Tuscany is a vibrant, beating heart of culture and learning which, as the centuries pass, deepens both in beauty and stature. Renaissance palaces and Romanesque churches are plentiful, housing works by Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. There's profound natural splendour too, with the beautiful mountain paths and hills of Chianti and the majesty of the Chiana Valley to witness.
The highlight must be Florence, Tuscany’s most famous city and the cradle of the Renaissance. It is here that palaces, monuments, churches, palazzos and galleries adjoin. See the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Pitti Palace (an architectural declaration of intent from a kingdom that changed the Earth) and the Uffizi Gallery, home to Michelangelo's David.
Any Tuscan tour demands the very best places to stay, and we have selected four unforgettable locations…
Castello di Casole
A five-star marriage of resort and residences, Castello di Casole has both style and romance.
Italian filmmaker Luchino Visconti, director of The Leopard, lived in the Castello and is said to have housed his mistresses in the surrounding villas.
He brought the jet-set and gave the place a glamour which has endured.
This 4,200-acre estate features 28 Tuscan farmhouses, a 41-suite boutique hotel, 10 hotel villas and a stately penthouse.
It is very much a working farm in the classic traditions of Italy, home to more than 100 acres of vineyards and 30 acres of olive groves, where signature vintages are harvested and pressed for guests.
Ristorane Tosca features traditional Tuscan cuisine interpreted with a fresh twist. The focus is pure Italy – homemade pasta, locally sourced meat, line-caught seafood, organic produce, and house-made breads with estate-grown extra virgin olive oil.
Take it further and attend a cooking demonstration to learn the authentic way of pizza making.
Seasonal activities include truffle hunting in October and November, guided by an expert and his dog in the woods at nearby Certaldo.
October is also the time to see the saffron harvest in the old medieval area of San Gimignano.
Numerous other activities, cultural, sporting and spiritual, are also available.
EXCLUSIVE OFFER: Book 4 nights or more and receive a 20% discount (Valid 1 June – 31 October 2016; book by 28 June 2016)
Grand Hotel Principe di Piemonte, Viareggio
Built in the 1920s and grandly refurbished this century, the Grand Hotel Principe di Piemonte blends history and prestige.
It's located in the heart of Viareggio, on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea and close to the beach, with a beautiful view.
The 106 rooms, of which 87 are standard and 19 are suites, are on five floors, each one of which has a different style of décor, overlooking the water. Each has broadband Internet, plasma satellite TVs, a choice of pillows and beautiful marble bathrooms with showers and/or bath tubs.
The Piccolo Principe and Regina restaurants have made the hotel famous. The intimate and welcoming, refined and luxurious dining rooms attract tourists and fine food enthusiasts all year round for the quality of the expertly revisited Tuscan and Versilian cuisine.
We love the magnificent fifth-floor pool, with hydromassage and water features, heated to 34°c to afford you the pleasure of complete relaxation throughout the year. Get more of the same with saunas, a fitness centre, massages, and holistic beauty treatments at the Wellness Centre.