When we think of Tuscany, instant visions of ancient olive groves, hillside vineyards, medieval castles, and lofty cypress trees all spring to mind. But, Tuscany is so much more than a picture-postcard, bucket-list destination. Venture deep into the heart of the Tuscan countryside and you will discover an authentic, heart-warming way of life, where family, food and friends take priority.
From day-break to sunset and far beyond, Tuscany offers the perfect antidote to busy city-based routines, a home-from-home where you can re-charge your batteries and truly sit back and smell the roses. Here, nothing matters more than what you will eat and when you will eat it, where you will watch the sunset and who you will share it with. Of course, Tuscany is awash with hotels, villas, B&B's and the like, but some properties just seem to excel in offering an effortless balance of classic comfort, combined with a fresh sense of contemporary chic. Make no mistake, there is a real sense of Tuscan alchemy at work here, so this summer ease yourself gently into the timeless art of practising “Dolce far Niente”…the sweetness of doing nothing. Here we highlight the very best boutique bolt-holes Tuscany has to offer...
Castello di Vicarello:
Resting elegantly in the heart of the breath-taking Tuscan countryside with far-reaching views towards the Maremma coast, you will find a unique boutique hotel, Castello di Vicarello. An exclusive, privately owned, country house retreat that effortlessly captures the essence of contemporary luxury in Tuscany. Vicarello’s charming character and timeless aesthetic seamlessly combine historic architecture with elements of both classic and modern design. The unmistakable atmosphere is that of an elegant, yet luxurious, home-from-home. With 40 hectares of private land consisting of vineyards, olive groves, farm-land and forests, Vicarello offers total seclusion and abundant space. With two spacious pools, a boutique spa, two kitchen gardens and endless manicured lawns, guests of the 8 exclusive suites enjoy all the facilities of a luxurious private resort.
EAT: Aurora’s homemade wild boar stew ‘Scottiglia di Cinghiale, washed down with a glass of Carlo’s award-winning Terra di Vico wine
STAY: Soothe the Mind body and soul in the new SPA suite with its own private hot-tub and sauna
LOVE: Cooking classes in the medieval kitchen, complete with vaulted ceiling and antique oven
Borgo Pignano is a grand country estate surrounded by nature, yet just a short drive from the historic, hilltop towns of Volterra and San Gimignano and the medieval cities of Florence and Siena. Pignano sits in the centre of a much cherished 750-acre organic estate and features a magnificent frescoed 18th century villa and an Etruscan hamlet. This sensitively restored hilltop village offers sophisticated hospitality in a tranquil setting. The noble villa has fourteen elegant rooms with original frescoes, white marble and travertine bathrooms and fresh flowers in abundance. A grand stone staircase leads to the upper stories, where suites are furnished with exquisite antiques, original artworks, Italian linens and glass chandeliers. The main villa offers many spacious chill-out spaces that complete the country house atmosphere: explore the library, billiard room, ballroom and lounge. In addition to the villa, Borgo Pignano also offers maisonettes, two historic suites situated in an ancient Priest's House, cottages and a large country farmhouse that sleeps up to 20 guests.
EAT: Sign up for the gastronomic tasting menu with home-grown ingredients accompanied by biodynamic and organic Tuscan wines
STAY: The glamorous Music room ‘Sala di Musica’ has a stunning four-poster bed, grand piano and frescoed en-suite bathroom
LOVE: Pignano’s family of horses, ride to Prosecco rock at sunset, return to cocktails on the terrace, a truly magical experience
Set a amidst the rolling hills of the Val D’Orcia in southern Tuscany you will discover Follonico. An enchanting B&B offering an authentic and unique Tuscan experience. A family owned, country house, surrounded by organic gardens, vineyards and farmland Follonico offers the perfect antidote to the frenetic 21st century lives, many of us lead. A restful haven, far from the hustle and bustle of the city, Follonico offers that elusive ‘feel good factor’ in bucket loads. Lovingly restored from a state of ruin, this beautifully designed, stone-farmhouse, magically embraces the traditional Tuscan culture all around it, whilst also conveying a fresh sense of contemporary style. Honouring the property’s heritage, Follonico remains rich in original architectural features which are offset by striking design-led furnishings. The effect is both vibrant and heart-warming. If the Italian language had a term for ‘Hygge’ it would be Follonico.
EAT: The best breakfast in Italy, home-made sour-dough bread, waffles and cakes, fresh hen’s eggs, local cheeses and organic home-grown fruits and honey.
STAY: Blue Notte is the perfect chic retreat, curl up by the gargantuan fireplace in the autumn
LOVE: The eclectic interiors and design-led atmosphere. Grab a book or two and find your spot in the garden, watch the butterflies and bees at play.