TUSCANY

San Gimignano

San Gimignano is a place that seems tailor-made for a farm stay; it's a small town, there's no train service, and it's surrounded by rolling Tuscan hills. Some of the best San Gimignano visits involve staying outside the historic town walls anyway, so choosing an agriturismo in San Gimignano just makes sense.

Palagetto di Sotto

\Palagetto di Sotto

The Agriturismo Niccolai group operates several properties around San Gimignano, including Palagetto di Sotto, a farmhouse on a hill surrounded by rows of vines and olive trees. The farmhouse has been renovated to offer five rooms – each very simply decorated but boasting views over those orderly agricultural rows – plus a more contemporary loft-style independent suite in a separate building.

The farm produces extra virgin olive oil and wine under the Azienda Agricola Palagetto label. Guests can enjoy guided tours of the farm, wine cellar, and olive oil mill, as well as guided tastings of the estate's wines. The outdoor pool enjoys the same expansive views of vineyards and olive trees, not to mention other nearby farmhouses, and dinner – served in the former barnyard under the stars in summer – can be added for a fee. And all of this lies a short 800 meters (less than one-half mile) from San Gimignano.

 

L'Agriturismo La Lucciolaia

La Lucciolaia

Another property in the Agriturismo Niccolai family, L'Agriturismo La Lucciolaia, has an enviable position atop a hill, from which you can look across at the towers of San Gimignano roughly seven kilometers (4.34 miles) away. There are nine rooms in the renovated farmhouse at La Lucciolaia, each individually decorated with unique artwork and sturdy old ceiling beams painted a fresh, light color.

While there are vineyards and olive groves all around La Lucciolaia, the estate's main wine cellar and olive mill are eight kilometers (4.97 miles) away. Guests are invited to join guided tours of the farm, wine cellar, and olive mill, and to join guided tastings of the estate's extra virgin olive oil and wines. La Lucciolaia has an outdoor swimming pool in the midst of vineyards, and dinners of traditional Tuscan dishes are available for an extra fee.

 

Agriturismo Cesani

Agriturismo Cesani

Azienda Agricola Biologica Cesani is an organic farm six kilometers (3.72 miles) from San Gimignano with 10 rooms in the main building, plus an apartment in a separate building. Each room at Agriturismo Cesani reflects a simple Tuscan country style – understated furnishings and rustic features like exposed brick walls – and there are vineyards and rows of olive trees as far as the eye can see. You can even see the towers of San Gimignano in the distance.

The current Cesani owners are the third generation to farm olive oil and wine on the estate, and introduced saffron farming to their land in 1999 in an effort to revive an old local tradition. Guests are welcome on guided tours of the farm and wine cellar. There's an outdoor pool and grill (guests can make use of items from the kitchen garden), and you can also arrange a guided tour of the area with a member of the family.

 

Siena

Most visitors consider themselves lucky to score lodging in the historic center of Siena, but there's another option – an agriturismo stay a short distance from that medieval center, giving you a countryside retreat and proximity to everyone's favorite Tuscan city.

Agriturismo Marciano

Agriturismo Marciano

Agriturismo Marciano and its farm estate are a short two kilometers (1.24 miles) from Siena's city walls. The family-run organic farm produces wine and extra virgin olive oil on more than 56 acres of land, and the agriturismo's five rooms and one suite are in the renovated 18th century farmhouse. Original features like exposed ceiling beams and wood or terra cotta floors compliment modern updates like freshly-painted walls, en suite bathrooms, and air conditioning.

Dinners are available upon request for an additional fee and cooking lessons are offered for small groups of 2-6 people. Guests can tour the winery, taste the estate's wines, and even get lessons in vine growing and wine making. If you visit during the harvest, you can lend a helping hand, too. Best of all, the proximity to Siena gives guests two holidays in one – a country retreat and a city break.

 

Montepulciano

The Tuscan hill town of Montepulciano is famous for its Vino Nobile wine, prized among the world's wine lovers. The little town center is eminently pedestrian-friendly, and wine tasting opportunities abound.

Agriturismo Le Caggiole

Agriturismo Le Caggiole

The Martinelli family operates Agriturismo Le Caggiole, offering three bedrooms and two apartments in their renovated farmhouse. The estate – which produces a Vino Nobile of its own, as well as extra virgin olive oil, saffron, honey, and fruit jams – is only 1.5 kilometers (just under one mile) from Montepulciano, with sweeping views over those quintessentially Tuscan hills.

Dinners prepared by Martinelli matriarch Mamma Ornella are available for an additional fee, and she also teaches cooking classes. The original stonework of the dining room walls has been left visible, giving family-style dinners a truly rustic atmosphere. Guests can tour the farm with members of the family, and there is a partnership with the Chianciano Terme Spa Wellness Centre seven kilometers (4.34 miles) away giving guests a discounted rate on spa services.

 

Saturnia-Manciano

The spa town of Saturnia in southern Tuscany is incredibly small, and yet it's been well-known since ancient Etruscan times for its natural hot springs.

Agriturismo Fontenuova

Agriturismo Fontenuova

Agriturismo Fontenuova, overlooking a river valley and a patchwork of hilly fields, is in the fertile Maremma region of southern Tuscany just outside Saturnia. The farmhouse – all vine-covered stones on the outside; terra cotta floors, dark wood beams, and antique door handles inside – is in the midst of roughly 74 acres of its own organic farmland producing extra virgin olive oil, wine, and fruit jams.

Accommodation at the agriturismo is separated into two areas: a farmhouse building with several rooms, and a complex of three self-catering buildings plus a building with a large kitchen and dining hall for shared use. Fontenuova has two swimming pools, a stable full of horses, and an assortment of games for children. Breakfast is included (unless you book a self-catering building), and dinner can be organized for an additional fee.

 

UMBRIA

Orvieto

Tuscany still gets all the press, but Umbria – right next door – is equally enticing with rolling green hillsides and medieval villages. Orvieto is one such village, perched atop a hill of tufa, a porous rock made from volcanic ash.

Agriturismo Antica Olivaia

Antica Olivaia pool

The stone farmhouse at the center of Agriturismo Antica Olivaia dates from the 17th century, and sits just a few kilometers from the town of Orvieto. This organic farm is situated inside a nature reserve, and – as the name suggests – it's a place where olive trees have been cultivated for centuries.

There are six rooms available in the main house, and many of the house's original features such as stone walls and antique door hardware have been preserved. The estate includes 650 ancient olive trees, an organic garden, and an outdoor swimming pool. You can visit the animal farm next door, take cooking classes with owner and resident touring-musician-turned-chef Marco, and even get a massage in your room. Family-style dinner – served a few nights each week – can be arranged in advance for an additional fee.