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5 great days out in Tuscany & Rome

Tuscany and Rome make a picture-perfect holiday destination, with beautiful rolling countryside, charming hill top towns, and delightful cities. Here’s our pick of 5 great days out in Tuscany and Rome.

#1 Florence

The regional capital of Tuscany is Florence, one of Italy’s prettiest cities and an art lovers Mecca. The city is packed with beautiful historic treasures, and the brightly coloured cathedral dominates the skyline. It was in Florence that Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and other brilliant 14th to 16th Century Tuscan artists carved out history, and today art is waiting to be discovered on each and every corner. Visit the Galleria dell’Accademia, home to ‘David’ the artistic masterpiece by Michelangelo. The museum also houses an interesting collection of paintings from the early 17th Century.

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Shorts breaks to Rome and Florence

Rome

Rome still contains many remnants of its past glory, and between its architectural heirlooms is a bustling, lively and modern city. Take time to wander round and soak up the spirit of this city; enjoy fresh pasta from one of the bustling cafes, dodge vespas on the chaotic streets or stop to hear stories from an elderly couple ambling down the street. Obvious highlights of a visit to Rome include the Pantheon, the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. The Vatican City is an independent state within Rome which has its own currency, postal service and army – this unique city within a city is well worth a visit too.

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My Canvas Story: Mummy Barrow

Today, we introduce you to Mummy Barrow. She writes a rather wonderful blog over at www.mummybarrow.com and can be found tweeting @MummyBarrow. We’re delighted to be working with her for our 50th celebrations. Here’s her Canvas story.

Ooohhh is this thing on? Hello. Hi. My name is T (short for Tanya which I really don’t like, and I hate Tan even more so please do call me T. Ironic really since my parents named me Tanya as it can’t be shortened) What? Get back on track? Sorry. Sorry. Yes. Hello.  I am slightly bonkers mum of three who lives in Hampshire with the long suffering Bruce.

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Cheese and wine of the Loire

With more than 185,000 acres covered by vineyards, the Loire Valley produces a huge variety of wines with the emphasis on fresh white wines. The region is the third largest producer of wine in France. The western area is Muscadet country, with the Vouvray, Tourraine and Chinon regions occupying the centre ground. The upper Loire…

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My Canvas Holiday memories – Sarah Stokes

We are delighted to be welcoming Sarah to our 50th anniversary ball – her Canvas story stretches over the years and it’s so lovely to hear that her young family have just enjoyed their first Canvas adventure together. 

July 1981

 “My love affair with Canvas begins in July 1981 as we head down through France by car, three sisters squashed in the back surrounded by sleeping bags and plastic bags full of cuddly toys and clothes, Mum and Dad in the front negotiating their way along the unfamiliar side of the road:

‘Muuuuum, can you rewind the Joseph tape so we can hear ‘Any Dream Will Do’ again?’

‘When’s lunch? Do we have to eat that funny cheese?’

‘Are we nearly there yet?’

We arrive at our first ever campsite, Val de Cantobre in Cevennes (still going strong) and see our orange and blue tent for the first time. Rushing in excitedly we decide quickly who is going to sleep where (me back left, my elder sister back right and my little sister stuck in the middle with the curtains down – all on tartan camp beds in our own ‘rooms’!)

Car unpacked we take in our surroundings and make ourselves cosy by the light of our gas lamp. The following morning we look out across the mountains from the terrace as we eat baguettes and croissants from the tiny campsite shop (having been ‘encouraged’ to ask for them ourselves) and drink chocolate milk (no fresh milk back then, refusal from all three girls to drink UHT!). It’s all so unfamiliar but so exciting. 

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Places to explore around Lake Garda

Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy and is surrounded by many medieval villages, small towns and picturesque ports. Many of them can be reached by boat from various parts of the lake and it’s definitely worth exploring as many of them as you can to get a truly authentic feel for the stunning area.

Peschiera           

Peschiera is on the southern end of the lake. Here, you can see the 16th century island fortress and walls, a reminder of a time when Austria controlled the region. Guided tours of the fortress are available by boat or on foot. The old town is colourful and inviting with narrow alleyways lined with shops and cafes. After soaking up the history try a glass of Lugana, a local white wine.

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