One reason I’m looking forward to cycling in Tuscany again is the opportunity to return to a most extraordinary hotel.
On our 3rd night in Tuscany, Monday night, we stay at the Certosa di Pontignano, a 14th Century monastry which serves as the conference centre for the University of Siena, and as a hotel. It’s beautiful.
We used to stay in Vagliagli, in a lovely hotel attached to a castle owned by the widow of an Italian Senator. For dinner, we’d walk across the road, through the gatehouse and into the castle, where our group would be served dinner, on our own in the vast castle.
Sadly, Frederica sold her hotel. So we started staying at the Villa Dievole, an upmarket hotel up the hill in the village of Vagliagli.
The Villa Dievole is gorgeous – stay there any opportunity you get, eat in their restaurant, visit their vineyard. You’ll be significantly poorer, but you won’t regret it.
One time, the Dievole was full, for a wedding. Months and months in advance, and not a room to be had. In a tiny village in rural Tuscany. Panic stations!
That’s how I stumbled across the Certosa di Pontignano. My first instinct was that it was too far away. By the time we get to Vagliagli we’ve had a long enough day, visiting both Greve in Chianti and Radda in Chianti, and the Certosa is an extra 7 Km further. But getting a bit desperate I felt I had no choice, so I booked it for our group. And we’ve stayed there on all our Tuscany trips ever since.
It is another 7Km further on, but it is literally all down hill, thank goodness. So It’s a lovely way to end a day’s cycling. And when you get there, there are these lovely 14th century covered cloisters, beautiful gardens. Just look at the photos on their homepage. As I write this, I’m thinking of breakfast at tables around the cloister. And then perhaps a stroll round the gardens. I can’t wait.
And they make their own pasta fresh, every day!