Is there anyone else out there that fell in love with Tuscany for the first time after watching “Under The Tuscan Sun“? I think we’d all be surprised by how many of us see a destination on the big screen and book a holiday off the back of it. It’s probably the reason so many places offer tax breaks for Hollywood. It’s an instant ad for tourism and it works. But, back to Tuscany. It’s been romanticised a thousand different ways, and every instance is true. This is a destination that will not only leave you at a loss for words, it will also leave you seeking out a new trouser size. Yes, it’s just as much about natural beauty in this part of the world as it is eating and drinking. For one weekend, I had it all, and dare I say I had the best? Last month I was invited to experience a weekend at Fontelunga Hotel & Villas with the owners- two charming men and their four tiny yet tenacious pups- in a location not far from the site where “Under The Tuscan Sun” was filmed. I had already fallen in love with the villa from the pictures I saw online, but nothing could have prepared me for the magic I uncovered in person.
The Fontelunga Hotel & Villas are, at the time of writing, made up of three properties. For my stay, I found a home in the biggest building of the collection – The Fontelunga Villa. It should be noted that while you can simply rent one room for your stay, you can also rent out the entire villa, or in fact the entire collection of villas. Yes, weddings are popular here, so it’s not unlikely that all villas will be taken for one visiting party. Each of the villas has a pool that offers unparalleled views of the Tuscan countryside and numerous locations for sunbathing. They also feature dozens of sitting areas for sipping on a perfectly made Aperol Spritz (an Italian cocktail that is a must when visiting). While the views are outstanding, the drinks and food spectacular and the rooms sizeable and full of modern conveniences, these were only a fraction of what made Fontelunga my favourite visit to Tuscany thus far. For me, it was all about the owners – Paolo and Philip.
I feel as if you can always feel how much love has gone into any holiday destination, whether you are staying in a hotel, an airbnb or a villa in Tuscany. If the people behind the project have put their heart into its creation, your experience will reflect their passion. Fontelunga should be the Italian word for passion. Every single detail, from interior design to exterior patios placed for magnificent views, has been put together perfectly. Even the location of the villas themselves, nestled between a handful of Tuscan towns that are perfect for day trips, was thought out for visitors in order for each and every guest to experience all the region has to offer while in residence. Then there’s the food. It was enough that our itinerary, something that is offered for all guests visiting Fontelunga, was overflowing with foodie destinations outside the villas while we enjoyed our stay. But, the food at Fontelunga itself would have been enough. Breakfasts, with daily cakes freshly baked by Paolo himself, freshly brewed coffee, fresh fruit and eggs anyway you like them, set us all up nicely for a day of adventuring. We all also happened to be dog lovers and insisted upon adopting the four puppies in residence as our own for the weekend. Yes, we invited them into our laps during meals, walked them through the towns as if we were our long term partners in crime and probably would have happily slept with them under the stars if they didn’t love their own dads so much that they wouldn’t leave them. It just made the experience that more “at home.” Not to worry, however, if you aren’t a dog person. This isn’t an essential part of your stay… it was simply a part of our stay we insisted upon having after meeting the family.
To stay at Fontelunga for only a few days was a mistake. I will say that is the only thing I didn’t enjoy. The stay was too short! A week or more is required here. You get a taste of the Tuscan life and leaving it after only two days is not the way this experience is meant to work. Go with family, friends and tons of suitcases to fill with shopping – both clothing and food! Make it a yearly return and I can guarantee your family will always show up for the annual reunion. Oh, and I’m always free if you want someone to come along and sip Aperols by the pool with you.
To Paolo and Philip – a personal note, if you’ll allow me. You have created a paradise in a place that is already known for its beauty and culinary treasures. I have been to Tuscany over a dozen times in recent years and no visit came close to what this experience was for me. It is a weekend that will be treasured for years to come and I meant it when I said that should an Italian wedding be in my future, it will happen at Fontelunga and only at Fontelunga!
Rates: Rooms are available in the main Fontelunga hotel from 175EUR (approx. £155) per night, and exclusive hire of the villas is available from 1,855EUR (approx. £1,648). Discounts of up to 30% are currently available for minimum 7-night stays throughout the summer months – please find further information here
Booking: Contact email@example.com or call +39 0575 660 410
Here’s a look at our stay and the places we visited along the way. If you do check into the Fontelunga, they will help you create the perfect itinerary for all you want to see and do while in residence. Leave it to the experts and I promise they will deliver on the most dreamy experience.