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Testimonials

  • “ We had a glorious time in Italy, and I just wanted to tell you that La Casella  was just amazing. We felt truly at home there, we cooked at the villa most nights. Loved the area around Cetona. We can't wait to return to Tuscany again. ”

    - Carol and Phil P. from Australia at La Casella - 2009 July
  • “ 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 wanted to express our thanks for your organization on our behalf. We had a delightful holiday and much enjoyed the beauty of Tuscany, its delicious food and wine,  and the generous company of our landlady. She was particularly helpful to me with a frail invalid in our party. She went to a lot of trouble on our behalf and her care will be remembered. Yours sincerely, Isobel ”

    - Isobel and Donald from Scotland at Casa Anna - August 2005
  • “ We had a wonderful time at il Palazzotto. But the world events this September did not give us a good home-coming from our vacation. I appreciate your help in our Italian vacation, and I do think that we may plan a return trip to Buonconvento in the next year or so. Maurizio was an excellent host and we had such a great time there. Thanks. Ciao, JW ”

    - John W. - il Palazzotto - 2001 September
  • “ 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
  • “ Ciao, Zak! We had a wonderful time in Tuscany and enjoyed our vacation immensely. Monticchiello is quite a charming town - ate at La Porta twice - yum!! Did try many other restaurants on your list, too. We spent one day on Siena - lovely city! Hope to do this all again! ”

    - Gail L. from Atlanta USA at il Torrino - 2001 October
  • “ Zak, Words are not adequate. Villa Riccardo was spacious and picturesque, we would sit out on patio and marvel at the views and the long tree lined gravel road across the valley before climbing up to our bit of heaven. The people were friendly and warm, especially in the villages, where walking the main streets was serendipity at every turn. Each day we would venture out in two cars (four couples) to the surrounding towns and villages or abbys to view the renaissance art, frescos or paintings, or sculptures, etc, a perfusion of opportunities. We never seemed to tire of them. One marvelous storm came through at night and lit up the sky with blazing fireworks and thunderous roars. Exciting, not scary! All in all we had an unforgettable three-week experience with wonderful friends, laughter almost continuous, and driving thrills to rival the fastest racetracks. We can't wait to see the pictures that will help us hold those thoughts for some time to come. Ciao! Regards, -Jim ”

    - Jim F. - 2001-10-18
  • “ The stay at the Villa il Palazzotto was great, our group had a fantastic 2 weeks in Italy. The house was very clean and neat, Maurizio prepared two wonderful meals and your referral of Kate Singleton was really appreciated. She took us to 3 vineyards, we learned a lot and all agreed it was one of the highlights of our trip. She is super at what she does, we highly recommend her. We appreciate your help in our trip planning, thank you for all your suggestions. -Lee ”

    - Lee and Page O. - il Palazzotto - 2004-10-06

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 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 had a career in the airline industry (PanAm, Qantas). He set up a corporate travel agency in New York City that he moved to the Gulf Coast in the 1990’s. Zak comes from Finland and worked as an architect after graduating from Ga Tech in Atlanta in the 1980’s. After long vacations in Tuscany and trips all over Italy, in 1997 we purchased a property in the small Tuscan village of Chiusure, now rated as having one of the best views in Tuscany by Travel & Leisure (March 2015). We became residents here for almost half of each year. We formed TuscanHouse in 1998 due to many requests from friends in Tuscany on how to find people to rent their villas. Now in 2017, Gary and I operate the business from Australia, where we live while away from our 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

il Loggiato tavern Bagno Vignoniil Loggiato is our current favorite in the spa town of Bagno Vignoni, it’s more of a wine-bar and a …Jan 4 2017tuscanhouse.com Restaurant guide for Siena Province Updated June 2017. 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). 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

The climate in Tuscany is generally mild and very similar with another famous wine region, that of the Napa Valley in California. The summer is hot but the air is really dry, making the high temperatures bearable. Summer is the most popular time for vacations, while spring and autumn offer better weather for outdoor activities.

Pool Season: June, July, August and September

July and August are the warmest months with average high at 32°C and lows around 18°C while June and September offer comfortably warm weather without it being too hot with temperatures from 27°C high to 16°C low on the average. Some years the summer weather can start already in June and sometimes the summer heat can last well into September. These 4 months make up the pool season, when the sun warms up the pool water for swimming.

Air conditioning and how to keep the villa cool in summer

Many rental villas don’t offer air conditioning, since it most likely isn’t needed (really!).  Farmhouses and villas in Tuscany are often located on top of hills and protected by trees, to enjoy cooling breezes that make it pleasant to be here. Every villa has electric fans that help to keep you comfortable. Italian country houses are traditionally built with thick masonry walls that make them cooler in summer and warmer in winter. In summer, we close the outside shutters during the daytime to keep out the hot sun, and open the house in the evening for a cooling breeze.

Because most of our guests live in their homes with air conditioning, and are used to even temperatures inside, we are starting to see owners in Tuscany adapt their villas to include air conditioning as an additional service (usually metered and paid according to usage).

Autumn and Spring are great times for Tuscany outdoors

October and May offer the best times to outdoor activities, such as bicycle rides, golf and tennis, horse back and hiking the many well-marked tracks in Tuscany. These months usually allow you to enjoy lunch outside, while the cooler evenings would keep you indoors for dinner. Temperatures range from around 24°C high to 13°C low. Late October shows you some pretty autumn colours, while May brings you late spring with red poppies in bloom. Start of October is time for the grape harvest, Vendemmia, at the vineyards.

November and April might bring a few frosty nights while days can still warm up nicely. November is harvest time for olives, and for hunting of truffles with especially trained sniffer dogs. November usually gets the most rain as well. April is a very pretty time in the middle of spring with wild flowers, blooming wisteria and fast green growth in the countryside. Temperatures range from around 18°C high to 7°C low.

Winter and start of Spring for visitors

From December thru February is the winter season with shorter days and rain showers, but also some beautiful clear and sunny days. Light dusting of snow is possible during the cold nights making travel on the roads more difficult. Higher elevations can get snow for several days. Many Italians rent villas for Christmas and New Year, but we see only a few tourists during the winter. Average temperatures are cool to chilly, from about 13°C high to 4°C low.

I mention March separately since it’s the beautiful start of spring, with narcissus, tulip, hyacinth and other bulbs in bloom with also the first of the fruit trees, like cherries, in flower. March also feels better with longer days pushing away the winter blues. End of March and start of April are usually the time for Easter, which the Europeans treat as a major holiday and time for travel, making it the start of the rental season for villas in Tuscany. Average temperatures in March are cool from about 16°C high to 7°C low.

Rain or Sunshine on your holidays

Rain and showers in Tuscany can occur during autumn, winter and spring, while the summer season is very dry. Except, possibly thunderstorms that could bring a few showers also during the summer. This is the general view of the seasons but each year is different, so please have a look at the local weather forecast for Tuscany just before you leave home, so you can pack accordingly.

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Etruscans

Etruscans and Their Origins The origin of Etruscans has been a matter of debate for many centuries, with Roman scholars such as Livy claiming they were either from central Europe or original and indigenous people of central Italy. But DNA testing done in 2007 verified information coming from the Greek historian Herodotus, written around 450 BCE. According to Herodotus, the Etruscans were originally Lydians, who lived in the western half of Turkey during the Iron Age. They evolved in this… Read More

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Osteria Acquacheta Montepulciano

Osteria Acquacheta is a special place among the many good places to eat in Montepulciano. Prices are low for such tasty food, like 6 euros for a plate of fresh pasta al ragu. Standard menu and the daily menu are both worth looking thru. Lots of choices but the reason many come here is the big thick steak the owner chops off and brings to show for your approval before cooking it on the wood burning BBQ you see ablaze… Read More

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Weather in Tuscany in °F

The climate in Tuscany is generally mild and very similar with another famous wine region, that of the Napa Valley in California. The summer is hot and the most popular time for vacations, while spring and autumn offer better weather for outdoor activities. Pool Season: June, July, August and September July and August are the warmest months with average high at 90°F and lows around 65°F, while June and September offer comfortably warm weather without it being too hot with… Read More

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Ristorante Vita Nova

Vita Nova is a good restaurant in the Province of Arezzo, located in the countryside near Castiglion Fiorentino. With a nicely furnished spacious restaurant and covered outside tables on a panoramic terrace, Vita Nova serves traditional Tuscan food with a modern touch. It’s located at a farmhouse estate in the hamlet of Brolio, in one of the most scenic and beautiful areas of the Valdichiana, just 14 kilometers from Cortona, and a short 10 minute walk from Villa de Michelangioli. Read More

Contact TuscanHouse

Gary and Zak are now in Tuscany for the months of June, July and August 2017. Please send your request by email and we’ll get right back with you.  And you can call Zak at (+39) 348 338 1656.  Thanks!

TuscanHouse
http://tuscanhouse.com

Italy (+39) 348-338-1656
US fax / voice (+1) 801-640-5012
Australia (+61) 0418-190-853
Skype tuscanhouse.com