Destination Expert

Dale Rees Heatley

I arrived in Tuscany in 2000 to play rugby for a year - the plan was to return to Wales once the contract was up, but unsurprisingly I fell in love with the Italian lifestyle and weather, and having made lots of friends decided to stay on. I found a job teaching during the winter months but needed to find a summer occupation, so started working for a villa rental company. I stayed on for 5 years then applied for a position with CV Villas and have never looked back - that was 15 years ago. I have stayed in Tuscany for the same reasons - great lifestyle, sun, beach and great friends, and have now made this lovely region my home.

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Destination Expert

Dale Rees Heatley

I arrived in Tuscany in 2000 to play rugby for a year - the plan was to return to Wales once the contract was up, but unsurprisingly I fell in love with the Italian lifestyle and weather, and having made lots of friends decided to stay on. I found a job teaching during the winter months but needed to find a summer occupation, so started working for a villa rental company. I stayed on for 5 years then applied for a position with CV Villas and have never looked back - that was 15 years ago. I have stayed in Tuscany for the same reasons - great lifestyle, sun, beach and great friends, and have now made this lovely region my home.

Describe the perfect day in your destination?

My perfect day would start with breakfast on the terrace, Italian coffee and brioche in hand. Afterwards, I would visit the vineyards and winery of Bolgheri and then have a seafood lunch overlooking the harbour in San Vincenzo. I would take a boat out in the afternoon and head over to the island of Elba to swim in the sea. The day would finish with an aperitivo and a pizza in one of the many excellent pizza houses along the coastline.

What are your top travel tips for your destination?

Take advantage of our pre-arrival shopping service to have the villa stocked up for when you've arrived. This way, you can avoid the chaotic Saturday afternoon shoppers or the shops closed on a Sunday, especially if you're staying in one of the more remote areas. I'd also recommend taking advantage of your local experts knowledge, so reach out to them before you arrive. They are a great resource for tips and often know of local gems to visit or weekly events that are not found on the general web information platforms.

What local cuisine would you recommend to people staying in your destination?

A must try is the Pappardelle al Cinghiale (local flat pasta with wild boar sauce). Divine!

What experiences would you recommend to our customers in your destination?

Invest in a really high quality wine tour - it's much more memorable and informative than the usual big tourist groups. Tuscany has some excellent wines which have a fascinating history that you can learn about.