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Savour the charms of a Tuscan country garden

Italians are as passionate about their gardens as the English and that love is evident in Invitation to Tuscany‘s latest range of holiday homes where the outdoor space is every bit as special as the indoor. Lavender, oleander and roses provide colour and fragrance, stately holm oaks and silvery olive trees provide the accents, while wide green lawns invite barefoot exploration – and ball games – at Torrevecchia, a lovely family house close to Grosseto on the southern Tuscan coast. Sleeping up to ten, the rose-painted single-storey home has bright, spacious and relaxing rooms with doors leading outside where there is also a good-size swimming pool and vine-covered pergola. Long sandy beaches are ten minutes away. Rental is £2,727 low season (January to mid-April and October to December); £3,376 mid-season (mid-April to July 1 and September); and £3,766 in high season (July/August). It’s all in the name at Villa delle Rose, created from a restored lemon house just outside the medieval city of Arezzo. Pink roses clamber over the golden-stone walls of a house for six people featuring an appealing blend of contemporary and traditional furnishings. Outside is a large swimming pool with sun beds and umbrellas set in a clearing amongst olive groves, plus an ivy-covered pergola and wide terrace for those long Italian lunches admiring the views of green hills. Famous for its antique market, wide piazzas, ancient archways and the stunning Renaissance frescoes of Piero della Francesca, Arezzo is a five-minute drive. Weekly rental is £1,727 low season, £2,091 mid-season and £2,363 high season. Podere Fulvia is the spacious ground floor of a farmhouse sleeping four just outside Siena. It has pretty, sunny rooms filled with country antiques and even an ancient small statue of St Anthony, the patron saint of animals (revealing its original existence as a stable). But it is the exceptionally lovely flower-filled gardens that are the main attraction. A white wisteria shades a pergola and furnished patio – perfect for outdoor dining – while a gazebo on a wide terrace offers views of the surrounding hills studded with convents and castles. A village pizzeria is within a short walk. Cost is £668 low season, £735 mid-season and £802 high. The simple farm cottage where Leonardo da Vinci was born is only a short walk from a large, luxurious and classically-proportioned villa set in the heart of extensive parkland and gardens an hour’s drive from Florence. Villa Da Vinci sleeps up to nine, with an adjacent cottage accommodating another three. It faces a piazza that leads onto the surrounding gardens with wide lawns, a furnished pergola, children’s playground and a large pool with infinity edge and stunning views of olive groves, vineyards and the little town of Vinci where guests can visit his home and a museum celebrating its most famous son. Rental is £4,227 in low season, £4,363 in mid, and £4,500 in high.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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