Within the phrases of Jon Snow, winter is coming. Christmas is coming. However there’s nonetheless time to squeeze in a single final jolly earlier than the festive season. And so, within the identify of all that’s holy and good, I ask myself: What would Jesus do? Jesus, I consider, would take to Tuscany.

Although a few of our favorite haunts shut up store after summer season, it’s properly price taking to the roads throughout Italy’s vendemmia to go to people who don’t – landscapes are at their most verdant, roads are quieter and truffle season is in full swing: all making that first sip of vino even sweeter.


Bedroom and restaurant at Oltrarno Splendid | Mr & Mrs Smith

That’s how I discovered myself at Oltrarno Splendid: an artisan-favoured escape in fabled Florence. The homeowners, Betty and Matteo (additionally behind Smith favourites Soprarno and AdAstra), spent the very best a part of a decade trawling markets and vintage retailers for classic furnishings and distinctive décor for the 14 individually-styled rooms – together with the three gigantic retro maps that adorn the partitions of mine.

The unassuming exterior, heavy double-height door and buzzing metallic gate may make it really feel like a Bourne Supremacy protected home, however as soon as inside it’s all Soho Home-esque interiors and Italian aptitude. Take the breakfast salon, the place beams of sunshine bounce off pale partitions and rattan chairs – the open skyline being one of many causes, in truth, that this top-floor house was chosen – the abundance of sunshine fairly uncommon for Florentine flats.

I’ve but to come back throughout anybody with a nasty phrase to say about Florence. The town is undoubtedly outdated – it’s partitions, streets, buildings – and but it emits a juxtaposingly youthful power. It’s intimate, heat and abuzz with alfresco eating and ingesting (you’re by no means greater than three off-kilter stumbles from a wine bar). Don’t miss a nosey on the grass-covered terrace of the Società Canottieri Firenze. Locals congregate right here – some bundled up in coats and scarfs, others with tops off and a tan – regardless of all basking in the identical late-20’s climate and beating solar.

Espresso is greatest at Ditta Artiginale by the Arno, lunch at Il Santo Bevitore and afternoons at Boboli Gardens, or shopping the flea market in Santo Spirito. Head to Piazzale Michelangelo for sundown, adopted by a hearty dinner at Regina Bistecca (for the love of God, go hungry).

You may fall for Florence (as many earlier than you could have finished), however it’s time to make for the primary of three stays within the sprawling countryside…


Exterior and pool of Monteverde in Tuscany | Mr & Mrs Smith

Proprietor Michael stumbled throughout the hilltop hamlet of Castiglioncello del Trinoro, through which Monteverdi Tuscany resides, twenty years in the past. Then, only a handful of individuals inhabited the borghetto – together with Dino and Fernanda Salvadori, who lived in the home reverse the now resort reception.

The designer, Ilaria Miani, performs with pure mild, native supplies and rustic particulars. Our room retained its attic roof doorways and low wood beams, but in addition had a newly-built exterior toilet and terrace, fronted solely by glass – from which I struggled, considerably, to extract Mr Smith. Regardless of a wholesome dose of panoramic views, I took a liking to the occasional slender home windows framing only a glimpse of the seemingly everlasting Tuscan countryside.

Visiting out of season – and perhaps, partially, due to the shortage of signposts on arrival – it feels such as you, too, are stumbling throughout one thing distinctive for the primary time. On check-out, you’ll possible sense that you just’ve began to make connections: very similar to you’ve simply moved to a brand new village. Oh, and hold an eye fixed out for Dino and Fernanda’s nephew, who is alleged to now reside and work right here – a narrative that’s come full circle.


Bedroom and terrace seating at Castello di Vicarello | Mr & Mrs Smith

After a divine few days, drive on to Castello di Vicarello (stopping off in Montalcino for lunch). Right here, you possibly can float gracefully from infinity pool to open kitchen; from castle-top terrace to cosy, fire-lit lounges. With simply 9 rooms, that is the form of keep that leaves an actual imprint: the service is flawless, the setting is heavenly and the meals otherworldly. Look out for the resident canine, Uva (‘grape’ in Italian) too.

The citadel has been lovingly decked out in one-off items from across the globe – very similar to the British Museum, however with out the illegality. I beloved the open kitchen, which company stroll by to talk to the cooks, smelling spices or snacking on fruits as they accomplish that. Within the eating room you’ll discover huge floor-to-ceiling home windows framing the panorama, plus a feasting desk adorned with antiques, freshly-cut flowers and silver candlestick holders (I couldn’t assist however image an Italian mannequin of Henry VIII or Louis XIV sitting right here).

Ask the proficient sommelier for his ideas at dinner. Regardless of a considerably imprecise description of my tastes, he dug out a bottle that I discovered I may drink as simply as if it have been water (no want for Jesus’s intervention right here, nevertheless). Although I have to confess that it might need been a bit too simple to drink…


Pool and car scene at Borgo Pignano in Tuscany | Mr & Mrs Smith

The final cease on the road-trip is Borgo Pignano – a fortified villa a few hours drive in direction of the Tyrrhenian Sea. There are actions in abundance (horse using, truffle looking, yoga, bocce, a spa and wine tasting – to not point out the homeowners’ spectacular assortment of traditional automobiles and motorbikes to peruse) however it’s the pool that bought the ‘holy hell’ from me; constructed, as it’s, into the perimeters of a dramatic rock face.

Amble to the aptly named prosecco rock at golden hour, then again to the belvedere terrace – lord that terrace – and order sundowners from the round bar. Dinner is sort of the affair right here (I beloved the seabass), served up within the high-ceilinged reception rooms. Nonetheless wines are produced on web site, with a glowing wine within the works for subsequent 12 months (all scrumptious, she assures, along with her fourth hangover in as many days).

But it surely’s the ethos that actually units Borgo Pignano aside. It feels intentional, due to the homeowners’ ambition to be ecologically self-sustainable (photo voltaic power, sustainable sourcing, water conservation, biodynamic farming and on-site harvesting of cereals made into breads, rice, pasta and grains – and an entire lot extra).

With a lot meals eaten and far wine drunk, it’s time to return dwelling to a vacation season that guarantees a lot of the identical. And look, I don’t imply to evangelise, however Tuscany low season is the Tuscany you must go to. Cross thy coronary heart and all that.

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All pictures by the writer