If you are looking for something different from a summer holiday, fed up with overcrowded beaches, rowdy bars and several hundred tourists all fighting over one swimming pool, but still want to enjoy the sunshine, relax and unwind, then perhaps it's time to leave beach holidays behind.
Many of us Brits remain very limited in our approach to summer holidays abroad, we tend to stick to what we know, however in our ignorance this leaves us missing many opportunities to enjoy a holiday which offers so much more, whilst still getting a tan.
Italy would generally be one of those places which seems to be missed off the map unless we are looking to visit a well known tourist location, and yet there are so many regions which offer holidays rich in history and culture, learning experiences whilst being just as relaxing, if not more so than a fortnight in Benidorm.
The Tuscany region would be one very such place, Tuscany is probably better known for its amazing wines, Chianti, Brunello di Montacino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano to name a few, yet dotted here and there amongst the vineyards and olive groves you will stumble across a traditional Tuscany hotel.
Tuscany or Toscana (the Italian) is mainly farming land (Agriturismo) and beautiful countryside, with rolling hills and mountains occasionally breaking the horizon, offering some of the most breath taking scenery.
A stay in a Tuscany hotel will allow you to experience the best of both worlds, leaving high rise apartment blocks and heaving tourist packed all inclusive hotels behind, whilst participating in a family holiday the kids will still love.
Tuscany hotels are usually quaint farmhouses or oil mills which have been delicately renovated to still compliment the canvas of the surrounding countryside, many will still be working farms with crops of olives, grapes or raising cattle. Many will use their own produce in the kitchens or wine lists of the hotel, in the form of extra virgin olive oil, fine wines and grappas (brandy distilled from the pomace of grapes used in wine making).
However some things will remain the same, there will still be facilities such as swimming pools and spa facilities, dining and entertainment, as well as offering the chance to participate in activities such as harvesting crops, wine making and tasting and perhaps even cookery courses using their own ingredients.
Tuscany holidays can be very family orientated, with plenty of activities open to children such as horse riding, depending on the location of your Tuscany hotel the major cities of art (the backbone of Italian tourism) will still be within easy reach, an hour or so drive (providing you have a hire car).
Visiting places such as Florence, Lucca, Siena, San Gimignano, Cortona, Pienza and Pisa, Pisa most famously known for the learning tower will undoubtedly highlight your holiday memories and provide an opportunity to relish some Italian history whilst being a great day out for the children too. But it is fair to say that the lesser known side of Italian history can be appreciated by discovering quaint historical towns and markets within the Tuscany region itself, this is a great way to learn about Italy without hitting the crowds.
Tuscany is a great location for weddings too, picture postcard scenery for your romantic setting, romantic country hotels which are more than capable and happy to cater for your needs, and also offer a superb location for a dreamy honeymoon.
So when looking to book your next holiday, and wanting to head off somewhere hot, take a minute to look further than the tourist beaches and English bars of the Costa Del Sol, and discover some of the hidden delights of the Italian Countryside.
Anna Stenning researches summer holiday locations which offer more culture and history than tourists and English bars, an Italian holiday to a Tuscany hotel provides a good example.