Tuscany & Umbria Villas
To the newcomer, Tuscany and Umbria can seem similar, but, in fact, the two regions are very different.
Tuscany is a huge Region with a long coast and rugged inland hills that are sometimes so tall they become mountains. It's a rich, proud, confident region - and has been for many centuries. Everyone knows the Medici family dragged Europe out of its bleak Dark Ages and into the glowing, new born world of The Renaissance. Its heritage can be seen not just in Florence but Siena, Arezzo, Pisa, in fact any sizeable town.
As patrons of the arts and sciences the House of Medici put Tuscany on the map, making it a magnet for the discerning traveller both then and now. Things Medici really got started with Cosimo in 1434, but it was his grandson, Lorenzo The Magnificent (1449 - 1492), who outshone them all, drawing artists and scientists to his court in Florence. The Medici brought in a Golden Age for Florence, but sadly, it more or less came to an end with Lorenzo's death. However, the confidence inspired then, remains deeply embedded in the Tuscan character. Chat to a Tuscan, and you'll probably uncover an artist, a scientist or a philosopher. Tuscany bursts with artists and we almost certainly have the Medici to thank for attracting them to settle in this stunning Region of fine art, fine food and even finer wines and castles.
If you are thinking of an Umbrian villa rental, then you'll be heading into the very heart of central Italy. Umbria has no coastline. Instead, there's Lake Trasimeno, Italy's fourth largest lake. Umbria is quite a small region, so Lake Trasimeno is readily accessible from wherever you happen to be staying. A trip to the lake is to step back in time. There's a sprinkling of bustling villages around the lake: Passignano, Tuoro, Panicale, Paciano and Castiglione del Lago are all well worth a visit. The lake's a delight for those who enjoy pottering about on ferry boats, exploring little islands and swimming off tiny, sandy beaches.
Umbria's character is simple and rustic. Layer upon layer of gently rolling hills are covered with olive groves and vineyards and crowned by hill-top towns. Long after the demise of the pre-christian Etruscans and the passing of Rome's empire, Umbria fell under the rule of the the Papal States from around 800 AD until the unification of Italy under Garibaldi. It was not easy to live in the Papal States, food was scare and taxes were abundant. Today however, things are mercifully different. St. Francis's home town of Assisi is a stunning hill-top town for your must-see list, and so too is Perugia, Umbria's capital city. Lake Trasimeno, Todi, Gubbio, Deruta and many, many more are all waiting to enchant you with their ancient charm. Not for nothing is Umbria described as the "green heart of Italy" and "the land of saints". It's a truly beautiful region, rich in its hard won peace and prosperity, and welcoming to the visitor.
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