Worth getting out of bed for
Borgo Santo Pietro can arrange cookery lessons, wine-tasting sessions and other activities. Watch out for open-air opera performances in the roofless remains of the Cistercian abbey of San Galgano (www.sangalgano.org) – tickets are scarce though, so book in advance. There are many legends associated with the abbey and its hermitage, including fanciful knights' tales – there's even a sword embedded in stone (reputed to predate the story of Excalibur) preserved in the neo-Etruscan hermitage, where there is also a wonderful fresco cycle by Sienese master Ambrogio Lorenzetti.
The coastal plain, spa towns, and beautiful beaches of Maremma – Tuscany on sea, if you will – constitute a secret corner of the country that's largely bypassed by the crowds that flock to Florence and Siena. It's within an hour's drive of Palazzetto. Maremma is also becoming a popular golfing destination, with a very attractive course at Punta Ala.
You're also perfectly located for exploring the vineyards of Chianti; see our Tuscany destination guide for more ideas.
The village of Palazzetto is only a five-minute walk away, where you'll find a local pizzeria with a wood-burning oven at the Albergo Ristorante il Palazzetto (+39 0577 751160). Otherwise, your best bet dinner-wise is probably the town of Monticiano, or Siena, a half-hour drive away, where there are some fantastic restaurants. For more suggestions, see our Tuscany destination guide (or ask staff at Borgo Santo Pietro for their recommendations).
On the walking route between San Galgano and Monticiano is Salendo Wine Bar, a local place serving cold Tuscan specialities and wine – perfect for a lingering lunch on a sunny day.
June–August A season of choral, classical and operatic events at San Galgano abbey (www.festivalopera.it). July/August The two Palio dates in Siena see bareback horsemen fight tooth and hoof to win the race round the Campo (www.paliosiena.com).
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A free massage each
From the Guestbook…
BSP is stunning. We were given an upgrade from a junior suite to a suite which was lovely and totally unexpected, and our suite was beautiful. The decor of the hotel as a whole was...more