In one of the most enchanting stretches of the Tuscan countryside – about halfway between renowned Montepulciano and less-famous-but-just-as-charming Torrita di Siena — lies our Casale Rodolfo, owned by a sophisticated, urbane Italian couple who normally live in London or in South America. For one of the couple, this was an ancestral family home; for the other, the house has served, among other things, as an environment within which to create the large-format, colorful works of art which are a highlight of the house’s decidedly avant-garde atmosphere.
We’re about a 25-minute drive from the train station at Chiusi, meaning you can get to Florence and indeed to Siena, without having to drive there. But you must not consider this area as a base for visiting Florence every day, or even twice during a week. This is an area for people who have already “done” Florence and the major sights of Italy, people who are interested in a more authentic and less touristy part of Tuscany. The hilltowns and countryside here are truly spectacular: Montepulciano, Pienza, San Quirico d’Orcia, Chiusi, Montefollonico, Montalcino, Monticchiello, Sarteano, Cetona, San Casciano Bagni, Radicofani, Sinalunga, Trequanda, Monte San Savino, and a whole host of others. Not to mention the trio of great abbeys close by: Monte Oliveto Maggiore, Sant’Antimo, and San Galgano. Magical. And the restaurants: to die for, often with prices half what you would pay for the same meal just an hour further north.
This IS Tuscany, the way it used to be. Take a look at this link, in which I have created a sample itinerary intended to show you the kinds of things you can do in this specific area during a two-week stay: Two Weeks South of Siena
Casale Rodolfo is most definitely not a luxury house. It is a place for couples, or for families with children, or for a group of friends traveling together. Above all, it is for people without pretensions, who are not seeking fabrics that match, nor absolute perfection when it comes to amenities. To say this is not to say that the Casale Rodolfo lacks modern conveniences. On the contrary. But it isn’t meant to be photographed in House & Garden. Furnishings are an appealing and fun combination of the traditional and the ultramodern. Look at the pictures, and you’ll see just what we mean. We LOVE the brick exterior of this house, especially the color which changes with the time of day. Brick is relatively rare in Italy, though in this corner of Tuscany/Umbria, it’s more common than elsewhere. Views out to the surrounding vineyards are the kind that make you weep for their beauty. Again, look at the photos. You can see the towns of Torrita di Siena and Aquaviva lit up at night on the horizon. Finally, the caretakers are also excellent cooks whom almost all guests hire to prepare dinner at least two or three times during a week’s stay.