Liguria

Keep the kids entertained in family-friendly Italy

At Cottages to Castles we don’t believe in putting a premium on those few cherished early and late season weeks when the whole family can come together and create wonderful, lifelong memories. That’s why our UK half-term holidays (in May and October) are guaranteed at the same prices as those lower season getaways.

But that’s not the only reason why our loyal guests return to Italy with their families in tow time and time again. From glorious Tuscany to the sheer wonders of the northern lakes and more treasures between, the many temptations of La Dolce Vita really do get under your skin. Whether you’re planning a May half-term break or a two-week summer escape, here are some of our best suggestions for an Italy holiday the whole family will adore.

Tuscany

1. Most Tuscan towns have a thermal bath – natural hot springs to relax in on a cooler evening. It’s a great, safe place for teenagers to hang out with all their new holiday friends.

2. Tuscany in summer is alive with the buzz of street parties. Whole villages come together with dancing and delicious food, and visitors are welcomed with open arms.

3. Your little monkeys will love swinging through the trees at Parco Avventura Il Gigante, an adventure park located in Vaglia, 15km north of Florence.

4. From Florence, you can take a train to Venice in under two hours. On this lovely daytrip, little ones will experience the fascination of a city on water, and of course take a gondola trip and an ice cream on St Mark’s Square.

Activities-Tuscany

Where to stay: Explore our extensive collection of Tuscan villas.

Umbria

5. A day spent boating on Lake Trasimeno is a must for holidaymakers in Umbria. There’s plenty going on offshore too, from sandy lakeside beaches to a myriad of little medieval villages to explore in the hills.

6. Perugia’s annual chocolate festival (14-23 October 2016) takes place over ten days and is a must for anyone with a sweet tooth.

Activities-Umbria-2

Where to stay: Discover our Umbria collection.

Liguria

7. Submerse yourself in the Italian life with the Cinque Terre, Italy’s ‘famous five’ – a quintet of colourful medieval villages you can visit by train in one day.

Activities-Liguria

Where to stay: Casa Dei Limoni is ideally located for exploring Liguria’s coastline.

Lazio

8. Swim in lovely clean waters or try your hand at fishing, or windsurfing! You can do all three on Lazio’s wonderful volcanic lakes Bolsena, Vico and Bracciano.

Activities-Lazio

Where to stay: Browse all our Lazio cottages and villas.

Basilicata

9. For the ultimate adrenaline rush, take the Volo dell’Angelo (flight of the angel), a cross-valley zip wire connecting two mountainside villages.

Actvities-Basilicata

Where to stay: Casa Dei Ricordi has beautiful mountain views.

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Italy experts: An introduction to Jonathan and Daniela Magoni

Son and daughter of Cottages to Castles’ founder, Jonathan and Daniela Magoni continue their father’s legacy of introducing international holidaymakers to La Dolce Vita. Jonathan manages relations with an extensive network of property owners out of the Italian office, while Daniela is the UK’s ‘voice on the phone’. Here she reflects on the legacy of her family’s business, and shares exciting new changes…

Daniella-photo“January is a time for new beginnings, and as we kick-start 2016, it’s certainly all change at Cottages to Castles. We’ve a brand new partnership with Simpson Travel, a specialist tour operator whose values of warm service and specialised local knowledge, mirror our own.

A new year is also time to pause and reflect. In many ways, our business today is unrecognisable from the one my father started in 1983 with a vision of running holidays for painters. This was six years before the movie Field Of Dreams, but ‘Build it and they will come’ may well have been his motto! Since then the World Wide Web has enabled pilgrims far and wide to experience La Dolce Vita courtesy of our unrivalled collection of authentic holiday properties.

Amid so much change, some things remain reassuringly permanent. Since I took over reservations and customer relations, I’ve committed to ensuring each and every client discovers the right holiday for their personal circumstances, needs and desires. It’s enormously heartening to receive emails from couples and families thanking me for saving them money, finding them the perfect child-friendly villa, or, in some cases, pushing them to think outside the box!

It’s lovely to see so many guests return again and again, though equally delightful when Tuscany and Amalfi Coast diehards can be tempted further afield, providing themselves and their loved ones with wonderful new learning experiences in the process.

But location isn’t everything; the relationships we’ve fostered – some lasting over 20 years – is another important part of what makes us truly unique. We never tire of hearing guests gush about the wonderful home-grown herbs left on their doorstep by their villa’s owner. It’s these little extras, combined with our deep knowledge, that make all the difference.”

For a chance to discover your own piece of Italy, visit our collection or for a personal recommendation, contact Daniela on 01622 775 217.

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