Hints and tips from our staff and previous residents

Stroll 20 minutes up our driveway to explore the (nearly) uninhabited town of Toiano perched upon a hill of sandstone. Once a city with a population of 500, today a few abandoned houses remain on either side of the single road, inhabited only by stray cats and wild blackberry bushes. Worth visiting at sunset for its panoramic views of Volterra.

See the most important collection of Etruscan cinerary urns in Italy at the Etrusan Museum in Volterra.

The Museum of Farming Life (Museo Della Cività Contadina) in the nearby town of Montefoscoli has been lovingly arranged to give insight to local, historical agricultural traditions. It is only open on Sundays, and outside of siesta hours, but entry is free of change and it’s worth the visit for a stroll around the picturesque town.

Vineyard Castello di Ama, just outside of Siena, offers wine tastings tours with the added bonus of site-specific installations by the likes of Anish Kapoor, Daniel Buren and Louise Bourgeois.

35 minutes drive from the Villa near the town of Pontedera is the Amedei chocolate factory, known worldwide for its artisanal chocolate. You can book to visit the factory for a guided tasting and purchase the chocolate on site.

Combine contemporary art (Galleria Continua) and some of the most creative gelato combinations in Tuscany (Gelateria Dondoli) in the medieval town and UNESCO World Heritage Site of San Gimignano.

Taking the waters of Terme di Montecatini is said to stimulate the proper functioning of the body and is especially recommended for those suffering from illness related to the liver, the digestive system and metabolism. If you don’t have those ailments you could always try the thermal pool or spa treatments.

 To bring home your own slice of faded Tuscan grandeur hit Florence for Domus Aurea Antiquariato or Luca Raffanelli’s antique shops for mid-century Italian chic furniture and objects.

Other notable Florentine establishments are Loretta Caponi for fabric and embroidery, Richard Ginori a porcelain manufacturer dating back to 1735, and the famous fragrance and cosmetics shop Santa Maria Novella which was established by Dominican monks shortly after their arrival in Florence in 1221.