We first visited Villa Le Piazze more than a quarter-century ago, when it was a VERY simple farmhouse with few amenities. Since then, its knowledgeable, dedicated owners have transformed it into a truly comfortable, close-to-elegant villa.
Where are we here? Well, we’re in southeasternmost Tuscany, in one of the region’s most beautiful landscapes. We’re about 2 kilometers up from the characteristic Tuscan village of Le Piazze, with simple shops, pharmacy, a couple of good trattorie, and one of the very best butchers in all of Tuscany. In fact, the walk down to the village is an easy and pleasant one. But remember: you’ve got to walk back up. So no cases of water or wine, please!
As far as we are concerned, the countryside in this specific area is THE most beautiful in all Italy, bar none, period. It practically made us weep at its beauty 25 years ago, and so it still does today. The little roads north and west of here – in particular from Le Piazze to Sarteano via the fashionable resort of Cetona; from Le Piazze to Palazzone, past the castle of Fighine and the delightful spa town of San Casciano dei Bagni and back to Le Piazze – are just incredibly beautiful. And maybe best of all, you’re just about 12km from the charming pink-brick hilltown of Citta’ della Pieve, one of our favorite places in all Italy. Forget your GPS. Get a paper map, examine it carefully, and then explore ALL of the backroads of this area aimlessly.
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. Again, the hilltowns here are truly spectacular: Montepulciano, Pienza, Orvieto, old Chianciano, San Quirico d’Orcia, Chiusi, Montefollonico, Montalcino, Sarteano, Cetona, San Casciano Bagni, Radicofani, Sinalunga, Trequanda, Monte San Savino, Citta’ della Pieve, and a whole host of others. This IS Tuscany.
What about Villa Le Piazze itself? The owners have thought things through very well, after 25 years “in the business”. Beds are comfortable, and for the most past they don’t have frames with barriers at the foot of the bed that prevent one from extending one’s legs – one of the banes of our existence. There’s a good mix of matrimonials and joinable twins, so that a variety of groups can be accommodated: one extended family; two or more families traveling together; several couples; or a group of adult friends. You’re surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, but not only: you’ve got significant forest as well, giving the property rather an Alpine feeling. Views are outstanding. And for this quality, the prices are really excellent.
The owners, who live up the road in an entirely separate structure, are a goldmine of information on the area, and they exude warmth and hospitality. They will put you in the right direction for bike rentals, tennis courts, cooking classes, vineyard visits, and cultural events. But if you never want to see the owners, they’ll disappear. We bet you’ll be asking them for some sort of advice every day of your stay, and they’ll be happy to dispense it with a smile.