A luxury villa holiday in Tuscany with Bookings For You
Excuse me for bragging but I’ve just got back from an awesome luxury villa holiday in Italy with friends. For three indulgent child-free days and nights we were invited to experience a Bookings For You villa break in Tuscany at Country Relais & Spa Le Capanne.
It was one of those trips that I know I’ll remember for years because of the quality time I’ve spent with a group of incredible travel bloggers but also because of the wonderful welcome we received. Add to that delicious home-cooked Italian cuisine, a stunning farm house with 360 degree views of the smokey blue mountains and seeing some of Tuscany’s most iconic sights and you have the recipe for a perfect girls weekend. This picture sums up our mood the whole three days!
A very special luxury villa in Tuscany
Our group of 13 bloggers had travelled from all over England so it was wonderful to be welcomed like family when we arrived at Country Relais & Spa Le Capanne nestled in the green Tuscan hills. Bookings For You take great care in hand-picking the luxury Italian villas they work with so we should have expected nothing less. A friendly reception with Prosecco, cheese and salami was exactly what we needed after our long journeys.
In fact it seemed like nothing was too much trouble during our three night stay. Our hosts Vera, Dario, Fabiola and Giancarlo Giovanni served us incredible home-cooked, traditional Italian dishes, carefully explaining the simple, yet delicious fresh ingredients. At the end of the each evening meal, when we were all full and a tad merry, they slipped away to allow us to relax until our beds beckoned.
A traditional Tuscan villa
When we arrived Vera gave us a tour pointing out original features and where the farm house kitchen would have been on the first floor so the animals could be kept downstairs as living space heaters. Luckily the smell hasn’t lingered.
I was particularly taken with a vintage radio on the side in the formal dining area and a pair of faded chairs in our suite.
But before I give the impression that the villa is traditional through and through I have to mention the spa. This includes a hot tub, massage table and funky seating. The Giovannis can also arrange for a masseuse, hair dressers and beauticians to visit you during your stay and I’m sure many wedding parities take advantage of this service.
Sadly I didn’t test the tub as others reported it as a little chilly, especially after some uncharacteristically cold Spring days during our stay. But it would be the perfect place to relax after sightseeing in nearby Volterra or a bit further afield in Sienna, Pisa and Florence.
Outside the villa has a dining table with views towards Pisa and Volterra, a pizza oven, barbecue and a pool which is about to gain its own 120 sq ft summer house with a bar. This luxury villa has all the ingredients for a family celebration like a wedding, anniversary or birthday, or a gathering of friends.
The seven ensuite rooms and two suites accommodate up to 22 people in queen-sized and single beds. The rooms are situated in the main house while the suites have their own entrance and would be ideal for a bride and groom who maybe wanted a bit more privacy.
When we weren’t out exploring or eating we spent our time in the large yet cosy lounge and the two dining rooms. There was a large flat screen TV, board games, books and a piano for us to tinker with but in true girls weekend style we whiled away the evenings chatting over wine. There may have also been the odd outburst of song and dance but I’ll spare you all the details aside from saying family travel bloggers have some serious moves!
Rooms at Country Relais & Spa Le Capanne
I got the privilege of staying in one of the two suites with Maria from One Tiny Leap. While all the rooms had tantalising views of the rolling green Tuscan hills and mountains beyond, ours had enormous picture windows offering us the very best vista towards Pisa which glittered with lights at night.
Our suite, like the whole house, was furnished with pieces belonging to the Giovannis that had been in the family for generations. Their reasoning was that they wanted the decor to be authentic Tuscan in keeping with atmosphere of the 100-year-old farm house.
Aside from a few loose toilet seats the attention to detail was spot on and the rooms spotlessly clean. For us tea-loving English the addition of a kettle in the suites would have made for an even more relaxed start to each day.
Real Tuscan cuisine
On our first evening we had the Giovanni family’s traditional welcome meal – four courses of mouthwatering Italian cuisine incorporating crispy local bread, incredible risotto, baked vegetables, roasted pork, and finishing with Tuscan cakes, biscotti and dessert wine.
On evening two we experienced a meal cooked by our Tuscan Mommy Fabiola with mozzarella salad, traditional thick, bready tomato soup, pasta, wild boar and a my favourite dessert of the weekend: choc chip biscotti crushed over mascarpone cheese with a drizzle of honey.
On our final evening we feasted on pizza, stone baked in the outdoors oven with toppings from simple yet mouthwatering garlic and butter to proschetro and olives, and banana and chocolate. Every meal was full of flavour and had us nodding with approval while raising another forkful to our mouths.
Throughout each meal the wine was delicious and free flowing – the smooth Italian coffee went down well each morning. Breakfast was a variety of cooked meats cheese, salads, quiche, crispy bacon, apricot pie, and pastries washed down with more of that Italian coffee, tea and fruit juices.
As if that wasn’t enough we could indulge in profiteroles, eclairs and doughnuts with tea when we arrived back from our daily excursions.
Of course, you don’t have to use the culinary skills of the Giovanni family during your stay – you can self cater. But I think booking La Capanne and not asking the family to cook for you would mean missing out on a true taste of Italy.
Aside from owning villas the family is famous for running Volterra’s oldest and award winning patisserie, Dolceria del Corso. If you are ever in Volterra you must pop in, even if it’s just for one of their bite-sized doughnuts. Delicious!
All of the ingredients and products used by the family are sourced within 20 minutes of the villa, which makes its own olive oil using the fruit of 400 trees planted in its grounds. Even the wild boar we devoured on our second evening was hunted on the surrounding mountains. If you could drag yourself from your authentically decorated en-suite room early enough you might even see the boar, pheasants or deer roaming the 100 acre estate.
What to see in Tuscany
The location of Country Relais & Spa Le Capanne villa in Tuscany is perfect for exploring the region’s most significant cities and historic hill top towns. I was blown away by the incredible views from the medieval walls of Volterra which is 20 minutes from the villa and the architecture of Sienna about an hour away.
Stepping inside the Duomo di Siena to see its intricate marbled floors and breathtaking ceilings was an absolute highlight of my weekend.
It was also fabulous to return to Florence which I last visited two years ago with Mr Tin Box and the girls. This time our day was a wash out but we still enjoyed a morning touring an organic farmers market on the north side of the River Arno followed by a gelato making class with the owner of the oldest gelateria in the city, Perchè No. This foodie tour in Florence was organised by LivItaly and is a great one to do with kids who would love to get hands on with the gelato making and taste the flavoursome results. If you are lucky enough to visit Florence you must call in at Perchè No to try their pistachio, strawberry and chocolate gelato flavours.
In the afternoon we took a deeper look at the history of this 2,000 year old city with our knowledgable guide Vincenzo, again from LivItaly, who offer tours suitable for all ages.
Another activity that you might like to look into in and around Florence is river rafting with Trafting. We had hoped to get on the water during our day but chickened out when we realised how cold and wet we would get.
As well as the activities we arranged during our stay the Giovannis can organise city tours, wine tasting and horse riding amongst a long list of activities on offer in the region.
A luxury villa holiday in Tuscany
Our three night stay at the villa in March would have cost in the region of €2,500 and the catering we enjoyed would have been approximately €2,000. While that might sound a lot it works out at just under €350 per person. If you’re planning a family celebration or luxurious long weekend away with friends where all you need to worry about is relaxing, sightseeing and letting the delicious food come to you then I think that’s excellent value.
This really is a place to immerse yourself in the Tuscan countryside, food and culture; relax, see the incredible sights of the region and spend very special time with family or friends. The Giovannis are impeccable hosts and, regardless of their wonderful villa and the awesome views, they really were the stars of the show. I think I’ve found the perfect venue for my next large family gathering!
You can find out more about Country Relais & Spa Le Capanne and book your own stay there on the Bookings For You website.
Here’s a video rounding up our wonderful weekend:
Find out what my fellow travel bloggers thought about Country Relais & Spa Le Capanne:
Mini Travellers – Villa Le Capanne, Tuscany with Bookings For You
Extraordinary Chaos – Staying at Country Relais and Spa Le Capanne with Bookings For You
My Travel Monkey – Enjoying a Long Weekend in Tuscany at Villa Le Capanne
Flying with a Baby – Review of Country Relais & Spa Le Capanne- a luxury villa in Tuscany
Travel Loving Family – Review: a luxury villa foodie holiday with friends in Tuscany
One Tiny Leap – Over the Tuscan Hills: Villa Le Capanne with Bookings For You
Disclosure: I stayed at Country Relais & Spa Le Capanne as part of a press trip organised by Bookings For You – the luxury Italian villa specialists. All views are my own.
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