If you want a taste of the real heart and soul of Italy - with a glass or two of vino thrown in - holidays to Tuscany are for you...
With a unique blend of picturesque hill towns, jaw-dropping scenery and some of Italy's finest cities, Tuscany holidays are like nothing else on earth. And while most pay homage to the countryside, there are dozens of cities and towns just waiting to be explored too. Pisa, Siena, Florence, Cortona, Arezzo, Lucca and San Gimignano all warrant trips in their own right. But if you fancy a tour round, why not hire a car and make a road trip of it?
Siena is the place to see bareback horse races that take place in the middle of town, while the art of Florence is almost incomparably rich, and you can't go through life without seeing Pisa and the leaning tower that put it on the map.
Wherever you go, hotels are in abundance and both luxury and budget options are fairly widespread, with many of the fabulous villas that dot the landscape available for rent.
And don't forget to take advantage of the glorious local produce. Regular travellers to Italy will always tell you that pizza and pasta taste better in their homeland, so don't overlook the obvious. For a change, however, don't miss out on some of the cheaper traditional dishes like country stews and the lesser-known fish recipes washed down with local wines... simply divine.
You can visit Tuscany by flying into Florence's Peretola Airport (FLR) or Pisa's Galileo Galilei International (PSA). So why wait? Book your place at a Tuscan table now by using the TravelSupermarket search tool to find the very best prices.
The region has much to offer whatever the weather, so when will you go to Tuscany?
The weather can vary dramatically in different parts of Tuscany but, generally, you can expect hot, dry summers, warm springs and autumns and winters that can be cold enough to put snow on the hills. Summer highs will often hit around 32C in the daytime, with overnight temperatures of about 21C.
Italian summers are simply glorious and there are great-value holidays to be had in July and August. However, you might be able to find really cheap holidays in Tuscany by looking for breaks in the quieter months of autumn, winter and spring.
Tuscany takes great pride in its ability to lay on spectacular events - particularly during summer...
Calcio Storico; June: Fireworks light up the Florence sky as the city concludes its homage to St John the Baptist. The day begins with a costume-clad parade before a giant game of the fascinating sport of Calcio Storico - a mix of football, rugby and wrestling - is played on the square in front of the Church of Santa Croce.
Giostra del Saracino; June/September: Over in Arezzo, the Giostra del Saracino (Saracen Tournament) is held twice a year and sees the town's main square transformed into a spectacular and colourful battleground where knights on horseback compete. The winner of the tournament receives a golden lance.
Palio di Siena: July/August: This is one of the most thrilling events in Europe and sees daredevil riders race their horses bare back around the square of Siena twice a year. Heaving masses turn out to witness this remarkable spectacle and huge feasts take place as the town puts on a massive post-race party.
Tuscany is a place that caters for everyone. You certainly won't have any difficulty finding something to do here...
Active types: Hire or take your own bicycles for some of the most gruelling, yet ultimately rewarding, rides in the world.
Relaxing: Park yourself at a street café and watch the world go by with a glass of wine and a bowl of pasta. It's pure bliss.
Grown-up families: Hire a car and see just how much of Tuscany you can fit into a memorable road trip. Pisa and Florence are both good starting points.