No “boar”dom at the Wild Boar Festival in Suvereto!

Desire to escape the ordinary?! The place then for you this weekend (30/11/14) and the next (6-8/12/14) is at the ‘Wild Boar Festival’ (Sagra del Cinghiale di Suvereto) in Suvereto, Tuscany. At this time of year, the town pays homage to its medieval history (village dating back to 1000 AD) with the boar (in the form of its prized meat) occupying pride of place and its residents dressing up in medieval costume and taking to the streets.

This year Suvereto is celebrating its 47th festival (celebrated since 1968) with a multitude of activities catering for all ages: music, art, food and wine, folklore, exhibitions, etc. Relish the gastronomic delights on offer with wild boar sausages, wild boar with olives, wild boar prosciutto and many other delicacies washed down with local extra virgin olive oils and DOC Suveretan wines. Enjoy the Tuscan talent with many recognised bands playing on the street corners and piazzas: Gli Ultrasoda, Fuochi di Paglia, Madaus, Acoustelek, Indygenie, Titos Blue Band, Soda Sisters, Francis Duende and many more… Experience the traditions of the past with historic re-enactments, medieval pageants, traditional archery contests and, in particular, on 8/12/14 at 15.45, there is the renowned historical procession and the commemoration of the concession of the Charter of Liberty (Charta Libertatis) to Suvereto in 1201 by the Aldobrandeschi family.

This is a truly enjoyable festival.

If you should require accommodation, check out

For further information on the event (in Italian):

Suvereto Wild Boar Festival (Sagra di Suvereto) 2014
Suvereto Wild Boar Festival (Sagra di Suvereto) 2014

Honey Week (12-14/9/14): Montalcino buzzing with activity

#Montalcino in #Tuscany is buzzing with activity from 12-14 September with its ‘XXXVIII Settimana del Miele’ (38th Week of Honey). This is an ideal family outing packed with lots of interesting and stimulating events that will satisfy all your senses.

The exhibition opens at 10:00 in the town’s 14th century fortress and at 18:00, in the same location, there is the inauguration ceremony.

Be prepared for some intellectual activity! The exhibition will open in the fortress at 9:00 and at 09:30 (until 13:00) a national conference will be held in the Teatro degli Astrusi entitled “Can we save our hives? Results of monitoring, research and field tests“. It is a known fact that bee colonies are struggling to survive worldwide. Considering their extremely critical role as pollinators, it is paramount that nations understand the reasons for the plunge in their numbers and what can be done.

At 16:00, some fortification arrives with honey tasting in the fortress. At 17:00 in the Piazza del Popolo, there is a display of work by the Montalcino elementary school on honey and hive products in nutrition, health and cosmetics. At the same time, there is a guided tour of some of the local beekeepers’ farms. At 18:00 onwards there is the award ceremony for the best honey for those beekeepers belonging to the national association “City of honey”.

The opening ceremony kicks off again at 09:00 in the fortress and then at 11:00 (in the fortress) for a short course on first steps in apiculture (beekeeping – maintenance of honey bee colonies). At 16:00 there is a workshop in the fortress on the “Tastes of honey” with the entire event closing at 19:00.

No shortage of honey to taste…
In the afternoons of the 13/9 and 14/9 in the Piazza del Popolo you can taste crogetti with honey! You can also sample the honey entries that participated in the competition in the presence of an expert taster. The restaurants in Montalcino during the event will also serve at least one dish with honey as an ingredient.

So enjoy and savour your weekend and remember:

You can thank a honey bee for a third of your diet.

Further information in Italian is available at:

TuscanyAway – We are Tuscany Vacation specialists!

Settimana del Miele 40

Green in all its forms: Murabilia Flower Show (5-7/9/14)

The perennial question! It’s the weekend and what can we do that’s simply different from the norm….Well, this weekend, marvel at the beauty of flowers and plants (the green world in all its forms) and discover a myriad of interesting things at the “Murabilia Murainfiore Flower Show” in Lucca, Tuscany from 5-7 September 2014. The overriding theme of the show is: Food plants of the world. The website (in EN and IT) is packed with all the information you require: programme, costs, opening hours, how to get there etc.

The rich and varied programme includes:

Ars Botanica – watercolours from Maria Rita Stirpe.

Exhibition of agronomists who have contributed to the definition, evolution and dissemination of earth science in Europe over the centuries.

Women and rice! Italian women from the Po Valley between the provinces of Vercelli, Novara and Pavia talk about their experiences linked to rice.

The edible garden – a guided tour and an introduction to horticulture.

The world of orchids.

Plants and knowledge: a session dedicated to books.

Plus there is a photo competition (first prize 800 euro)! Deadline for sending in photos is 30 September 2014 (no later than 12 noon C.E.T.). See the website for further details.

Enjoy the visually challenging weekend ahead of you!

TuscanyAway – We are Tuscany Vacation specialists!

Orchid 1

Ring-tailed lemurs abound at night? Take a trip to the zoo to find out!

So you are finally in Tuscany and you are attempting to keep your kids entertained… Well, pause for a second and think of the squeals of delight that would result from the following announcement: “Children, we are going to the zoo tonight! By the light of the moon, you will view lots of different animals, get a glimpse of their night-time habits and be thrilled by the strange sounds, smells and magical silence of the whole experience”.

The zoo of Pistoia is organising such a night both on 5 September and on 17 September 2014 (NIGHT@ZOO) from 21.00 to 23.30. Now the event is not cheap: 22 € for adults, 18 € for children aged 3-11 years (family offer of 2 adults and 2 children for 70 €), but it will prove to be a truly unique experience and children should draw immense pleasure from it.

Wouldn’t it be great if your children were exposed to the ring-tailed lemur (lemur catta)? That was the primate that most of them saw for the first time in the film Madagascar (2005). Surprisingly enough it could become a reality as the lemur is nocturnal so it will be awake! By the way, take a look at the National Geographic for a quick overview of lemurs. It is always good to be prepared considering the inquisitive nature of children. If you can, arm yourself with a torch!

Pistoia zoo at night
Courtesy of website of Zoo of Pistoia
Ring-tailed lemur
Ring-tailed lemur


Feast for the eyes and the palate

To reach the stunningly beautiful island of Elba, Piombino features as the point of departure for the ferries and hydrofoils that traverse the crystal clear sea. Let’s though not forget that Piombino is a bijoux nestling on the Tuscan coastline with its picturesque Piazza Bovio being positioned on a sea cliff facing Elba. On clear days, you can see Corsica and Capraia, Giglio and Montecristo (other islands in the Tuscan archipelago). Piombino as a port is also renowned for its abundance of seafood. So for those holidaying at the Marina di Salivoli self-catering apartments, try preparing this delicious seafood dish ‘Calamari braised in red wine’. The wonder of this dish is that you can leave it to braise to the point of sublime tenderness whilst you dedicate yourself to other pursuits such as sun worshipping on your balcony! The recipe is inspired by Richard Camps of who actually was selected by The Guardian as the winner of its readers’ recipe swap in April 2014. The addition of a bed of crunchy lettuce and a thick slice of toasted bread to soak up the rich sauce adds an unusual twist!     

 piazza bovio 2 squid 2   

Full speed ahead with galloping passion at il Palio

Mark not only the 16th of August 2014 in your agenda of things to do in Tuscany, but also the run-up to the 16th from the 13th onwards! We are talking about the annual ‘il Palio dell’Assunta’ in honour of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary into heaven, which is the second horse race of il Palio (the first having been held on 2 July) at the Piazza del Campo in Siena. The main race starts at 19:00 on 16th with the trial runs being held on the days prior to that, In case of rain, the race will be postponed to the following day and a green flag will be hoisted on Palazzo Pubblico. More detailed historical information on il Palio can be found on Wikipedia.

So this event is free unless you wish to pay to see it from the balcony of a building located in the Piazza. For that there is no official co-ordinated point of sale so you will need to surf the web or contact the owners of the buildings overlooking the Piazza. Please be prepared for crowds (not suitable for small children) and to stand up as it is prohibited to bring a fold-up chair or a stool (for obvious reasons). There are some stalls selling refreshments, but alas there are no toilets!

Come prepared for an action-packed day: brimming with atmosphere, passion and commotion! Start your holiday by staying in a beautiful apartment by the sea in Piombino (Marina di Salivoli) where the distance to Siena is approximately 2 hours by car – very doable.

Distance Siena Piombino

What to do in case of pitter patter raindrops

Just in case you hear the pitter patter of raindrops, it may be an idea to visit the international photography festival Cortona on the Move – photography in travel, which is being held in Cortona, Arezzo, Tuscany from 17.07.14 until 28.09.14.

See the map below to get a measure of distances. For example, from Piombino on the coast to Cortona, you are talking about a car trip of about 2 hr. 20.


Map courtesy of

Carpe noctem

As touched upon in the post of 26/07/14 where it was postured that a summer holiday is conducive to sleeping, I am steered again to discussing the issue of undisturbed slumber.

In fact, according to the Huffington Post one of the 10 annoying things about a hotel are the loud hallways: the slamming doors and the chatty guests and I add the dinging of the elevator, the buzz of the HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning) unit and notoriously thin walls especially when your guest next door is a high-volume TV lover. These impact greatly on your sleep hygiene (habits that help you to have a good night’s sleep) and can result in sleep deprivation (leading the next day to moodiness, reduced concentration, headaches, etc.). Another recent article in the Huffington post quoted Michael Grander of the University of Pennsylvania’s Behavioral Sleep Medicine Programme as stating that hotels should ‘think beyond the mattress’. One New York hotel has already installed airport-grade windows and soft and firm pillows for the discerning guest. At Marina di Salivoli self-catering apartments, the walls have been soundproofed to ensure a perfect night’s sleep for their guests.

Of course, if all else fails, pack your earplugs!


Zen muses on Tuscany

Here I was about to pronounce on the fact that the sign of a successful holiday was the number of books that one waded through, but The Telegraph just decried that by stating that a summer holiday is not, for most of us, a time that is especially conducive to reading rather sleeping!

Nevertheless, considering my penchant for Tuscany and my thriller safely stashed in my bag, I reflected on how Tuscany actually forms the backdrop of many a thriller. In fact, the one in my bag: Michael Didbin’s “And Then You Die” has its protagonist Aurelio Zen (the Venetian carabiniere and arch detective) lying low on a Tuscan beach in Versilia (located in the province of Lucca). Suspicion abounds. In the midst of the action, it is rather fascinating to reflect on Zen’s musings: “Above, the azure sky, streaked with diaphanous shreds of white haze. Below this vast benignity, the clustered ombrelloni, their bright primary colours an ensign declaring the ownership of each strip of beach”. Such a blissful scene replicates itself along the Tuscan coastline.

What a wonderful holiday destination! Visit our site: we are Tuscany Vacation Specialists.

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