In the tiny, charming village of Moncioni, a 15-minute drive from Montevarchi, Villa Sassolini overlooks a picturesque valley of undulating Tuscan hills.
The closest airport is Florence, an hour away by car. For more choice, Pisa, Perugia and Bologna airports are only half an hour further. From Pisa airport, you can take a two-hour train (changing in Florence) to the nearby station San Giovanni Valdarno, from which a 20-minute taxi ride will take you to the villa.
Montevarchi-Terranuova Station is a 15-minute drive from the hotel, and San Giovanni Valdarno station is a 20-minute drive. Direct trains from both reach Florence in 50 minutes and Arezzo in half an hour. For information on trains in Italy, see Trenitalia (www.trenitalia.com)
Villa Sassolini is located 20 minutes from the A1, Italy’s main North–South motorway. You’ll need to take the Montevarchi exit and then follow signs for Pestello and San Tomme, continuing through these towns and straight on until you reach Moncioni. Perfectly situated between Florence and Siena (50 minutes by car to either), the hotel's within easy driving distance of several towns on the Tuscan trail; San Gimignano, Montepulciano, Pienza and Arezzo are all 45–90 minutes away.
Worth getting out of bed for
Villa Sassolini’s lavender-fringed pool and romantic gardens certainly have their charms, but if you'd like to pick up a little Tuscan kitchen wizadry, request cookery lessons with the chef (must be booked one day in advance, by 6pm). Held in the spa building, the two-to-three-hour classes start at either 10am or 11am (for up to four guests), and you'll learn how to craft Italian staples such as handmade ravioli and gnocchi, tomato and bolognese sauce and pastries. This tranquil corner of Tuscany has plenty to offer active types, too. Take a pleasant walk through the surrounding woods or borrow a bike to meander down country lanes. Nearby, the English-run Rendola Riding Stables (+39 0559 707 045) offers lessons, short hacks and Chianti tours; experienced riders can visit abbeys, vineyards and Romanesque churches on horseback. Further afield, the bucolic towns of Radda and Greve are a must-visit for wine lovers. Just under an hour away by car, the 11th-century Castello di Brolio is one of the oldest wine producers in the world; sample Chianti Classico and take a stroll through the delightful Italian gardens. Temptingly, the Prada outlet near Arezzo is just a 15-minute drive away; if you’re left with any spare luggage space after a jaunt there, Leccio’s sprawling The Mall is a good place to stock up on discounted Gucci, Pucci and Ferragamo.
Osteria Locanda II Canto del Maggio in Terranuova (+39 0559 705 147) is a family-run restaurant set in a wild garden, famous for its goose pappardelle and home-made desserts. Fontebussi on Borgo di Fontebussi in Cavriglia (+39 055 916 811) serves traditional Tuscan dishes and has great views from the terrace. Osteria di Starda, in Starda Castle in Gaiole (+39 0577 734 100) is set in the vaulted cellars and has a traditional menu.