Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Tuscany vacation accommodations with handicapped access

Tuscany is high on the list of travel destinations that are friendly to the elderly and those with mobility limitations, especially since laws were introduced several years ago regarding provision of suitable facilities for the physically handicapped. I'm often asked for information about Tuscany vacation accommodations with handicapped access. One important piece of information everyone should take account of is that Tuscan farmhouses ("villas") and sometimes genuine villas are characterised by numerous steps and steep staircases. For this reason, if your mobility is impaired, read the descriptions of rural vacation accommodations in Tuscany with care and feel free to ask the owners detailed questions. This is one of the several reasons to rent owner-direct, by the way. Agencies rarely have the kind of information you need.

Tuscan vacation accommodation handicapped accessibility
A fairly frequent sight in Tuscany - this you don't want if moving around isn't all that easy for you.
Step-free or almost step-free agriturismi and other rural holiday homes are definitely available. Today I want to describe one of them which has recently been renovated and which enjoys one of the most beautiful locations in Tuscany. This is Agriturismo Felciano, a cottage with two large double rooms and a large living-dining room, situated on a winery near Panzano, in the famous Conca d'Oro.

Accommodation in Tuscany for mobility impaired visitors
Agriturismo Felciani - an ideal Tuscan vacation location for anyone with mobility problems.
Agriturismo Felciano has a large terrace in front of the entry and flat ground round about, including the location of the gazebo. There is one very slight step at the large entrance and none at all inside the cottage. Of the two modern bathrooms, one is fully-equipped for handicapped accessibility. You can bring your car right up to the terrace.

In addition to being able to buy your Chianti Classico wine directly from the cask and extravergine olive oil by the bottle, you can buy Tuscan saffron grown on the Felciano farm.

Click here to visit the Agriturismo Felciano website.

More about Panzano in Chianti.

Vacation accommodation in Tuscany
Author: Anna Maria Baldini

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Sunday, 4 August 2013

Why is the Conca d'Oro of Panzano in Chianti called the Conca d'Oro?

The rich history of Tuscany not only manifests itself in ancient towns, abbeys and castles, but also in the place names of villages, hills and rivers and many other topographical features. One of the most beautiful names for a beautiful area is the Conca d'Oro below Panzano. Conca d'oro means "golden basin", so looking at the picture of the vineyards of the Conca d'Oro below, we have to ask ourselves why is the Conca d'Oro of Panzano in Chianti called the Conca d'Oro? Why isn't it called the Conca Verde - the green basin - for example?

Conca d'Oro of Panzano in Chianti
View over the Conca d'Oro towards Panzano in Chianti
The answer to this riddle is quite simple (once you've been told). For centuries, Florence and Sienna fought for control of the historical Chianti area (now the Chianti Classico wine zone) that forms the territory between them. They did this in large part because of the critical value of its agricultural production. Wine? Olive oil? Only in small part. Until the middle of the 19 C, agriculture in Chianti was given over principally to grain production, meaning wheat. Most of the population of both Chianti and Florence subsisted on bread as their staple diet - and, indeed, bread is still an important part of every Tuscan meal. As a consequence, every piece of land that supported wheat was used to grow it. Even into the pre-war 20 C, wheat was grown in the spaces between the rows of grape vines. One of the most productive areas for wheat was in fact the Conca d'Oro of Panzano, and as harvest time approached it was exactly what its name says, a golden basin of ripening wheat. It was only in the post-war years that wheat was replaced by the increasingly lucrative crops yielding olive oil and wine. This change coincided with the reclamation of the Maremma and the modernisation of agriculture in the Val d'Orcia (described by Iris Origo in her wonderful book, War in the Val d'Orcia) and the consequent increase in the wheat harvest in those areas.

More about what to see in and near Panzano in Chianti.

My recommended vacation rentals in Tuscany.

Tuscany Toscana
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Travel Guide!

Up-to-date news on what to see and where to stay in Chianti and all of Tuscany.

Tuscany Travel Guide

Author: Anna Maria Baldini

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