Think of Tuscany, and you immediately start conjuring imagery of Florence and Chianti’s olive groves and vineyards. But on the south-western coast of the region lies one of the most fascinating, yet least touristy places in Italy – the Maremma Toscano.
With roots dating back to ancient Roman times, the area with its captivating buildings and ridiculously good food and wine, is one of the most interesting and visually stunning parts of the country, and the mountain top town of Pitigliano is no exception.
Driving into this fortressed city is like stepping back into a medieval era. Dramatic stone walls and high cathedrals dominate the landscape. Known as little Jerusalem, the buildings are filled with character, created by the historical presence of a Jewish community that has resided here for over 10,000 years.
When you visit a town like this, your goal is to immerse yourself in history and culture. What better way to do this than to stay in a 17th century farmhouse, hosted by a beautiful Italian family that will take you in as one of their own?
The Locanda Pantanello is just this. Carefully restored using all local materials, the residing family took over the property around 30 years ago to keep their father’s horse. What started as a guest house for their loved ones has transcended to a full-time agriturismo with the help of their daughters who have grown up guzzling every part of their parents’ passion.
“When you visit a town like this, your goal is to immerse yourself in history and culture. What better way to do this than to stay in a 17th century farmhouse, hosted by a beautiful Italian family that will take you in as one of their own?”
The Tuscany villa is set on beautiful farmland complete with swimming pool, solarium and Mediterranean garden. Each of the five rooms, named after flowers, are set up to cater for different situations, from a romantic love den to a spacious family-fit bunkhouse.
The welcoming family atmosphere allows you to completely wind down and feel at home. While both of the English-speaking daughters look after the guests and their rooms, Nonna and matriarch of the guest house, Morena, prepares extraordinary homestyle cuisine ensuring you have the full Tuscan experience. You’ll also see Papà around the property taking care of the animals and the gardens.
“For me the most special thing about this place is that this is my home. When the guests come, I can open the door of my home and I can feed them like my family” says youngest daughter Francesca.
While this is not a cooking school, be prepared to eat and learn. Getting a hands-on go at making fresh pasta (no machine or rolling pins required) is an optional experience. You can even take home the secrets of the family’s homemade passata.
“While this is not a cooking school, be prepared to eat and learn.”
Breakfasts include home made jam, ricotta, cold meats and decadent cakes and croissants. Dinners enjoyed in their quaint restaurant will have you never wanting to leave the Italian countryside – think the best ravioli and olive oil you will ever have the pleasure of putting to your lips.
If the flowers, fireplaces and homemade pastas aren’t enough to send you to Italian heaven, mingling with this charming family will have you feeling like you have been part of their tribe for generations.
Not only are they warm and friendly, but they are passionate about their country and culture. Each of the family members may be available upon request to lead you on day trips to Siena, Orvieto, Sovana, Sorano, Giglio Island and Pitigliano, which are all within easy driving distance.
The best thing about coming to stay at Locanda Pantanello is that you are truly away from the typical Italian tourist trap and instead cradled in a sea of true European hospitality and family love. It’s a place where you can lay back and enjoy the calm surrounds of vines, fine wines and olive branches all around. The real, slow Tuscan experience.
Book your stay at Locanda Pantanello here.