A Tuscan Adventure
Although I was born and raised in the United States, I am a proud dual citizen of both the U.S. and Italy. I have always had a certain yearning to see as much of my ancestors’ native country, and little by little, I have been making my way through Italy’s richly diverse regions from north to south. Inspired by movies like “Under the Tuscan Sun,” a road trip through Tuscany has always been a dream of mine. This June, my friends and I finally made it happen!
Nestled in the heart of the rolling green hills of the Tuscan countryside is one of Hilton’s newest Curios, the La Bagnaia Golf & Spa Resort. This resort was actually once a medieval village – it even has a 12th century church on property – and it is located just twenty minutes outside of the provincial capital city of Siena. Upon entering the majestic gates, my friends and I were immediately awe-stricken by the beautiful contrast of the pink, purple, yellow, and blue sky hues against the rich green of the hillside and scent of lavender and peony plants lining the hotel’s walkways.
On our first night there, we dined at La Voliera Restaurant and paired classic Tuscan dishes of cinghiale (wild boar) with a delicious Chianti, whose native origin is also Tuscany. With so much tranquility and beauty at the resort, it was hard to convince the group that it was time to start actually exploring Tuscany the next day! After compromising that the first morning would be spent relaxing by the pool and enjoying the spa, we eventually made it off property later that afternoon to start exploring the region.
Volterra and San Gimignano are smaller villages with architecture dating as far back as the Etruscan era. Montepulciano, a town whose name is more well-known due to its world-acclaimed Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wines, also dates back as far as the Etruscan era. All three of these Tuscan towns are lined with walls along the perimeter of their historic centers. Inside them are churches, museums, wine tasting rooms, and artisanal shops on cobblestone streets. We enjoyed tasting black and white truffles (tartufi), a variety of pecorino cheeses (like spicy, truffle-infused, and coated in ashes), and salumi di cinghiale (wild boar cured meats). Within the enclosed walls of these villages are countless artists from all over the world, so inspired by the beauty of Tuscany that they translate it into paintings and sculptures.
A visit to Tuscany would not be complete without visiting at least one agriturismo. An agriturismo is essentially a farm that is open to visitors who wish to spend the night or just pass by to enjoy an excellent farm-to-table meal. We visited the Agriturismo La Fonte in Pienza and ate handmade pastas, chicken, rabbit, cheeses, and wine straight from the farm. Castello di Meleto, a 13th century castle turned agriturismo, as well as Le Filigare, a family run, small production winery and agriturismo are also well worth the visit for a day trip north of the La Bagnaia Resort into the heart of the Chianti region.
Tuscany also includes two major cities – Florence and Siena. Since we previously visited Florence on another trip to Italy, we chose to spend a day at the Florence Luxury Outlets, The Mall, instead. In Siena, we walked the historic center as the sun set over the Tuscan hills and checked out the Duomo di Siena and the central square, Piazza del Campo. We enjoyed spending time in both the metropolitan Tuscan areas as well as the smaller villages to get a broader immersion into the diverse Italian cultures within the region.
Our Tuscan adventure is certainly one that we will remember for the rest of our lives. We recommend renting a car as the best way get around easily and experience this region. Hilton’s Curio La Bagnaia Golf & Spa Resort is an iconic, luxurious retreat in the heart of the region, so start planning your adventure today on Go Hilton!