Escaping to Pratello Country Resort

A Tuscan boutique hotel getaway located in what may seem like the middle of nowhere, the Pratello Country Resort is a family-owned property located just a little over an hour from the center of Florence. Here, us city dwellers can escape to a secluded, luxurious place that envelops the full self into a complete “recharge” mode.

THE PROPERTY

Pratello is comprised of a series of small buildings surrounding the main structure, an impressive villa constructed in 1650 by a noble Tuscan family. The current owners took over the property more than 20 years ago and took their time to painstakingly restore the complex, keeping original features wherever possible and furnishing the main villa with antiques and vintage furniture that make guests feel at home. So much so that you’ll find yourself daydreaming about this chic place being your own personal Tuscan retreat. 

The resort’s public areas are expansive but very manageable featuring meticulous gardens and green paths leading to and from the pool and tennis court, the two main amenities offered. The pool is good-sized yet simple, surrounded by lush greenery and views of rolling hills afar, all with lounge chairs available and spaced well enough to enjoy loads of privacy from other guests. The pool area also offers a casual bar and restaurant where an always-cheery Chiara whips up delicious pastas and light summer Tuscan meals…. And Aperol Spritzes in the late afternoon, of course.

In the mornings and evenings, the villa’s main terrace overlooking glorious, postcard-ready Tuscan countryside views serves as the property’s restaurant with Chef Luca at the helm. A typical Italian breakfast is offered and included in the nightly rate… Think brioches, cakes and home-made jams, along with a handful of international additions like eggs and bacon. The venue also offers delightful dinners à la carte with changing daily menus with offerings such as cacio e pepe risottos, sliced steaks and desserts such as ricotta cake with pineapple sauce.

Beyond the hotel boundaries, Pratello counts with roughly 320 acres replete with centuries-old olive trees, which are used to produce flavorful olive oil available for purchase and available to take home as a souvenir. 

And - an area not normally open to the public is a tiny chapel where the original owners of Pratello and a number of their relatives have been laid to rest.  A must-see if you’re a history buff, or a charming venue to get hitched in. 

THE ROOMS

Fifteen elegantly-appointed accommodation options ensure the resort never feels “full” or overrun by tourists, even at the height of the summer season. Travelers can opt to stay in the main villa at one of the 10 standard rooms or two suites (each one uniquely decorated) or even in one of the three expansive family apartments at a structure adjacent to the main villa. 

In room amenities include all of the expected contemporary and modern needs from a small luxury hotel (keyless entry, hairdryers , minibar, flatscreen TVs, WiFi, etc.), all juxtaposed with a classic Italian interior décor that helps to contextualize the setting in the right way. The bathrooms also feature relaxing olive-based amenities to keep in theme with Pratello’s heritage. 

THE SURROUNDINGS

If being “offline” for too long isn’t your thing, rent a car and explore the surrounding country towns such as Volterra or San Gimignano, the beachside Castiglioncello, or head to the more popular cities such as Pisa or Siena. However, don’t take this from us as we spent an entire week of poolside glory at Pratello and didn’t leave the grounds once. Why would we?!

Pratello Country Resort, Via di Libbiano, 70, Peccioli (Pisa), Tel. +39-0587-630024

Truffles in Città di Castello

 
 

A few weeks ago we were sitting around on a Saturday morning with an itch to explore a new town in the outskirts of Florence. Looking at a map, we thought about heading to Perugia, but the idea of spending the day in a big city exhausted us. We were definitely in a laid back mood. And so we landed on Città di Castello, which has plenty of things to do. 

This tiny town about an hour and forty five minutes from Florence is located in Umbria. 
Like everything in Italy Città di Castello has a rich history and artistic tradition, dating back to Roman times. If you visit, you can explore the remains of Pliny the Younger's villa, as well as a series of beautiful Medieval and Renaissance era buildings and churches that have a little bit of a Florentine air to them from an architectureal standpoint (primarily because so many of the city's greats came to work here, such as Raffaello and Vasari). 

But the real star of our day was a visit to Trattoria Lea. This unassuming restaurant is a local celebrity, and is known primarily for its truffle-only menu.

Yes, you read that right.

The place has a huge list of dishes created with either white or black truffles (hint: go for the white, which is harder to find). We stuffed our faces on a lunch which consisted of Bruschetta with Black Truffle, a primo of Tagliatelle with Shaved White Truffle, a secondo of Bistecca with White Truffle all washed down with two liters of delicate white wine, and a creamy Tiramisu. If you go, make sure you make a reservation way ahead in advance as they get booked quickly. 

Needless to say, our Saturday excursion was a complete success, with both our minds and bellies content.

Trattoria Lea, Via S. Florido, 88, Città di Castello. Phone: +39 075 8521678