after vineyards of Gaiole in Chianti, there’s a lot to see, so much to do, and so many goodies to taste and drink, it’s hard to pinpoint where to start. A well-kept secret to enjoying the best of Tuscany is forgoing the multiple hotels in each city and choosing one of the many private villas dotting the hillside so you can easily travel around the hotspots and also have an up close and personal experience with living as locals do in Tuscany.
Renting a villa in Tuscany does come with its own set of choices: how many bedrooms, location, do you prefer a villa with a pool or a villa that has its own in-house chef? The list can go on, but narrowing down can be quite simple; make a list of what you want to do and what are your must-see places, and many times the hundreds of villas can be segmented into one or two choices. Once you have narrowed it down, weigh your options and think about what types of services or extras you can’t live without.
When I was last in Tuscany with my family, we were planning a large get-together with friends, so a sunny terrace for outdoor dining was a must, as was a wide variety of bedrooms accommodating groups. We found the perfect Tuscany villa with pool just outside Siena, providing easy access to the city as well as to Florence while also letting us have our own privacy and the chance to explore the region without falling into tourist traps. The home was perfect – we each had our own bedrooms, a full kitchen for preparing home-cooked meals (thus saving time and money on hit-or-miss restaurants) and also enough space to host a private chef who came to teach us a fun, regional cooking class. The younger set loved the pool and it was refreshing to take a dip after a long day of traveling around. All in all, our stay was relaxing, convenient and a fantastic way to get to know the area – what could be better than exploring one of the most spectacular places on Earth?
Whether you are planning a trip for a big group or are looking for a romantic getaway for the two of you, renting a private villa can often be the best way to make the most of your time and all that Tuscany has to offer. For an ideal holiday year-round, there is an ample variety of homes to choose from, keeping in mind all types of budgets and tastes, and you’ll easily find something that suits what you are looking for. In the end, if you’re looking to cross Tuscany off your must-see list, why not do it up right? Trust me, when you open your windows and look out onto the rolling hills and fragrant gardens, you’ll be happy you did.