Ideas for a Family Holiday in Tuscany

By: Shaun Parker

Tuscany, the birthplace of Italian language and civilisation is perhaps an obvious choice for a holiday destination. Demand for access to the Tuscan countryside, which has inspired holidaymakers and artists for generations, has resulted in the growth of 'agriturismo' in the region: hotels in farm settings, apartments and villas in former agriculture buildings. This extends the appeal of holidays in Tuscany to families, by offering open air activities to complement the culture on offer in the cities. While self catering may suit those on a budget, luxurious country hotels offer immediate access to the Tuscan countryside without missing out on pampering.

The Tuscan countryside is characterized by rolling hills and luscious green valleys, thermal spas and nature reserves, stretching from the Tyrrhenian Sea to the Apennines. Tuscany encompasses the historical towns of Florence, Siena, Pisa, San Gimignano, Pienza, the carefully cultivated hills of the Val d'Orcia and is host to fishing villages of Massa Marittima, Castiglione della Pescaia and Punta Ala among others. As well as and the mountains of the Apuan Alps, the region offers more rugged beauty in the Maremma region in the south, which also offers a variety of options for family hotels.

Some country hotels take pride in serving local produce, often in the restaurant, as well as for sale in the shop. Often this will include organic olive oil, grappa and wines, the region being most regarded for its dry red wines, best known in the form of Chianti. Regional delicacies include tortelli, bruschetta with olive oil, bean and chickpea soups, pecorino with biologic honey, and deserts such as panforte and cantucci.

Family holidays in Tuscany could include horse riding, which may be organized as part of a farm holiday, and cycling around the vineyards and olive groves for those focused on relaxation. There are many sporting and leisure activities on offer, including Golf, swimming and tennis. There are also wellbeing activities on offer including massages and yoga classes to take part in. All sporting and wellbeing activities are made more relaxing being surrounded by the Tuscan countryside.

Visiting Florence you'll be able to teach your family about the artists of the Renaissance era, and the fascinating story of the Medici family. Grown-ups may want to attend a wine-sampling evening, or a cookery course, which country hotels often organise. If it's not a family holiday you're after, Tuscan hotels also offer deals for romantic, ecologically sound weddings.

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