Tuscany’s hidden gems
Posted on: 28 September 2012 by Laura Wilkins
There are some areas of beautiful Tuscany that are often forgotten which offer spectacular scenery and calm contemplation away from the hustle and bustle of the major cities
Italy is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world attracting around 43 million visitors each year and Tuscany is the jewel in its crown, home to vastly popular cities such as Florence, regarded as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and Pisa with its iconic leaning tower.
However there are some areas of this wonderful region that are often forgotten which offer spectacular scenery and calm contemplation away from the hustle and bustle of the major cities.
Tuscany Now has put together a selection of Tuscany’s hidden gems and a selection of villas in Tuscany from where you can explore some and enjoy the ultimate in peace and tranquillity.
The Monte Argentario coastline, once called Mons Argentum, is spectacular and the nearby fishing village of Porto Santo Stefano provides the nearest shops whilst Capalbio, on the mainland is a 40-minute drive, as are the seaside hiking trails of the Monti dell’Uccellina nature reserve.
Top villa pick
Villa Mons Argentum offers its guests the perfect viewing platform of the coastline. An ample terrace opens out to the coast with a private swimming pool and garden laced with “Macchia”, an attractive Mediterranean shrub. Above the villa there is a terrace which contains a private gym, hydro massage shower, Turkish bath and an external hot tub to aid wellbeing and relaxation.
You may not want to leave this delightfully isolated paradise but the lovely Maremma hill town of Magliano in Toscana, 45 minutes’ drive inland is well worth a visit. Magliano is surrounded by archaeological sites and Etruscan necropolises that remain proof, not only of its ancient existence, but also of its importance during the Iron Age and the Roman Empire
Top Villa pick
Set high above the sea and within earshot of the waves breaking below is the sunny farmhouse La Maddalena. The views from either side are beautiful, with orchards, vineyards and terraced olive groves on one side and deep blue sea punctuated by the island of Giannutri on the other. The house itself is typical of a Tuscan farmhouse with stone walls, beamed ceilings and terracotta floors but with the added bonus of floor-to-ceiling windows facing the sea maximising the view.
A more peaceful setting would be hard to find; the Maremma is a place of open skies and vast rolling fields. The stunning green expanse of the Maremma countryside is not only an allure for those searching for an un-spoilt beauty, but also for those with historic interests. Dotting the countryside are a handful of pretty towns including Scansano, known for Morellino (its excellent red wine) and olive oil.
Where to stay
If you need a base to explore this charming region then I Poggi is an ideal choice. Full of warmth and charm, I Poggi is a rambling stone farmhouse that has been restored with tremendous attention to detail. Lying within a working farm estate, the property is surrounded by acres of farmlands, home to a magnificent herd of long-horned Maremma cattle. If you want to stay put you’ll still be able to take it all in from the stunning swimming pool with an infinity edge that can be lit at night.
Situated at the eastern edge of the Chianti wine-producing area, Montegonzi. Known for its food and wine, not to mention splendid scenery, Montegonzi could not be better designed and located for a holiday that combines lazy days of dolce far niente with sightseeing in some of the most attractive areas of Tuscany. For example the small yet perfectly formed hamlet of Montegonzi with its narrow, cobbled streets is rich in history. A visit to its ancient fortress or the church of St. Peter will not disappoint. Also not to be missed is the Thursday morning market at Montevarchi where you can buy some beautiful Tuscan produce to eat back at the villa!
Where to stay
Set within four hundred acres of private land on the slopes of Monti del Chianti, Il Cortile Pratolino is a large and striking 18th century farmhouse. The courtyard is framed by the main house and captures the sun perfectly during the day, whilst at night the shady dining loggia lends itself to long al fresco meals with unforgettable views over the Tuscan hills