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Discover Tuscany!, Issue #004-- wall to wall sunshine!
May 07, 2003

Discover Tuscany! is a FREE monthly Newsletter dedicated to helping you get the best from your holiday in Tuscany.

A big Aloha! from Head Honcho Jim,

Yes, it’s finally arrived, wall to wall sunshine here in “Chiantishire”. Actually it’s been unseasonably hot even for this neck of the woods, some days the mercury is jumping up to a toasty 30-35°C (that’s in the 90’s°F in old money).

A big thanks to everyone who has taken the time to get in touch. Hi to Hanoi Roy from Belfast an ex gold prospector now enjoying live in Vietnam and Mickey and Mini’s neighbours in Sunny Florida. Both have new websites in the pipeline, if they’re nice to me, they might even get a mention in a forth coming Newsletter!

“Rent a Villa in Tuscany” is going from strength to strength, in the past month thousands of folks from over 40 (forty) different countries have checked out the site, including Aruba and the Keeling Islands, (yes, I’d didn’t know they existed either). Many of our pages are also hitting top spots in the major search engines, all thanks to you kind folks out there (Readers Voice-what a crawler!).

Our award winning staff writer Justin Tatopoulos is recovering well after last month’s “in depth” guide to “Digestivi” (3 litres of lime green, oriental herbs and spices in one afternoon, wot a guy!). Stepping into the breech this month, taking Justin’s place we are honoured to have as guest scribbler “Phil Menzies” a man who plays with proper boots right from the start. Phil knows more about Tuscany than one or two other people I know, probably. He promises to be gentle with you in what is sure to be a scorching, Springtime Issue of DISCOVER TUSCANY!


1)Aloha! It’s wall to wall sunshine in Tuscany.
2)Contents and Thanks.
3)“NEW” Properties – Fantastic new Barns, Castles & Villas.
4)Sometimes it’s like living in a foreign country – Italian Flashers.
5)Last Minute Offers – Nip over for the weekend. Recharge the batteries.
6)“NEW” Mobile Phone Rental – keep in touch with your mum.
7)Win Stuff – this month’s great Springtime giveaway competition.
8)“NEW” Food & Wine Page, Yummy!
9)Revolution in the skies – Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary “takes on the rip off artists”.
10)Tell all your friends!
11)Speek da Lingo – chewing the fat with the natives.
12)Coming soon – Discount Vouchers, tours to the Ferrari Museum.

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To “DISCOVER TUSCANY!” the Newsletter. We hope you enjoy reading it and find the information and advice useful when planning your holiday in Tuscany. We have lots of great ideas for the content but if have any ideas, comments or suggestions, please feel free to get in touch. We’d love to hear from you, just email us. Maybe there is something you need to know before you arrive or a great tip you’d like to pass on after your holiday, (when you get home don’t forget to sign our guest book on the site to tell us about your holiday).

“NEW” Properties

we have had so much response to our web site that we are busy adding fantastic new properties as fast as we can. As you can understand this takes time. We really do hand pick every property, keeping standards high is our number 1 priority and we only select villas we would like to stay in ourselves. To let you all have a “sneek preview” we’ve put a “NEW Properties” page on the site, which gives a photo and brief description of “NEW” properties before we have time to put full details and more photos. This week’s latest additions include a lovely converted barn sleeping 4, a stylish village apartment sleeping 4, a large apartment in a converted farmhouse with pool sleeping 6 and in the next few days we will be adding another stunning medieval castle (with 4 pools, tennis court and its own lake!), a Medici Villa with 18 bed & breakfast apartments and a fantastic converted farmhouse a few miles from the sea. We also have a number of other stunning properties in the pipeline. Keep checking!

Sometimes it’s like living in a foreign country

As you return home from a night down the local “Bistro” with the sound of “O Sole Mio” still ringing in your ears, you’d be forgiven for thinking all the traffic lights in the whole of Tuscany had gone on the blink at the same time (it has happened in Naples!). After a certain hour every junction you come to has flashing amber lights. When I quizzed a native about this, he explained it was done as a safety precaution. At first, I was at a loss as to why temporarily putting all the traffic lights out of order could increase road safety, but if you use a bit of lateral thinking it all becomes clear, sort of! At a deserted junction in the wee small hours, no one would wait at a red light, but a driver coming in the other direction would assume it safe to continue because his light was at green, result – kerrunch! On the other hand if all the lights are flashing amber everyone has to be cautious when they approach a junction. Interesting theory!!

Last Minute Offers

Check out our Last minute offers this month. If you can be flexible about when you travel, and keep an eye on what the low cost airlines are doing, we have some Great Bargains on bookings taken within 10 days of arrival. Although most properties are rented Saturday to Saturday, some of our owners are willing to do shorter mid week rentals and we also have some great properties which do Bed & Breakfas. Why not pop over for a relaxing, long weekend, soak up the sunshine, recharge the batteries.

“NEW” Mobile Phone Rental

Mobile phones have become an essential part of life for many people, even on holiday it’s important to keep in touch, either with the folks back home or with each other (if you get lost in the Ipercoop, a quick call can save the day). It is possible to ask your Service provider to activate their “International Roaming” service but remember when you make a call (for example to your lost friend in the Ipercoop) it is an International call and if you receive a call from your lost friend, YOU pay the part of the call from the UK (or your home country) ie. the costs are high. With our Partners PLATFORM 3000 we think we’ve found a good low cost solution. Platform 3000 will rent you a mobile to use on holiday, this means call costs are low and you don’t pay to receive incoming calls. They can let you know your number before arriving (you can them give it to the folks at home) and they can deliver your phone to your villa if you want. Check out their site, it seems like a good idea to us, let us know what you think.

Win Stuff

Last month’s FREE wine Competition was won by Mrs Joan Hermse from Scotland. Although her answer wasn’t even close, we like people who enter into the spirit of things! The correct answer was of course, Ian Rush (ex Liverpool and Juventus footballer). This month’s Scorching, Springtime, giveaway competition (open to anyone who has booked a holiday with us) is for all you music buffs out there. Just complete the next two lines to this catchy little melody from yesteryear.

“We’re all going on a summer holiday, no more worries for a week or two, fun and ……….

3 (three) bottles of OK’ish local plonk will be waiting at your villa if are the first to send in something that vaguely resembles the correct answer. An extra bottle of pop if you can give me the real name of the singer of this great beat combo.

“NEW” Wine Page

Tuscany is world famous for its wines. Chianti is probably the most widely known, but lots of other lesser known wines are worthy of mention. Our partners “Wines of Tuscany” have a fantastic online wine store. It’s packed full of useful info, you can also buy a wide selection of Tuscan Wines at great prices, which can be delivered world wide and you can even email a wine expert for advice or suggestions. Check them out. On our “NEW” wine page we also have a link to a great wine magazine called Wine X, it’s produced in America and has a really fresh approach to wine journalism. The wine reviews are funky and the articles on wine, food, music and travel are written in a fun style. Even as we speak, our wine page is changing, it will soon become a “Food & Wine” page. We are working on some great links to a superb online food and wine store in the UK and a great US Italian Food and Wine site packed full of articles, recipes and advice on Italian food and wine. Cheers!

Revolution in the Skies

London-Pisa return for the price of a coffee! Incredible! Lot’s of people wonder how this can be possible. One of the leading players behind this revolution in the skies is RYANAIR’s CEO ” Michael O'Leary, 39 ''taking on the rip-off artists” is how the former property developer and tax consultant describes it. O’Leary took over bankrupt Ryanair in 1991 Now, the Dublin carrier boasts one of the industry's best profit margins. Click above to read more about this charismatic Irishman in an interesting article, which was published in the magazine “Business week”

Tell a Friend

Word of mouth is always the best publicity. If you like our web site, don’t keep it to yourself! Tell all your friends. If they book, tell them to mention your name (we’ll find a way to say thanks!) We have printed up great Rent a Villa Postcards, if you know anywhere we could display them, please get in touch.

Speek da Lingo

Cappuccino, pizza, bella bella, Paolo Maldini has great legs (wee cousin Ann made me put this one in) we can all string a few words of Italian together, unfortunately, unless you’re going for a pizza and cappuccino with Paolo Maldini you won’t get far (Wee Cousin Ann – sounds fine to me!!)
You can get by speaking Red Indian “Tonto” language (Me rent room, one bath), augmented with a few Rolf ”can you guess what it is yet” Harris sketches and Marcel Marceau mimes (goes down well with the local Carabinieri) but Italians are very patient and appreciate it if you try to communicate in even simple Italian.

If you’d like to learn a little Italian before your holiday we’ve put together a Great NEW “Learn Italian” page on the site to help you. Check out the FREE Italian courses from the BBC. They are really well written and use the power of the web, ie sound, video etc. You can also print out useful phrases and vocabulary, Bella, Bella!

Coming Soon

We have recently started working on a “NEW”Discount Voucher scheme, in fact, those of you arriving soon may already have received some. We have arranged these vouchers with local wineries, restaurants etc who we like and would like to share with you. The discounts take various forms, sometimes it’s free offers eg. after dinner “Vin Santo” or coffee, sometimes it’s free wine tasting, sometimes it’s cash discounts on meals (eg. 10% discount at the “4 Cats” pizzeria on Fridays and Sundays) . We’re adding more, make sure you get yours!
Another new service we’re arranging at the moment is a partnership with a local company who do various tours. They arrange winery visits, shopping trips and even a day trip to Modena to the Ferrari Museum. More info Coming Soon.

Well that’s all folks,

Sterling job “Phil”, hope you folks found some of the info useful, entertaining even and take it all in the spirit it was written.

Bella, Bella Gordon, until next time!

La Famiglia

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“a corner of paradise in the heart of Italy”

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