The beginning of a new year is always a good opportunity to draw a balance of the previous year and to make some resolutions and predictions for the upcoming months.
2009 was a difficult year a bit everywhere I guess. We had a slow year with our vacation rental in Southern Tuscany, Casina di Rosa, because we used to work mostly with North American guests, and since the beginning of the financial crisis, they have practically disappeared. I guess that the most touristy areas of Tuscany still have a decent presence of North American travellers, but smaller businesses like ours, in areas that are outside the major tourist routes, have seen a dramatic reduction in the number of guests coming from the States and Canada. The majority of our guests in 2009 was either from the UK or the Netherlands, all of them really lovely people. We had much fun meeting them in person after all the emails exchanged. I guess that’s the best part of being in this business.
So our first hope for 2010 is that more and more people will start travelling again, now that the situation is getting better. We really trust that people will want to come discover our corner of Tuscany, especially because its major strength is precisely its location. We are at a crossroads between many really beautiful and popular areas such as the Siena area, the Maremma coast, the Val d’Orcia hilltowns, the Metalliferous hills with Massa Marittima, the Chianti area, the Crete etc. All these destinations are easily reached in 30 minutes – 1 hour, thanks to the fact that our village, Civitella Marittima, is right by one of the major highways in Southern Tuscany, the SS223/E78 which connects Florence, Siena and Grosseto to the coast. This makes day trips to the most popular areas of Tuscany very, very easy, and when the day is over, our guests can go back to a quiet, non-touristy, authentic hilltop hamlet in Tuscany and enjoy the rhythm of the real life in a Tuscan village.
In the meanwhile, we are preparing for the 2010 season by completely renovating the house. You can read about the renovations here.
As for our Pisa vacation rental, Behind the Tower, we spent the first months of the year renovating it completely. Yes… we have contributed to supporting several builders last year!!! We were very happy with the result and we have really enjoyed renting the flat this year. Our resolution for 2010 is to be able to install air conditioning in that apartment too.
In 2009 we started giving cooking classes to our guests as well and we have discovered that we really enjoy it. So if you are looking for a cooking class in Tuscany in 2010, we can teach you how to cook as Italians do!
2009 was also the year when I discovered the pleasure of blogging about our life in Tuscany, and I have met many new friends on Twitter (if you use Twitter, you can find us @casinadirosa) and Facebook. In 2010 we hope to expand our network and get to know many new people who, like us, are passionate about different places and cultures. Follow us on Facebook, and become a fan our Casina di Rosa or Behind the Tower pages, and join our Casina di Rosa group!
I created a list of the most interesting people I met through Twitter in 2009, so if you use Twitter too, here are the people you should absolutely follow.
In 2009, I also discovered some really cool travel-related blogs:
- Pocket Cultures
- Dream of Italy
- Facing the street
- The intelligent travel blog
- Killing batteries
- Make Travel Fair
- The Matador Network
- Miss Expatria
- The mindful tourist
- My Melange
- WHL Travel Blog
- Velvet Escape’s blog
- Travel with Julie
- Wandering Italy
- Europe à la carte
I’d love to have more suggestions for other great blogs to follow in 2010!
Last but not least, in 2009 I started a wedding and event planning agency with my frined Lorella of Fiori e Dintorni, Boutique Events which specializes in organizing boutique events and boutique weddings in Tuscany. So, another resolution for 2010 is to have finally ready the new Casina di Rosa website and the website for Boutique Events. Fingers crossed!