Italy has launched a global campaign promoting wool, inspired by the "Live naturally, choose wool" moto. In these winter months, villa rentals in Tuscany can get fresh so… what better way to keep warm in your Lucca villa rental than a beautiful hand knitted woollen sweater, like the ones you get in Marias shop just down the road from La Collina del Sole where the sweater will be made for you within a couple of days - another unique experience and service when you rent a villa in Tuscany !! At La Collina del Sole a warm and welcoming addition to villas for rent in Tuscany skiing is just 1 ½ hour away, a visit to the sea shore is the same distance, and Milan well ... that is just over 3 hours - hence it is perfectly placed as a holiday villas in Lucca to enjoy Tuscany in all its natural splendour.Italians are promoting wool as a natural, biodegradable and renewable fibre, launched in Milan, the celebrations have united the textile community, the fashion industry and consumers all together for the first time. A flock of traditional Italian sheep were left grazing in a pen in front of the Duomo to highlight the natural origin of wool and offer consumers an unexpected wool experience. This campaign for the promotion of wool has caught the attention of Italians because, as the Prince of Wales explains: "You do not have to look too far back in history to see that wool was once the mainstay of the global economy. In recent years however, wool has been fighting to compete with man-made fibres. For too long we have managed to forget what a wonderful fibre wool is. Wool is empowered with exceptional natural elasticity so not only will a wool garment offer superior drape and handle, this elasticity also gives the wearer a durable and high quality garment that will last for many years. - Simply put, wool looks good for longer! One of the highlighted aspects of wool was the natural beauty of Merino wool. The Merino is an economically influential breed of sheep prized for its wool as the Merinos are still regarded as having some of the finest and softest wool of any sheep. Although ‘fluffy’ in appearance, the fibres of a merino wool product are lighter than any other sheep’s wool, reducing the scratchy, heavy sensation that many people associate with a thick woollen jumpers. Therefore merino wool can be spun into a huge snuggly jumper or for “next to the skin” clothing such as socks, and underwear. Italians have a mission to convince consumers that opting for wool as opposed to synthetics in fashion and lifestyle will make a positive contribution to environmental sustainability around the world - give me the opportunity to snuggle up in a Marino wool jumper in front of the fire at La Collina del Sole with a cup of hot cocoa and I am sold!
The sun has been glorious at La Collina del Sole ! As expected when you rent a villa in Tuscany and my … what a treat when expectations are met as you stay in your villas for rent in Tuscany Should you wish to check out the weather we suggest www.meteo.it as having lived in Italy and specifically in the mountainous area of Lucca Villa rental in Italy for over 24 years we have found it to be very accurate, a huge help when you are on Holiday villas in Lucca Now for the FANTASTIC NEWS that Lucca the main town closest to our villa rentals in Tuscany has been voted by Forbes magazine the best place to live in Italy and in 2nd place within Europe !The Tuscan inhabitants of Lucca have charm, fashion sense, antiques [more on that later] and are unspoilt what more could you ask for. Here we share a few words from the article which can be seen on the Collina del Sole Facebook stream. “Of course, the people of Lucca have always thought their city was the best in Italy and now it has been confirmed by an official source. First place on the Forbes list goes to the small island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea (aka the “Holy Greek Island of Patmos”). Third place in the Forbes ranking is Saignon, a peaceful little village on a cliff in Provence, Southern France. Below are excerpts from the Forbes article written by Parmy Olson: “To create our list of the most idyllic places to live in Europe, we asked a panel of experts in the fields of travel and relocation to choose their five favorite simple, unspoiled and near-heavenly locations to take up residence. Many of them will seem unfamiliar because they have yet to be pounced on by hurried, mass-market tourism… Following Patmos at a close second on our list is Lucca, a medieval city within a city in the region of Tuscany, central Italy. It has "all the Tuscan charm of its neighbours Pisa and Tuscany but without the crowds," says Gillian Pearsall, marketing manager at Intrepid Travel. Tour busses are not the norm here: It's "blissfully cut off by its perfectly preserved Renaissance walls," says Schultz. "This is a quiet, though classy town, with lawyers and housewives peddling the narrow cobblestone streets past thousand-year-old churches and made-in-Italy fashion boutiques," she says, adding that you can visit the outdoor antiques market every month to furnish your Tuscan farmhouse. The larger city of Florence is just 45 miles to the east; both the beach and skiing in Abetone are about an hour away, in opposite directions. Foreigners who buy into the area tend to be professionals from Britain or other parts of Europe, and some of the most sought-after properties are within the walls of the medieval city. An apartment in the epicenter can set you back between 300,000 and 500,000 euros ($428,700 and $714,320), depending on how much restoration needs to be done. It's difficult to find a house there, so a good entry point is to find a property within the walled city for the winter, where you could be sheltered from the cold and not worry about electricity outages. Though if you can find it, a house in the hills just outside the city for the spring and summer would be appealing, but prices range from 500,000 to 800,000 euros ($714,320 to $1.1 million).
A couple we know own the top flat in the house where Puccini lived within Lucca … oh to be there in the sunset !
For Antique hunting while you enjoy villa rentals in Tuscany and in particular Garfagnana we suggest you visit Within the centre of Lucca an antiques market is held every 3rd Saturday and Sunday of each month Castelnuovo di Garfagnana - There is an antique market every 1st Saturday and Sunday of every month Barga There is an antique market every 2nd Sunday of every month
Following from last week’s Skiing suggestions for the Villa rentals in Tuscany area, where we highlighted the closest ski resort to La Collina del Sole namely Abetone and our favourite pistes for more proficient skiers Cimone among others near Lucca Villa Rental like Corno alle Scalle and Cutigliano / Dognaccia All of which are all in your catchment area when you rent a villa in Tuscany as are Fiumalbo and Cerreto Laghi In addition there are other areas to choose from when you are staying in Holiday Villas in Lucca for example Schia Monte Caio with a snowboarding Club or Pratospilla and Zum Zeri where the Valli di Zeri association organizes snowshoe walks Never a dull moment while enjoying Villas for rent in Tuscany !
From the catchy name of Zum Zeri to Rock and all manner of music ... there are some interesting concerts coming up in Milan which is a mere 3 hours’ drive from La Collina del Sole All these concerts are during the balmy months of June so you still have a little time to book your tickets for lovers of Bruce Springsteen’s music check out tickets to his concert on Monday, 3 June 2013 at Stadio Meazza - San Siro in Milan For the serious Bon Jovi fan on Saturday, 29 June 2013 at Stadio Meazza - San Siro in Milano Or a Robbie Williams aficionado his concert is on Wednesday, 31 July 2013 also at Stadio Meazza - San Siro again in Milan For those who love a bit of Hard Rock KISS is playing on Thursday, 20 June 2013 at the Mediolanum Forum – in Assago also Milan.
Should you prefer to be closer to home, the Lucca Winter Festival Francesco de Gregori has a concert on Thursday 21 of March for his Sulla Strada Album, to view his concert in Alcatraz check this link and in the summer months so far confirmed are Leonard Cohen on the 9th of July you might remember his song Suzanne, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are live on the 11 July, Thirty seconds to Mars on the 13 July [ it will only take you 40 minutes to get there from La Collina del Sole ] then Mark Knopfler on the 19 of July and Neil Young and Crazy Horse will perform on the 25 of July See you next week …
As a new year commences we look at all things new:Babies ! are WELCOME at La Collina del Sole - the best run villa rentals in Tuscany, where babies under the age of one are free with cots, highchairs, toys and a playpen provided. Carin’s review of the Holiday villas in Lucca where she stayed with her family says it all, Lucca Villa Rental ticked all the boxes; it was clean, super friendly and fully equipped, she will be suggesting La Collina del Sole to all her friends. Another joy when you rent a villa in Tuscany in the spring is the new buds, the area around villas for rent in Tuscany has masses of wild flowers, wisteria, azaleas and camellias
And as we are in winter … New laid snow ! Tuscany is not an area that one would normally consider for winter sports, yet there are some very good resorts offering skiing, snowboarding, snowshoe or Nordic walking, and ice skating.
Our favourites are: Abetone - one of the better known and largest winter sports resort in Tuscany, located in the province of Pistoia. It has over 50 kilometres of runs and 22 ski lifts, it comprises four valleys. Abetone with its bars, restaurants, shops, hotels and markets is a hub of activity. The main ski areas are Val di Luce, Valle dello Scoltenna, Valle del Sestaione and Val di Lima. An 18 kilometre circuit is available for cross-country skiing and snow shoe or Nordic walking, and a snow park for snowboarders. There are dozens of snow machines to ensure snow coverage. Restaurants abound and there is also a children’s snow play area. The Scuola Sci Montegomito offers equipment hire and a ski and snow boarding school. Equipment hire is also available from shops in the resort. To get to Abetone, head towards Bagna di Lucca, either via Lucca or Castelnuovo di Garfagnana and then make for the border with Emilia Romagna on the SS12.
Cimone is 2,265 metres high and the highest point in the northern Apennines located in Emilia Romagna. It has more than 50 km of linked trails, 31 slopes, and 21 ski lifts. It has two snow parks for snowboarders. Its snow-making equipment guarantees that almost two-thirds of the slopes have snow. Cimone can be reached by taking the A324 from Abetone
Corno alle Scale in Emilia Romagna due North of La Collina del Sole With six ski and drag lifts in total, it offers 36 kilometres of trails and a snow park for snowboarders. It also has two cross-country routes. It offers equipment hire and a ski school. To get there; head for the SS64 either from Bagna di Lucca or Pistoia. Follow it past Porretta Terme, turn left to Silla and take the SP324 to the resort. Alternatively take the SP324 from Abetone.
Cutigliana in Tuscany is a small resort not suitable for beginners. It is located 8 kilometres from Abetone and has 15 kilometres of trails as well as a 5 kilometre cross country section, it has two ski lifts and three drag lifts. Cutiglianao is on the SS12 on the way to Abetone.
Fiumalbo in Emilia Romagna is another small resort situated in Parco Frignano not far from Abetone. It has three drag lifts and five slops for intermediate and advanced skiers. Equipment hire is available, including snowboards, snowshoes, cross-country skis, and toboggans. There is a snow park for snowboarders, which is illuminated at night. To reach Fiumalbo, follow the SS12 from Abetone in the direction of Emilia Romagna.
Cerreto Laghi is on the border of Emilia Romagna in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennine National Park. It has ski lifts and a snow making machine. It offers around 30 kilometres of pistes, of varying in difficulty. You can ski, snowboard or cross-country ski. There is a ski school and an indoor ice rink for skating. Equipment can be hired on site. To reach Cerreto Laghi you take the SS63 towards Fivizzano. For full information, directions, the latest weather and webcams, visit the website.
So we invite you to sign along Snow lay … deep and crisp and even ….