Tuscany Overview Tuscany is perhaps the most well known region of Italy and one of the first ports of call when it comes to choosing to buy a property in the country. A region that many buyers choose as the perfect location in which to reunite families dispersed around the world. It offers beauty, accessibility and entertainment. Central Tuscany Overview Made up primarily of the two provinces of Florence and Siena this area is best known as Chianti, whose rolling hills and elegant lifestyle have come to epitomise what most foreign buyers view as Tuscany.
Chianti represents many buyers ideal first time location to embrace international property ownership. World renowned for its wine and widely photographed rolling hills and cypress lined avenues, it is the jewel in Tuscany's crown. Small medieval hamlets and market towns abound and for many looking for a property purchase in Tuscany, Chianti remains the archetypal country location.
Climate Average temperatures range from 4 to 18 degrees during the winter months rising to between 23 and 38 degrees in the summer months of July and August, though the summer season runs from May to September.
Normally there is low rainfall between May and August with higher levels of rainfall between October and April. History The region falls into two parts with Florentine Chianti and Sienese Chianti raging many wars with each other over the centuries. Now thankfully more peaceful, the area is dotted with many picturesque medieval villages all bearing the Chianti name; Radda in Chianti, Greve in Chianti and Castellina in Chianti to name a few.
Historically, Chianti and its surroundings are well known for its large farmsteads with main villas and surrounding farmhouses that housed the farm workers. This led to the many ruins that the first international buyers began to restore.
There are fewer well positioned ruins now available, but if you are looking for a restoration project in Tuscany, they can still be found. Culture Chianti is famous for its wine producers, rolling vineyards, wooded hills, olive groves and cypress trees, along with many hilltop medieval towns and villages. There are several recently renovated luxury hotels offering Spa treatments, and gated condominium properties of villas and apartments to rent.
Agriturismi abound, providing hospitality for painting and cooking courses as well as walking and riding. Types of property Properties available for sale in Chianti consist mainly of farmhouses, wine estates, some villas, portions of larger farm buildings and castles. Many farmhouses renovated in the late seventies and nineties are now being or have been newly modernized. The residential market is predominantly international, and whilst there is still a demand for property in the rural locations, there is also growing interest in property in the towns and villages, with recently renovated borgos that offer apartments or villas accompanied by the attraction of a managed property, becoming increasingly more popular.
Access The region of Chianti has become much better connected in recent years with the airports of Florence and Pisa, both less than one hour away, providing good international connections and offering excellent car hire, train and bus services.
There is also the Chiantigiana road that crosses Chianti and a relatively new superstrada from Perugia in Umbria, that runs through Siena towards the Maremma coast. Northern Tuscany Overview An increasingly attractive alternative to other parts of Tuscany for those seeking property in Italy.
Northern Tuscany covers the area of Tuscany between the Versilian coast and Florence, including Lucca and the Garfagnana. The scenery is different in each area, the Versilian coastline is famous for its golden sandy beaches and the well known resorts of Forte dei Marmi and Viareggio, the Garfagnana for its majestic mountainous terrain and the area around Lucca for its gentle hills, olive groves and vineyards.
The area of Vinci and Montecarlo are also famous for their vineyards, olive groves and softer undulating countryside. Lucca is the capital city of the province of Lucca and is the only town in Italy still surrounded by ancient walls that date back to the 16th century.
The walls, built as military fortifications, now offer a wonderful pedestrian promenade, and offer a chance to enjoy the slow pace of life or walk off a typical Italian meal in one of the many restaurants.
The hills surrounding the city house many important Lucca villas built by the Lucchesi noblemen, and founded on a rich merchant heritage of trade and silk. The Serchio river runs down from the mountainous Garfagnana area to eventually reach the golden, sandy Versilian coastline. In the Garfagnana area you will find gorges and caves at every turn, a real nature lovers' paradise, and just a short drive from the Garfagnana lie the ski slopes of Abetone. Climate Average temperature ranges from 4 to 18 degrees during the winter months and from between 23 to 38 degrees in the summer months.
Normally low rainfall in the months of May, June, July and beginning of August, highest rainfall in the months of October and November. The average summer season runs from April until October. His operas are performed every year on the Torre del Lago lake in the Versilia. The poet Pascoli lived in Barga during the summer months and the poet Carducci was born near Lucca.
Poets Shelley and Byron passed many summers in Bagni di Lucca which is just a short trip towards the Garfagnana, in the hills to the North of Lucca. Culture Art, history, and cuisine are the first things that come to mind when thinking of the Tuscan culture.
Types of property All types of property are available in this area of Tuscany ranging from apartments in the centre of Lucca and other towns, rustic farmhouses, villas, and estates with wine and oil production. Different types of architecture pervade the area throughout including traditional Tuscan stone buildings with beams and terracotta tiles, Liberty, otherwise known as Nouveaux and villas dating back to the 15th and 18th century.
You will find some contemporary houses and apartments for sale. Access Lucca itself is only approximately 25 minutes from Pisa International Airport, which has excellent connections with many other parts of the world Road and rail links are also excellent. The motorway at Lucca has a direct link between the Versilian coast and Florence and the train service covers from Florence to the coast with all the various stops in between.
Trains are very frequent, sometimes up to 3 or 4 per hour. The service up to the Garfagnana from Lucca is also good, with frequent trains first thing in the morning and then in the afternoon. Climate Since there is a great variety in the geography of the area and differences in elevation, the climate varies accordingly.
The lower elevated areas have a Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers that reach around 30 degrees and milder shorter winters with temperatures ranging between 5 and 15 degrees. The higher areas around Monte Amiata have longer colder winters and frequent snowfalls — there are ski lifts and excellent slopes for skiing and snowboarding. The summers are shorter and cooler with temperatures around 25 degrees which often provide a refreshing alternative to the stifling summer heat of the lower lying areas.
Springtime extends from mid April to the end of May when the weather may be variable but the countryside is exploding into colour with a profusion of wildflowers; poppies, broom, cyclamen, and even orchids.
September and October are also wonderful months to visit; relaxing with a glass of wine and watching the unique honey coloured glow transforming to peach as the sun sets behind Monte Amiata is an unbeatable experience. Depending on the area and height above sea level these are the most likely months for a couple of snowfalls.
This region boasts many villages and sites of Estruscan origin detailing a rich and ancient history. The Etruscans, some of the earliest inhabitants of the territory, considered the mountain sacred and "Mons Tuniatus" the ancient name of Mount Amiata seems to refer to Tinia, an ancient Etruscan god similar to the Greek Zeus.
The Community of David Lazzaretti, a visionary Christian, was founded at the foot of the mountain at the end of the s. Today the spiritual calling of this place can still be seen in the presence of a Tibetan Buddhist community with one of the largest centres in Italy. Culture The area has a strong tradition of food and fine wines, both are a vital part of the way of life here: Montalcino produces the world famous Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino.
Montepulciano has the equally renowned Nobile and Rosso di Montepulciano. In all these areas, many Vineyards offer wine tasting and special visits to their cantinas. Throughout the area there are festivals dedicated to wine, olive oil and food. From Pici, the famous local handmade pasta originated in Celle sul Rigo to truffles, chestnuts and honey all have their own special festival.
Throughout the year, there are an abundance of local festivals related to rural life and agricultural produce such as the chestnut festivals in October, the olive festivals in December, and the fire festivals at Christmas. Unique points Some areas on the slopes of Mount Amiata are still a favourite destination for astronomers from all over Europe for the very low light pollution that allows unobstructed observation of the stars and planets.
Siena has its world famous Palio but so does Arezzo and notably Sarteano in the Giostra del Saracino, one of the oldest and most genuine of the pageants.
Renaissance painters, such as Vasari, used to get their pigments in this area. Types of property Whilst most properties comprise of classical Tuscan stone buildings and farmhouses, almost every house is unique in some way, either for its location - chosen for easy access, breathtaking panorama or internal style.
Most in demand are fully restored rural farmhouses of around four bedrooms, possibly with a guest cottage and swimming pool, and offering countryside views in wonderful locations. Accessibility The area lies equidistant to Florence and Rome, with excellent access to both via the A1 Autostrada, along with good train links with a main line station at Chiusi amongst others. Western Tuscany Overview The western part of Tuscany extends approximately from Volterra and San Gimignano in the north down to the Lazio borders in the south and the Chianti borders to the east.
This coastline has been fashionable with the Italians since the sixties, whereas the main influx of foreign buyers has really started in the last ten years. Much of this area is made up of the Maremma region, which borders the Ligurian and Tyrrhenian Seas.
This whole area appeals to those who want solitude and countryside — perfect for those who like to soak up the views from the saddle of their horse or bike. But there is far more to it than that, including beautiful beaches such as Castiglione della Pescaia near Grosseto, golf and yacht clubs in Punta Ala, and spa towns such as Saturnia, Petriolo and Bagni San Filippo; and if it is a sense of remoteness that appeals, there is also Elba island, off the Maremma coast and a short flight away from Pisa.
This haven for sailing, seafood, nature and privacy is perfect for those who want a discreet island home. Olive groves, vineyards and agricultural produce, such as wheat and corn, are in abundance. On the coast some areas have flat sandy beaches while others are rugged and rocky, with coves and bays, as found on the Argentario and Castiligione. The landscape changes subtly as you progress towards the south, with the Maremma region offering some of the most exotic examples of indigenous flora and fauna.
The area is particularly noted for its wildlife and along with the Argentario peninsula, is a protected national park, with unspoilt stretches of coastline and a large undeveloped interior. The air is filled with fragrance, and cool sea breezes permeate many of the inland areas. Climate The climate in this part of Tuscany in the summer months runs from an average range of degrees and is hottest in July and August with temperatures in the late 30s.
History The whole area of this part of Tuscany is steeped in history. Virtually every town and village has medieval or Etruscan origins. There are many famous historical sites and hilltop towns, such as San Gimignano, Volterra, Certaldo, and Massa Marittima. The coastline was historically less populated, due to the lack of useable farmland.
As a result property for sale in this part of Tuscany now tend to be more modern, starting from the s up to newly built contemporary apartments and villas in the fashionable coastal resorts.
Culture Western Tuscany is famous for its rich cultural heritage. Art, architecture and literature prevail in abundance, and all are intricately interwoven into every corner. This offers the discerning visitor unparalleled opportunities to discover the riches of some of these less famous regions of Tuscany.
Many famous authors and artists have originated in this area. Volterra has a unique collection of Etruscan artifacts, and has some of the finest museums and medieval architecture in Italy. Many of the hilltop towns play host to open air concerts, operas and theatrical productions during the summer months. The famous Vernaccia wines of San Gimignano, and many other excellent small producers known only to the local inhabitants, make this area one of the most interesting for wine lovers.
Food, as in all parts of Italy, plays an important role. Cinghale wild boar , a wide selection of Salami, bruschetta, focaccia, olive oil, honey, and many varieties of locally produced fruit and vegetables abound. Good local markets, with fresh fish, preserves and meats, and small individual specialist shops provide and abundance of exceptional quality produce.
Foodies seeking to buy in this area will not be disappointed! Types of property Property for sale in western Tuscany caters for all types of buyer, including villas, farmhouses, apartments and townhouses. Restorations tend to be predominantly rustic in style, with brick and stone construction and some rendered buildings, though more modern properties can be found in the coastal regions.