Get this when you book through us:
A bottle of local wine
Rates from (inc tax)$204.36 If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days. Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (21EUR), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.
If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.
Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (21EUR), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.
Get this when you book through us:
A bottle of local wine
Six, including four suites.
10.30am; check-in from 4pm to 8pm.
Double rooms from $204.36 (€182), excluding tax at 10 per cent.
If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days. Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR200.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.
Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR200.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.
Gardens and free WiFi. In rooms: organic Lorenzo Villoresi bath products.
Stake out Rosso Tramonto for inspiring views from its three windows. Alternatively, if you crave space, spread yourselves across Verde Intenso’s three rooms, each on a separate level, with an original stone staircase.
Wellington boots for Follonico farm life; Giambattista Basile’s Italian fairy tales, known as the Pentamerone; a shirt or dress in one of the hotel’s intense Crayola colours, such as aquamarine, rose or violet.
Keen to bring your dog? Speak to the owners in advance to arrange.
Little Smiths are welcome and cots are free.
Little Smiths are welcome and cots are free.
There’s no restaurant – all the more reason to explore the area’s bounty of dining options – but cooking classes can be arranged for a minimum six people (€75 for four courses and wine) and cold meals of meat, cheese and garden-grown veg are available between April and October. Breakfast is pretty special though; all the treats – cheese, meat, yoghurt, jam, fruit, and so on – are sourced within 15km of Follonico, and a selection of freshly baked breads are delivered daily from a bakery in Pienza.
There’s an honesty bar in the breakfst room, with beer and soft drinks, including a few local wines: Brunello di Montalcino, Nobile di Montepulciano and Chianti
None, so raid the delis in Montefollonico and Montepulciano for supplies. (Panforte, cantucci and orange-infused riciarelli biscuits, or local cheeses and cured meats will whet your appetite.)
Perugia is the closest airport, a 65-minute drive from the hotel. Ryanair (www.ryanair.com) offers flights from Stansted; you can also fly in from Milan or Barcelona (Girona). Alternatively, fly into Florence, about an hour and a half away.
Torrita di Siena is 10 minutes away by car, connecting to Siena and Chiusa (www.trenitalia.com).
The hotel is 5km from Montepulciano and Montefollonico. There is plenty of free parking for guests.
Impress the folks back home by taking a cookery class (ask the owners to organise). Suzanne and Fabio are also more than happy to help arrange an impromptu picnic in the grounds, and will provide cutlery and crockery. The Val D’Orcia region contains the hill town of Montalcino (renowned for its Brunello wine) and Pienza, a World Heritage Cultural Landscape and impressively preserved Renaissance town. Montepulciano has won global acclaim for its wonderful red wines; Montefollonico is worth exploring for its mediaeval architecture. Siena is only 30–45 minutes away, and is famous for its art galleries, museums, restaurants, historic architecture, and palio (horse race) held on 2 July and 16 August.
La Chiusa (+39 (0)5 77 66 96 68; www.ristorantelachiusa.com), at 88 via della Madonnina, Montefollonico, is another picturesque Tuscan farmhouse, serving local specialities in its rustic restaurant. Try traditional dishes such as duck with wild fennel, potato pie, and marinated goose. (If you walk here from Follonico, you might have room for pannacotta. Might.) Sample home-made pasta at Osteria del Conte (+39 (0)5 78 75 60 62) at 19 via di San Donato, Montepulciano. Pici – a sort of fat spaghetti – is the area’s most renowned variety; team your pici con ragu or tagliata con rosmarino with a glass of Rosso di Montepulciano. Ristorante 13 Gobbi (+39 (0)5 77 66 97 55) at 5 via Lando has perfected pici in duck sauce. Food is the focus; decor and service are casual and frill-free. Osteria La Botte Piena (+39 (0)5 77 66 94 81) at 12 piazza Dionisa Cinughi, Montefollonico, is popular for its pecorino-laden cuisine. Even the bruschette are impressive: toppings include truffled lardo, livers, pecorino with spicy pear jam, and pecorino with anchovies. You’ll be vying with the locals to eat here, so be sure to book.
It’s good to suffer hardships: they make rewards feel more deserved. If someone had uttered those words to me, as I sat in the hospital waiting room in Florence, I would have told them to rot in hell, in all the languages at my command. So, in one language.
Mrs Smith and I were on a run of bad luck. While running for a train, that morning, in oh-so-glamorous central Hackney, Mrs Smith had leapt down the stairs, knee-first. The cracking noise as she landed had made the station master turn pale. Only adrenalin carried Mrs Smith, limping, on to our flight, and by the time we’d landed, her leg had expanded to resemble a joint of prosciutto. She couldn’t walk. Of our two-day holiday, we spent most of the first day in L’Ospedale di Firenze, getting X-rays. In other news, I’d lost my wallet and my driving licence, but that didn’t matter that much, since there were no hire cars left anyway.
Like I said, it’s good to suffer hardships. Well, it’s good, as long as your reward is getting to spend time at Follonico: a beautifully restored 200-year-old farmhouse hidden away in a Tuscan valley with panoramic views of astonishing countryside. Hobbling out of our taxi, we were greeted by the warm welcome of Follonico’s lovely owners – Suzanne and Fabio.
They considerately offered us the ground-floor Alba Chiara suite – a delightful double room and bathroom separated by an adjoining gallery or loggia with stone floors and exposed beams. The suite is decorated sparely and elegantly, in keeping with all the rooms in the house. A vintage dress and hat hang beside an antique day-bed, there’s an ancient wooden chest for our belongings, and walls and surfaces are adorned with photos of the stars of Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, a film we’d watched for the first time – and loved – just a few days before.
With Mrs Smith’s leg iced and propped up on two plump cushions, we relaxed into a stupendous night’s sleep. The bedlinen is apparently hand-woven by a family one village over, and the mattress and pillows were made not of feathers, nor foam, but of an unknown material that we were too busy peacefully sleeping on to bother accurately identifying. (Later, we’re told the mattress is a ‘spring-independent’ one, though we’re none the wiser.)
Pushing open our French windows in the morning, we saw Follonico in full daylight for the first time. In every direction were vineyards and olive groves dotted with bushy cypresses. The picturesque hilltop villages of Montefollonico and Montepulciano perched alluringly on the horizon.
Follonico, as Suzanne was careful to point out, is a home, not a hotel. There are just six guest rooms, and all visitors eat a simple breakfast together in the family dining room with Suzanne, Fabio and their three adorable children. There was wildlife everywhere. That morning, the family cat had brought in a tiny baby bunny rabbit. Several guests had brought their dogs with them, and the polite breakfast conversation was matched with the strange gurglings of the frogs in the pond just outside. It is also apparently not uncommon to see deer, wild boar and porcupines roaming freely.
After breakfast, as we contemplated our immobility, basking in the deck chairs on the terrace outside our room, we were approached by two thoughtful visitors from NYC who took pity on Mrs Smith and offered to take us on a day of adventure in their hire car.
We drove through hills so green and skies so blue that it brought to mind – for any person who has spent too long in front of their laptop – the Windows XP screen saver. When we stopped in Pienza, a sweet eighth-century town, groups of Italian teenagers took time out from snogging sessions to gawp at Mrs Smith’s ‘ham leg’. In Bagno Vignoni – a tiny spa town – the highlight of our exceptional lunch was a dish of warm figs, covered in thinly sliced lardo (that’s ham fat, in Italian) and drizzled in honey.
Getting lost a few times along the way was, as Suzanne correctly pointed out, a joy in itself. We ended the afternoon in the enchanting company of Katya, an expat Londoner who had settled in Tuscany to make wine: the prestigious Brunello di Montalcino. As she took us around her organic farm, San Polino, her passion and charm were enough to convince us each to buy several bottles of the 2006 vintage.
That evening, on Fabio’s recommendation, we ate at another Montefollonico establishment – Ristorante 13 Gobbi. In the middle of the restaurant was an immense, open-topped wheel of pecorino cheese with a glass dome suspended above it. Should you order the tagliatelle with pecorino (and you’d be foolish not to), the waiter brings out a serving of steaming home-made pasta and tosses it directly in the round of cheese before serving it to you. At the end of the night, the glass cloche is gently lowered. It was so simple yet so ingenious; much the same appeal at Follonico. There is flair and imagination everywhere, but nothing is overdone. It was perfect. Indeed, if you have any hardships that need rewarding – a paper cut, say, or a slightly delayed bus – then I wholeheartedly recommend you spend a curative stay in the care of Suzanne and Fabio.
Reviewed by Joe Dunthorne, writer
The scenery and small towns. Recommend a restaurant in the nearby town, very close drive - La Botte Piana Piazza Dionisia Cinughi, 12, 53049 Montefollonico SI, Italy
You'll need to drive to restaurants nearby for lunch and dinner
The hosts, the room, the vintage decor, the breakfasts and local restaurants - La Botte Piena in particular - and the hike to get there (which meant we earnt the feast!) and the moonlit walk (downhill) back. Highly recommended. Excellent E-guide book provided by hosts. Recommend Osteria La Botte Piena, and the 2010 Brunello Di Montalcino
A swimming pool or a TV Don't expect a dog-free welcome! :)
Fantastic hosts compliment a beautiful place. A truly wonderful experience. We would definitely return.
This is not Rome. It is perfect example of Tuscany.
The setting in the vineyards, and at night the lights of Montepulciano not far away, yet so far in ambiance. Fabio and Suzan are attentive hosts, and their suggestions were perfectly geared to our own taste. And we were provided with a Sat Nav with all their recommendations in the "Favourite" section, which made it very easy to find our way to what we wanted to see and taste. Our room was great, the comfort impeccable, the attention to details excellent - and the breakfast a perfect blend of local specialties (cheese and ham) and - if you need - international items. Too bad we only stayed 2 nights.
A restaurant on site - which means you will need to explore the great trattorias around.
Everything about Follonico we loved! The decor, the animals, scenery, and our host. A truly stunning place.
Typical hotel service it is much more laid back, but you are catered to very well.
The very warm welcome of the two owners, the style and the view of our room, the location in the middle of nowhere but close to a lot of cute places and the breakfast...etc
Crazy nights going out! This place is perfect only for families or couples that want to visit and enjoy the easiness of the area and taste amazing food!
Fabio and Suzane's welcoming, clean and gorgeous rooms views outside our windows, lovely breakfast that's fresh from the garden and local farms, and finally the wine culture around the area. It's perfect for a romantic getaway for two or just two good friends who want to adventure out and experience Tuscan wine culture.
Easy roads up to the B B. The road up to Follonico is gravel but it's still worth staying here. Neighboring towns take 20-40 minutes to get too. Even if the map shows 5km it's 20 minutes!
The beautifully decorated space and grounds, and incredibly charming hosts. Their guide to tuscany was incredible and made our trip. Wonderful people.
Lunch and dinner, urban hustle and bustle.