Worth getting out of bed for
Go roaming around the gardens, admiring the olive trees (there are more than 900), where five types of olive flourish: Frantoio, Moraiolo, Correggiola, Leccino and Pendolino. Ask staff to give you a tutorial or guided tour, if you want to learn more about the production process (or just make a note to dip bread in a glug or two, in the restaurant). Further afield, there’s plenty to keep you busy. Head to Florence, Siena, Pisa or Arezzo for mediaeval splendour and Chianti countryside. Montepulciano, Cortona, Pienza and Chiusi are an hour’s drive away. Visit wineries (start with Avignosi or Contucci), go on a balloon ride in Siena or have a canoeing or kayaking adventure in Lago Trasimeno (staff can arrange any of the activities mentioned above).
Wood-panelled walls, arched brick ceiling, crisp white linen and candelight: La Solita Zuppa (+39 0578 21006; www.lasolitazuppa.it) on Via Porsenna in Chiusi is a romantic setting for antipasti, pinci and Chianti. The osteria sticks to the traditional dishes of the region – minus some of the duck fat – aiming for modern but authentic Tuscan cuisine. Osteria del Teatro (+39 0575 630556; www.osteria-del-teatro.it) on Via Maffei in Cortona, Arezzo, has a dining room that dates back 500 years, a cosy feel and an intriguing menu: try chicory-and-ricotta-stuffed pasta, gnocchi with duck and rosemary, or artichoke risotto. There are some wildcards too: pork fillets with coffee and apple, or pigeon with black cherries, for example. If you like the idea of eating in a mediaeval convent’s former prison, head to La Frateria di Padre Eligio (+39 0578 238261; www.lafrateria.com) at Convento di San Francesco Cetona in Chiusi. The menu is hand-written, bread is baked daily, the olive oil is milled using old millstones – basically, it’s all pretty darn authentic.