Travel challenge: A late summer break in Tuscany

Every week we invite competing companies to give us their best deal for a specific holiday. Today: a seven-night holiday in Tuscany in mid-September. Prices are for two people travelling together.

Trail of the unexpected: The contrade of Siena

Siena's Palio horse races celebrate centuries of civic rivalry, as Harriet O'Brien discovers

24-hour room service: Il Salviatino, Fiesole, Italy

Florentine luxury with a view to thrill

Anthony Rose: 'To compete with the Wine Societies of this world, you have to deliver good quality at a reasonable price

Are you in the club? The wine club, that is? Until recently, there was only one major home-delivery service in it– and that was The Wine Society, the venerable Victorian, non-profit-making organisation, whose Postman Pat-like vans deliver high-quality wines to grateful households the length and breadth of the country. You have to have a share to be a member, but a £40 share is a small price to pay for handsome dividends over a lifetime. I say until recently, because for my money, the other hugely successful wine home-delivery specialist, Laithwaites, never really looked like offering the same degree of consistent value.

Why the sun always shines on lucky Lucca

An autumn holiday in Tuscany, catching the last rays of sun – what a lovely idea. But, beware, the weather can be so fickle at this time of year

Katy Holland: Don't let the sun go down on you. Book a half-term bargain break

Are we there yet? The October half-term brings the opportunity to have a final fling with some UV rays

Anthony Rose: Sane people think biodynamics is loony – but the techniques employed cancreate intense, delicious wines

"The grapes arrive at the winery facing the rising sun, the natural slope is exploited to allow the wine to move by gravity, and the light, in line with the concepts of feng shui, compensates for the negativity of dark, enclosed spaces." I haven't mentioned the cow horn filled with dung, the deer bladder stuffed with yarrow or the lunar calendar. For lunar, read loony. For certified, certifiable. That's no doubt how many sane people regard biodynamics. Yet when the techniques are successfully employed to create delicious wines such as Tuscany's intense mulberry-fruity 2004 Caiarossa (£34, Berry Bros & Rudd), it's enough to give the agnostic in us all pause for thought.

Wine and chocolate on the ultimate health retreat

Adrian Mourby enjoys an epicurean break at an exclusive spa in Tuscany.

Diamanti 'on verge' of West Ham move

Livorno president Aldo Spinelli claims striker Alessandro Diamanti is on the verge of a move to West Ham.

24-Hour Room Service: Borgo Santo Pietro

British tourists may have given Tuscany its "Chiantishire" epithet, but the appeal of converting rustic, historic properties into chic tourist accommodation is apparently universal. The Danish-owned newcomer Borgo Santo Pietro enters a market already groaning with luxury hotels; that it stands out from the crowd is because it perfectly strikes that tricky balance between luxury and informality.

'Apocalypse' on railway in Tuscany

A freight train carrying liquid gas came off the tracks and exploded in the heart of an Italian seaside resort

Florence and the Machine: Meet the sound of the summer

Florence and the Machine's dark, dramatic and downright sexy music has already made her pop's hottest property

Five Stylish Italian hotels

Historic architecture meets modern design in in these tasteful retreats. By Rhiannon Batten

Tuscany: A new way to buy abroad

Until now, owning a rustic retreat in the depths of the Tuscan countryside meant expensive renovations and costly upkeep. But as Janet Street-Porter discovers, there is an alternative
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
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