Cheese, wine, steak, olives, truffles, the list of delicious food native to Tuscany is endless! Many visit to taste the produce, and combined with the wonderful towns, art, architecture and history, it makes the perfect holiday.

To get the inside view on Tuscany we asked Lenny at “Taste of Tuscany”, who runs amazing culinary tours, for her opinion on everything Tuscan!

 

1) You arrange many activities including cookery lessons, truffle hunting and wine tours. What is the most popular? 

Most people choose wine tasting and sometimes a cookery course, but once you tell them about olive oil tastings and truffle hunting, a new world opens up for them.

 

2) You live in one of the best wine regions in the world. Do you have a favourite Italian wine?

I don’t have one favourite Italian wine. The joy of living here is that it’s very easy to explore and experience new wines every day. For me it is fun to visit wineries I haven’t visited before and to try award winning wines like Brunello di Montalcino, as well as local wines that don’t carry this prestige. There are A LOT of pretty good ones out there.

 

3) Which is your favourite month of the year?

Spring is beautiful! It feels like Tuscany is waking from hibernation. Fall is beautiful too because it’s harvest time for pretty much everything, like grapes, olives, porcini and tartufi. Tuscans like to celebrate this with little local festivals, which are just great!

 

4) When you are not working, what do you do?

I like being a tourist, but I guess I’m still working even then! I enjoy visiting places off the beaten track like wineries, cheese farms, restaurants and coffee places. I am always looking for somewhere that would be perfect for my clients.

 

5) If I only had 1 day in Tuscany, how would you arrange my day to sample Tuscany’s delicious produce?

Take it slow and use your time to visit Montepulciano, Pienza and Val d’Orcia. Start at Montepulciano, then enjoy a cheese-picnic lunch with wonderful views at Cugusi Silvana. Here there is a little cheese shop where you can fill your basket with cheeses, salamis and wine. After lunch, drive to beautiful Pienza and enjoy a wine tasting. Complete your day with a beautiful meal at a typically Tuscan restaurant.

 

6) What are your 2 favourite places in Tuscany?

Firstly, Montefollonico, where I live. It’s just the cutest little hilltop village. It has a very small, close community and people are just so nice. Secondly, it depends on my mood: to relax I love going to Pienza on a Sunday morning for a coffee and to enjoy the views across Val d’Orcia; or if I feel lively, I go to Montepulciano.

 

7) What do you like best about living in Tuscany?

I’m from the Netherlands, which is a fast-paced society. In Tuscany, people take their time over everything. Even their high-class wines take a minimum of 5 years before they can sell them! I guess quality really takes time. :)

 

8) Your passion and knowledge of Tuscan food and wine is second to none. What future plans do you have for “Taste of Tuscany”? 

I would love to organise specific group-trips, like a painting week, combined with all the best from Tuscany. I believe that would be really cool!

 

Thanks so much to Lenny for her wonderful insights. If you would like to book a tour then contact “Taste of Tuscany”, or we can arrange it for you when you arrive. At Cignella you are in the perfect spot to enjoy the best of Tuscany, and with spacious, modern accommodation, you can easily relax and unwind too. Check out our availability, as some of the best months of the year are just around the corner!

 

See you soon

Cignella

*All photos are copyrighted to Taste of Tuscany

There is a lot to be said for taking a holiday with all the family. Whether it’s with parents, grandparents, nieces, uncles or cousins, there are so many benefits you might never travel any other way again! Our apartments and villas are perfect as they are spacious, comfortable and offer all the facilities a family needs.

As we love a list at Cignella, here are 5 great reasons to holiday with your family this year!

  1. It is the perfect way to create strong bonds. Life is hectic and we often have little time to do fun things together so a holiday is perfect for spending quality time together, and creating stable and close family relationships.
  2. Create shared memories for life. Try new food, visit new places, meet new people or just laugh around the pool to make memories only you can share when you get home, and in the future.
  3. See things through other peoples’ eyes. Children are inquisitive and when they see things for the first time they give us a greater appreciation of our surroundings. Older family members may know about art, wine or history and can bring a better understanding of where we are. Each generation see’s thing differently, and it will make your holiday more fulfilling.
  4. Always someone to share things with. Perhaps you want a day at the spa, to visit a local market, or try mountain biking? There will always be someone who fancies doing just the same as you!
  5. More ideas for everyone to share. Maybe it’s a new game to play, a restaurant to try or just a good book to read. With all your family around, you won’t be short of ideas on things to do or try!

Travelling with family can make your holiday so much better! If you are thinking of visiting Cignella this summer then don’t delay as our summer availability is running out!

Make it a holiday this year… it might be the start of many!

See you soon

Cignella

Cignella is situated in such a beautiful location and you only need to look at TripAdvisor to see how many happy visitors we receive. Many come back for a second visit and many tell their friends. Our staff always go that extra mile to make sure all guests have the best possible time and nothing […]

What do you think of when you hear ‘Tuscany’? Like most, you probably instantly think of Chianti – the fantastic, the indescribable, like no other, red wine famously born in the rolling hills. Or the delectable pasta dishes born and perfected only in the Italian land.

But Tuscany has so much more to offer than wine and gastronomy, (although we won’t argue that they are great) – many activities and delights that people are so blissfully unaware of.

Read more

At Cignella we are lucky to be close to some of the most famous wineries in the world. Everyone who stays must explore one of the wine regions and our good friend Esther Juergens, at Vino Vistas, offers excellent wine tours and tastings to suit all. Her passion and knowledge of wine is amazing so we thought we would ask for her top tips on wine and Tuscany, two things she knows a lot about!

 

1. What brought you from your native Germany to the wonderful world of Italian wines?

I took a wine trip through Tuscany and was absolutely enchanted by the landscape and vineyard views. You might say, as with any good wine, the magic starts in the vineyard. Funnily enough, I did not like my first Brunello, but that has since changed!

2. Do you have a favourite Italian wine – or are there too many to choose between!

The Brunello grape (Sangiovese) , if treated well is capable of rendering amazing wines! However I also love Italian whites; Falanghina is a great food partner and there is always Franciacorta, Italy’s answer to Champagne.

3. If I had only one afternoon in Tuscany – where should I go to experience the finest vineyards?

Tuscany has around 30 wine regions but close to Cignella, I would have to say the Val D’Orcia wine region for its landscapes, and Montalcino for both landscape and wine. After all Montalcino is part of the Val D’Orcia which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

4. When you aren’t working, how do you spend your leisure time?

I love to travel and explore other wine regions and I also enjoy the cultural treasures on my doorstep. As a former salsa dance teacher I love to dance and love the summer open air dance events, especially those by the sea. I love the fact that, from Montalcino, I can get to the beach in only an hour – who could ask for more?

5. Which wines blend perfectly with some of your favourite local dishes?

My favourite pairing is the famous Fiorentina Steak with Brunello and I must mention our sweet dessert wine, Moscadello, which is lovely with (cured) Pecorino cheese.

6. What are your two favourite places in Tuscany and why?

That is a tough question! Gazing over this magical landscape with its changing colours is amazing. Also I love Siena cathedral, it is absolutely stunning BUT there is nothing more magical than watching a full winter moon rising over the magical abbey of San Galgano.

7. What do you like best about living in Tuscany – apart from the wine of course!

I appreciate the “Dolce far Niente” or “Sweet doing nothing”. Too many people rush around and we should allow time for a little chat on the street or a quick ‘caffè’. On the subject of coffee, not only am I spoilt with having to drink one of the best wines in the world (Brunello) but also Espresso and Cappuccino are better in Italy than anywhere else!

8. You offer great tours. The “Rent a Sommelier” tour is perfect for families, and the “Sunset Tastings” sounds idyllic! What future plans do you have for Vino Vistas?

Vino Vistas is growing and adapting as tourism is changing, and wine tourism is an important sector. I strive to combine tradition and new ways and to offer authentic experiences which are fun and informative. Excellent service is vital and I love sharing my passion, international experience and knowledge at all levels, from absolute beginners to the ‘wine geek’.

Thanks so much to Esther, if you want to book a Vino Vista tour then visit her website or ask our onsite manager at Cignella when you arrive. So don’t delay, check out our availability and visit the fabulous wine region for yourself.

See you soon

Cignella

Tuscany is one of the most beautiful regions in Italy and for good reason.

There is so much to see and do, and with Cignella so conveniently located it is the perfect base for any holiday. Staying in one place saves time so you have more time to explore, read and relax by the pool.

 

With our latest promotion; Stay 14 nights and only pay for 12, you can have the perfect holiday in Tuscany. Our suggested 14 night itinerary ensures you see all the best bits and includes some relaxation, so you return home rejuvenated and with wonderful memories. A car will be essential to make the most of your holiday.

 

DAY 1

Arrive at Cignella and enjoy an afternoon at leisure settling into your wonderful accommodation and exploring the grounds.

DAY 2

Today visit the tiny village of Pienza, just 15kms away. Set atop a hill you can enjoy magnificent views over the Val d’Orcia valley. Narrow streets and squares boast wonderful Renaissance architecture – don’t miss the Cattedrale dell ‘Assunta and the Palazzo Piccolomini.

DAY 3

A day of leisure at Cignella and exploring the local area. Visit Sinalunga, only 12 kms away, to stock up on groceries. Enjoy an afternoon by the pool or on your terrace.

DAY 4

An early start to visit Florence, the birthplace of Rennaisance and Italian Art. Enjoy the Uffizi Gallery home to some of the greatest art treasures in the world and admire the open-air sculpture gallery, Loggia dei Lanzi. Climb the dome of the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, walk along the Arno River and cross at the famous Ponte Vecchio.

DAY 5

An hour from Cignella is Siena, one of the finest medieval cities in Italy. Perched on three hills, its’ heart is the piazza Il Campo, dominated by the Palazzo Pubblico and the Torre del Mangia. The Duomo’s gothic structure houses treasures by Pisanto, Donatello and Michelangelo.

20 minutes away is San Gimignano. Encircled by a 13th century wall, you can step back in time and immerse yourself in medieval architecture and impressive valley views.

DAY 6

Time to relax!  Sunbathe by the pool, book a massage (contact the resort manager) or simply put your feet up in your villa.

DAY 7

Today visit Cortona, 42 kms from Cignella. This charming town dates back to Etruscan and Roman times. Enjoy spectacular scenery, view interesting artifacts in the museum, and stroll round the shops selling handmade local items.

DAY 8

Today unwind at a thermal bath for some well deserved pampering. Try Rapolano Terme only 20km from Cignella. Enjoy the restorative waters at the San Giovanni Hotel or experience one of the rejuvenating treatments.

DAY 9

Time to find out if Tuscany really does produce some of the best wines in the world! In Montepulciano, visit the wine cellars of Contucci and Poliziano, and don’t miss Cantine del Redi whose wine cellar is often considered the most beautiful in the world.

At Montalcino the Enoteca La Fortezza offers exemplary wine tastings from a huge selection of quality Brunello di Montalcino and other Tuscan wines.

DAY 10

Known for its delicious regional produce, visit Podere il Casale, an organic farm close to Pienza. Take a cheese tasting tour or a general farm tour, both must be booked in advance. With a wonderful restaurant, it is definitely worth staying for lunch!

DAY 11

Today visit Arezzo, 55 km from Cignella. Formerly one of the most important cities in Tuscany, the main attractions are the Church of San Francesco, the Medicean Fortress and the Roman Amphitheatre.

DAY 12

Time for a relaxing day at Cignella. Sit by the pool, read a book on your terrace, enjoy lunch al fresco and end the day with a beautiful Tuscan sunset.

DAY 13

90 km south of Cignella is the town of Orvieto.  Sitting high above the valley floor atop volcanic cliffs, the setting is one of the most dramatic in Europe. The colourful cathedral is beautiful and the highlight is the Chapel of San Brizio. Guided tours of the underground caves give a fascinating insight into how ancient Italians lived.

DAY 14

Spend the day visiting a local market or perhaps try something adventurous: hire a bicycle, take a vespa tour, hunt for truffles or go up in a hot air balloon. If you need assistance with arrangements we are always happy to help.

DAY 15

Depart Cignella relaxed and rejuvenated. We look forward to welcoming you again soon.

 

Ciao!

With bank holidays, school breaks and the weather hotting up, May is a marvelous month to take a trip to Tuscany.

Being accessible by road, rail or plane it is the perfect destination for a romantic long weekend, a shopping extravaganza with friends or a family week away. Tuscany really has it all in May.

The countryside is beautiful at this time of year. Fields are luscious and green while vivid yellow rape-seed flowers appear, and bright red poppies dot the hillsides. The weather is warm at the start of the month and gets gradually hotter, but never reaches the real heat of the summer months.

If the local cuisine has tempted you to Tuscany, then expect to sample strawberries and cherries, fresh leeks, onions and green beans, but best of all are the broad beans served stewed or raw with prosciutto and pecorino cheese. Cultivated tomatoes and courgettes, as well as melons, watermelons, and peaches, will be ready to taste.

There’s loads to do in Tuscany and if you choose to visit over the first UK May bank holiday (Monday 7th), then you will be in luck as the #DomenicalMuseo is celebrated on the first Sunday of each month. Admission into many museums is FREE, including those in Arezzo, Pisa, Siena, Florence and many more cities through Italy.  If you love antiques then head straight to Arezzo for the great antique fair (5th & 6th). You can spend an exciting day hunting for quirky antiques and visiting many free attractions if visiting on Sunday.

At the end of May there are some great celebrations, including the Greve festivities in Chianti (27th)  when locals display goods from their gardens and kitchens, and great bargains, food tasting and music is all around. Also held on May 27th is the Montalcino Cycle festival (Eroica Montalcino), where you can expect to see vintage bikes, try delicious food and wine, while surrounded by beautiful countryside.

Cignella is a perfect location to enjoy everything the region has to offer and our staff promise to make it the best holiday it can be. Check our availability and book soon to avoid disappointment.

If you are travelling with your family over the school holidays this May, rest assured that we do not increase our prices during school holidays. We have one peak season which runs from 7th July – 25th August 2018. The rest of the year remains off peak. See our fairer for families policy.

We are currently running an offer for May stays – this will run out 30th April 2018!

Cignella May Promo

Cignella’s May promotion: Stay 7 nights pay 6! Click here for more details.

 

 

We look forward to welcoming you soon.

To Travel is to Live

With Spring on the horizon and the bank holiday happiness encapsulating us, the idea of what to do for your next holiday must be on your mind! Naturally, a holiday out of the country would be ideal, but sometimes they can just be far too expensive with far too much to consider… car hire, accommodation, flights and so much more! That’s why we thought it’d be useful to really know how much a holiday to Cignella, Tuscany, could cost you!*

Accommodation: 1 week in one of our beautiful 2 bedroom apartments, €800.

(PS. If you book before 31st March 2018, you’ll receive 1 night free so could cost even less!!)

Flights: Return flights to Perugia equal £143.52 for the group! (Roughly €161)

Car hire, if booked with your flight: For a Nissan Qashqai or similar, £152. (Roughly €171)

Spending money: Obviously it’s up to you how much you splash the cash while on holiday, but Tuscany is very affordable! Meals for 4, on average, cost less than €30, with local markets and farms providing wonderful and inexpensive days out! If we based your spending on €100 per day for the family, this would provide ample to have a great dinner and partake in a couple of activities throughout the day. Also, with Cignella offering you a home away from home, cooking homemade dinners & making tasty pack lunches can also keep the costs down!

In total:

A week-long holiday in Tuscany for you & your family of four could cost just over €1800!

*All of these prices are subject to change. Based on 2 adults & 2 children from 16th of April – 23rd April 2018. All prices obtained via Expedia.

To Travel is to Live

Bored, tired and feeling fed up? If so, it could be time to book a holiday! Going away, even for just a few days, can make such a difference to your mind as well as your body. If you still need convincing then take a look below and then check out our website and get booking!

  1. Reduce your stress levels: Boss setting you tight deadlines? In-box out of control? You know your stress levels are high and a holiday gives you the chance to forget work pressures and de-stress. Sit by the pool, read a book on the terrace, explore stunning cities and countryside, all sure ways to take your mind off work and relax.
  2. Get away from monotony: A trip away gives you a break from the daily routine. Re-energise your mind with new decisions, change the scenery, try new food and wine, and enjoy no order to your day!
  3. Get outdoors, it’s good for your mind: Holidays inevitably mean you will be outside more and not stuck indoors at a desk. Take in the fresh air, re-oxygenate your blood and let your body catch up on vitamin D production – sunscreen compulsory of course!
  4. Meet new people: Make friends from different countries, learn a few words in a new language and enjoy a warm welcome and kind Italian hospitality after all socialising is good for the soul!
  5. Put the spark back into a relationship and enjoy family time: appreciate leisure activities with your loved ones and savour meals together without interruptions – mobile phones and ipads prohibited! Rekindle that spark and go home feeling fulfilled and revitalised.

The more you travel the more new experiences you will have and the more worldly you will be! Just think about all those interesting stories you will be able to tell family and friends when you get back home.

Simply having a holiday to look forward to can put a spring in your step so why not get the organiser out and book yourself a vacation. We would love to welcome you at Cignella and get you away from your everyday routine – we promise you will feel start feeling wonderful the moment you arrive!

See you soon

Cignella

If you love movies then you may be interested to hear that great movies have been filmed in wonderful Tuscany! Siena, Florence and Pienza have set the scene for many great films and being just a stone’s throw from Cignella you can tread in the footsteps of movie stars while enjoying history, art and wonderful cuisine.

So sit back and enjoy some trivia, these well-known movies were filmed in Tuscany!

The English Patient, filmed over 20 years ago, tells the story of a nurse living in Italy during the final days of the Italian Campaign in WWII. The list of actors is impressive including Ralph Fiennes, Colin Firth and Kristin Scott Thomas. The film won 9 Academy Awards and we think Pienza and Arezzo played a vital role in this!

Ridley Scott must have liked Tuscany as he chose to film some of the Gladiator here in 2000. Russell Crowe becomes a gladiator to avenge the death of his family and Emperor and the final scene shot in Val d’Orcia in Siena, shows Tuscany’beautiful rolling hills and stunning landscape.

Another great movie filmed in Tuscany is Tea with Mussolini starring Dame Judi Dench, Dame Maggie Smith and Cher. The film is set in 1935 and San Gimignano with its famous Piazza Cisterna and Collegiata Church feature prominently in the film.

Fans of the Twilight Saga will be pleased to hear that the beautiful Piazza Grande in Montepulciano was the location used for Volterra in New Moon, 2010. So while you enjoy a glass of local wine and a delicious lunch at one of the many lovely restaurants, you could be sitting in the same seat where Kristen Stewart or Robert Pattinson sat!

Tuscan Dawn

Lastly and most definitely not least, some of the Quantum of Solace was filmed in Tuscany in 2008. Bond movies always film in exotic locations far and wide and Siena played host to a thrilling chase scene with Daniel Craig racing across the rooftops. The beautiful Piazza del Campo also features prominently in crowd scenes.

So you may have missed Russell Crowe and Judi Dench last time but you never know who you might bump into on a visit to Tuscany. Come and stay at Cignella and enjoy some wonderful sights in the surrounding area, you might just be lucky enough to bump into a movie star or two!

See you soon

Cignella

Translate