This recipe is a speciality of the local area for La Collina del Sole an outstanding Lucca villa rental situated in the heart of the chestnut wood area of Garfagnana a region rich in experiences and activities, with beautiful places of interest that you can explore while enjoying your holiday villas in Lucca The mountains afford world class climbing, and mountain recreation like walking; a real treat in the heat of the summer when you rent a villa in Tuscany as the usual villas for rent in Tuscany have flatter surroundings. Here you find a rich landscape that changes with every passing hour … ideal to just sit and “chill” at your villa rentals in TuscanyThe recipe for cinghiale sauce requires time and skill and can feed 10 to 25 people. Whether you try your hand at it, get one of our chefs to cook it for you, or just order pappardelle al cinghiale at a local restaurant, this recipe reveals the work that goes into this seemingly simple Tuscan treasure. The sauce: start with a fresh cut of wild boar, and leave to age for at least three days at O degrees Centigrade. Bone out the leg parts and cut off what little fat you will find. Cut the ribs into chops and set aside to make the stew. Cut half of the meat into large squares and place in a big pot with lots of sprigs of freshly picked rosemary, sage, bay, peppercorns and parsley stalks. Dice up vegetables in the same manner: red onions, the white part of some leeks, celery, and a small quantity of carrots and add to the huge pot. Add lashings of good Tuscan red wine until it covers the cinghiale. You should work on 2/3 meat, 1/3 vegetables ratio, and for every two bottles of wine add one cup of olive oil. Leave the stew to rest in the fridge for two days, stirring when possible to help marinate all the flavours. Throw in a few peppercorns and juniper berries for good measure. After a couple of days drain off the liquid and set aside. Heat a heavy-bottomed pan and throw in a good amount of olive oil-then double it. Sautè the cinghiale and vegetables. This step can be done in stages, so you don't stew the meat, but brown it. Once all the meat has been browned, throw everything into the pot, adding the liquid marinade and a small amount of tomato pulp. Bring to a boil and simmer very slowly for at least four hours. Season with salt and taste for flavour and then smother you chosen pasta with the sauce. To accompany go for an aged pecorino cheese (not parmesan) and a bottle of Piastraia Bolgheri Rosso DOC Michele Satta which beautifully accompanies the rich, intensely gamey taste of the wild boar.If you would like other wine suggestions contact us and we or our freind Andrea at il Vecchio Mulino will be deligthed to help Enjoy!
The history of perfume is as old as the existence of human beings. In the middle ages, the Royal House of Medici, whose legacy extends well beyond Tuscany was very fond of perfume. When you rent a villa in Tuscany you will be surrounded by many Medici buildings, including the medieval towns near La Collina del Sole that are nestled in the Apuan mountains, this beautiful Lucca villa rental overlooks the mountain range which has a perpetual source of ice, essential for keeping ingredients cool and making gelato, [itself invented by Catherine de Medici’s head cook] the woods and flowers found in this area with villas for rent in Tuscany are often used to make perfume, The woods around La Collina del Sole a jewel among Holiday villas in Lucca provide conifer resin, Violets and wild rose a flower commonly found around villa rentals in Tuscany are also used as are herbs like, thyme, rosemary, sage and basil which grow liberally in the verandas of La Collina del Sole Perfumes were initially used to appease the gods, they were considered to have divine value. In ancient times the skill needed to create perfume was considered a high-art form. People used herbs and spices, such as almond, coriander, myrtle, conifer resin, and bergamot, as well as flowers, commonly found around La Collina del Sole The Arab chemist Al-Kindi even wrote a book called the “Book of the Chemistry of Perfume and Distillations”, which contained more than a hundred recipes for perfume-making! Today the perfume industry is one of the most dominant luxury industries in the world. The marketing strategies to appeal to such a large and demanding clientele are vast. It seems that almost every week a new pop star is launching their own sickly-sweet brand of perfume, from the likes of “wonder struck” by Talyor Swift to “our moment” by One Direction. The perfume industry blindly follows the fashion fads of the 21st century. Indeed, one could argue that this industry is fast losing the artistic side of the profession… the Medici’s would be surprised at “wonder struck”
However this is not the case with the shop AquaFlor found in Florence. This hidden gem completely takes your breath away. An intriguing perfumery set within a beautiful palazzo full of products crafted with passion. This is a space to be seen and smelt. The store harks back to a bygone era of Florence. Beneath glorious arched ceilings, large wooden cabinets contain rows of brown glass bottles filled with 1500 botanical ingredients. They take these sophisticated materials to create a small number of bespoke scents for clients to enjoy. To add an extra touch of luxury to this already decadent destination is their in-house laboratory, where new perfume concepts and individual bottles for clients are developed. They will create a bespoke perfume just for you should you desire a truly unique scent. When you enter Aqua Flor you experience the ambience of a true workshop dedicated to the fine art of crafting perfume. As Sileno explains, "perfume evokes memories and has a powerful effect on our senses", as did this truly remarkable store in Florence - a worthwhile trip to experience when you visit La Collina del Sole
AQUAFLOR at Via Borgo Santa Croce, 6, 50122 Firenze, Italia PHONE: (+39) 055 2343471 E-MAIL : email@example.com
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!
Christmas season begins in Italy on the 30th of November! In the cold winter weather of the northern Tuscan mountains where you can rent a villa in Tuscany Christmas fairs feature fireworks, bonfires, hot chocolate, sugary pastries and piping bowls of pasta. Near Lucca villa rental Christmas markets overflow with new figurines for the manger scene and Christmas baubles to decorate the Christmas tree. If you would like to savour the Christmas spirit earlier than most; we suggest you visit La Collina del Sole one of the few Villas for rent in Tuscany which is designed for both winter and summer living. With a welcoming living room complete with open log fire, high beamed ceilings typical of the best Holiday villas in Lucca and a plethora of speciality food shops bursting with truffles and funghi porcini and fabulously well priced restaurants that serve the best local fare all of them found near our villa rentals in Tuscany Nine days before Christmas it is traditional for Italian families to sing Christmas carols and re-create the manger scene in their homes (some families put life-size figures of Mary and Joseph in their front yard) where they will gather to pray every morning and light candles. Interestingly both the concept of manger scenes and Christmas carols originated in Italy! During the run up to Christmas, children will write letters to their parents wishing them a merry Christmas, promising good behaviour, and making a list of the gifts they hope to receive – much like we do in England. However, in Italy the parents read these letters aloud at dinner. Then they toss them in the fireplace! The children chant to La Befana, the Christmas Spirit, [who when she turns up looks like an old lady] as their wishes go up the chimney – this certainly makes it a little bit trickier for Santa or the Befana when remembering what the children asked for! Once the first star appears on Christmas Eve Italian families light candles in their windows to light the way for the Christ Child. They light candles around their manger and pass the figure of the Baby Jesus from person to person, kissing it, before finally placing it tenderly in its crib. Then they enjoy a lavish supper based on seafood, vegetables, salads, antipasto, bread, pasta, and sweets – no meat will feature in this meal. After dinner the town will gather at church for a midnight Christmas Eve mass. Christmas Day is reserved for church, presents, family, and – in true Italian style – feasting! Foods which feature heavily at Christmas are Pannettone, a yeast cake filled with fruit, and panforte, a dense honey cake spiced with cloves and cinnamon, and cassata, which includes ice cream and fruit. So in the words of a young man “Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas . . . perhaps . . . means a little bit more!”..
Italy varies widely when it comes to climate and terrain. The northern regions have very hot summers and super-cold winters and are therefore excellent for villa rentals in Tuscany . At La Collina del Sole set in the middle of a stunning vineyard, overlooking the Carrara mountain hills, luscious grapes ripen gently near the award winning infinity pool and produce the organic wine given to each guest… Rather a treat when you rent a villa in Tuscany ! This Lucca villa rental also offers a once in a lifetime experience which consists of joining the vendemmia during the wine harvest. You could be part of the team, pick some of these glorious Sangiovese grapes and be involved in the wine production. The vendemmia usually takes place in September or early October and gets booked up so if this is an experience you would enjoy while appreciating your holiday villas in Lucca It is best to contact the owners in good time for rather a special vedemmia instruction while you stay at villas for rent in Tuscany Italian wines are world renown:Tuscany is the most enduringly famous of all Italian wine regions, thanks to the romantic glamor of its endless rolling hills, snaking country roads and hilltop villages. Tuscan wines have a fantastic reputation founded on such iconic wines such as Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Factors that contribute to this ideal environment for the cultivation of grapes are the coastal and mountain climates, the mixture of well-drained and dry soils and the moderately hilly terrain extending towards the Apennine Mountains, which collectively help maintain the grape’s balance of sugars, acidity and aromatic qualities. The Sangiovese is a red grape that particularly thrives on these Tuscan hillside vineyards, performing best in direct sunlight. Another Tuscan treasure is the notable sweet red wine called Elba Aleatico Passito, which features the Aleatico grape. As well as being famed for its reds, Tuscany produces some distinguished whites such as the Vernaccia di San Gimignano. Tuscany is also home to the renowned dessert wine Vin Santo – “holy wine”. It is called “holy wine” because it is usually comprised of the Trebbiano grape which has been air-dried until the start of Holy Week before being produced into wine. In the north of Italy the high altitude vineyards near the Alps produce wines with a high degree of acidity and freshness, due to the huge fluctuation in temperature from day to night. As you travel southwards the Mediterranean Sea becomes the principal influence on agricultural regions, the winters are mild and the summers are hot and dry creating a ripe, lush wine crop. Whichever is your favourite tipple … Salute !
Halloween as we know it does not exist in Italy so if you are at Lucca villa rental expecting to go trick or treating you are in for a surprise!!! Italians celebrate all hallows day with a church service to commemorate the memory of dead relatives. A beautiful celebration is held at Santuario the local monastery to La Collina del Sole . A really worthwhile “dress up day” to enjoy when you rent a villa in Tuscany is the Carnevale a true highlight during the Italian special dates calendar. During this Italian fun day, people dress up and play practical jokes. The 'Carnevale' is usually in February, as it is held 40 days before Easter, a beautifully cool and crisp time of year to enjoy villa rentals in Tuscany. It is celebrated with parades, masquerade balls, entertainment, music, and parties. Kids dress up, go out and throw confetti and play innocent practical jokes on everyone. In true Italian decadent fashion they celebrate Carnevale for roughly one week. Children in Italy stuff themselves with pumpkin risotto and porcini mushrooms and Castagnole - instead of sugar filled candies – a healthier way to feast.If during your stay at holiday villas in Lucca you would like to learn the darker lore of the area, we found out from our guide when we stayed at La Collina del Sole that you can still find elements of the macabre, the famous Devil’s Bridge is a stone’s throw away from this beautiful villas for rent in Tuscany - Ponte della Maddalena, which translates as the Bridge of Mary Magdalene, is a bridge crossing the Serchio river near the town of Borgo a Mozzano in the Italian province of Lucca. It is more widely known as the Bridge of the Devil as legend has it that the villages on either side of the river made a deal with the devil in order to gain his help to construct the architecturally magnificent stone arch bridge that still stands today despite over 500 years of use, in order to facilitate the crossing of the river which was vital for the continuation of a medieval pilgrimage route. The devil agreed to build the bridge, but in return he asked to take the first soul to cross the bridge back to hell with him. After building the bridge overnight the devil was outwitted by his adversaries, the townspeople threw bread to lure a dog over the bridge first, which was last seen descending into the water, bringing peace to the community. The high arch in the bridge is supposedly due to the devil jumping in rage at being outsmarted by the townsfolk. It takes great wit to outsmart Italians !
The unique Italian art for making pastry: Tradition, Technique and Taste! We have discovered where to learn these secrets while enjoying a Lucca villa rental overlooking the Carrara marble hills! It is called La Collina del Sole and has a variety of exclusive experiences that are only available at this villas for rent in Tuscany one of the best "unique to La Collina del Sole" experiences is cooking lessons with Maria you can choose what you want to learn from the suggested menu at this holiday villas in Lucca or send your request by contacting the owners of this award winning villa rentals in Tuscany and really get stuck in to the Italian culinary tradition which as you will discover when you rent a villa in Tuscany has been influenced by different populations such as the Roman, Greek, Arabian and Norman, this influence is particularly noticeable in the art of Italian pastries. The use of nuts and caramelised sweets folded into their all butter, sweet, light textured pastries are mouth-watering.In the past, the dessert course was created for the family to enjoy purely for special occasions, such as a religious festivity. Nowadays, however, as Italian food is considered one of the best all over the world, these deserts (luckily for us) are widely available! So why not pop down to one of the cafes and pasticcerias that surround La Collina del Sole this Special Italian villa for rent in Tuscany, and try a... GIANDUIOTTO - a milk chocolate sweet. Originally from Torino, it is descended from a traditional chocolate pudding recipe involving crushed hazelnut s and lady fingers. The concept of mixing hazelnut pieces and chocolates was born during Napoleon’s reign, when importing cocoa from South America became extremely difficult and was “bulked up” with hazelnuts. BACI DI DAMA – a "ladies Kiss". As legend has it they were created by a chef who worked for the Royal family of Savoia as he wished to impress King Vittorio Emanuele. The name most probably represents a kiss between two lovers and the shape of the “baci di dama” itself resembles a lady’s lips. These baci combine hazelnuts with butter flour and sugar until a rich, smooth and luscious texture is achieved. CASTAGNOLE - little fried dough balls flavoured with aniseed liqueur. Castagnole are made with an egg enriched dough, which contains baking powder, aniseed liqueur, lemon zest which is fried until golden. Crunchy and sweet on the outside; soft and warm on the inside. They are the typical carnival pastry. SFOGLIATELLE - shell-shaped filled pastries native to Italian cuisine. "Sfogliatelle" means "small, thin leaves/layers," as the pastry's texture resembles stacked leaves. Recipes for the dough and filling of sfogliatelle vary and include orange-flavoured ricotta, almond paste, and candied peel of citron. These desserts are well known for giving a sweet and powerful taste whilst retaining a light texture. Buon Apetito !
Everyone loves hot chocolate, it’s one of the best things about winter. It’s just so amazingly warming and comforting, like a big snuggly hug in a mug! What hot chocolate does for me is bring back my childhood memories…like autumn holidays spent at La Collina del Sole our very favourite Lucca Villa rental . Where among the many experiences we enjoyed like walking in the chestnut woods funghi hunting and visiting places of interest or checking out the locations where wedding magazine had taken the press shots in the area… Happy memories of holiday villas in Lucca with fabulous feasts brought in by Maria - surely the best outside catering found in any of the villas for rent in Tuscany So with such fond memories I thought today we could investigate how to make the Italian version of this comforting drink. Italian hot chocolate is very different to the hot chocolate that we English are used to. Italian hot chocolate is rich, thick and decadent. It has an almost pudding-like consistency with an incredibly bold chocolate flavouring. It’s made with just 4 simple ingredients (4 ounces of bittersweet chocolate which is 70% or higher, 1 1/2 cups of whole milk, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of corn starch) and takes less than 5 minutes to whip up on your stove. It will warm you from head to toe and make your smile wider with every sip – why not add a twist to your hot chocolate by complimenting it with rosewater, orange blossom or a sprinkling of chilli peppers… I personally enjoy drinking a healthier version, which is equally so perfectly thick and creamy, and as sweet and chocolaty as ever. This is a super-food hot chocolate which not only tastes incredible, but will leave you feeling fantastic afterwards…The two main ingredients are almond milk (which you can buy at the Coop in Pieve Fosciana the closest health food providing supermarket to La Collina del Sole the best among villa rentals in Tuscany ) and cacao powder. Cacao is full of disease-fighting antioxidants, as well as lots of the hormone serotonin, which acts as a natural mood booster and anti-depressant. Almond milk and almond butter give you lots of energising plant protein, heart healthy fats, and an incredible dose of vitamin E, which is amazing for healthy hair and glowing skin. You will need: - 1 cup of homemade or bought almond milk - 2 tablespoons of maple syrup - 2 teaspoons of raw cacao - 1 teaspoon of almond butter Simply place all the ingredients into a saucepan and heat gently whilst stirring to ensure all the ingredients mix together and the almond butter doesn’t get stuck at the bottom. Enjoy whilst you snuggle up in front of the wood fire at La Collina del Sole a jewel among the welcoming spots when you rent a villa in Tuscany !
At La Collina del Sole they have their own vineyard and produce organic wine, at this Lucca villa rental you can experience the vendemmia [wine harvest] and join in the celebrations afterwards as described in a recent blog. Coming up at this time of year there is a special date - Sunday the 19th of October 2014 the wine festival will be held in Riana, a picturesque village and definitely a place of interest near this Holiday villas in Lucca The chances are that when you rent a villa in Tuscany it might have a vineyard surrounding it but a feast day dedicated to wine…that is special! wherever you choose your villas for rent in Tuscany At the feat in Riana they will be serving wonderful food with Polenta with Funghi Porcini in every conceivable fried, stewed, roasted, these wonderful mushrooms which by the way are well known surrounding this area of villa rentals in Tuscany will be accompanied with a generous portion of organic wine, local cheeses, and cured meats and local tarts…of the eating variety, so we suggest after the festa you walk home to La Collina del Sole a 15 minute uphill walk from Riana, after you have visited a few of the cantinas where the wine is made, sampled the wine that spouts from the village fountain and witnessed the wine barrel race. And to get you in the mood in order to enjoy our wine and wine in general I thought I would put together four rules of thumb that I learnt from an ingenious website called Wine Folly, which will help you in the complex process of selecting wines: 1. Cotes du Rhone is a red wine from the South of France made with an abundance of varying grapes (the French name their wines by region, not by the type of grape, as Americans and Aussies do). If you can't pronounce the words on the wine list, ask for the "Coat Do Roan". French wines can be incredibly expensive but Cotes du Rhone is usually the most economical, because a substantial amount of the stuff is produced every year! 2. When you’re going cheap, the cabernet sauvignon is the best option. Making wine with the grape Variety cabernet sauvignon is incredibly easy as the cab fruit thrives even under strenuous conditions. Therefore even a bottle made from cheap grapes will be drinkable. 3. For a fancy wine, think pinot. The pinot noir grape is the opposite of cabernet sauvignon: It's hard to grow and do right. "Thin-skinned and temperamental" as Paul Giamatti would say. Some cash needs to be splashed when selecting a pinot noir so maybe only buy this one for serious wine lovers, your closest friends and family, or if you really had a terrible day at work and need a serious treat. 4. For cooking, the sauvignon blanc is apparently the best option for white wine sauces, because it adds a dash of acidity, like a lemon would. As we discovered previously, sauvignon blanc is economical - perfect for chucking into your moules marinieres recipe. When a recipe needs a red wine, Wine Folly suggests a Chianti or a Sangiovese. Now that you have the basic know-how of what to choose in France, why not try your knowledge out at one of the many wine shops near the La Collina del Sole the Lucca villa rental that overlooks the Carrara mountain range, or indulge in a “wine tasting experience” found at Il Vecchio Mulino at Castelnuovo the closest market town to La Collina del Sole. Or alternatively you could sit back and relax by our salt-water pool and enjoy the fresh bouquet of our complimentary organic, home-grown wine.
Tiramisu literally translates into "pick-me-up" and is one of the favourite desserts requested from our suggested menus for in house dinning at La Collina del Sole our favourite Lucca villa rental. Some claim that this title refers to the dish being so delicious that the taste of it makes you weak at the knees; hence needing a “pick me up” in order to recover from the taste explosion. Another explanation could be the caffeinated ingredients in the dish; espresso and cocoa. When you rent a villa in Tuscany in order to pay this ancient pudding the respect it deserves particularly while you are staying at your holiday villas in Lucca, what better than to have it freshly made for you at La Collina del Sole by our team of expert chefs. This service is provided through the in-house dining experience. In Italy a meal usually concludes with fresh fruit rather than dessert. Therefore, the addition of a dessert marks a special occasion This may explain why Italian desserts are particularly memorable, presenting lavish arrangements of indulgent ingredients and truly unforgettable flavour combinations, such as those found in Tiramisu. Although having tried the dish once, food lovers may find the battle to resist indulging once again a difficult practice, particularly if you taste Marias Tiramisu when ordering your feast from the suggested menus as you enjoy the delights of villa rentals in Tuscany
Every Italian dessert is mindful of one distinct rule, which is to create a dish that provides pleasure above all else. A consequence of this rule came Tiramasu; an elegant and rich combination of lady finger biscuits, espresso, mascarpone cheese, eggs, sugar, Masala wine, rum and cocoa powder. Though you might think that the grouping of these diverse and powerful ingredients may not work, an intense yet refined dish emerges. The delicate flavour of the mascarpone contrasts with the robust presence of espresso and the sharpness of cocoa powder. These flavours fuse nicely, creating a velvety texture that provide for a luxurious treat. If guests are gluten or lactose intolerant, our chefs are more than happy to tailor the dish to your needs, as they provide entire meals tailored to food allergies and preferences, at La Collina del Sole we believe that we might as well give you the BEST experience you have ever had while staying at Villas for rent in Tuscany and if the feedback of our guests in anything to go by … we are succeeding and will continue to do everything in our power to offer an unforgettable holiday rather like the unforgettable Italian desserts !
Just a hop skip and a jump away from La Collina del Sole an enterprising young couple have started a vegan skin care line, very much in line with the principles of Lucca villa rental They have produced among other things vegan lip balm in natural and chocolate flavours using olive oil from the area surrounding our Villa rentals in Tuscany they have also produced toothpaste, face toner, hair conditioner, soap, healing burn infusion, hand and body lotion, bronzer and even soothing wax. Luckily we have convinced one of them to impart this age old knowledge to our guests so when you next rent a villa in Tuscany if you are interested in a once in a lifetime experience as you enjoy your villas for rent in Tuscany try our ONLY at La Collina del Sole "natural beauty case workshop" This way upon returning from your holiday villas in Lucca and using your new beauty products you will re-live your idyllic holiday and should you be inclined; armed with this secret knowledge you can continue to make allergy free beauty products for you and your loved ones … Now there is an offer too good to miss ! So for those with hyper allergic sensitive skin here is the answer to your prayers, in the "natural beauty case class" you can learn to make natural cosmetics for yourself and your friends using 100% natural ingredients, that are vegan and cruelty free with a “no chemicals” guarantee. The workshop held at La Collina del Sole usually lasts for around an hour and using basic kitchen equipment you can learn to make 5 items from the following list: toothpaste, deodorant, hand and body lotion, lip balm, face toner, hair conditioner, bronzer or hair removal wax Let’s describe some of these marvellous cruelty free natural cosmetics. HAND AND BODY LOTION: Its ingredients include olive oil, almond oil, beeswax and water. This lotion is a great moisturiser for the whole body; very rich in vitamins mainly due to the olive oil and almond oil content. It can be used as a facial night cream and is a particularly good face cream for very dry skin and mature skin. This lotion can be used as both eye and face make-up remover particularly for those with sensitive skin or prone to allergies. Due to the presence of water its shelf life is three weeks if kept at room temperature and if the jar is kept refrigerated it will last for three months. BLUSHER / BRONZER– with such wonderful ingredients such a cinnamon, corn-starch and cocoa, it is light and natural to give a healthy glow, intrigued? Join the “natural beauty case ” workshop and learn how to prepare it. HAIR REMOVAL WAX – Yep our grannies had hair removal products, in fact this wax recipe has been around since 1900 BC so it has been truly tried and tested. This recipe follows an ancient Arab recipe in which the sugar content in the honey attaches to the hair that needs to be removed rather than the skin, lemon juice is also an ingredient. NATURAL TOOTHPASTE: It is mainly made with white clay or Kaolin [ a fine white powder specifically used in cosmetics and pharmaceutics ] this is mixed with vegetable glycerine, some baking soda Is added for a light whitening action, tea tree oil for its antibacterial effect and peppermint essential oil for its freshening properties. The result is toothpaste of creamy consistency that can be used by putting some of it onto your toothbrush with a wooden spoon and brush as you would normally. Its shelf life is over a year and is particularly good for sensitive teeth and gums with high natural antibacterial, whitening and refreshing properties. Enjoy Beauty and Health NATURALLY
I don’t know about you, but all the delicious food and drink that I had over the Christmas period at La Collina del Sole the Lucca villa rental we stayed at during the festive season; where a home cooked feast from the suggested menu at the villa handbook was as easy as calling and waiting for it to be delivered and served. The extra kilos… yes kilos that were gained, despite the fabulous walks we had in the local places of interest coupled with the cold and rainy weather in England where I am writing from, has set me on a path to exercise and healthy eating which is easily kept up when you rent a villa in Tuscany as restaurants and food shops are bursting with fresh produce that comes from the area around villa rentals in Tuscany For recreation you can rent bikes to enjoy the hilly countryside - nothing quite like going up and down scenic mountain ranges near holiday villas in Lucca to get the heart beating and blood pumping ! So as you prepare to be stunningly healthy and fit by the time you enjoy your holiday in villas for rent in Tuscany Let me whet your appetite with suggested activities that you can do to continue feeling and looking great at La Collina del SoleFirst of all there is a comprehensive list of ONLY at La Collina del Sole and once in a lifetime experiences A fabulous range of suggested walks in the recreation section of Lucca villa rental to say nothing of the salt water infinity pool one of the many facilities of the villa where to get fit is a pleasure. There is one thing you have not heard us speak about before and that is a line of beauty products which are made LOCALLY with 100% natural ingredients and no chemicals, these products are cruelty free and are vegan…interested???
Ask our concierge where you can access these healthy and exotic delights such as NATURAL LIP BALM: This lip balm is made with honey, olive oil and beeswax or in the dark chocolate version for some colour … and great taste! All the ingredients are completely edible and they have high moisturising properties. They don't contain any chemical ingredients and will naturally last in a storage jar for up to a year, and on the lips…well that is up to you!
And how about the best ally in the kitchen that heals burns quickly and perfectly. It is the… SAINT JOHN'S WORT FLOWER OIL INFUSION: made from St John’s Wort flowers also known as Hypericum perforatum which grow spontaneously and abundantly in the locality of Lucca villa rental these flowers are well known for their antidepressant properties - that is why you hardly ever see a depressed Italian! St John’s Wort flowers within an infusion heal burn scars very quickly and well, The infusion is locally made following an ancient recipe with St John’s Wort flowers and olive oil. The secret in making it is that the flowers must be collected on … Saint John's day ! and then put in a jar in the sun with olive oil for two weeks. This will turn the olive oil into a deep red colour. The St John’s Wort flower infusion has been used for centuries for its healing properties specifically for burns and scars. It is a great ally in the kitchen as if it is rubbed on the skin as soon as you burn any part of the body, it will naturally heal the burn very quickly. So get healthy and beautiful … and join us at La Collina del Sole !
Well it is official the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few! And if you love Funghi Porcini check Lucca Villa Rental as La Collina del Sole is surrounded with this delicacy, Funghi Porcini appear around the location of villa rentals in Tuscany and this year is a bumper crop! You can book your forestry guide for the experience of a lifetime foraging for Funghi Porcini at La Collina del Sole you can also read the feedback from past visitors who collected 3 kilos in one walk. Funghi Porcini are a delicacy worldwide and are used in the local cuisine of Holiday villas in Lucca year round. Funghi Porcini appear approximately 10-12 days after rainfall when there has been gentle wind for the dissemination of the spores to take place. It is such a special experience to have in the autumn when you rent a villa in Tuscany that we highly recommend it ! Particularly if you are dreaming of a holiday around the special dates of September and October in a villas for rent in Tuscany alternatively you could find them at the local delicatessenAnd after you have found kilos and kilos full you will need to either preserve them by drying them or keeping them in oil as seen in the collinadelsolewordpress blog or cook them in as many ways as your palate will enjoy, the secret is to have a base that will absorb as much of the Funghi taste and aroma as possible like Polenta or pasta, to help you on the way we share a few of our favourite recipes:
FARRO E FUNGHI or spelt with funghi porcini for 4 people INGREDIENTS 300 grams of barley or spelt 300 grams of fresh Funghi Porcini 2 cloves of garlic Fresh parsley 6 tablespoons of olive oil salt and pepper 1/2 cup of dry white wine 2 ripe tomatoes Broth either vegetable or chicken 1 knob of butter 6 fresh mint leaves Clean the mushrooms and cut into small pieces, mix with the chopped garlic and parsley and place into a pan with the olive oil to brown. Add salt and pepper and leave it to cook for about 10 minutes having added the wine, allow the wine evaporate. Add the diced tomatoes, and allow the flavours to mix together as they cook for about 6 minutes then add the spelt or barley which has been properly cleaned , stir for 5 minutes then begin to pour in broth until fully cooked , which will be about 25 minutes. Finally in the last minute add the butter and mint leaves.
PAPPARDELLE AI FUNGHI or “Butterfly” shaped pasta with Funghi Porcini for 6 People INGREDIENTS 400g Butterfly or “bow tie” shaped pasta 300 grams of funghi porcini 2 cloves of garlic 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil mint chopped 50 grams of grated Parmesan cheese Beef broth salt and pepper
Place the oil, garlic and chopped mint in a pan and fry, add the mushrooms well washed and cut into slices. Cook for a few minutes, add the broth, salt and pepper and let it evaporate over low heat. As you are cooking the funghi porcini boil the pasta in plenty of hot water, once cooked drain and dress with the funghi porcini sauce and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. This shape of pasta is preferred for this recipe as the openness of the shape will allow a generous quantity of sauce to be on it and as it is eaten the pasta will be more exposed to the taste buds and hence intensifying the flavour of the funghi porcini.
AND in case you wanted an alternative way of preparing Funghi Porcini in oil here it is: INGREDIENTS Per kilo of mushrooms: 2 cups water 2 cups of wine vinegar salt peppercorns fresh herbs like thyme and parsley garlic extra virgin olive oil
Clean the mushrooms and cut into medium-sized chunks, boil the water and add the vinegar, salt and herbs. When the water re-boils put the mushrooms in and boil for 3 minutes. Strain the mushrooms and place them to dry on a cloth for one day. Put the mushrooms in glass jars with garlic, peppercorns and thyme then cover with extra virgin olive oil close the jars and keep them in a cool, dark place. BUON APETITO !
At this very moment at La Collina del Sole situated in the heart of the villa rentals in Tuscany area with luxury holiday villas in Lucca there is the most extraordinary bumper crop of Funghi Porcini about to happen, this area is well known not just for its recreation opportunities, stunning villas for rent in Tuscany and beautiful scenery in which you can have some incredible guided walks but also for its prolific production of Black Truffles and Funghi Porcini whcih you can pick. This is because Lucca villa rental is situated at the foothills of a large expanse of chestnut woods and the weather conditions this year have been perfect for the bumper Funghi Porcini crop in many years, you can experience the thrill of looking for, finding and cooking your own Funghi at La Collina del Sole when you rent a villa in TuscanyFrom mid September the small family owned food shops in the area of Lucca Villa Rental will burst out in baskets full of dried Funghi porcini, this is the easiest way keep them for a few months, Funghi Porcini are easily dried all you need is a good serrated knife to slice the Funghi in approximately 3-4mm thick slices several clean cloths and a good expanse of protected and clean ground in the sun, leave the cut slices well spread out so they do not touch each other in the open air for about 2-3 days and as long as it does not rain you should have a good supply of funghi to last you at least half a year, OR you can take your freshly picked funghi to the newly opened food cooperative that occupies the old railroad station in Fosciandora just by our favourite local restaurant Il Ponte and for a small fee they will dry your funghi in a special oven that has been bought just for that purpose. The other way we suggest of preserving Funghi Porcini is to wash them, and boil then in a large pan of boiling water with a generous splash of wine vinegar for a good 5 minutes, the vinegar will not only keep their fresh colour but also enhance their delicious taste, Drain them well and fill preserving jars with a few whole black peppercorns and Olive Oil which incidentally is VERY GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH! Olive Oil improves your mental capacity and helps protect against and alleviate Alzheimer’s, then place the dried Funghi porcini in the preserving jars and seal the lids. This method of preservation will keep your funghi good for months. Or you can cheat and buy funghi porcini already in olive oil jars at L’Aia di Piero, along with several Funghi Porcini delicacies like Lasagna and pasta parcels Both methods of preservation will enable you to enjoy the taste of your hand picked Funghi porcini for months to come drive to this fabulous Lucca villa rental and like one of the guests of La Collina del Sole pick several kilos as seen in the feedback page, enjoy a fabulous walk in the woods, guided walks are best as the guide will explain where the best spots are and what is edible and what is not, then cook and feast on Funghi Porcini till you can eat no more and bring the rest home to enhance sauces, soups, meat roasts and warm salads ! A no brainer ... visit La Collina del Sole and enjoy funghi hunting !
As a frequent visitor to La Collina del Sole we have been fortunate enough to visit many Italian Palazzos and Villas in the area of Villa rentals in Tuscany and Palazzo Piccolomini which is in Pienza a 2 ½ hours’ drive from our Lucca Villa Rental is a star among them all. It is Welcoming and cool, a hallmark of Italian Villa architecture which you would expect to see in all Villas for rent in Tuscany It is full of one of a kind treasures, a real treat to visit when you Rent a villa in Tuscany it is grand yet sober and unassuming and so we consider it a star attraction when you are in Holiday Villas in Lucca Palazzo Piccolomini was donated to the state by the last in line of the Piccolomini family, along with many of the family treasures, this family provided two Popes, Pius II who was born in the Palazzo and his nephew Pius III The Palazzo itself is marvellously simple and sober, most of the rooms are lightly decorated with a few very special items, like a small drawer cabinet decorated in Agate fronted panels that look like landscape from 1 metre away but in fact are the result of salt deposits on the stone, which has been cut in slivers. There are only 2 other such items of antique furniture in the world. There is a fresco painting of the family tree on a very large and impressive wall that depicted the family up to the 1800’s, and off the main reception room is a small alcove that was for the Duchess of Piccolomini, situated beside the fireplace, the alcove has decorated walls and a sitting area in plush red velvet with small portraits of the family and with a window, this is where the Duchess would retire to read as the Palazzo was very cold in the winter and this was the only way to keep warm while reading a favourite book.
At the entrance room there is a table called the “Arms rest” where all weapons aka arms would be placed upon as you came into the Palazzo, you can also admire family portraits, beautiful gold and silver inlay leather wallpaper given as a wedding gift by Catherine of Aragon, collections of arms and armour hanging on walls. The Pallazo houses the bedroom of Pius II with a portrait of him on the wall painted while he was alive, a very elaborate baroque bed which dates from a later time, and 3 items of furniture that belonged to Pope Pius II, one a 4 sided revolving bookstand, a short drawer armadio and a receiving chair with a very high back which also served as a commode [ talk about multitasking ! ] there were in another room many books some of them dating back to XIII and a few star gazing apparatus and treatises. The Palazzo has a terrace on the 1st floor with a commanding view of the Val D’Orcia declared a world heritage site and protected by UNESCO, and a simple garden, with Roses walled in by a box hedge. All had a wonderfully sober and uncomplicated feel. The Palazzo had been saved from looting during WWII as the German Commanding officer upon taking control of Pienza and the surrounding countryside during WWII issued a protective order for the Palazzo and its contents, the document can still be seen framed on the walls. On the way out and throughout the Palazzo you can spot the coat of arms of the family - a cross with 4 crescent moons which signifies the 4th crusade to which this family went to.
Did you know that the picture postcard rolling hill photo that you associate with Villa rentals in Tuscany comes from the route that is taken from La Collina del Sole to Pienza ? It appears in suitable postcards to send home when you rent a villa in Tuscany and on Calendars that you buy as Tuscan souvenirs when you choose to stay at Villas for rent in Tuscany it even features on plates and magnets that you can buy at the local market to Lucca Villa Rental on Thursdays, as it is the ideal rolling Tuscan hill reminder of your perfect holiday villas in LuccaAs you depart from La Collina del Sole you can drop into L’aia di Piero or Osteria il Vecchio Mulino in Castelnuovo and choose a few choice morsels for a pic nic to take with you on the trip. Or you could pop into Siena and visit the “Consorzio Agrario Siena” on Via Pianigiani to buy water, salads, vegetable frittata, “ribollita” of sodden bread in a mixture of fresh tomato, fresh basil and olive oil or delicious pasta with truffle and funghi porcini and drive on down towards Pienza which is in the heart of the gorgeous Val D’Orcia [ a world heritage site] passing through beautiful rolling hill countryside, poppy fields and newly harvested wheat fields. The very famous picture of the small white church in the middle of a sea of rolling hills is on the way. Pienza is a picturesque town, an example of an ideal renaissance city, with lovely vistas down alleyways, a beautiful main road and square with stunning views to the surrounding countryside of rolling hills which is a UNESCO protected site as far as the eye can see. In Pienza itself stands the main Palazzo, donated to the state by the last in line of the Piccolomini family, along with many of the family treasures, this family provided two Popes, Pius II who was born in the Palazzo and his nephew Pius III who commissioned the beautiful library to be painted in honour of his uncle at the Duomo in Siena. You can take a guided tour or a private tour of this amazing Palazzo which was originally built in 1459 by Bernardo Rosellino [ he had red hair !] and a student of Leon Battista Alberti. Really worth a visit and its own blog as it is a wonderfully sober, elegant and uncomplicated Palazzo. Next to the Palazzo you find the Duomo, a lovely simply decorated church, you can walk along the walls of the town past small houses that look over the incredible view of the fields beyond, there are many shops that sell cheeses, cold meats and wine including Montalcino and Montepulciano wine as both areas are very close to Pienza. A very appealing shop is called Porta della Cavina [ in Piazza Pio II tel +39 0578 749906] it sells house decoration items, home perfumes, small gifts and soft furnishings. The owner is very attentive and helpful, she even told us where the best gelato is to be found - outside the walls it is “Gelateria Toscana” a gelateria & biscoteria artigianale in Via Mangiavacci 3, Pienza, 53026. Tel 0578 748 538. It has a very good selection of normal ice cream and lactose intolerant ice creams with specialities like fennel seed gelato. As you leave Pienza you can drive to either Montalcino which is 25 km away or Montepulciano 10km away on the road there is a magnificent Fortress which sells vin santo and olive oil directly to the public, they have short opening hours though. Continuing towards Montepulciano, if you are lucky and drive as the sun is setting you are rewarded with the magnificent view of Montepulciano bathed in Liquid Golden evening light. The view from a distance is almost the best part, there are many wine stress where you can buy the delicious Montepulciano direct from the vineyard, in order to park best to leave the car at the foot of the town and walk steeply up, the main street runs along the town and is impossible to miss it will take you to the main square which is a huge central area surrounded by a church, town hall, bank and other impressive buildings. The Fortress of Montepulciano is at present undergoing restoration.
This summer when you rent a villa in Tuscany choose UNUSUAL presents to take home after your stay at villas for rent in Tuscany like wild boar sausages ? Truffle Salt ? a chocolate horseshoe? a chunk of Marble as a paperweight? All found a stone’s throw from La Collina del Sole There are Marble caves, excellent delicatessens, super Tuscan wine tastings [and buying] in Castelnuovo di Garfagnana so your “coming home” presents from Lucca Villa Rental need never be boring Make the most of your catching up with friends after staying at your holiday villas in Lucca with the items listed in the shops we love the experiences we love the food shops we adore the bars we love as they too sell nice unusual presents. If you prefer to go further afield from your villa rentals in Tuscany say to Siena here are a few special and very unusual presents that we recently found.Following the excitements of the 16th of August with the last Palio of 2013 Siena –will go into a somnolent state, perfect to admire the dramatic inclined fan shaped central square preferably sitting at a table with a Bellini cocktail while enjoying the sunset on the Tower and entire Piazza, the whole scene will seem dipped in liquid amber, in the evening the evening streets of Siena are empty and will still be decorated with the Contrada lights, colours and flags, it is easy to imagine you are walking in the past as the buildings seem unchanged in centuries and the stillness of the night is almost complete. Now for the unusual shops my favourite is La fabbrica delle candele aka the handmade candle and wax dipped flower shop where a young woman dips silk flowers in wax and then gives them a smooth glistening finish, they are in Via dei Pellegrini, 11, Siena, Province of Siena, Italy. They also hand carve and create intricate designs within the candles in front of you, explaining the process as they go and even personalising your candle for you if you wish
My next favourite is a artisans ceramic shop where you can buy plates decorated with the shields of each contrada in Siena It is The Studio Artistico in Via San Pietro 22 - 53100 Siena, Tel+39 0577 288188 with an elderly couple that actually paint the plates in front of you and can even personalize it, we bought a magnificent HUGE plate with a dragon rampant.
Should you need a breather Siena has a fondness for “Osterias” and they ALL look really good, one we loved is, Osteria le Logge Due, Via Porrione 33, Siena, tel +39 0577 48013 They have tables both outside and in, used by locals and visitors. Should you need a “gelato break” go to GROM in Via Banchi di Sopra #11/13 their telephone # 0577 289 303 where they make the most wonderful ice cream “as it used to be made” using only ethically produced ingredients, like coffee from Guatemala, fresh milk and fresh spring water for sorbets, fruit only when it is in season like strawberries in summer and tangerines in winter my favourite is liquorice gelato. Nearby there is a beautiful paper shop with hand decorated paper cards with open windows showing drawings of the Siena Duomo and the Siena tower in the Piazza, or on Florence and Pisa, it also sells persoanlized seals and fun seals with sealing wax and ingenious bookmarks, it is called Il Papiro in Via Di Citta' #37, Siena 53100, Tel: 0577284241, they also have shops in Florence, Venice, Pisa, Cortona, Orvieto and New York, Palm Beach and Melbourne! So you can re-stock when you get home. Other fun spots in Siena are highlighted in the CollinadelSolewordpress blog Following your successful personalized shopping you might want to relax at the botanical gardens which are only open in the morning they are fresh, inviting, cool and calm, or if you prefer views and are in need of a breather nearby there is a lovely garden on a wall at the edge of Siena that overlooks the surrounding fields with a Phenomenal view, night and day. Or on the other side of town in Costa di Sant Antonio, another beautiful place to relax away from the hordes of tourists at midday in the centre of town you can head for St Catherine’s home which has been turned into a shrine go through a lovely Cortille of arches and turn left into what was her home and is now fully painted in wall to wall murals depicting different stages of St Catherine’s life, then follow the pathway going downstairs to find the bedroom of St Catherine which depicts murals of St Catherine’s life as a child and adult. Opposite what was the old kitchen is a church, with many murals depicting the life of St Catherine. It is a lovely haven of peace and tranquillity. Upon leaving you can reflect that you have discovered many parts of Sienna that few visitors knew existed with famous and exquisite works of Renaissance and Pre Renaissance art just there to be admired, and passages, palazzos, courtyards and churches full of calm and beauty.
One of the highlights of staying at any of the villas for rent in Tuscany is the HUGE variety of activities in store in the area surrounding La Collina del Sole Musical treats abound when you rent a villa in Tuscany and particularly during July. If you join us at Lucca villa rental it is just a short drive to make the most of Lucca Summer Festival 2013This festival attracts at times names like Elton John, who often stay at Holiday Villas in Lucca themselves. So why not contact us to check the line-up at the same time as checking out the Villa rentals in Tuscany Starting from today in Piazza Napoleone at around 9pm Lucca Summer Festival 2013 features: Saturday 6 July 2013 - Lucca Diana Krall – Glad Rag Doll Tour Monday 8 July 2013 - Litfiba – Trilogy 1983 -1989 Tuesday 9 July 2013 - Leonard Cohen Wednesday 10 July 2013 - Bryan Adams with Full Band Thursday 11 July 2013 - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds Saturday 13 July 2013 - Thirty Seconds To Mars with Simonne as support act Wednesday 17 July 2013 - The Killers with opening act Black Rebel & Motorcycle Club Thursday 18 July 2013 - Edoardo Barsotti & Anselmo Simini + Lucca talents Friday 19 July 2013 - Mark Knopfler and his band Saturday 20 July 2013 - Alessandro Siani Sunday 21 July 2013 - Renzo Arbore and his Italian Orchestra Monday 22 July 2013 - Earth Wind and Fire – Now Then and Forever Thursday 25 July 2013 - Neil Young and Crazy Horse with support act Davendra Banhart Saturday 27 July 2013 - Sigur Ros – Live 2013 Tuesday 30 July 2013 - Pino Caniele, Marcus Miller
We suggest you contact Viagogo to buy your tickets, and hurry as there are several posts up on the internet including Trip advisor asking for Golden tickets to Lucca Summer Festival 2013 ! Italians live and breathe to music If you do not manage to book your tickets to the Lucca Summer Festival 2013 then we suggest you look into the Lucca Summer Festival 2014 where confirmed acts include Adele, Dave Matthews Band and Michael Bublé if you have any questions contact us at La Collina del Sole where as our editorial attests we will be more than happy to assist with suggestions of which restaurants and Pizza places to go to in Garfagnana or which are the best Bars & Cafes or where to buy the choicest food or which Places of interest are worth visiting, what wonderful and exclusive experiences you can enjoy at Lucca Villa Rental or what recreation choices you have, what treats await you on Special dates in Garfagnana and where the best shops are to get speciality presents. and ... once you have enjoyed the concert, you can have a wonderful midnight dip in the award winning salt water infinity pool !
One of the highlights of choosing a Lucca Villa Rental when you browse through the many Villa rentals in Tuscany is that the area is very proud of its medieval ancestry, in fact the region of Holiday villas in Tuscany had its Golden moment in the middle ages and as such re-lives their ancestry at every conceivable opportunity, a short distance from La Collina del Sole you find the newly and brilliantly restored Fortress of le Verrucole this fortress has just opened an attraction / experience guaranteed to appeal to young and old alike when they rent a villa in Tuscany As while enjoying villas for rent in Tuscany is about the sun, food , recreation and relaxation it is also about culture.La Fortezza delle Verrucole has not only been lovingly and painstakingly restored and commands the most spectacular views that have been enjoyed for centuries and been fought over by Florence and the Medici family, the marquises of Malaspina of Massa and the Dukes of Este from Modena. The Fortress of the Verrucole was often a centre for battles. The last battle was in the 1520 when, under the Estense control, in the second half of the 16th century it was besieged by the Florentine army. A couple of weeks ago a group of young Italian theatrical entrepreneurs has taken the fortress under their wing and created am “archeopark” For a modest fee you can see and feel what life was like in the middle ages, the group is dressed in typical costume, they also have recreated the feel of the times with food, medieval methods of cultivation, sewing and craft making they have started a Facebook page so you can follow them, all the feedback has been very positive. Now onto FOOD truly worthy of a medieval feast we recommend you go to the Osteria Vecchio Mulino one of the restaurants we love. It is on Via Vittorio Emmanuelle 12 Telefone 0583 62192 you do not need to dress in medieval garb, this place is perfect for a grown up foodie snack, If you do not want a full meal, but still fancy tasting a variety of typical Garfagnana food then we suggest you try the “Degustazione” of local cheese and cold meats at this historic Osteria, the cheeses are all topped with local sauces that enhance their natural flavour, the cheses here are mainly goat milk based, the cured meats all come from nearby farms and curing houses, from sweet Parma like cured ham to Biroldo the local Black pudding to coarse and fine salami and a delicious aniseed tasting salami you can also try the local wine or feast and try one of the many excellent wines that line the walls.
Have you ever wanted to do something that has not been done for centuries? Well… while you Rent a villa in Tuscany you can do just that... go through Heaven’s door or “La Porta del Cielo” in Siena, not bad if you are staying at Villas for rent in Tuscany as Heaven’s door has not been opened since the Cathedral in Siena was built in the first part of XXIII. With spectacular architectural vistas - an everyday occurrence when you enjoy Villa rentals in Tuscany as this region is steeped in majestic cathedrals, graceful towers, a joy to wake up to while on Holiday villas in Lucca and fabulous fortresses and fortressed churches of which two fine examples stand near La Collina del Sole So if you are visiting Lucca Villa Rental between now and 27th October we highly recommend you check out “La Porta del Cielo”Sienna not only has a very beautiful Cathedral built in the traditional black and white horizontal striped decorated walls, it has the very famous Central Piazza where the Palio is held of which we wrote in our focus on Siena blog giving a few of our favourite places and eateries Siena has wonderfully [almost ] carless streets and walkways, where you can see the original seat of the once might Bank Monte Paschi di Siena which is very austere façade. When you drive to Siena from La Collina del Sole it is a great opportunity to swing by and check out Montalcino of “Super Tuscan Wines fame, and by the way Montalcino is not only about wine the town itself has many treasures to discover. But let’s Focus on the once in a lifetime opportunity of walking through Heavens Door, for €25 you get to see the cathedral from the giddy heights of the walkways close to the ceiling, where only the builders who built the Cathedral and their overseers got to see, in many cases you find drawings and sketches which were directly drawn onto the walls by the cathedrals architects and overseers. You get to see the internal walls of the Duomo, the multi-coloured stained glass windows by Ulisse De Matteis, the corridors and altar as from a bird’s eye view, You will also get the most spectacular views of Siena itself and the Basilica di San Domenico, la Fortezza Medicea, and the whole cupola of the chapel of John the Baptist. WELL WORTH the climb, the money and the special effort to get there and once you have descended from the giddy heavenly heights you can tumble into Gelateria Grom where you can find wonderfully rich ice creams, which are proudly made from ethically sourced ingredients and even ice creams for lactose intolerant clients, so you see life on earth can be rather good too !