Deciding on the perfect accommodations for your Tuscany family vacation can involve a variety of crucial factors. At Ciao Bambino, we’ve worked with the family-owned estate of Villa La Foce for years and continue to find that there are so many things that make it special. Perhaps the most powerful attribute of the property for me is the authenticity of the experience here. The estate is an important part of the history of the area Val D’Orcia and has been inhabited for centuries. The family that runs the property now bought it in 1924 and is responsible for the development of the magnificent garden and the renovation of the original buildings including farmhouses, a castle, and a 15th-century villa.
There are so many vacation options to choose from in Tuscany ranging from hotels, to independent villas, to what I call “resort” options like La Foce with self-catering guest units in a setting with shared amenities and services. Many of the resort options in the countryside are so renovated and decorated in tourist-centric Tuscan materials that they lack character entirely; meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, certain accommodations lack attention and are shabby, dark, and unappealing.
La Foce is the perfect balance between being over and under manicured – it’s not so luxurious that you lose a sense of the place, but enough has been renovated and decorated with care that the guest experience is interesting, rich, and comfortable. The La Foce estate has stand-alone homes for up to 10 people and apartments that sleep 2 to 6 people. Chiarentana is a favorite of mine. Apartments are spacious and charming while the setting and views are extraordinary and fun for kids of all ages as there is an enormous lawn area with a playground that includes extra bonuses such as a trampoline and a sandbox. There is also a tennis court and swimming pool with plenty of tables and chairs for al fresco dining. It is the perfect space for adults to relax while children run amok.
Southern Tuscany contains some of the most spectacular scenery in all of Italy. As a quintessential representation of this beauty, the Val D’Orcia has the distinction of being a Unesco World Heritage site. The landscape is dramatic and iconic – the idealized Tuscan setting. There are many favorite villages in this area including Pienza (famous for Pecorino cheese production), Bagno Vignoni (famous for its thermal pools), and Montalcino (famous for Brunello wine production) to name just a few of the well-known attractions – and countless cultural sights to explore, as well as wonderful hiking and biking opportunities. The Val D’Orcia is one of those destinations where you can truly settle in for a week or more and choose to be happily active or linger with the locals.
One of our favorite restaurants is in the tiny hamlet of Montichiello – La Porta has fabulous food in a cozy atmosphere. We liked it so much we went back for lunch and dinner on the same day this last visit (beware, the shortcut from La Foce – an unpaved road with no lights – is a not a good idea during a dark night – take the paved road to avoid marital stress).One unusual feature about La Foce is it is open all year round! Winter is a quiet time of year in this part of Tuscany, but the upside is fewer tourists, more local ambiance, and each house at La Foce has an open fireplace to keep you warm.
Written by Amie O’Shaughnessy, Founder of Ciao Bambino – a worldwide guide to the best family-friendly hotels, resorts, and vacation rentals.Add to favorites