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Rural Chic

Tuscany is overflowing with natural, architectural, and artistic masterpieces. The birthplace of Italian Renaissance is home to rolling hills, majestic cypress trees, miles of sandy coastline, and beautiful vineyards in addition to the world's finest art center, Florence. Stay in a rustic yet elegant villa enjoying life's greatest pleasures: sprawling countryside, simple, fresh cuisine, and Italy's finest wines.

Each villa rental in this magnificent province is unique to the area in which it resides. A shopper’s delight, Florence is home to charming cobblestone streets, artistic and architectural masterpieces, and some of the world’s biggest fashion icons. Those who rent villas in the 39-square mile Chianti wine region will love sampling the fruits of the region’s spectacular vineyards at the wineries themselves or in the comfort of their villa. Villas in the bigger cities of Pisa and Livorno offer a slightly different experience, allowing vacationers to explore the mystique of the Medici era and visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Famous for its butteri, cowboys who managed cattle, Maremma offers visitors the opportunity to go horseback riding or swim in one of the area's beautiful bays. In Siena, one of the region's loveliest medieval cities, visitors can stroll the famous shell-shaped Piazzo del Campo, where horse races are held twice a year. No matter where in Tuscany you choose to stay, your villa vacation is guaranteed to be unforgettable.

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10 Reasons Why We Love Tuscany

A few Villas of Distinction team members recently took a weeklong trip to Tuscany to inspect villas first-hand. It took no time at all for us to unanimously agree: We were in love. Here are a few of the many reasons Tuscany stole our hearts. 

1. Postcard-Perfect Views Around Every Corner
Everything you’ve ever heard about the stunning beauty of Tuscany is completely true! You’ll see rolling hills, olive trees, sprawling vineyards, and charming farmhouses around every corner. Whether you’re sitting on your private patio, swimming in your pool, or hiking through the countryside, every view is postcard-perfect.

2. Villas Feature Classic Tuscan Décor…
Most Tuscan villas epitomize “Tuscan luxury:” a blend of traditional materials (think stone floors, wood-beamed ceilings, and frescoed walls) with modern amenities like AC/heating, Wi-Fi, iPod docks, and flat-screen televisions. Many Tuscan villas are actually old farmhouses or estates that have been expertly restored and refurbished. The heart of the Castiglione del Bosco estate near Montalcino, for example, was an old village that fell into disrepair before it was refashioned it into a luxury resort – in fact, you can still see the remains of the castle walls built in the early 13th century!

3. … And One-of-a-Kind Design
If you’re looking for a more offbeat villa, you can find those in Tuscany, too! Villa Mimmi in San Casciano dei Bagni is a perfect villa for seasoned travelers looking for something different. A converted schoolhouse, Mimmi features six bedrooms down a single hallway, all furnished with super-modern light fixtures and Asian-style beds. You’ll find high ceilings, contemporary art, sculptures, and unique statement pieces throughout.

4. Romantic Touches for Weddings & Special Events
Is there anywhere more romantic than Tuscany? If you’re looking for the perfect wedding venue, look no further. Many villas in Tuscany feature reception rooms, games rooms, and elevators in addition to the aforementioned breathtaking views. Ten-bedroom Novedieci even has its own private 16th-century chapel! A romantic tree-filled backyard and lovely mountain views add to the dreamy atmosphere.

5. Wine, Wine, Wine
You probably know all about the fantastic wine in Tuscany (Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino are two of the most famous) – but did you know that many Tuscan villas serve their own wine, produced on-site from the vineyards surrounding the villa? It doesn’t get more local than that. You can even purchase the wine from your villa manager or private chef to bring home to family and friends.

6. Food, Food, Food
You can’t talk about Tuscany without bringing up the incredible food. Whether you dine out at a local restaurant or take advantage of your in-villa chef, you’ll eat some of the best cuisine you’ve ever tasted – there’s simply no way around it! Tuscany is famous for its Pecorino cheese, cured meats, papardelle, and wild boar. Chef Valentino at Villa Daniela is superb; we adored his chicken cacciatore, polenta, and shrimp pasta.

7. Quaint Small-Town Squares
The art, architecture, and museums in big-name Tuscan cities like Florence, Siena, or Lucca can’t be beat, but smaller town centers like San Casciano dei Bagni and Greve in Chianti shouldn’t be overlooked as excellent villa destinations. Small-town squares offer plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops, and you’ll get to know your home-away-from-home in a more intimate, personal way – like a local! If you want to explore nearby cities, your villa concierge can arrange guided tours and special excursions based on your interests.

8. Family-Friendly Activities
A Tuscan vacation doesn’t have to be all wine tasting and museum hopping. There are plenty of activities to keep children entertained, including horseback riding, hiking, and bike riding. Villas in the Castiglione del Bosco estate also offer cooking classes for children, archery lessons, painting classes, and more. Many Tuscan villas also feature wood-burning pizza ovens, perfect for poolside pizza parties.

9. Warm, Friendly Locals
You’ll be pleasantly surprised by locals’ hospitality when you visit restaurants, gelato stands, butcher shops, and wine stores. If you can speak a bit of Italian, even better – most people will be happy to chat. Locals are proud of everything Tuscany has to offer and will readily share their traditions with you.

10. Exceptional Villa Staff
If you are lucky enough to stay in a Tuscan villa with a live-in owner, staff, or management, you’ll experience an additional treat. By the end of your vacation, it’s not uncommon to feel like your part of the villa owner’s family. The graciousness, hospitality, and warmth exuded by our villas’ staff members made our experience even more memorable. If your experience is anything like ours, you’ll be figuring out how to get back to Tuscany before you’ve even left!