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Discover Tuscany!, Issue #011-- the "Ho Ho" issue!
December 09, 2003

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

Happy “Immaculate Conception Day” to you and yours! (8th Dec). Hope you had a good one. Here, folks really know how to have a good, old- fashioned, festive, knees up, they even form “Conga Lines” in their cars. The best one yesterday was 150kms from Verona right up to the Brenner Pass! In a magical festive moment some motorists from Naples even started peeping out “Jingle Bells” and little rosy-cheeked children pleaded with their smiling mammas to “stay here for ever”. Ho Ho Ho!

A big Thank You to all of you who got in touch recently. (I learnt some new expletives in various languages! and Ms.Jones of Bognor “my computer wouldn’t fit”), all 3,500 of you who received the same auto reply I thought I was only testing!! (40 to the same person is the record so far) Eh! Oops! Sorry! See me, see computers! By the way, did I mention we went away last weekend?

It’s that time of year, a Padre Pio statue has started crying blood, the government is offering Italians €1000 to have babies and the temperature at the beginning of the week in Sicily was 72°F and today they are sledging!

Kick off your Gucci moonboots, pour yourself a pint of egg nog and snuggle up in front of a roaring log fire while I recount a Christmas “Ho Ho” issue of Discover Tuscany!

2.Contents & Thanks
3.New properties
4. Last minute Christmas offers
5.Tuscany at Christmas
6.Car hire Sale
7.Food & drink
8.Pressie ideas
9.NEW Site Search Engine
10.Our Fun, Yuletide Christmas, festive, competition
11.Coming soon

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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 and upload your favourite holiday snaps!).

New Properties
This month we will be adding a new villa in an area, which many of you may not have heard of before. Villa Casentino, as the name suggests lies in the unspoilt area called Casentino, north east of Florence and north of Arezzo. The villa sleeps 12 and has a large garden and pool. The Casentino National Park and the quaint, medieval town of Poppi are nearby. If you are looking for a relaxing holiday, far from the tourist crowds, then Villa Casentino is worth considering. check out our New Properties Page.

Last Minute Christmas Offers
Any of you still undecided about where to spend Christmas and New Year? Have a butchers at our Christmas in Tuscany Page. We have lots of Villas and Farmhouses at great prices, which will be specialy decorated for Christmas and from today all qualify for another 10% Last Minute Discount. If you are flexible on flight dates you can still pick up a bargain from the discount airlines.

Tuscany at Christmas
During the Festive season, Tuscany is packed with things to do. Lots of cities have Christmas Markets. Santa Croce in Florence has a really atmospheric one with merry go rounds, vin brulè and lots of Christmas decorations for sale. Arezzo has a full programme of events including street performers. There are lots of Musical Concerts including carols, classical and modern music (eg. Black Harmony Gospel choir at Teatro Verdi Sat 20th Dec) and some cities have outdoor ice rinks during the holidays. At this time of year the big cities look magical, decorated with thousands of sparkling fairy lights. At Forte dei Marmi, down on the Tuscan coast, Santa will arrive by parachute onto the beach on Christmas Eve morning and give presents and sweets to waiting children.

Car Hire
If you are planning on visiting Tuscany next year, it would be worth checking out the fantastic offers from our partners Holiday Autos right NOW! They have a sale on at the moment, which must finish on 16th Dec. with up to 25% discount. Book early and save £££.

Festive Fare - Burp!
Tuscan food and fine wine is famous throughout the world. Over the festive season I know many of you will invite friends round for a Tuscan Dinner and Tuscan food and wine make ideal gifts. If you need some ideas have a look at “Italian Cooking and Living” magazine’s web site. It has lots of great food ideas and a database of 1000’s of Italian recipes and a nearest “Gourmet Store” and “Favourite Italian restaurant” search facility (USA only) If you’re based in the UK, check out our favourite online Italian store “Valvona & Crolla” They are based in Edinburgh but many of their products can be bought online (order by 16th Dec for Christmas delivery), if you live near their store they have a great events programme including wine tasting and cooking demonstrations by top names such as Nick Nairn and Rose Gray & Ruth Rogers of River Cafè. They also do gift vouchers from £5 - £50, which can be used online, in their shop, bar or for events.

Can’t think what to buy!
If you’re hunting for that last minute Christmas pressie. Check out our Online Store , great t-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, aprons etc all with the “Rent a Villa“ Logo. Or for fantastic Italian cook books, wine books, guides, maps and more, visit our online Bookstore . For lovers of fine wines, our partners “Wines of Tuscany” also have some fantastic festive wines, which can be mailed worldwide.

NEW Site Search Engine
Over the last year our site has grown from a few villas to over 200 at the last count. In order to help you select the ideal holiday accommodation, we have recently added a “Site Search Engine”. This allows you to put in a keyword (eg. sleeps 12, childrens’ play area, with washing machine etc) and a list of pages on our site which contain the key word appear. Try it, let us know what you think.

Win Big Prizes (maybe)!! Festive Yuletide Competition
To get your brain cells working over the festive period, enter our “Festive Fun Competition” Just answer these simple yuletide questions and complete the Festive Tuscan Sentence:

1) What is a “Befana”?

a) A type of Christmas cake (as in - hey, dollface, chuck us over another slice of Befana)

b) An old witch type figure who brings sacks of coal to bad boys and girls (as in – stop hitting your sister Lorenzo or the Befana will bring you a sack of coal)

c) The latest car from Fiat (as in – lovely motor sir, thanks it’s the new Fiat Befana 2.3 GTi cabriolet)

2) How do you say “Merry Christmas” in Italian?

3) Complete this sentence in not more than 103 words ……

Under the Tuscan sun, under the Tuscan snow…………………………………!

The first three (3) correct answers with the most creative “Festive flavoured rhyme” plucked out of the festive cyberhat on Dec 24th could win up to €6 million. Yes up to €6 million!!, well, what we will send the winners are tickets for the Italian National Lottery, which will be drawn on 6th Jan with prizes worth €6 million. (of course, if there are laws against sending you a ticket, we’ll think of something else, probably worth a bit less than €6 million!) My decision is final etc and we’ll let the winner of the competition know by email on Christmas Day and in the next newsletter.
Answers to festive competition answer

Coming Soon!
It’s been a whirlwind year. From humble beginnings to top 1% of the net in under a year. (thanks to a package of programmes called Site Build it! and a bit of hard work, if you are thinking of setting up a web based business, there is no competition to “Site Build it!” it works! ) Thousands of folks from over 45 countries visit our site each month. Our plans for next year include adding properties suitable for company incentives/meetings and more properties down at the seaside. We also have a number of multimedia e-books and brochures in the pipeline. Keep checking out our site.

To all our Guests and Owners, we couldn’t have done it without you all.

From Jim, Fiona & Rosie at Rent a Villa in Tuscany

We wish you all A Merry Christmas and A Happy, Peaceful 2004

To contact us :-
“a corner of paradise in the heart of Italy”

© 2003 All Rights Reserved

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