A holiday with extended family in Tuscany is something many of us have short-lived fantasies about before claustrophobic memories of holidays with parents and the inevitable reality-check of hectic life as a parent kick in. However, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater so to speak! There is a romantic medieval Tuscan hamlet, Borgo Lucignanello Bandini, that sits on the Val d’ Orcia below Siena, where 3 generations can comfortably hire Contessa Piccolomini’s stunning self-catering apartments or villa to fulfill that dream holiday in Tuscany.
Everything on the Doorstep or Within Easy Reach
Flower-lined terraced gardens to explore whilst taking in drop dead delectable vistas that stretch across the heart of white truffle land up to Mont Amiata, gorgeous boutique towns like Monitisi on the doorstep to wander around, and just a 30 minute drive to Montepulciano to sip wonderful Vino Nobile “at source” has to be an irresistible proposition for adults.
Children have a swallow-shaped pool to dip into if you hire the villa if not there is the infinity pool to share, peacocks to walk with in the freshness of early morning and a stone lion to roar at, examine and/or get crayons out to draw. Families can enjoy what must be one of the most scenic barbecue areas on the planet and, depending on age, bicycles to explore the classic Tuscan rolling landscape can be hired and brought to your door.
The airy apartments and villa have been beautifully restored & decorated; a fine exchange has seen a canny NY interior designer hunt out and furnish the spaces with tasteful pieces rather than focus on traditional heavy antiques in exchange for a stay at the borgo. These are generally at a level that small toddler hands shouldn’t be able to access, crash, bang, wallop. Drifting off to sleep in a large, very comfortable bed with the scent of fresh flowers guarantees a restful night after a day exploring southern Tuscany. Apartment gifts include an extremely moreish, moist chocolate cake that is sure to get both child and parents to indulgently have their cake, and even eat it for breakfast.
Relaxing & Tasty Treats
For Mamas and Papas needing a little tlc do try one of Lalla’s hot oil Ayurveda massages, heartily recommended. This was my first massage since giving birth and she made me feel so relaxed and I woke up feeling so refreshed the day after. If you fancy an evening drink there is a small deli style shop run by the borgo’s oldest resident Rita with a great and what seemed v popular shaded gazebo with tables to drink at and enjoy a plate of local salumi and cheeses.
Discovering Italian Ancestry
Many people in their rush to discover their Italian ancestry immerse themselves in Rome and the Renaissance when in the old country. A fantastic experience but not one which necessarily gives a feel for Italy’s social-economic history spun around the life of mezzadria, the feudal like subsistence sharecropping system that was reformed in the early 1950s.
The Piccolomini noble family were for a while Siena’s rivals to the Medici and the borgo has been part of their estate since 1458. As you sit admiring the view at the borgo, you can read and imagine the life for the 400 inhabitants that once used to work the estate’s land through the original Piccolomini annual folio ledgers that date back to 1785.
Their seasonal toil and share is carefully noted and was obviously valuable enough for Mussolini’s fascists to visit the borgo and fresco words that still remain on the barn “La scienza, la volontà, la fede, possono attenuare gli effetti delle forze non benefiche della natura scritta ai tempi” (With science, will and faith it’s possible to cushion the force of nature). Nowadays, the borgo’s remaining full-time residents outside the lovely Contessa Angelica Piccolomini Naldi Bandini who uses the borgo as her summer base, are the Sri Lankan caretaker’s family and deli Rita, hence why it is really such a tranquil village where you really can really wake up and hear songbirds.
Rates to stay at the Contessa’s apartments range from €149 up to €729 per day, weddings can be arranged for a minimum of a 3-night stay starting at €8000 for exclusive use of the borgo.
Borgo Lucignanello Bandini official website
My weekend stay at the borgo was organised by Italy Traveller who specialise in providing luxury and boutique hotels across Italy and arranged a blogger tour to discover this part of southern Tuscany BUT all opinions are my own as are all photographs