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Tuscany.

Blog

Tuscany.

Andrea Porritt

Known for its beautiful countryside and world famous wine, Tuscany is a dream come true. Italy in itself is romantic; but add to the mix endless vineyards, rolling olive groves, legendary artwork and history, and that's Tuscany.


STAY.

Hotel Borgo San Felice, Castelnuovo Berardenga

Located just 15 kilometers from Siena, the Hotel Borgo San Felice was our base for five days while we toured Tuscany.

Borgo San Felice was founded around the 8th century as a small village. In 1991, it was restored and transformed into a 5-star hotel and became part of the Relais & Chateaux hotel group. Careful refurbishing has enhanced the architectural features of the village's medieval buildings, stone homes, chapel and picturesque streets, all while remaining true to its authenticity.

The hotel also boasts a farming estate, Agricola San Felice, with 140 hectares of vineyards, renowned top quality wine and its DOP olive oils. I would definitely recommend the vineyard tour and wine tasting.

Breakfast on the terrace at Poggio Rosso every morning was spectacular. Our stay was quiet with romantic walks through the vineyard, while drinking the delicious wine, and lazy afternoons by the pool. The grounds are truly gorgeous and something I will never forget - stunning views, blooming flowers, lush foliage and amazing vineyards and cellars.

Hotel Borgo San Felice is truly heaven on earth and an extraordinary hotel experience. It is sophisticated, upscale and classy while exuding a casual comfort, genuine warmth and welcoming presence. First class all the way!


EAT.

La Bottega del 30, Castelnuovo Berardenga

The characteristic stone-built village is worth a visit on its own, but its restaurant is the jewel. This 1-star Michelin restaurant is quite literally tucked away in a little hamlet. We loved Helene Stroquelet, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed French chef and owner. There are no menus and she personally came out to tell us what she had on offer for the evening. It was a 4-5 course menu and everything was prepared with the freshest ingredients. We were lucky enough to be served her famous single ravioli filled with a runny egg yolk and smothered in truffle sauce. Very good indeed! The sommelier with his wine stained teeth was charismatic, helpful and very knowledgeable, as there were a lot of great local wines and vintages on their list.  The service was perfect throughout - attentive, without hovering and prompt without ever rushing.

Il Poggio Rosso, Hotel Borgo San Felice, Castelnuovo Berardenga

This beautiful restaurant is located in the enchanting Borgo San Felice, a sophisticated romantic setting in the Tuscan hills of Chianti. Renowned Chef, Francesco Bracali, 2-star Michelin holder, is responsible for the gourmet experience at Poggio Rosso. Here he presents exceptional dishes based on local culinary traditions while using top quality locally produced ingredients. Don't hesitate to order a bottle of the estate label, Agricola San Felice, and be sure to try their Tuscan tasting menu, it is to die for!

Osteria del Castello, Gaiole in Chianti

This restaurant is part of the famous Barone Ricasoli wine estate and Castello Di Brolio. The history of the family and wine-making operation made our dinner extra special. The food was excellent, fresh ingredients with a menu that focused on the spirit of the season with traditional Tuscan aromas and flavours. Be sure to drink the estate wines - they are fabulous! If you're heading here for dinner make sure you arrive early enough to do the sunset tour of the castle before your reservation. It is well worth it!

Badia di Coltibuono, Gaiole in Chianti

This is a "destination" restaurant as it is located next to a thousand year old abbey on the top of a hill near Gaiole in Chianti. We decided to stop here for lunch instead of dinner so we could eat outside on the terrace and admire the beautiful view overlooking the Tuscan hills. The menu was typically Tuscan - excellent, fresh, simple, local and beautifully presented. The menu changes but be sure to order whatever risotto is on the menu! The staff were very knowledgeable and friendly and made us feel welcome and relaxed. This restaurant is perfection in every way. The abbey and the grounds are the perfect place to stroll around after a delicious lunch, and be sure to stop at the wine shop at the bottom of the hill and buy some olive oil!


EXPLORE.

Siena

Siena is one of Italy's most captivating medieval cities, and a trip worth making even if you are in Tuscany for just a few days. Siena's heart is its central piazza, Il Campo, known worldwide for the famous Palio di Siena, a horse race around the piazza that takes place twice every summer.

Montalcino

Located in southern Tuscany, the hill-topped town of Montalcino is one of the loveliest little wine villages, and is a fabulous place to visit during your tour of Tuscany. The road leading up to Montalcino winds through the vineyards of the producers of one of Italy's most exquisite wines, the preeminent Brunello di Montalcino. That being said, the best thing to do in Montalcino is wine tasting, and there are lots of fantastic wineries near by. Here are a few of my favourites: Casanova di Neri, Castello Banfi, Frescobaldi's Castelgiocondo Estate, and of course Bondi Santi.