When conversation turns to Tuscany, endless fields of lavender, olive groves, picturesque vineyards and ancient castle ruins spring to mind – in short: holidays to satisfy all the senses. If, during the conversation, one cautiously asks if dogs are welcome, quite often the answer is “Yes”: "I cani sono benvenuti."
Plenty of things to do for dog lovers
For a dog-owning family it is often hard to imagine the nicest time of the year without their four-legged companion. "Tuscany has everything to warm the heart of dog lovers: a landscape full of paths and woods as well as miles of beaches", says Elisa Santoni who, via the internet site toskana-mit-hund.de, exclusively advertises holiday homes, apartments, villas and hotels that also welcome dogs. A Tuscan by birth, she knows all the holiday residences she offers, maintains close contact with the landlords and can be reached on +49 (0)89-12392998 to help with choosing accommodation. Furthermore, the website offers dog lovers plenty of useful tips for organising their holiday, information on activities with dogs and a list of beaches in Tuscany where dogs are welcome, recognisable by the sign “Spiaggia per cani”.
The best time to holiday with dogs
The journey to Tuscany by car is easy and not overly stressful for dogs. However, summer in central Italy is generally sunny and dry, and away from the coasts temperatures can sometimes reach 38 to 40 degrees centigrade. "For dog owners the best time to visit Tuscany is off-season", is Elisa Santoni’s advice. "It is still nice and warm, and long tours of Tuscany’s small towns and the beautiful landscape are much less stressful for one’s four-legged companions." Travelling in the spring or autumn has another advantage: the ban that generally applies to dogs on beaches tends to be relaxed, so that in many places they can run to their heart’s delight and bathe in the sea even away from those beaches where dogs are officially allowed.
Service for dogs
When holidaying with a dog, baskets, cushions and toys all take up space in the car. A lot of those things are provided in the dog-friendly holiday homes and apartments. Besides bowls for food and water, toys, tidbits and loungers for dogs, quite often the gardens (which are usually fenced in) have a pool for dogs and water hoses for the visitors and their four-legged friends.Local information on vets and shops selling dog supplies round off this service.
Even several dogs are welcome
Even if around the world more and more dog-friendly holiday homes are now on the market, taking two or more dogs is still not very easy. Elisa Santoni gets an increasing number of enquires from breeders and dog-sitters who want to bring several dogs. "Bringing more than one dog is no problem whatsoever", she says. "The most we had was seven dogs, which we all accommodated in a nice holiday home. I am keen to see when that record will be broken.”
Elisa Santoni internet travel agency
Born in Terricciola in a winegrowing region near Pisa, Elisa Santoni has lived in Germany since 1996 and since 2004 has been running an agency that rents out holiday homes with great success. Her websites toscana-forum.de, toskana-mit-hund.de, sizilien-forum.de and sardinien-sardinia.com are for those fans of Italy who besides the culture also enjoy discovering new things, natural beauty and an authentic experience.
She visits the travel destinations she advertises several times a year, inspects the holiday residences and maintains close contact with the landlords. She knows all the houses and apartments, where to find the best cuisine and high-class wines, and the cultural highlights one should on no account miss. She has lots of valuable tips and is happy to pass on her own experiences so that travellers can fully enjoy their holidays in the region that is her home.
For Elisa Santoni there is no such thing as holidays that are “off the shelf”. Be it cultural travel, holidays on the farm, on the beach, cycle or motorcycle tours: everything she offers is tailored to travellers’ individual requests. The residences offered include everything from small holiday complexes comprising two to 15 apartments, to outstanding homes, ranging from small stone-walled houses in the woods to historical villas, vineyards, former windmills, monasteries, homes in towers, fortresses and castles. All these properties are described in detail with lots of images. Any questions are swiftly answered by phone or email.
Three to four times a month Elisa Santoni writes a piece about Tuscany in Toskana-Journal which whets readers’ appetites for Italy. A calendar of events which is regularly updated during the holiday season, rounds off her internet service.
Hall 25/ booth137 asr – only ITB-weekend 11 and 12 March 2017