Recommended place to stay:
Torrita di Siena SI, Tuscany, Italy|follonico.com|
Official star rating:
A mellow old farmhouse, set in beautiful countryside in the UNESCO-protected Val d’Orcia, lovingly restored by its owners who run it as a laid-back, intimate agriturismo, albeit with the style and feel of a boutique hotel.
The 200-year-old stone building is set in delightfully informal organic gardens brimming with lavender and climbing roses, where friendly family pets and chickens, geese and the odd sheep roam freely. Vineyards and olive groves provide the wraparound backdrop.
The retro interiors reflect the simple, Tuscan vernacular rural architecture, but not at the expense of comfort; beds are firm and made up with beautiful linens, the spacious bathrooms have rain showers. There’s a superb home-made breakfast that includes freshly-baked bread, homemade cakes and jams, free-range eggs and in-house honey.
A perfect choice for those who want an authentic Tuscan experience, this is an ideal launch pad for exploring the beautiful Val d’Orcia and its lovely hilltowns. Siena is an hour’s drive to the north.
The setting is utterly peaceful; the approach is via several kilometres of unpaved road and views are of olive groves and vineyards. The quiet, pretty medieval village of Montefollonico – with a couple of restaurants and a bar or two – is just up the road.
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The astonishingly beautiful region of Tuscany has it all: art cities and ancient hill towns, high mountains and long sandy beaches, alongside luxurious hotels and some of Italy’s best food and wine.
A heady mix of incomparable Renaissance art, gorgeous palazzos, Tuscan cuisine and home-grown haute couture.