Tuscany, Italy

Villa Armena

Rates from (inc tax)$178.14

Price information

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.


Baroque ’n’ roll


Surveying Siena

At Villa Armena hotel in Siena’s Crete Senesi, guests can sip Chianti in the basement wine cellar, dine on Tuscan classics in the cosy restaurant or just relax by the groovy outdoors pool, featuring eco-friendly quartz. Our favourite thing about this lovable hotel, though, is its amazing owners: Edoardo and Elena, Edoardo’s glamorous sommelier mum Laura, and their charismatic dog Franco.


Smith Extra

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Welcome drinks in the wine cellar



Need to know


10, including five suites.


12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Check-in, between 2pm–7pm; please let the hotel know if you'll be arriving later.


Double rooms from $178.14 (€164), excluding tax at 10 per cent.

Price information

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 (EUR180.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates usually include breakfast: Continental, buffet, American or à la carte.


Have a cooking lesson with the chef, who’ll instruct you in the art of making pici, Tuscany’s trademark fat sibling to spaghetti.

At the hotel

Library, free WiFi. In rooms: flatscreen TV, minibar, Etro toiletries.

Our favourite rooms

We’ve seen some sexy bathrooms in our time but the one attached to Orlando di Dinusdeo (a junior suite) made our eyes widen: glass walls, big bath tub (which can be spied from the bedroom) and a stash of antique curios atop the little cabinet. We also love the spacious stone bathroom attached to Orlando di Venusto: a sleek taupe expanse pepped up with gem-coloured Etro toiletries, and blessed with a massive bath.


There’s a pool in the gardens, surrounded by squashy grey outdoor armchairs plump with lime-coloured cushions. In typically eccentric fashion, the pool is modelled on a sandy beach: fashioned from quartz sand and sea sand, and moulded with irregular dips and sweeps.

Packing tips

Dog biscuits for Franco.


Request an in-room beauty treatment from one of the hotel’s two masseuses, who dabble in masks, scrubs, massages, manicures, peels and slimming treatments.


Over-sixes are welcome. Extra beds (€30 a night for 6–12-year olds; €50 a night for over-12s) can be added to rooms. The chefs will happily adapt menu items for younger palates.

Food and Drink


Top Table

As close to the French doors as possible, so you can drink in the garden views. If you’d rather just drink a glass of wine or two, sit in a little corner nook in the living room, beside the cabinets stuffed with glittering glassware.

Dress Code

Your baroque best: silks, acid-brights, a flash of gold or a froth of lace.

Hotel restaurant

Armena’s terracotta-coloured restaurant, Sorbo Allegro, is named after the 100-year-old rowan tree in the garden, and tables are decorated with tiny flower-filled vases and little clusters of twigs tied with ribbon, all designed by the very gorgeous Elena. There are two talented young chefs in the kitchen; their food is elegant, fun and full of flavour. Dishes make the most of the area’s natural larder: wild boar tartare, prawns with anise and purple cabbage, and risotto with saffron and liquorice powder. Everything is made on-site, including the bread, pasta, cakes, chocolate and ice-cream.


Hotel bar

There’s no formal bar as such, but there’s something even better: an atmospheric basement wine cellar, stocked with enough barrels and bottles to keep you tipsy ’til check-out. Owner Edoardo’s glamorous mum, Laura, is a seasoned wine buff: have a tasting with her in the cellar, accompanied by a plate of delicious cold cuts and cheeses. The living room has a stash of vini da meditazione (wines designed to be sipped without any accompaniment), as well as a selection of grappas and other heady spirits.


Last orders

Lunch is served between 12 and 2pm; dinner is 7pm until 10pm. Breakfast is served from 7.30am.

Room service

You can order food to your room between 8am and 10pm. Items from the restaurant menu are available between 12 and 2pm, and 7pm until 10pm – outside those timings, there’s a smaller selection.


Villa Armena
Località Armena
Buonconvento, Siena


Florence airport is 114km away, a 90-minute drive (www.aeroporto.firenze.it). British Airways (www.britishairways.com) and KLM (www.klm.com) offer flights. The other option is to fly to Pisa (Galileo Galilei) airport, which is served by more airlines from the UK (including Ryanair and British Airways).


Buonconvento is the closest station, 5km away (www.trenitalia.com). You can catch trains from here to pretty much all the main Italian cities, including Siena, Florence and Pisa.


Siena is a half-hour drive away. The hotel has plenty of free parking, and it’s a wonderful region for road trips – the pace of driving is less frenetic than in the cities. To get to Villa Armena, exit the A1 Motorway at Firenze Impruneta and follow the signs for Siena. Exit at Siena Sud and follow the signs for Buonconvento. From Buonconvento, take the SP 451 in the direction of Monte Oliveto Maggiore and then follow the signs for Villa Armena.

Worth getting out of bed for

Keen golfers have four immaculately designed courses to choose from: Valdichiana (www.golfclubvaldichiana.it), Ugolino (www.golfugolino.it), Bellosguardo (http://wp.golfbellosguardovinci.it) and Antognolla (www.antognollagolf.com). If you’d rather sip wine than hit balls, ask Edoardo to point you in the direction of a worthy wine estate (he’ll happily organise a private tour and tasting at one of his local favourites). During your stay, you’ll want to drive to Montalcino and the Val d’Orcia, for days spent exploring and eating. Drive to Chianti for the, er, Chianti, and explore Siena (a half-hour drive away). Borrow bikes and go on a tour of nearby Bagni, where there are hot springs. Back at the hotel, you can have cookery classes with the chefs or in-room beauty treatments with the resident nimble-knuckled masseuses.


Local restaurants

Try pumpkin ravioli or gnocchi with lamb at Osteria le Logge (www.giannibrunelli.it; +39 0577 48013), a popular Sienese restaurant on Via del Porrione that specialises in carb-y concoctions. The Italian-only menu will give you a chance to improve your language skills (though it’s pretty easy to work out what’s what), and there are some magnificent wines – especially if you order by the bottle. People who pop in to Enoteca Osticcio on Via Matteotti to sip Chianti tend to end up staying on for lunch or dinner, thanks to the tempting aromas wafting from the kitchen. There are great views from the window-side tables, and the food is deliciously simple: fresh pasta accompanied by the freshest of ingredients (www.osticcio.it; +39 0577 848271). Be seduced by Tre Cristi’s seven-course tasting menu, where each course features fish, and the excellent puddings, which include a flawless crème brûlée. The restaurant has romantic good looks: vaulted ceilings, exposed brick, modern lighting and a dining room that looks and feels like a church. It’s a bit more pricey than your average enoteca, but you won’t leave feeling hard done by (www.trecristi.com; +39 0577 280608).




Anonymous review

I have a confession… I don’t really like holidays. As hard as it is to believe, I simply get bored. Lying on a beach in shorts so tight you might be mistaken for a hooker, smothered in factor 900, trying desperately not to think about all the stuff you could be doing back at home is not my idea of fun. But, I’m no fool. I know that like everyone, I too, need a break from my day-to-day world. So weekend breaks have become a permanent fixture in my annual calendar. Three days away is just long enough to recharge. And where to go? Well, over the last 15 years I have been fortunate enough to experience many of Italy’s delights. The dreamy cobbled lanes of Rome, the extraordinary canals of Venice and the city buzz of Milan... But it was the spectacular views of Tuscany that prompted this weekend away.

Thankfully the drive from Florence airport to Villa Armena isn't long. Packed into my rented Fiat 500, armed with my iPod, I negotiated the right-hand side of the Tuscan highway; within moments I was a tiny little figure bombing along the Italian landscape. Rambling hills of every shade of green, vineyards stretching so far it felt as if the grapes might drop off the side of the earth, and the soothing silence complemented by this rich tapestry. Is this Tuscan idyll the place where bustle goes to rest? Possibly. So beautiful, so quiet, so far away from my usual world. No screaming near-naked chaos, just serene elegance wrapped up in breathtaking views. I had a feeling I might like this place.

After a surprisingly peaceful two-hour drive my friend and I arrived at a small village. I checked my map and saw that my hotel is tucked away at the peak of the mountain that overlooks in Buonconvento village and its inhabitants. The drive up the mountain is truly a beautiful finish to the journey. The sandy road leaves a billowing trail of dust behind you and just for a moment you're given licence to be Sophia Loren in a Fifties’ film; I fantasised that I was on my way to meet my lover…

The first thing that struck us as we entered the hotel was how quiet it was: the large orange brick and marble entrance hall had an antique desk sitting politely in the corner. Within seconds of being there, a young woman with an infectious smile appeared. She signed us in, gave us our keys and called a porter to take bags to the room. I  realised the quietness is a theme of this beautiful hotel. This place is designed for rest, somewhere to go to escape the city, somewhere to be at one with the views. Perfect!

One of the characters here is resident dog, Franco, a 40-kilo cutey. He’s even starred in an Italian TV commercial. Owners Edoardo and his partner Elena are the warmest hosts you could hope for, and Edoardo’s wine-buff mum, Laura – who conducts erudite tastings in the basement wine cellar – is equally charming. Every little detail has been considered, from the fresh fruit in rooms to the sprigs of twigs and flowers decorating tables (Elena likes to change things up, though, so you’re bound to see something different when you’re there). It is not often you meet owners like these, ones who will take you on wine tours, help you out if you get a flat tire during your stay, and keep you wined, dined and generally genial from check in ’til check out.

The porter showed me to my room; I wasn’t disappointed. A huge bed, separate lounge area, small terrace and a gorgeous bathroom with a shower big enough for the entire Italian rugby team. The decor is a delightful mix of new and old. Modern, washed neutral walls juxtaposed with traditional marble floors, dark wooden furniture and five-star bed linen.

The rest of this baroque boutique beauty is finished in this style too. Little pockets of space decorated with either old Italian books or modern art. Large comfy armchairs or Starck-esque stools… the choice is yours. The grounds surrounding the hotel are just as stylised. A pool, which looks a little more like a pond is at the centre of the space, lined by the tallest trees I’ve ever seen. Truly tranquil.

Being there in winter, I decided to drive to Siena for a sightseeing experience. (In summer, who would ever want to leave that pool?) A smallish city, this World Heritage Site is enclosed in 20-foot walls of Italian stone, and on my off-season visit there was just a handful of tourists scurrying around, and the occasional local going about their usual business... and me, a Londoner dressed in city wear, clutching tightly to my London ways.

Siena is a neat collection of hilly lanes stuffed to the hilt with Renaissance architecture/art/pasticcerie and tiny boutiques but not a whole lot more in terms of retail temptations. That is fine, I convinced myself... you are not here to shop... you are here to relax... I told myself sternly. But I didn't listen for long. Those who know me will tell you that I love to shop. I love nothing more than browsing the shelves of foreign stores, marveling at the delicate packaging, inhaling lungs full of delicious intoxications... and of course buying stuff I can’t find back home. As you can imagine I was delighted to stumble across a tiny, beautifully lit perfume store just seconds away from the main piazza. A treasure trove of little glass bottles that winked at me provocatively. Remind me why I visited this dedicated-to-romance part of the world solo? But surely the ultimate aphrodisiac must be a whirl at romantic, Renaissance Villa Armena. And the treat awaiting my senses next – dinner in its slow food restaurant, Sorbo Allegro. Now that would be a great name for a perfume.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Villa Armena’s Guestbook below.

We loved

The grounds were gorgeous - an ideal setting up in the rolling hills of Tuscany. Our room was comfortable with a nice double shower. Great breakfast. Laura is a wonderful and gracious host. Tons of great wineries around, and the concierge can help make calls.

Don’t expect

I'm sad to say the dinner was a big miss for us. I appreciate the creativity of the chef but we found the dishes very heavy-handed. Less would have been more! Though the bread was fabulous.


Stayed on 29 Aug 2016

We loved

The building - beautifully renovated and stylishly decorated and furnished Laura - so warm and friendly and works SO hard to make the hotel a success The location - a secluded spot in the Tuscan countryside The food - very imaginative if you want it, but also simple pasta if you are a bit fussy (or pregnant like me!) I particularly loved making myself a fresh carrot juice each morning at breakfast. The quietness of the rooms and the hotel itself - it really is a place to get away from it all. However it's also just a short drive away from Siena and the Val D'Orcia. Try some of the restaurants in Buonconvento; Ristorante Da Mario and La Porta Di Sotto Also venture out to Siena and eat there - a huge variety of restaurants.

Don’t expect

Constant service - the hotel is small and you are left to your own devices A big pool area - there are only 5 sets of loungers for 10 rooms however when we were there we were usually alone by the pool.


Stayed on 12 Jun 2016

We loved

Everything! The room was beautiful, the food was the best we ate in the whole 2 weeks were in Italy. The kitchen went completely over and above and cooked meals for us not on the menu. The owners were lovely, the pool fantastic. Can't reccommend enough! 

Don’t expect

To be fussed over if you don;t want to be - the owners leave you to relax and get on with it on your own but are always there if you need anything. Don't expect to want to come home!


Stayed on 24 Sep 2015

We loved

Fabulous location for traveling around and seeing various beauty spots of Tuscany. Beautiful rooms. Ten out of 10.

Don’t expect

Restaurant excellent but chef does cook as he wants it and not always innovative with sauce and vegetables. Could do with a little more creativity around the edges, I thought.


Stayed on 12 Jun 2015