The region of Tuscany, birthplace of the
Italian Renaissance and home to some of the most attractive
rural landscapes in Italy, has attracted foreigners for millennia.
But the 1996 bestseller Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in
Italy, by Frances Mayes, made the region even more desirable.
A Tuscan villa is a formal country house, with large rooms
and high ceilings, that was designed by an architect to shelter
between a dozen and three dozen aristocrats.
These villas, built of native stone, are generally symmetrical,
and usually include a formal garden and a pleasing view.
Tuscan villas may be centuries old, although modern renovations
have often added such conveniences as indoor plumbing
and swimming pools to the structures.