We don’t need an excuse for visiting Tuscany. All the same, a villa company called To Tuscany has come up with three extra reasons for going this summer and paired each with a gorgeous villa. The dilemma now is which one to choose.May marks the 100th anniversary of the Giro d’Italia and Stage 11 of the race goes from Florence to Bagno di Romagna in neighbouring Emilia-Romagna. The cyclists will depart Ponte a Ema, birthplace of champion road cyclist Gino Bartali, then head west on a 161km journey. Villa Paterno, above, a former monastery, is just four miles from the Giro d’Italia route through Tuscany. The four-bedroom villa with private pool costs £2,610 for the week of 13 May.May is also the 25th anniversary of the Cantine Aperte (Open Cellars) movement, which has been a driving force in persuading Italian vineyards to open to the public. More than 100 wineries in Tuscany are part of the movement, including Castello di Fonterutoli. Villa Beba, near Castellina, is right on the doorstep of Castello di Fonterutoli. The three-bedroom property sleeping six, with private pool, costs £1,391 for the week of 27 May. A bit tenuous this one but, as To Tuscany points out, August is the 80th anniversary of the death of American author Edith Wharton. Wharton was also a garden designer and wrote Italian Villas and their Gardens, a seminal work that includes some of the finest Medici villas in Tuscany. Castello Pandolfini, 12km from Florence, was once owned by the Medicis so you can stay in a Medici villa well as visit them, guided by Edith Wharton. The nine-bedroom villa costs from £11,681 per week.
BY MAGGIE O'SULLIVAN