Archive for March, 2011

March 9, 2011

Agent or Internet?

A question I am often asked when I am out socially and someone hears I am ‘in the travel business’ is “How do you compete with the internet?”  “It’s so easy for people to source their own information online these days and make their own travel plans.”

Quite frankly, if you are internet savvy and you need an airline ticket to visit your family or friends, I say ‘go on-line’ and do it yourself.  But if you may need to change the travel date or city visited or need to coordinate stops or multiple travelers, maybe paying a small fee is actually a  good idea.

When shopping for best values, you may have to visit multiple websites to make cost and schedule comparisons and you can ultimately wind up spending a fair amount of time.  Are you going to remember to confirm to be sure that what you booked is still operating as originally scheduled?  Now what happens when  your connection in Chicago is cancelled due to a weather or mechanical delay…who are you going to call to assist to you make alternate arrangements?   You certainly can queue up with the other 250 stranded passengers…or maybe you would  rather check into a nearby hotel while your travel agent sorts it all out for you.   Some people have the time and patience, and may even enjoy the process…so go for it.

I receive many calls from very internet savvy and sharp folks who say…”I have spent  countless hours in the last month searching  dozens of websites for this or that, and I am more confused than when I started.  I know where we want to go, but I need a villa in this region for 9 with en suite acomedation and a chef for 3 nights,  and we need to be walking distance to a hill village or I need to meet this price point for 4 nights in Paris and Rome and Barcelona…or we want to go on a cruise, but we are trying to satisfy the budget requirements and tastes for 5 different couples, etc”. You can hear the relief in their voice when after a few minutes of conversation, you tell them that you will be happy to take over navigating the overwhelming array of choices while meeting their expectations and budgetary requirements.

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March 9, 2011

Invitation to Tuscany: New Properties for 2011!

New Properties for 2011
We have been gathering some wonderful new properties for this year: large ex-farmhouses with never-ending views (Casa Michelangelo, Casa Cerfone), luxurious villas close to Florence (Villa da Vinci, Villa Lucia), Eco-friendly homes by to the sea (Casa dei Fichi, Bernardino) and many more – you can find them all listed under “New for 2011”. There is even a beautiful sailing boat, an elegant sloop moored in a Marina south of Livorno and available for sailing round the Mediterranean, visiting little coves and bays and seeing a very special side of Tuscany and Italy.

Goodbye Ortone
Many of you will have stayed at Ortone and met Elisabetta, the charming owner there. She has now decided to sell the house and move to France. We’re very sad to see Ortone and Elisabetta go – I think we’ve been renting it for around 25 years!

Visit Sicily
We now also have villas for rent in Sicily! Sicily is a wonderful region and is an excellent place to visit out of season; March, April and May are as warm and summery as one could wish for, and just the thing for blowing away those winter blues. See the whole (growing) selection here: Western Sicily.

Royal Offers
If you want to take advantage of the flurry of Bank holidays around Easter and the Royal wedding, take a look here: Special Offers. We have 10 days for the price of a week, or 2 weeks with a 20% discount in selected properties. Pipistrelli, a beautiful house for 14 close to Siena, has a 50% discount! Pipistrelli.

Contact me to see all your options.

Colleen Lamont
503.546.1058 – direct

866.297.1058 – toll free

Copyright (C) 2011 Invitation to Tuscany All rights reserved.

March 4, 2011

“Tuscany without the crowds”

When I read this article I thought of one of our properties. Perched high in the Apuan Alps, above Camaiore and Pietrasanta, Argentone looks out over stunning views of the Mediterranean sea, all the way to Corsica. It is set in a fold above the village of S.Anna di Stazzema, a famous centre of Partisan resistance during the second world war, the story recently told in a film by Spike Lee.


Sleeps: 2 to 3
7 nights from £786.00 / €864.00

In Lucca, Tuscany without the crowds

By Joan Charlotte MatelliGlobe Correspondent / February 27, 2011

LUCCA — When it feels like the popular Tuscan destinations are more crowded with English speakers than Italian, it’s time to head to Lucca. Nestled in the foothills of the Apennines, only a short detour from the tourist magnets of Pisa and Florence, Lucca is an authentic, immersive Tuscan experience.

The historic center of the city is surrounded by the original, intact, Renaissance-era defensive walls. Enter from Porta Santa Maria, the northern gate to the old city, and you arrive in a bustling piazza with cafes and a few bike shops. If you want wheels, it is best to rent a bike. It is almost impossible to get around by car within the walls, as car traffic is prohibited on most streets for all but residents.

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