Friday, 24 June 2011 12:00 AM
Rent a family villa in Tuscany for your next holiday and you are sure to want to explore the beautiful region.
With its combination of historic cities, tranquil countryside, rugged mountains and stunning coastline, there is certainly plenty to see in Tuscany. It is possible to travel from one side of the region to the other in a matter of a few hours, but you will need to think carefully about how you would do that at the time you arrange your break.
One option well worth considering is hiring a car. It is sometimes possible to secure a discounted rate on vehicle rental from a partner of the company you book your villa through.
If you are comfortable driving on foreign roads, the freedom of having a car at your disposal can be the best choice. It will mean there are few restrictions on where you can travel to during your holiday and allow you to change your plans as often as you like.
There is a good motorway network in Tuscany, so you can easily drive between the major cities. Florence is connected to Lucca and Pisa by the A11, Livorno and Pisa are both on the coastal A12, and Florence is linked to Arezzo by the A1.
A car is also a good choice for travelling to the region's most beautiful villages - with some of the locations only served by infrequent bus services or not having any kind of public transport link - and to the castles and villas that are dotted throughout the rolling hills.
If you prefer not to drive while you rent a holiday villa in Italy, you will discover that the train can be an effective way of getting around.
The main cities are linked by rail lines, so it is possible to see all the famous historic attractions without hiring a car. The train services, which also stop at towns such as Empoli, Massa, Pietrasanta and Grosseto, travel through some beautiful countryside and the journeys can be a good way to enjoy the scenery.
During peak season it is a good idea to book tickets in advance and you can find the best deals on the website of national train operator Trenitalia.
If you envisage spending most of your holiday relaxing by the pool and are not planning to venture too far from your villa, you may also want to consider hiring a bike for rides to the local villages and restaurants.