The family history
Florence, whose historical centre is Unesco heritage, is the cradle of Renaissance. If you wish to feel the authentic atmosphere of a Florentine Renaissance home just few kilometers outside the Tuscan main city, go to Villa Il Poggiale, Historical Mansion nestled in the Chianti hills. The first news about the villa go back to 1408, when the Corsini family bought Il Poggiale from Jacopo d’Agostino Martini. Then the villa passed to the priory of Florence and to the Ricasoli Rucellai family. Several families succeeded until the Vitta family, who bought the villa in 1960 and, after loving and living it for three generations, decided to make a hotel out of it, where you could still smell the same familiar atmosphere that always caracterized it.
In fact this is not a common hotel, but an elegant private mansion, where guests can feel welcome and cared for. They have the feeling of being not a paying guest but a close friend of the host, that tries to offer them the most pleasant and relaxing stay.
The rooms do not have numbers but histories. Each one of them has the name of a family member and a story to tell.
A villa that is proud of its history. Here everything is nowadays just the same as it was in the past, and the atmosphere is elegant and relaxed at the same time: from the kitchen on the
groundfloor to the inner courtyard with its well, maybe the oldest part of the building that once was the source to fresh water all year round, to the rooms that are “baptized” with the names of the family members. The owners tried to maintain untouched the style and the charme, even if through the years they restored and expanded the villa, they took care of respecting the original structure. The interior decoration dates back to the early ‘800 with wonderful frescoes in all the rooms and on the painted doors. The old barn is frescoed in Renaissance grotesque style.
The Renaissance Loggia and the elegant stone frames around the windows and the doors date back to the 16th century instead; the loggia is the heart of the villa, the perfect place, expecially during the hottest summer months, where to enjoy the view, chat or read a good book sipping a drink or a good glass of wine, sheltered from the sun.
The inside of the villa offers many common areas, perfect peaceful and lightful places to relax or read. Beyond the several little living rooms scattered in the house, the main common area is the impressive frescoed main hall, where the highlight is a painting of Niccolò Machiavelli of Gilardi, whom family came from the Val di Pesa area. The children playroom became the breakfast room: here the breakfast is served with the fireplace on, during the winter. Villa Il Poggiale offers the Honesty Bar in the main hall: here guests have at disposal a proper bar where they can help themselves “honestly”, writing down their drinks. Where there was the “orciaia”, the place to treasure the freshly pressed olive oil, today there is a lovely bedroom with a French window opening into an inner courtyard, while the “chiostrina” became another wonderful bedroom with private garden, rich in perfumed herbs and flowers and with an enchanting light.
The Tinaia, which was the area for the wine production, was transformed into a living room to taste Tuscan products and local wines of the most famous Chianti cellars or, during November, the freshly pressed olive oil, with its emerald green color and spicy fragrance, a feast for the eyes and the palate.
The rooms are 24, each one different from the other, all spacious and painted in natural powders and the floors, all in original Tuscan red tiles. Most of them have four-poster bed, comfortable sofas and armchairs, a typical country house furniture. In many of the rooms on the first floor ceilings are made with red tiles and beams. Each room has a name instead of a number, together with its own story to tell.
There’s the room “del Gufo” (“the Owl’s bedroom”), typical of many Tuscan houses and privileged room for the children who used to spy the sleeping owl during the day, perched on the beam. Then the room “della Signora” (“the Mistress’ bedroom”) overlooking the main hall, so Ima, once the mistress of the house, could easily reach her bedroom soon after dinner, going back to her beloved books without offending her guests, who usually stayed until late night to chat with the “Professore”. Also this room is untouched and maintains all the original frescoes as well all its memories.
Then there was the most fascinating room, the one of the “Professore”, (“the master’s bedroom”) Edoardo. Everyone entering this room felt a bit overwhelmed by the strong character of the room, reflecting the “Professore” personality: the huge library, the darkness due to the enormous holm oak facing the window, the humilty of the furniture. It seemed the room “of a poor cardinal” as a close friend said once, for the severe elegance. However the room was brightened by the “Professore” smile, everytime somebody visited him, as he was instead always ready to welcome and listen any guest, attentive and smiling to everyone.
And furthermore the children rooms: Tinto, Johanan, the uncle Nello, Daniela, Eleonora, the nephews and the usual guests like “Nardo’s bedroom” a very good friend of the owners. He always had his personal room waiting for him, one of the most spacious and lighful rooms, on the second floor of the villa. Like this room, there are many others, dedicated to the closest friends.
The owners’ presence is discreet and welcoming. The reception is open every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Each guest receives his keys so he can be totally independent. The reception gives all the important information regarding the stay and the house rules, together with some useful suggestions about the surrounding area and sightseeing. One of most folkloristic and affectionate staff members is for sure Anna, who arrived walking from Scotland to San Casciano more than 30 years ago, together with her two sisters and their three dogs.
The rooms, all spacious and each one with its own personality, have walls painted in natural powders and pigments, The curtains and the four-poster bed drapes come from local artisan
weavers. Coloured silks were chosen to brighten the living rooms and the rooms on the ground floor. As no room service is available, each room has its own minibar and a tray with all the necessary to make a good tea, coffee or herbal tea. Furthermore all the rooms are provided with air conditioning, sat tv, safe and wi fi connection.
The bathrooms’ floors are made with pastel colour tiles. Some bathrooms have frescoed walls and ceiling and antique bathtub.
Very spacious and elegant, from 25 to 35 sm, have four-poster beds, a comfortable living room and antique furniture. Tuscan Hill Still part of the Junior Suites category, they also offer a breathtaking view on the Chianti hills.
Made of two separate rooms: the bedroom and a large living room with sofa, armchaird and writing desk. The suites are just two. Superior rooms There are six Superior rooms in the whole villa, from 20 to 30 sm, and many of them look on the Chianti Hills.
Perfect for parents with children, made of bedroom, bathroom, large living room with sofa and well equipped kitchen corner, with independent entrance. The largest Family Room is a proper aparment, made of a well equipped kitchen, large bedroom/living room with bathroom and large triple bedroom and bathroom. There are three Family Rooms.
Country Classic Rooms
There are eight Country Classic rooms, from 15 to 25 sm, and they are all located on the groundfloor (except one on the first floor).
Villa Il Poggiale also offers:
Bikes for Chianti tours;
Jacuzzi, sauna and relax in the spa;
Library, TV and DVD room, internet point.
Wellness: Spa and Swimming Pool
Two new areas were added to the main original building: the spa and the swimming pool, two special places for the guests where they can find a relaxing and refreshing break, in harmony with the surrounding landscape.
The small spa was in the past the old cellar of the villa. It is managed by a Brazilian therapist, high qualified and specialized in aesthetic, natural tratments and kiromassage.
The exclusive treatments are made with grapes, citrus, olives, honey and essential oils that evoke Tuscan perfumes.
The wellness path at the spa includes:
polisensorial humid sauna with infrared beams
Jacuzzi aromatic nebulization with water of wine
Relax area with bio herbal teas
Olive oil Bath
Relaxing massage with Resveratrolo Oil
In the perfumed silence of the Tuscan hills, among the olive groves and the vineyards, the swimming pool (18x8m) with its unbeatable location offers an amazing view and the possibility to enjoy until the last ray of sunshine. Comfortable deckchairs and sunbeds all around the swimming pool shaded by the beach umbrellas offer the guests the perfect relax and unforgettabl hours. It is also possible to order a tasty light lunch with Tuscan products. The swimming pool is open from May 15th to October 15th
For those who are spending some days at Villa Il Poggiale, there are many very interesting places to visit in the nearby area, even just for some hours, a morning or an afternoon for example, the so called “giratine” or a bit longer trips for the whole day, “girate” or “giratone”.
The real expert in “giratine” was the “Professore”. It was his habit to personally drive the guests around in his elegant blu 128, even if the car was quite dented, and he kept forgetting to move from the third to the fourth gear!
He loved to bring them not too far so they could be back at the villa for lunch time. His beloved spots were San Donato in Poggio, Greve, Montefioralle (a medioeval timeless hamlet
surrounded by walls), Lamole or Panzano. When he had the whole day at disposal he prefered San Gimignano, the famous “towers’ city”, Volterra, where the famous “Deposizione” by Rosso Fiorentino is treasured, Certaldo, Colle val d’Elsa, Castellina in Chianti, Radda, Badia Coltibuono. Or also on the other direction towards Empoli, San Miniato, Vinci. All these places allowed him to breathe the real culture and history of this territory, where great artists such as Machiavelli, Benozzo Gozzoli, Signorelli, Luca della Robbia and Leonardo lived.
The classical “girata” was towards Siena. Perhaps the most beautiful medioeval city in the whole world, at only 55 kms from Villa Il Poggiale. An hour just to visit the Duomo and the connecting library with Pinturicchio frescoes and then the Piazza del Campo (the Palio square), the Town Hall, the Art Gallery, the Popesse Palace.
For the “giratona” a whole day was necessary, for places at about one hour distance by car such as Chianciano, Montepulciano, Pienza, Cetona, Bagno Vignoni, the Val d’Orcia area, on
the tracks of Simone Martini, the Perugino, the Sangallo, Peruzzi. The beauty of the landscape around Siena is unforgettable and the architectural elegance unbeatable: it is impossible not to be enchanted by these places’ charme. Another “giratona” for a day were the ones towards Arezzo, Anghiari, San Sepolcro, Citta di Castello, connected to another great artist, Vasari and Piero della Francesca. Regarding the latter, a good tip is to proceed up to Monterchi, little hamlet perched on a hill, to admire his masterpiece Madonna del Parto, in a very little church, often closed, but the keys are at disposal at the bar just nearby.
The restaurant: tastefully healthy and fit
At Villa Il Poggiale the utmost care is given to the meals as well: genuine and seasonal ingredients to combine health and taste.
Starting from the breakfast, served in the dining room on the ground floor from eight to ten in the morning and offering a rich sweet and savory buffet, home made by the staff. The menu can vary depending on the chef fantasy and the season. Every morning warm brioches, cakes and home made bread are available, as well as “focaccia”, eggs, ham, cheeses, fruit and fruit juices, orange juices, tea, coffee, fresh milk. The restaurant “La Tinaia”, was the place where once the peasants brought the grapes they have gathered, and it’s open both for lunch and dinner. During the nice warm days of spring and summer, lunch and dinner are served outside under a shady beautiful curtain. The chef, Lisa, has a degree in art history but she preferred to follow her passion for culinary art, a passion that was always shared by her family before her. The menus you can taste at La Tinaia are tasty, healthy and genuine, according to Tuscan tradition. All the ingredients used to prepare soups and sauces for the pasta, the fillings for the “tortelli” and all the vegetables come from the inner biological vegetable garden of Leonardo, the gardener, the daily fresh eggs from the farmer in front of the villa, the olive oil from the adjacent olive groves.
The selection of meat and dairies is strict among bio food producers. Marcello, the maitre, offers interesting matching dishes and carefully selected Tuscan wines,
from the most famous brands to the unkown local producers.
Sport and outdoor activities
Villa Il Poggiale offers cooking classes, upon reservation, or the possibility to take part to grapes harvesting in some of the most famous vineyards during the month of September, or olives harvesting and pressing in November, as well as suggestions for the best cellars in the nearby area to buy or just taste wine and olive oil. For walks lovers, all around Villa Il Poggiale there are many white roads, through the country, crossing woods, along the Pesa river at the bottom of the valley. The whole path from Cerbaia to Sambuca is 15 kms, and the track is perfect also for jogging or mountain bike.
For horse riders, there are horseriding schools at few kms from Villa Il Poggiale (Cerbaia, Mercatale, Tavarnelle) that organize rides through the country. For passionates about golf, the nearest club is the Ugolino one, the oldest club of Florence, at less than thirty minutes by car, direction Greve. The club was created by two famous british architects that designed the 18 golf holes track perfectly integrated with the sweet Chianti hills, covered by olive groves, vineyards, pines and brooms. The club’s inauguration was in 1934.
For bikers the choice is wide in any direction starting from Villa Il Poggiale, which is often a meeting point for bikers meetings, expecially during low season, when the temperature is perfect to bike.
Finally, for adventurous explorers, some red Vespas 125 are at disposal for rental, for aimless tours.
Villa Il Poggiale is situated at only 16 kms from Florence, on the top of one of the hills of San Casciano in Val di Pesa, direction Empoli, Via Empolese. For those arriving from the center of Florence, or from the airport, the direction to follow is Siena. At the roundabout of Firenze Impruneta take the motorway towards Siena. The second exit is San Casciano. Follow the road up the hill and before the town center turn right for Empoli. After about 3 kms, on the left there is an antique row of cypresses surrounding the villa.
For those arriving from Pisa, or Pisa airport, take the motorway towards Florence and exit at Ginestra Fiorentina. Follow the signs for San Casciano and drive through some small towns, the last of which is Cerbaia, then go up the hill until seeing the recognizable cypresses. For guests arriving from south or north, take the highway A1 and exit at Firenze Impruneta. Villa Il Poggiale is open all year round, except in February. The rooms, standard and Superior, are 24. The suites are two and the apartments, equipped with kitchen corner, are three.