The first pleasure of staying at Poderuccio comes even before you arrive, for the road to this lovely farmhouse takes you through the picturesque Crete Senese, the clay hills south of Siena, undoubtedly one of the most photographed drives in Tuscany. The rolling hills and receding horizons, emerald green until May and then golden throughout the summer, are unadorned but for the occasional ribbon of cypresses, a cluster of sheep and the lunar clay outcrops sculpted by the wind. Set on its own hillside, Poderuccio enjoys such breathtaking panoramas, yet is encircled with olive trees, flowering shrubs and the reassuring hum of agricultural life.... And here, in this large restored farmhouse, where rooms have remained generous and laced with light, one seems to breathe a bit better. The owners, with an infectious delight at living here, have let the magic of their surroundings inspire their creativity and the wide brick and stone structure facing the pool is a well-equipped artist's atelier, which guests, with a little bit of guidance, are also welcome to use.
Ideally organized for family gatherings of all generations, Poderuccio has several entrances into its generous interiors. One leads directly into a study full of books, beyond which is a comfortable living room with space for many to gather to enjoy music, TV or each other's conversation. The fact that there is a small shower room ensuite and that one of the sofas is a sofa bed allows accommodation for the guest who decided at the last minute. A large art-filled dining room off the study has a table for 10 and a corner fireplace and the well-equipped kitchen under the wide arch has a wooden cabinet island that would be perfect for a cooking demonstration. On this floor there is large bathroom across the hall from a charming twin or double bedroom with a walk-in closet.
An internal staircase laid with travertine leads up to a wide landing to the right of which is the large master bedroom with an ensuite bathroom with whirlpool tub and separate shower. Across the landing the living/dining room stretches the width of the house. The large pietra serena fireplace is the focal point of the room, and sofas, settees and a dining table for 8 provide seating from which to enjoy it. A well-equipped kitchen is conveniently off the dining area and has a wooden table large enough for breakfast or meal preparation. Two additional bedrooms, a double and a twin, are located off the living area. These bedrooms share a bathroom with both tub and shower, and both have views of the rolling landscape surrounding the farmhouse and of the swimming pool and its wide brick border, furnished with sunbeds.
The owners, when present, live in a delightfully converted barn next door and have their own outdoor areas. They can help arrange tours, transport or dinners when requested, but are discreet and involved with the extensive olive groves that produce the farmstead's golden oil.
While the pleasure of gazing out at a mutable landscape may be enough for many refugees of a busier life, there are good reasons to go exploring. Asciano, the walled medieval market town 3 km away, bustles with good-natured activity and has a lovely Sacred Art Museum worth visiting. It also has a train station and in 20 convenient minutes you can be in Siena, one of the gems of the Middle Ages and home to one of most beautiful piazzas in Tuscany. A short picturesque drive away are the relaxing spas of Rapolano Terme and the stunning Benedictine monastery Monteoliveto Maggiore. That Pope Pius II built his ideal Renaissance city, Pienza, in these scenic parts is no surprise; that it is now home to delicious pecorino sheep cheese is a definite bonus. For this you can thank those white flocks that decorate your panorama and the Sardinian shepherds that brought them. One final note - this is truffle country, so don't be surprised to find little bits of this delicately perfumed tuber on many local menus. A grace note reason to come savour a special part of Tuscany.
Left on 10/01/2012 for a stay in August 2011 | Jez Lazell
We stayed here last year in august. I travel a lot with work (I am a travel writer for the Sunday Times), but nowhere I have had a more magical stay - I think it was the best family holiday we've ever had.
For a start the setting is phenomenal. Sitting high on a ridge just north of asciano, the house gazes out over vineyards and olive groves towards ridgelines studded with cypresses and hilltops crowned by villages.
So far so Tuscany, but what really sets this place apart is the house: stylish, cool, welcoming, and littered with artworks collected by owner albert, the house is an absolute privelege to have to yourself for a week. As for albert, his utterly charming partner, Roxanna and her young daughter anais (whose house it is, but who move into their neighbouring annexe while you are here, discreetly keeping their distance but very quickly welcoming the opportunity to chat if you offer it, with invitations to drinks on terrace, barbecue, and even for our kids to join albert in a sculpting lesson) - they were generous, considerate, utterly discreet hosts, great sources of info about the surrounding area, which is stunning.
With a fab pool, lovely lawns, beautiful house, we didn't do a huge amount of exploring, just popping into asciano for lunches and ice creams, or visiting the odd church. But 4km from asciano's railway station, you could easily train it to Siena etc.
A brilliant holiday in a wonderful, magical house with stunning, private setting, this was as good as holiday gets.
Gig Harbor, WA
The beauty of Tuscany
Left on 10/06/2011 for a stay in August 2011 | Lori
We were well taken care of. House was fully stocked. The owners became our friends by the end of the trip. Wonderful people.
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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