Top 3 villas with a view

Bellavista – Val d’Orcia (SI)

A charming stone farmhouse with breathtaking views of the Val d’Orcia. Carefully restored with great attention to the details. A large dining out area to enjoy the stunning ever-changing landscape of the valley below, a heated swimming pool and a barbecue area.

From € 5,200 per week – 5 Beds – 5 Baths – Sleeps 10

 

Villa Verde 1 – San Casciano dei Bagni (SI)

A romantic country villa a few steps from the luxurious Fonteverde spa in San Casciano dei Bagni.As you walk in you feel the warmth of a real country house, the attention to the details and the modern comforts give the final touch to this enchanting villa. The pool is surrounded by lavender and roses and has wonderful views over the valley, the pergola is the perfect place for dining out watching beautiful sunsets across Tuscan countryside.

From € 8,600 per week – 7 Beds – 7 Baths – Sleeps 13

 

I Cipressi – Val d’Orcia (SI)

I Cipressi enjoys a privileged position in Val d’Orcia, just in front of the famous cypress road that winds up the Crete on the opposite hill, the most photographed views of Tuscany. The house is surrounded by olive groves, wheat fields and cypresses.

From € 3,250 per week – 4 Beds – 5 Baths – Sleeps 8

 

 

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Kundalini Tuscan Retreat

A unique Yoga retreat in one of the most beautiful area of Tuscany: the UNESCO heritage site of Val d’Orcia, organised with Lauren Cicione of Tuscan Auteur.

In this beautiful week together you will explore, unblock and harmonize these main centers of subtle energy in the body to create the optimal environment to raise your kundalini energy – that infinite creativity and potential that resides within us. This is an experiential exploration through the tradition of kundalini yoga which will include breathing techniques, postures, movements and mantra chanting to unlock our latent spiritual power and to direct its flow. As you do this you strengthen the nerves, internal organs and glands associated with each chakra and boost our health and well-being.

GuruWant Kaur has been teaching kundalini yoga internationally, with great love, for over 15 years.

GuruWant Kaur (Daphna Dor) teaches kundalini yoga in Bali, Indonesia at the beautiful yoga hub and eco resort, Desa Seni.
Trained in New York , she studied with many senior teachers of kundalini yoga, including Yogi Bhajan, the master of this yoga. She is also a certified Yoga Therapist.

Week long stay, June 23-30, 2012 includes: ~ 2-3 yoga/meditation sessions per day ~ 5 star accommodations in a luxurious Tuscan villa
(breathtaking 360 degree views of the valley; heated outdoor swimming pool; hot tub; shared living area/kitchen; outdoor dining; wooden floor practice space; travertine bathrooms)
~ full daily meals with an in house private chef (produce from the villa’s organic vegetable garden; vegetarian options available)
~ group transfer to and from the Rome airport ~ excursions to natural hot springs and a local hilltop town ~ olive oil and cheese tastings ~ area hiking and bicycle riding available

Pricing:

  • Single occupancy king bed and en-suite bath ~ 2,495 euros per person
  • Double occupancy twin bed and en-suite bath ~ 1,995 euros per person

For more information please contact Lauren Cicione at info@tuscanauteur.com or Daphna Dor at daphnador@gmail.com

Perfumes of Tuscany

I have to admit that I found this shop by chance by simply following my nose…

I was walking down Via San Gallo to go to a meeting when I smelt an intense fragrance. I momentarily forgot my meeting and followed the scent to this wonderful, quite magical, shop. I stepped in and immediately felt intoxicated by the perfumes and the colours of the wonderful glass vases.

Unfortunately on this occasion I didn’t have time to truly explore the shop, however soon returned and bought a fragrance for the office: Vanilla and Mandarin.

Rosso Nobile: The exclusive decanter which airs the extraordinary perfumes comes in the most beautiful packaging and makes a splendid present.

I now try to stop at Dr. Vranjes every time I go to Florence so I can try out the new fragrances.

The last time I went to visit the shop I discovered the Rosso Nobile Collection – a collection of fragrances which incorporate the essences of fine wines.

Other fabulous Collections are the Limited Editions taking the names from the beautiful Gardens of Florence: The Boboli Garden and The Rose Garden.

The Boboli Gardens of Florence are reflected in the mix of fresh lemon and orange flowers, blended with the green notes of the box tree, typical scents of this classic Italian garden. Hints of heirloom roses and green moss are veiled in the intense notes of Jasmine flowers, fresh fragrance of wild mint and aromatic cypress woods.

The elegant crystal glass bottle, handcrafted by master glassmakers, is worked with gold leaf.

These essences form the enveloping fragrance that brings to mind the romantic charm of an unforgettable walk in these beautiful Florentine gardens.

The Rose Garden is a rich fragrance, which encapsulates the images and scents of a walk through the Rose Garden of Florence in the month of May.

This shop is an absolute temptation. From just one smell, these Tuscan fragrances can transport you to a Florentine Garden, a day out in the countryside or a wonderful evening sipping a glass of red wine. Simply close your eyes and breathe deeply when you want to be reminded of your time in Tuscany.

This is what perfumes are made for – to evoke memories!

Dr. Vranjes  http://drvranjes.itinfo@drvranjes.it – Closed Sunday and Monday morning

Via San Gallo 63 R – Firenze
Tel. +39 055 494537

Via della Spada 9/R – Firenze
Tel. +39 055 288796

Borgo La Croce 44 R – Firenze
Tel. +39 055 241748

Pecorino and Truffle Cake

As promised we are starting to post the recipes of the “Pecorino che Passione” cooking class held by Angela Olmi chef at Osteria da Gagliano in collaboration with Stella Severini of Misenplace.

This cake is an excellent starter, it is very easy to prepare and you can change the topping, using chopped walnuts and pears, small cubes of Salame or Tuscan Ham or even figs. You can prepare the cake in advance and pre-heat just before serving.

Pecorino and truffle Cake (8 servings)

  • 500 ml of fresh cream
  • 200 gr of cottage cheese (ricotta di pecora)
  • 4 eggs
  • 100 gr grated seasoned pecorino cheese
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • Black truffle

In a large bowl mix all the ingredients (less the black truffle) with an electric mixer. Put some water in a large tray place the ramekins within it. Fill them with the mixture and cook in a preheated oven at 170° for 30/40 minutes (each oven is different and cook until golden brown – as per the picture.) Take the tray out, let the cakes cool then grate some black truffle on top of it.

Serve them and Buon Appetito!

Dinners at the villas

Over the years we’ve organized many dinners for our guests and every time it has been a wonderful experience. Our villas are the perfect backdrop for experiencing the products of our land and most feature stunning pergolas and al-fresco dining areas with breath-taking views of Tuscany.

What’s more, our chefs are available for in-villa dining experiences and are superb at transforming local Tuscan produce into delicious dishes which guests can within the comfort of their villa in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. There are so many different possibilities when catering for an event: from a traditional Tuscan dinner to barbecue with Chianina, Fiorentina or Cinta Senese meat, and even pizza parties.

I remember a group from USA who were celebrating one of the women’s birthdays – they asked us pizza and red wine!

We hired one of our “pizzaiolo” who spent almost five hours creating pizzas complete with an array of Tuscan toppings: from “ciaccino” with “Lardo di Cinta Senese” to truffle sausages, from “Margherita” to “Vegetariana” with grilled vegetables directly from the villa’s garden.

Together with the housekeeper, Rita, we prepared various side dishes to accompany the pizzas including fresh and grilled vegetables, dried cherry tomatoes, “Bruschetta” (toasted bread with tomatoes and olive oil), “Crostini Toscani” (toasted bread with chicken liver pate), Tuscan ham with figs and “Panzanella” (a refreshing bread, tomatoes, onions and basil salad).

The group chose a red wine from Tenuta del Trinoro: Le Cupole and surprisingly the paring between the wine and pizza actually worked very well, probably because many of the pizza toppings were Tuscan cold cuts and sausages.

The guest of honour asked for a “Tiramisù” as her birthday cake. This is a signature dish of Rita’s and she prepared a huge version of the dessert complete with Nutella flakes for extra flavour.

 

The party was a real success and all the guests were happy and relaxed.

Upon return to the USA, the guest of honour wrote to me to thank me, and said: “The pizzas were absolutely delicious, I have never had so many pizzas in my entire life! Thank you and Rita for the most incredible birthday party I ever had. Joan. P.S.: I now always add Nutella to my cakes…”

Your room with a view in Florence

Florence is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Every time I go I get lost walking through the streets admiring the art which fills the city.

I receive quite a lot of proposals from property owners for city centre apartments and all of them promise a unique view of the city, however often I discover that the views are  limited to the surrounding rooftops or that there’s no view at all.

When I first visited Duomo I couldn’t believe to my eyes: the Baptistery and the Duomo square were right in front of me magically framed by the large windows of the sitting room.

I sat on the sofa, which is strategically positioned to get the best out of the view, and imagined drinking my morning Cappuccino from this very spot, or perhaps relaxing with a lovely glass of red wine in the evening enjoying the amazing view and I thought “WOW!”

 

Maria – the lovely owner of Duomo – and I are on the same wavelength and working together is a real pleasure. Maria and her colleague Nadia work hard to create wonderful experiences for guests, including dining experiences where guests can enjoy typical Florentine meals prepared freshly by professional chefs.

The apartment features a spacious and bright living room, a fully equipped kitchen, two bedrooms and two bathrooms, plus benefits from a lift and doorman.  What’s more, the heart of Florence’s thriving art district is just a few steps from the front door, as are the city’s boutiques.

Duomo is also available for short rentals (minimum 3 nights) making it the perfect base for a long weekend.

Contact us for prices and availability.