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Travel in Montepulciano

on . Posted in Traveling Tips

The town of Montepulciano is the ideal destination for those who want to know the peculiarities of Tuscany: here there is the soothing landscape outlined by hills that embrace Val d'Orcia and Val di Chiana, here rise the most beautiful Renaissance palaces of Tuscany that frame a town founded by the ancient Etruscans, here is born one of the most prestigious wines in the world, the Noble Wine.

Visit a so special place is easier with the help of those who live each day immersed in this cozy slice of Heaven, as the team of Villa Poggiano, an XIX century noble palace now completely restored; the owners of the Villa chose to share with travelers their favorite routes in Montepulciano, in order to give a unusual view of this amazing town.

Welcome to the Palace of Wine

The first recommended step for gourmet tourists is the association the Strada del Vino Nobile, located at Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo, in the historic center. This place is also known as Palace of Wine (Palazzo del Vino) because here you can get information on wine tastings in the cellars and custom itineraries in Montepulciano, furthermore you can buy here souvenirs and gadgets dedicated to wine lovers (wine glasses, corkscrews, wine funnels, etc..).

The Information Centre is open to the public all year round and is born to promote local traditions through themed events and the ideal path that combines wineries, natural attractions, monuments, churches and small villages in the surrounding area of Montepulciano, characterized by rows of vines. Which are the most interesting tours for those who have never been in the land of Vino Nobile?

You can start with an Educational Tour of 3 hours dedicated to the techniques of wine tasting, with the help of an expert who will make you appreciate the uniqueness of Noble Wine, born from a selection of grapes from vineyards of Sangiovese and Canaiolo.

You will learn to savor this delicious nectar that features a ruby color and an intense aroma; the tour also includes a guided tasting of extra virgin olive oil, so at the end you'll be able to recognize IGP oil from DOP oil! For further information please consult the website of the center: www.stradavinonobile.it

Top Wine Cellar In Montepulciano

There are many renowned wine cellars to visit; our advice is to book a tour in different wine cellars, to have a fulfilling overview of the Montepulciano jewels.

Cantina del Redi, the oldest wine producing company in Tuscany, is located at the basement of Palazzo Ricci, in the center of the town. Salcheto is an eco-friendly winery, because reduces to zero the carbon footprint using the most modern technologies and the sources of alternative energy.

The top wine cellar in Montepulciano is Avignonesi, the perfect balance among tradition, innovation, high quality and genuineness: the Avignonesi staff offers guided tours of the winery facilities and all inclusive enogastronomical experiences. At Avignonesi, in fact, you can have a lunch in the panoramic Foresteria, enjoy a wine tasting at the terrace, where to admire the stunning landscape, or book a cooking class, the exclusive way to learn how to cook the typical Tuscan dishes. To get additional information and book a visit, check the website of the winery: www.avignonesi.it.

Discover the greatest excellences of Tuscany, spend a noble holiday in Montepulciano!

Experience  the wonder of Maremma

on . Posted in Traveling Tips

This post has been realized by the Saturnia Tuscany Hotel, Boutique Hotel & SPA in the very heart of Maremma, in Tuscany. Here you will find all the main traits which make this region a magic place. Let's discover the beautiful treasures of Maremma and its precious natural reserve of Diaccia Botrona.




Living in Tuscany is at the top of most people’s wish list. Its rolling hills and its cultural and artistic heritage made Tuscany one of Italy’s most romanticized regions. From La Maremma to Florence you can discover the magic of a spectacular region.

Maremma is the large area placed in southern Tuscany.
In The Divine Commedy Dante Alighieri identified the borders of Maremma from Cecina to Corneto (Tarquinia in Lazio), and  its territory currently stretches between the provinces of Livorno and Grosseto. Maremma is a unique place due to the variety of its territory: hills covered with woods, green hills and natural baths, marshes and flat  lands, blue see, black rock.
Maremma is not just culture and landscapes; it is also a region rich in typical products to be tasted and savoured while drinking a good glass of wine.

Separated by thick forests of chestnuts and sprawling green fields of olive groves and vineyards that stretch to the sea, these towns are like they’re own little world, immersed in a unique and rich history and culture, where everyone knows everyone and peace, quiet and good homemade food and wine are king.  Sea, hills and mountains melt prefectly in its food, and the acquacotta soup is a just one example.

The cultural heritage of Maremma

But it is also renowned for its artistic and cultural heritage : pieces of history, these beautiful communities transport you back to the grand past of Italy.
Here the Etruscan  and then the Romans flourished for centuries leaving behind important traces in the Etruscan cities of Populonia and Roselle and many archeological finds around the region. During the dark era of the Middle Ages Maremma was dominated by the clan of Aldobrandeschi  and this is witnessed by the the high tower, castles and walle towns such as Sovana and Santa Fiora.
The massive Medici wall in Grossetto  show that The Medici and Lorena families also lived here. Nothing compares to its splendour and tranquillity, its breathtaking landscape, delicious food and picturesque towns.

 

Diaccia Botrona natural reserve

One of the most beautiful reserve in Maremma that you should not  miss is Diaccia Botrona. It’s a protected area in Tuscany and is one of the most important wetlands in Italy because of its wildlife. Located between Castiglione della Pescaia and Grosseto.

Today Diaccia Botrona is an important wetland, a marshy area of land with unique characteristics of international importance. The access to the protected area is free and with a good telescope you can observe different species of plants and animal, and it is one of the few areas in Italy where flamingos live. Within the nature, near Castiglione della Pescaia, there is  also a multimedia museum set in the Casa Rossa, (the Red House), which is a great observation point,  as well as a center for information and research.

Within the nature reserve, near Castiglione della Pescaia, there is also a modern multimedia museum set in the Casa Rossa, the Red House, commissioned by Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo in 1765 to engineer and mathematician Leonardo Ximenes. The museum is a great observation point, as well as a center for information and research.  Diaccia Botrona is a precious gem of the beautiful treasure the Maremma offers in Tuscany and really deserves being visited.

Best Italian Summer Destinations

on . Posted in Traveling Tips

If you wish to visit Italy during summer probably you need some tips about the most sought-after destinations, so we chose 5 unmissable places according to the staff of Secret Italy, a blog focused on Italian lifestyle, updated with articles about the latest fashion trends, the best design products, the Italian dishes most liked by foodies and the hidden gems which each traveler should visit.

One of the criteria we followed is the number of Blue Flag beaches, the prestigious award for clean water and pristine sands, assigned to 248 beaches in Italy. To spend a nice holiday, of course, is also essential to choose a place full of natural beauties and funny activities to do in summer.

Let's start our trip across the Belpaese!

Pietra Ligure, the pearl of the Riviera

Liguria is the region with the cleanest beaches in Italy and Pietra Ligure is a destination loved by poets, novelists and actors, maybe because is a truly inspiring place, due to its mild climate, its Castle (built by the Romans) and its charming downtown, full of cafes, stores and churches; Pietra, in fact, is also known as the “pearl of Riviera”.

In summer takes place a ceremony that we suggest to see: the Lights at Sea Festival on 19th July and 21st August, an initiative which consists in a series of small rafts of candle lights floating in the sea to create the effect of lightning of the sea. This could be a very romantic welcome for who comes for the first time in Liguria and wishes for a daydreaming experience.

Monte Argentario, the hidden side of Tuscany

Many people don’t' know that the promontory of Monte Argentario was an island of the coast of Tuscany, later connected to the mainland because of the sea streams; now is a wonderful venue for an active holiday, thanks to its wildness, its rocky coastline and its splendid views. Monte Argentario it's different from the rest of Tuscany: here you will find a jagged shoreline, many woods of pines and oaks, grottoes, olive groves and vineyards which interrupt the thick Mediterranean scrub.

This promontory features numerous harbors and two port towns, Porto Santo Stefano and Porto Ercole, the most requested by tourists because of their elegant resorts and the plenty of restaurants and bars. In Porto Santo Stefano we suggest a stop at the Spanish Fortress, dated back to XVI century and now seat of the Museum of the Masters of the Axe and the permanent exhibition Submerged Memories, a collection of archaeological finds, mostly of Roman origin, found on the sea bed and along the coast of Argentario.

Porto Ercole is the most peculiar town here, above all the old “Borgo Antico”, the historic center where the church of Sant’Erasmo rises: the locals say that here was buried the famous painter Caravaggio, but the tomb hasn't been found. If you prefer to dive into a turquoise sea, the Argentario offers small beaches with fine sand, especially on the west coast of Monte Argentario, beaches that are harder to get and also uncrowded even in August.

Discover this hidden gem and avoid the usual tourist routes!

Scopello, a superb beach in Sicily

Scopello is a scenic spot for an excursion or a swim, lesser known compared with others locations in Sicily but liked by trend-setters and film directors for its amazing stretches of rocky coastline and the green hillside that encloses this hamlet.

The name Scopello derives from the Latin scopulus and means “cliff”, is very close to the Natural Reserve of Zingaro, an unpolluted area which is can only be visited on foot. The main attraction in Scopello is the sea stacks, known as “Faraglioni”, a sort of rock towers in the sea! Scopello isn't a destination suggested for its facilities, but is one of the best places in Sicily for swimming, scuba diving and sunbathing.

We suggest to hire a boat during your stay in Sicily because is the easiest way to explore the north-western corner of the island and discover the most charming coves.

Stintino, a slice of Heaven in Sardinia

Sardinia is always a must for summer holidays, despite that we recommend to go to Stintino in the province of Sassari. This seaside resort boasts a seabed with unique colors and wonderful beaches as “La Pelosa”, facing the island of Asinara, a beach where dominate the whiteness of its sand and the transparency of its waters.

Here you will notice a Saracen tower built in granite rock (known as Tower of the Falcon); from the top of the tower you can enjoy a panoramic view of the entire Gulf of Asinara. “La Pelosa” in Stintino is a natural paradise; we recommend swimming with mask and snorkel to see the beautiful fishes and the richness of the sea bottom.

Go to the beach is easy thanks to the shuttle service, so you can get total relax and forget the stress of everyday life.

Torre Sant'Andrea, how to fall in love in Apulia

Do you know Salento? This part of Apulia is full of seaside resorts; our tip is to visit Torre Sant'Andrea, in province of Lecce, dominated by a large pine forest that reaches up to the Lakes Alimini. This destination, many times awarded with Blue Flag for its sea with colors from emerald green to cobalt blue, is renowned for its stunning stacks and the Grotta degli Innamorati (the Cave of Lovers), a grotto where two young lovers died because of the high tide, not having realized the occurrence of a violent storm. Plan your trip to Apulia including this wonderful venue, it will be an enviable summer vacation, ideal for swimming, romantic walks and sporting activities as windsurfing and kite surf.

These 5 Italian destinations are a fulfilling sample for an exclusive travel experience, this summer you'll be spoiled for choice!

5 things you may not know about Siena

on . Posted in The Culture

Siena is one of the most renowned and beloved destinations in Tuscany, however it is a place which always offers something new, a view never seen, an original itinerary, so many ancient traditions to rediscover and oddities unknown to most.

Here I stayed at Hotel Athena, a cozy accommodation located a few minutes walking from the shell-shaped Piazza del Campo, the true heart of Siena.

If you are travelers who like to go beyond the most well-known routes, if you love to spend some time in less promoted activities and if your vacation doesn't finish in the main square of the town, this post is for you. I selected 5 things you may not know about Siena to entice you into starting a trip different from the usual to the town of Palio.

Walking the Via Francigena from Siena

In the last years the interest in slow tourism has increased in parallel to the valorization of pilgrimage routes such as the Via Francigena, the route traveled by Archbishop Sigeric the Serious in 79 days to go to Canterbury from Rome.

The Via Francigena now is a way to explore the beautiful landscape of Siena, walking along the signed path from Porta Camollia, in the center of the town, to the lesser known villages as Isola d'Arbia and sensational venues such like the Grancia di Cuna, a fortified granary, built in the Middle Ages.

Over the year there are various events dedicated to the Via Francigena as the Festival of Viandanza, an event dedicated to eco-sustainability and safeguard of the territory, and organized excursions in the area between Monteriggioni and Abbadia Isola, involving characters in medieval costume.

The Museum of Torture, a thrilling location

Near Piazza del Campo, at Vicolo del Bargello, there is a little known and really original museum, because it is dedicated to the instruments of torture: a collection of artifacts from the XVI to the XVIII century, and faithful reconstructions of rare objects from XIX and XX century. The Museum of Torture includes gadgets, weapons, vintage prints and paintings and represents a journey into the dark side of history; I suggest a visit to those who are not afraid of strong emotions.

Besides, with the same ticket, you can visit the similar museum in San Gimignano, recommended if the topic arouses your curiosity.

Siena as a movie set

The city of Contradas has kept intact the charm of the medieval village, so is an ideal set for cinema, not only for films with historical setting but also action and spy movies as 007 - Quantum of Solace, whose opening scenes are shot just in Siena. 14 cameras have been used to film the horse race of Palio, which introduces a fast-paced chase of the agent James Bond across the city's rooftops, an original way to celebrate the beauty of a location unique in the world.

Cooking classes and wine tastings in the historic center

In my opinion if you wish to really know a place like Siena you have to try the typical local dishes and taste the DOC wines produced in the surrounding vineyards.

On vacation you could get round to join a cooking class, to learn the recipes of the most delicious Senese dishes: I recommend the Scuola di Cucina di Lella e Giulia, the first born in Siena, considered a landmark for Tuscan cuisine. The available cooking classes fulfill every kind of need (menus for singles, young couple’s menus, low-calorie cuisine, mini-course about the correct approach to wine tasting); I booked a course in advance to discover the secrets of this delightful cuisine with the help of an expert cook such as Lella.

A classy Enoteca in a Medici fortress

The XVI century fortress built by the Medici is now the house of Enoteca Italiana, an organization which promotes all the national wines, and allows knowing the history of all the DOC, DOCG and IGT wines produced in Italy by an interactive multimedia panel that provides all the necessary information. The Enoteca also features a wine bar, a restaurant and a wine shop; I recommend it as a last step if you want to buy precious bottles or taste wines with the help of renowned sommeliers.

These are my 5 suggestions about Siena, I hope you will enjoy your stay at this very typical Tuscan town!

Traditional food and best restaurants in Rome

on . Posted in Traveling Tips

One of the most frequent requests by travelers is where to eat typical dishes when you're on vacation, avoiding the tourist restaurants (unreliable and often very poor) and looking for the most genuine products in town.

The staff of Go2Rome, composed of Rome connoisseurs, suggests you some restaurants and dining spots where to enjoy the local gastronomic delights.

Trattoria Dal Cavalier Gino

Historic “trattoria” working since the '60s, is located at Vicolo Rosini 4, a few steps from Parliament, this is the ideal restaurant where to order pasta as tonnarelli cacio e pepe (homemade pasta, sheep milk cheese with black pepper and a lot of cacio cheese), Gricia (pasta, usually rigatoni, with bacon, sheep milk cheese and pepper) and the legendary amatriciana.

The Restaurant is open for lunch and dinner but is closed on Sundays, we recommend booking a table, and furthermore this place is much frequented by celebrities.

Cavalier Gino, vicolo Rosini 4, ph: 06/6873434.

Ristorante Grano

If you like to combine modernity and tradition, go to Grano, located at a short distance from the Pantheon, a gourmet restaurant that offers creative menus and classic dishes revisited by the chef. Recommended for meat and fish based dishes (roasted octopus with emmer wheat is a specialty of the restaurant) and its cozy atmosphere, at Grano you'll feel surrounded by elegance (the style of the restaurant was realized by a designer) without give up to intimacy.

Grano, piazza Rondanini 53, ph. 06/68192096.

Spasso Food

The street food trend is arrived also in Rome for this reason we suggest to those who are visiting the Eternal City to try Spasso Food, a nice alternative to sandwiches, pizza or other food bought by chance. This small restaurant is open from 12:00 am to 10:00 pm, is a take away which offers high quality food such as Campese chicken, pasta Amatriciana (served in a pack very useful if you eat during a walk), gourmet salads and sandwiches, all at affordable prices.

The street food often becomes an essential need for those with little time, and in this case it is always better to prefer the most delicious dishes with organic ingredients rather than a “tramezzino” sandwich. Spasso Food is located near Piazza Re di Roma, at Via Appia Nuova 131, tel. 06.70476854.

The gastronomic offer of the Capital is as big as its monuments, but be careful to those who sell very poor reproductions, tasty food is like art: you have to be able to recognize it!

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