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Discover Tuscany!, Issue #009-- the "Golden" issue!
October 12, 2003

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

Phew! The torrid heat that melted your Gucci sling backs to the pavement has finally cooled down. I’ve rolled down my trouser legs (one at a time as the heat gradually goes, mind you! kind of like a Tuscan version of a decompression chamber except using trouser legs! The side effects can be risky, at half way point groups of Masons keep trying to shake your hand, by the way, what is the word for a group of Masons? It’s probably a secret!). I’ve also had my knotted hanky surgically removed from my head in a tricky 3-second operation (the 6 hour queue was well worth it). It was one of the toastiest summers on record and I can safely say that good fun was had by all our Happy Campers. But “time and tax bills wait for no man” as they say and autumn is creeping up on Tuscany day by day. The colours of the landscape are totally breathtaking, try to picture a rich mixture of kipper quiche and babies diarrhoea (you probably have to be here to get the full effect) and a number of times I’ve had to stop the car just to “take in” the golden sunset (probably not the best thing to do on the A1 motorway). Enough, I’m getting all emotional! It is one of the most beautiful places on earth. It’s also harvest time, more chestnuts, mushrooms & truffle festivals than you can shake a stick at! Yummmmyyyy!

Peeps, I give you this month’s “pick ‘n’ mix” from Chiantishire the “Golden” issue of Discover Tuscany!” car washes, masons, nuts & Chris Tarrant. So full of goodies it must be well over your 15kg baggage allowance, have a word with the nice Irish hostess and I’m sure it will be just fine.

1. Intro
2. Contents & Thanks
3. Sometimes it’s like living in a foreign country
4. NEW Properties
5. Up, Up and away
6. Guest Book- shoot from the hip
7. Last Min Offers/Autumn Breaks
8. Car Hire
9. Mobile Phones
10. Toast your nuts!
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!).

3 Sometimes it’s just like living in a foreign country – carwashes
Never worked out why, but here if you decide to use an automatic car wash, you aren’t allowed to sit in your car whilst it’s being washed! Filthy habit anyway, washing cars!

4 New Properties
Lots of superb new properties being added as we speak. We now have a stylish 2 person apartment in Chianti Classico owned by an English Designer and our new “Luxury” section is taking shape with some stunning properties, including a number of exclusive villas in the Lucca area. We are talking chandeliers, frescos, maids & chefs, saunas, gyms & billiard rooms etc. Those of you in the London area who listen to Capital Radio may have heard Chris Tarrant (of “who wants to be a millionaire” fame!) broadcasting from one of these villas near Lucca last year.
Decadent!! not ‘alf! Check out our New Properties & Luxury Villas pages for more stunning properties soon.

5 Up, up and away – What are the airlines offering this month?
Ryanair have some great offers at the moment. Book between Fri 10 Oct and Mon 13 Oct and fly between 24 Oct – 17 Dec. Stansted – Verona £1.99, Rome (Ciampino) £ 6.99, Bergamo £6.99, Pisa £16.99, Forli £16.99 Why not nip over for a spot of pre Christmas shopping!

6 Go on, tell it like it is!
Thanks to all of you who have been in touch lately. Your comments, overwhelmingly complimentary! are much appreciated. Most of you decided to send your comments by email, which is fine but it means no one else can hear about your great holiday! If its OK by you, we are quite happy to let everyone else hear what you think (even constructive criticism!), so why not leave your comments in our online guest book.

7 Last Minute Offers/Autumn Breaks
Lots of our owners have contacted us with various Last Minute Offers. Some are offering great discounts for booking less than 10 days before arrival. Check out the discount airlines for fantastic flight prices, Ryanair were even offering FREE flights recently. Some owners have off season offers of up to €500 discount! Others welcome mid week arrivals and short stays, off-season. If you are flexible, there are some great bargains. In autumn the colours in Tuscany are breathtaking, the galleries & museums are less crowded, the climate is milder, the seasonal food is mouth-watering and you could even do a spot of designer shopping for Christmas! If you like one of our villas but don’t see any offers on it, just ask!

8 Car Hire
Something that’s never occurred to us before happened to one of our guests this month. When you book your hire car, they will ask for a credit card to cover the deposit! (and with enough funds to cover it). Fine, unless a) You don’t have a credit card, b) you’ve used up most of your credit buying new holiday frocks c) the credit on your card IS your holiday money! Hard cash when you arrive isn’t acceptable! Luckily our partners “Holiday Autos” came up trumps! and managed to sort out an alternative for our guests! Well done guys! Check them out for fantastic prices and customer service above and beyond the call of duty!

9 Mobile Phones
A contact number when you are on holiday is essential, if you get lost on the way, if someone in the office needs to get in touch or even just so that your mum can check you’re behaving yourself. In theory using your own phone shouldn’t be a problem BUT lots of people seem to have problems either with making International calls or don’t realise that THEY usually have to pay even when someone calls them (check this with your own phone network!) We have found a simple cost savingalternative. Platform 3000 are a Florence based company who rent out mobile phones. They can let you know your number in advance and even send the phone to you (all the phone instructions/menus are in English). There are no costs to answer calls, all calls you make within the area are local not international, as they would be if you used your own (UK) phone. US guests also have to make sure their phones are tri band or they won’t work here. To keep in touch with others in your group and save money we reckon it’s worth considering. Check out our ”Rent a Mobile Phone” page for details.

10 Toast your nuts!
One of the pleasures of being here in Tuscany is that with the onset of each new season the seasonal specialities change. Autumn sees the start of the Mushroom, Chestnut and Truffle seasons. There are lots of Festivals - Marradi & Borgo S. Lorenzo have a Chestnut festa each weekend in October, Volterra has a White Truffle fair 25/26 Oct & 1/ 2 Nov and Vivo d’Orcia near Siena has a Mushroom & Chestnut festa 18/19 Oct. Full details in this month’s “Toscana Tascabile”, a fine little magazine available from news kiosks all over Tuscany. It’s also wine harvest time. It’s been one of the hottest summers in living memory so the jury seems to be out on whether it will be a good wine vintage or not, seems to depend on the actual location of the vineyard and its microclimate. Check out our online “Wine Shop” for some great autumn offers on Tuscan wines. They can be delivered world wide or why not come over and taste things for yourself!

11 Coming Soon
We’re busy working away on lots of new stuff. In the pipeline we’ve got our NEW “Luxury Villas” Page, which will have 6/7 stunning new Villas on it very soon. Our “Christmas in Tuscany” page should be up and running soon, full of offers and great things to do in Tuscany over the festive period. If you want to see what we look like our “Who We Are” page is changing right now and finally I may have mentioned it a couple of times before but our “Credit Card Payment” page will be fully functional soon (probably).

Toodle Pip from Tuscany


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