12 JULY 2004

The Dutch royal family have been enjoying a break at their holiday home in Italy. Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima, along with their baby daughter Catharina-Amalia, were photographed at their hideaway in the Tuscan hills.

Queen Beatrix also joined the family at the Roca Dei Draconie estate. The royals are regular visitors to the northern Italian province, though it was little Catharina-Amalia's first trip to the gorgeous retreat.

Once the photo session got underway all eyes were trained firmly on Maxima, amid rumours the 33-year-old is expecting a second child. But any members of the press pack hoping for a hint of confirmation were left disappointed, because the pretty Argentinian was giving nothing away.

Over the next few days she and her loved ones will be taking advantage of a few days free from the attentions of the press. And the Romanesque town of Tavernelle, located halfway between the cities of Florence and Sienna, is one of the country's most tranquil destinations.

With its majestic landscapes and a wealth of historic buildings, the town more than lives up to Tuscany's reputation for unspoilt beauty. It is also nestled right in the heart of Chianti country, making it especially popular with wine enthusiasts.

Photo: AFP
Catharina-Amalia sits on her grandmother's knee, with her proud parents on either side. The Dutch royals are regular visitors to the town of Tavarnelle
Photo: AFP
Speculation that Maxima is pregnant has been flooding the press back in their home country. But the family were giving nothing away at their Italian photocall
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