2022 discoveries: Tuscany
Tuscany is a destination that all of us at Bella Vita love and visit frequently. 2022 was no exception! As we wrap up our first year back to “normal” travel, we are sharing some of our favorite discoveries of the year. Some of these places are old friends that we revisited, some of them are new places to stay or dine. Regardless, we cannot wait to share them with you!
Part of what makes us so special is that the places we send our clients are places that we know, that we visit, and that we have experienced ourselves. This firsthand, local knowledge sets Bella Vita apart from the others. Its one of the most challenging – and fun – parts of our job!
Here are some of our top finds in Tuscany this year!
Our favorite hotels in Tuscany
Ad Astra, Florence: Christine
This beautiful old mansion overlooks the largest private gardens in Europe. It’s a peaceful respite from the city, and feels like you are staying in your own (incredibly well decorated) private home. A stay this year with my 3-year old was a dream! The gardens and outdoor space (including our terrace) were perfect with a little one. It’s also a short walk from the city center and an even shorter walk from some of my personal favorite restaurants in the Oltrarno. Each room is chic and unique, quirky details seamlessly blended with understated luxury. A great discovery in one of my favorite cities!
Borgo Pignano, Volterra, Tuscany
My new favorite hotel (and area!) in Tuscany. Nestled between Volterra and San Gimignano, it is a beautifully restored hamlet, sitting in 320 hectares of farmland, rolling vineyards, and shady arbors filled with lavender, rosemary, and wisteria. It is also an organic working estate that produces most of the ingredients served in its restaurants, including a biodynamic Chianti wine, flour, and honey!
They offer cooking lessons, painting and soap-making classes. You can easily explore the area from the coast to Chianti if you like, but hanging out at the panoramic pool carved out of limestone is also an excellent option. We stayed in one of the maisonettes with our friends, a lovely two-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom stone dwelling mixed with old-world charm and plenty of modern amenities to feel a sense of rustic luxury. I could have easily spent a week here, but for those traveling throughout Italy, give yourselves at least 3 nights.
Borgo San Vincenzo, Montepulciano
The Val D’Orica has a new property bound to please the many wine lovers visiting the region. Borgo San Vicenzo has only 21 rooms and suites with views of the UNESCO-recognized Val d’Orcia hills from just about anywhere on the property. The look and feel are rustic but upscale with touches of luxury such as Italian linens and Acqua dell’Elba toiletries. They have a restaurant serving traditional Tuscan dishes and a fantastic bar (called The Flying Monk Bar!) which offers a classic cocktail aperitivo and wine tastings. There’s also a wine cellar, a second outdoor bar, a cozy library, a lovely pool area plus a panoramic terrace with a fire pit and fantastic views over the countryside. Let their on-site “experience concierge” help you plan out fun activities in the area (cooking classes, wine tasting, e-bike excursions and more).
Restaurants in Tuscany
La Tana del Pirata, Marina di Castagnietto Carducci & Osteria Magona, Bolgheri: Christine
It’s no secret that the region of Bolgheri is one of my favorites in Italy. The combination of sea and vineyards and some of my favorite wines in the world makes this area a place I visit several times a year.
I never miss a trip to the always spectacular Osteria Magona. The wine list is out of this world. The service, especially by Manuel, never misses a beat. He knows exactly what wines to recommend! And the food is Tuscan countryside perfection.
My friends here (we have been coming for years) recommended lunch at La Tana del Pirata. This beach front restaurant has idyllic seaside dining, spectacular fresh seafood and an amazing wine list. All together, this is my new favorite stop for lunch when I’m on the Tuscan coast. Steak or fish, here are two choices you cannot miss!
Pane & Vino: Osteria del Mare, Castiglione della Pescaia: Christine
This wasn’t my initial choice for a restaurant on a family trip to charming Castiglione. There were several Michelin places I really wanted to try. However, my hotel concierge pushed us to book this alternative and I am so glad we did. We were a big group – 3 adults and 5 (yes, 5) little girls under the age of 6. The setting was relaxed and elegant, the service was friendly (and not scared of all these kids). The food, however, was the show stopper. Fresh fish prepared in some unique twists, wonderful presentation. Each plate was more beautiful than the next! I was very happily surprised by this restaurant and cannot wait to come back.
Le Cannucce, Castiglione della Pescaia: Christine
This beach club has an unassuming but very good, informal restaurant on the sea. Simple dishes that change daily (the spaghetti with local tiny clams was spectacular) and a lunch right on the water is a dream come true. The beach club is also a great choice for families. In Tuscany, the long stretch of shallow sea and few waves made it a dream day for families with little kids.
Tuscany, tailor made
We hope you enjoyed some of our newest finds (and some old friends) in one of our favorite regions of Italy. This is an area that is close to our hearts, and one we visit frequently. That’s the tailor made difference.
Contact us to start planning your tailor made vacation today!