Tuscany Accommodation

Caroline

Member
My husband and I are honeymooning in Italy in April next year and are both very excited! We would like to spend at least 4 days (not enough I know) in and around Tuscany. Although we do want to see Florence for at least a day, Tuscany is going to be the relaxed part of our trip. We want to do a cooking class, taste lots of wine and enjoy the amazing food. What we are looking for preferably is a villa or farmhouse to base ourselves out of, maybe in Chianti? I don't know if there are vineyards that have accommodation as well but that would be fantastic. Orpossibly a villa with a cooking school. We will be renting a car so we can travel to these locations as well. One of the problems that I have come across is that most villas rent for a week minimum but we would want only 4 nights. Does this exist? We are trying to keep the costs down while still experiencing all that Tuscany has to offer. Any ideas would be appreciated!
 
Hello Caroline,

Probably the beautiful Tuscan countryside is the best choice to spend some time relaxing. The province of Siena is well known for its beauty and unspoilt nature. However renting a whole villa would be quite expensive.

I would suggest a so called "Agriturismo" which is a real farm (usually producing wine and olive oil) that is also committed to tourism. They restore some old typical Tuscan farmhouses and create apartments with typical furniture and all kind of services.
Siena is the Italian town with the highest number of Agriturismos.

I work at Casabianca Farmhouse, it is a 654 hectares estate with 5 farmhouses and several types of accommodation near San Galgano. The best thing is that we also rent the apartments for just 2 days in low season and the swimming pool will be already open in April. If you wish to see some pictures you can have a look at my profile and send me a PM or search for Fattoria Casabianca on Google to visit our site.

I really hope you will have a great honeymoon in Tuscany!

Best wishes to you and your husband!

Lisa
 
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Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
lots of choices out there... and you won't go wrong any way

Ciao Caroline and welcome to our Forum!

Congratulations on the upcoming wedding! And how wonderful you've chosen Italy for your honeymoon - it will be beautiful, romantic and very memorable :)

Four days isn't a lot but with a car you will definitely be able to fit quite a bit in.... Florence on one day, then some wine tastings, maybe a half day cooking class and sightseeing around the region the rest of the days!

Basing yourself in Chianti is a very good choice - and practically anywhere you'll be, you'll have vineyards and olive groves around. Most of the accommodations you'll find ARE surrounded by the countryside, whether they call themselves villas, farmhouses, hotels or B&Bs. What you have to look at is their description of their immediate surroundings and their general location to find the right place.

You will find many that offer less than a week's rental but it will depend on your dates! And each one sets its own policies and calendar, so you'll have to contact the ones you like and just ask. For example, Easter in 2012 will fall on April 8 and April 9 is a holiday here as well. Then April 25 is National Liberation day so another holiday. Many places will allow just day stays around those holidays, usually at a slightly higher per day cost. Not knowing your specific dates I am just giving you this general info.

Here are some I think would be perfect for you which you should look at and contact for availability and cost. These all have links to the official sites, but the pages give a good summary so that you can narrow them down.

Il Cellese in Castellina in Chianti - a farmhouse with apartments
Tenuta Quadrifoglio - more of an estate with several restored villas divided into apartments but also with just rooms - those are definitely available for shorter stays that a week.
Palazzo Malaspina B&B - a very romantic place in a Renaissance palace in the center of San Donato in Poggio, a small medieval village in Chianti. So you're not in the immediate countryside but the whole small town is surrounded by vineyards. We had wine tastings and tours in a nearby winery just outside of town, I'll have to look to see if I can find the name to give you, we really enjoyed it.
Il Poggetto - a family run residence in a farmhouse near Montespertoli
Borgo della Meliana - more fancy and elegant, they call themselves a resort... they do have several pools and beautiful views of the countryside with vineyards all around
Cabbiavoli - accommodation in apartments around a restored villa/castle - definitely very nice (Julia Robert's vacationed there a few years ago - in the villa, of course ;) )
Casolare di Libbiano - a family run B&B near San Gimignano. They offer cooking classes directly too.
Viticcio Wine Estate and Farmhouse - a wine estate in Chianti also offering accommodation, so this would be staying directly at a winery. Greve is also very central to visit the whole area and seeing "chianti"!
Romitorio di Serelle - near Castellina in Chianti, offers apartments in another area surrounded by wineries

All these are in Chianti and as such there are wineries and vineyards all around. Some offer rooms, others apartments. Keep in mind that even if you stay at a place that doesn't have their own production of wine (most do, though), you'll have options for visits, tastings and classes nearby. When you contact these places, you can always ask them for info on their immediate area. They are usually the most well informed of services they can offer their guests by them or their own neighbors!

Please don't hesitate to ask any other questions you might have :) Hope you're enjoying planning the trip - in addition to the wedding - at this time, we know it can be stressful, especially since there are so many choices!
 

Caroline

Member
Thanks for all of the info! My husband and I actually were married in July- we have just taken some time to save up for our trip! The names you have given us look great- I've sent out requests for the ones we like the best. We have figured out our dates- April 7th to 11th 2012. We were looking for a place to do a cooking class and the Casolare di Libbiano looks fantastic. Any thoughts on a biking wine tour? I have seen some based out of Florence but are there any that you don't have to drive to Florence for? I have heard driving in Florence is not easy;) Plus we would probably do Florence one day and then not go back;) Thanks again!
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
:) Glad the info was useful! Casolare di Libbiano is pretty neat and I know Berta, who is Spanish and very very nice, I think you'll enjoy the classes and the B&B very much!

You're right, many tours depart from Florence, particularly if their based in Florence. My recommendation would be to look for tour companies based in San Gimignano or Siena or Empoli - basically the near surroundings as they'll have guides in the area that can start from where you are located or at least nearby. For example, Happening.it is also a tour company although the site doesn't have much info about it since they mostly specialize in organizing weddings and then provide services to the bridal group. You could in any case contact them and ask if they might be able to organize a biking wine tour for you and your husband, you can tell them you got their name from me here on DiscoverTuscany.com ;)

Driving in Florence is not easy because unfortunately there is way too much traffic considering the size of the city. It might not be too bad in the end, but the ZTL (limited traffic area) often gets people into trouble if they drive into it trying to get close to the city center and then get fined. So the easiest thing if you drive in is to park outside the center (like at Piazzale Michelangelo) and then walk in. Read this article for more info on parking lots and free parking in Florence.

Let me know if you have any other questions I can help with!
 

Lorelei

New member
Ciao Caroline!!

WEll, i think to visit Florence is a must!! Its such a beautyfull city!!! And really romantic, also! If i were you, i would spend some days in the Chianti, BUT also 2 days/nights in Florence, because its a totally different feeling. You MUST see the nightlife of Florence..incredible...and realxinthe countryside! ;) a friend of mine does " agriturismo", and a lot of people go there even for honeymoon, i was there also! ;)
 

Caroline

Member
Thanks for all of the info. I contacted Happening.it but their quote for a biking wine tour was 720 euros- way out of our budget. Is this what I can expect for a wine tour or do you have any other options?

Thanks again!
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
biking tours and more

Wow that is kind of steep for just two people!! But it really depends on what they include, it must be a whole package type of deal and you don't say what the price includes.....
Ok have you already decided on a place where you'll be staying at or at least an area you've narrowed it down to? If you have, that will help me look for some agencies in the area so that you can work around those that all start from Florence.
In the meantime, you should contact Vinarium which specializes in wine tours all around Tuscany - I am pretty sure not all of their tours start from Florence even if they are based here. Then if you tell me where you'll be, if you already know, I'll look for other tours that might work out.......... otherwise, I'd suggest doing a tour on your own! The area between Greve - Panzano - Radda and Castellina has many wineries with signs along the road that indicate they have tours, wine tastings and wine shops open where you can stop without needing to reserve.
 

Caroline

Member
Thanks! We are staying at the Palazzo Malaspina in Poggio. It was one of the places you recommended and looks very cute! I will check out the other company you mentioned too. Yes I had thought of biking around by ourselves too, I just wasn't sure if Poggio had bike rentals being such a small town. But I should look into it! Thanks again!!
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
wine tasting near San Donato

Glad you went with Palazzo Malaspina, the B&B is really pretty and so is the town! ;) Knowing where you are also gives us a chance to look for recommendations nearby.

Aside from finding out more about organized tours, you've had a great idea - if you can rent bikes in San Donato, then we just need to find wineries in the surroundings you can get to without too much of a ride that you can visit!

First on the list I'd put the winery we went to - we had both a tour of the cellars as well as a light lunch with Tuscan cold cuts, white Tuscan beans, toasted bread, olive oil (typical local products which you'll enjoy all over Tuscany) while we tasted several of their wines. It was great, we had several different ones, including the dessert Vinsanto with biscotti cookies called Cantuccini here - you traditionally eat them after dunking them into the wine. The winery we went to was Fattoria di Montecchio which is about 1km from San Donato. You do need to reserve for the cellar tour+light lunch or cellar tours but not for just wine tasting. I am sure there are others nearby, I'll see what I find and let you know soon!
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
There is a bike rental in San Donato called Corradino from which you can rent bikes!
You can ask Maria at Palazzo Malaspina to help you in case you want to reserve them ahead of time - although I don't think you should have problems, it is always best to indicate your interest so that they can make sure they will have bikes on hand!

So from there you could organize your own bike wine tasting tour, maybe reserving at some places for cellar tours and at others maybe just wine tastings? I've taken a tour or two in Chianti and I remember one had stops at 3 different wineries... not being used to spitting and all, I drank way too much wine!! By the end of the day, I also had a bit of a headache even if I was in high spirits :D I also wasn't riding a bike so maybe you be the judge!

So like I said earlier, Fattoria Montecchio is very close to town, then there are others within 4km distance to choose from:
Fattoria Casa Emma
Fattoria Casa Sola (which also offers cooking classes)
Fattoria La Ripa

If you want to bike further away from San Donato, I think the best thing would be to plan a route first and then look for wineries along that route where you can stop at (there are many). For example, the area between San Donato and Castellina is really beautiful so I'd recommend a route in that direction. Castellina is about 10 km away (20km round trip) so you could plan to get there as your destination and look for a winery close to San Donato, another half way there, another near Castellina ;-) Just some ideas!!
 

Caroline

Member
Re: wine tasting near San Donato

Thanks again for all of the information! I have booked a tour at the Fattoria Montecchio and Arianna has been lovely. The Casolare di Libbiano cooking class has proven a bit difficult to book- do you have any other ideas for cooking classes in the area? We have also contacted Maria at Palazzo Malaspina and she said there is a place in town to rent bikes so we'll probably do our own thing!
As always, thanks for your help!
 
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