Did the Italians invent the concept of the vacation villa? If not, they certainly have perfected villa renting as an international vacation alternative. Luxury villas in the Tuscany and Umbria Region, Siena, Chianti, and Arrezo -- names sure to conjure up visions of verdant valleys and the sweet smell of fresh herbs and flowers in the air. Wake in the morning in your own paradise. Buy your fresh warm bread from the local baker. Explore the open markets that swirl all around the Tuscan countryside.

Italian vacation homes range from simple rural farmhouses to the most exquisite modern luxury rental villas in Italy. Some of the Italian vacation homes are located on actual working vineyards or olive groves. Imagine purchasing the new wine directly from the vineyard, or Tuscan olive oil just after it has been pressed. Most Italian vacation homes (except the most deluxe) are rented without staff. Maids, cooks, and additional staff can be arranged with prior notice. You might even want to hire a chef to come to your luxury villa in Tuscany or Chianti farmhouse accommodation to prepare meals to your order.

There is a lot to see and do in Tuscany, the difficulty is really where to start. Certainly most should start with Florence, then continue on to Siena and Pisa. The roll call of città di arte, cities of art, is daunting: Arezzo, Cortona, San Gimignano and Lucca are all striking. The more you come to know the region, the more extraordinary Tuscany appears.

From the Etruscans to the Romans to the Renaissance, Tuscany is possibly the greatest repository of art in the world, from extraordinary paintings and sculpture to frescoes and architectural masterpieces. Now it is one of the most desirable vacation areas in the world.

Visitors to Tuscany come for many reasons. Many come in search of fine art, others to explore the extraordinary countryside. Gourmets and wine buffs descend on Tuscany to enjoy the simple yet wonderful cuisine and wine. Walkers enjoy the mountain paths, cyclists the rolling hills, summer vacationers the sea coast and islands. Students come to learn the beautiful Italian language and culture.

The Italian government has implemented a Visitor's Tax of 1.50 approximately Euros per person per day and applies to all overnight stays for the first seven days in the destination. This tax is payable to the local property manager.

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