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Testimonials

  • “ Zak The whole family wish to thank you for the chance to stay at your wonderful Villa La Chiusa in Lucca, I could not have wished for a better location or setting for my 70th birthday. It was perfect. Our young grandchildren gained so much confidence in the user friendly pool and achieved much. We were very impressed by the meal prepared by Chef Alberto who did us proud indeed. I would ask you to pass on our grateful thanks in Italian. Again very many thanks to you, David S. ”

    - David S. - Villa Torriani - 2004-09-13
  • “ Just a note to say "thanks" for everything, we had the trip of a lifetime in Tuscany. Your service was excellent, and the housekeeper was a gem. The villa was simply perfect. Carla and I are already planning to return next summer, and might be interested in a month-long stay (maybe just a bit further north). Keep your eyes open for us. Best personal regards, Kevin. ”

    - Carla and Kevin P. - Villa Fallerini - 2001-09-25
  • “ Dear Zak--our stay at Villa Monte was excruciatingly perfect--the landscape and everything involved--people, food, villa, pool were all as beautiful as they could possibly be, such a remarkable place. Picking ripe figs off the trees for a snack was a pretty incredible experience in itself for us New Yorkers. Thanks, Carol ”

  • “ Zak, Wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed Villa il Moro! It was fantastic house and a great location to see most of Tuscany. We cannot wait till we can return! The pizzeria you recommended in Torrieni was fabulous and we also discovered a very good restaurant in Buonconvento called the "Duccio Osteria". The food there was VERY good and the service very friendly. You may want to add it to your list. Thanks for all you help! Bill ”

  • “ Well, we did it and Villa Ciupi was the perfect spot. The rooms were spacious and all of the amenities were outstanding. Andrea and Tiziana were very gracious, from the welcome Vin Santo and Biscotti to the parting kisses they were perfect hosts. Where else can you drive home past two castles and a monastery and sit on your back yard and view the beautiful Tuscan landscape. We kept saying "It's like walking in a postcard." The villa exceeded our expectations and met all our needs. Thank you for making it easy to accomplish. Ciao, Cliff ”

    - Cliff S. - Villa Ciupi - 2002-05-16
  • “ Hello Zak, just like to let you know that Palazzotto was absolutely fantastic. Maurizio was charming and hospitable. The food was the best around the area and the little restaurant next door was wonderful. Everyone loved everything. You can't ask for more than that. Much thanks from the whole crew. Ciao from Ben! ”

    - Carolyn R. from Chicago USA at Palazzotto - 2001 July
  • “ Zak: We just returned from our stay in Tuscany at your wonderful home La Casella in Cetona and it was exactly like we were told it would be. We much appreciate the prompt and excellent service we received from you. We will certainly contact you for our next trip to Italy. Thanks again for everything. John ”

    - John P from South Carolina USA at Fitto - May 2004
  • “ Hi Zak, Just a short note to tell you how much we enjoyed Villa Manafiore and the service your company provides. We had a great meal by the cook, all enjoyed the bedrooms with private baths, and the fact that your refund check arrived so timely just topped our experience! You are welcome to use me for a reference at any time and we hope we can do business with you again. Sincerely, Gary B. ”

    - Gary B. - Villa Manafiore - 2003-10-28

About Us

what we do

Planning a vacation in Tuscany is an exiting task filled with expectations, and butterflies in the stomach! You’re the one put in charge by your family and friends, and since this trip to Tuscany is usually the biggest break in a year from the routine of work and study, you want to make sure that things go smoothly. We’ve been helping people like you for decades in choosing the right rental villa in Tuscany that becomes your home for this dream vacation. Living here in the central Siena Province for a good part of each year since the mid 1990’s, has given us the chance to explore this storybook region in fine detail. We know the villas we rent, their owners and care-takers, the nearby towns and villages, the roads around for detailed directions, the best places to eat and shop, and the local guides and cooks that add to the success of your vacation. We are happy that so many of our clients come back, some for several times, since enjoying a vacation in Tuscany only once in your life is just not enough! Next, read a bit about us, to help dispel those butterflies.

who we are

Gary is Australian and worked for years in the airline industry (PanAm, Qantas). He set up a corporate travel agency in New York City in the 1980’s moving it to the Gulf Coast in the 1990’s. Zak is from Finland and came to the US to study, graduating in architecture from Ga Tech in the mid 1980’s. After long vacations in Tuscany and trips all over Italy, in 1997 Gary and Zak purchased a property in the small Tuscan village of Chiusure, (rated as having one of the best views in Tuscany by Travel & Leisure March 2015) and became residents here for about half of each year. With requests from friends in Tuscany on how to find people to rent their villas, Zak and Gary formed TuscanHouse in 1998. Now in 2016 the business is operated from Australia where Gary and Zak live while away from their home in Tuscany.

Thoughts for travellers

A selection of hopefully helpful posts about travelling in Tuscany.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Restaurant guide for Siena Province

This list is our personal recommendation for eating well. The restaurants where you should make reservations are noted with *. During the summer call at least one day in advance for dinner (cena) reservations (pre-notazione). Kitchen is typically open for lunch from 12:30 to about 2:00 pm, for dinner: 7:30 – 9:30 pm, and later on weekends. In restaurants, pizza is served at dinner only. During the day, buy pizza by the slice from the snack-bars in towns. House wine… Read More

Things you need to know

Please read thru these helpful hints for a happy holiday! PERSONAL SAFETY Italy is generally considered to be a safe country. Most Italians are courteous and helpful, especially in the countryside and small towns of Tuscany. If you are ever in trouble, people would probably go out of their way to help you. Just look at the way they care for immigrants arriving by the thousands on rickety boats from Africa every week … Besides road accidents, the main concern… Read More

When you arrive in Tuscany

ARRIVAL AT YOUR VILLA Plan to arrive as close to 4pm as possible and please read the arrival details that are included at the bottom of your driving directions. Upon entering, please take a look at all the appliances and ask the Manager to show you how they work. Ask them to show you where the electric fuse box is located and how to reset the electricity. You should report anything broken or out-of-order in the first 24 hours and… Read More

Latest posts

if your travels take you to Cortona, in the valley below is Canta Napoli, a superb seafood restaurant just north of the town of Camucia. We had a memorable lunch here on 18 June 2014. It’s unusual to find excellent seafood this far inland, so this restaurant owned by 2 Neapolitan brothers should get every seafood lover’s attention. The shellfish was superb, featured firstly on the antipasto that we shared as a starter. It had fresh cold octopus salad and several types of cured fish and as soon we finished it, out came the surprise 2nd part; a bowl of steaming clams and mussels! The pasta course was predetermined since we are dedicated to spaghetti alle vongole, and sure enough, sweet and delicious clams piled high on top of hot pasta was a treat to all senses. We even had the main course that was perhaps a bit too much for lunch. The grilled and fried mixed seafood platters was a good way to further explore the menu. The house white wine was perfect and inexpensive, and the whole meal with mineral water and coffees came to about 45 euros a head. Really good value for such high quality food. Service was friendly and efficient, menu has English translation, the setting was most pleasant in one of their two well furnished dining rooms. Parking up front and down the side street. Located at a roadside hamlet just north of Camucia, see signs on the main road, the SS 71. tel: 0575-62996. GPS 43.272727, 11.972061.

La Grotta

In Montepulciano you should go to La Grotta, a highly recommended and pleasant restaurant with refined cuisine and courteous professional service. It’s the perfect place to enjoy the splendid Vino Nobile wines with your meal. Seasonal ingredients feature truffles, porcini mushrooms, and game. We like them for their delicate hand made pasta and the chef who cooks the best rack of lamb for the main course. Delicious deserts, too. The 2 vaulted dining rooms are spacious and tables are placed… Read More

Olive oil harvest in Lucca Tuscany

The arrival of late autumn in Lucca, Tuscany, signals the season of the olive harvest. Most of the area’s farmers are deeply committed to organic and biodynamic agriculture, using the ancient method to cold-press the olives under a mill wheel on the day of the harvest. Have a look at this recent story in the New York Times:  Olive oil in Lucca Tuscany Going to Lucca for a vacation? Here we offer the beautiful Villa La Chiusa… Read More

Osteria il Ristoro Tuscany restaurant

Osteria il Ristoro is the only cafe-restaurant in little village Ville di Corsano just south of Siena, but it’s the perfect example of how good the authentic local cooking can be in modest Tuscany restaurant. This is a charming country eatery, with the popular coffee shop in front and the dining room in the back. Many ingredients are from nearby farms – most vegetables and ingredients of pasta dishes, such as tagliatelle with bacon and a hazelnut sauce. For the… Read More

Al Botteghino Tuscany restaurant

Al Botteghino is an established road-house restaurant on the way from Torrita to Pienza, near the town of Montefollonico. Simple but excellent cooking, very popular with locals, one of our favorite Tuscan “truck-stops”. We had dinner there on 4th of June 2014 and it was superb. Try the anjovy starter and warm crostinis (can be shared), for pasta course the surprisingly light and small gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce, heavenly! This established Tuscany restaurant is the best place in the area… Read More

Contact TuscanHouse

Gary and Zak are currently traveling in the US and Australia, coming back to Tuscany for the months of June, July and August 2016. Please send your request by email and we’ll get right back with you.  Thanks!

TuscanHouse
http://tuscanhouse.com

US fax / voice 1-801-640-5012
Italy (+39) 348-481-2544
Australia (+61) 0418-190-853
Skype tuscanhouse.com